Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40

Started Apr 26, 2013 | Discussions
Snupi6
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to SohoAperture, May 3, 2013

It is a lot copy to copy variation among Canon glass, and I think this is one reason why photographers have different experiences, and as a result the advices given will differ. A “perfect” sample of L-glass will almost always be rated optically as a good lens by most photographers.

I have owned and used a lot two samples of the 17-40, and I ended up selling them. In short – I didn’t like them. Especially the last version was almost useless at 40mm setting (5DII) – the left side of the frame was very soft even at f8. None of them were good at 17mm, and both lenses had a lot of chromatic aberrations.

After almost two years without a UWA-zoom I finally pulled the trigger and bought the 16-35/2.8II – and luckily – I got a perfect sample. No trace of alignment problems, very little CA in the 16-20mm region, nothing thereafter. It’s extremely sharp in the central area of the frame.  I have compared the central sharpness of the 16-35 with two versions of the EF 24-70/2.8II at the same focal lenghts, and it was hard to see any difference at 100% screen mode at f-stops above 4 (RAW-files). And by compensating for the field curvature of the 16-35 when focusing, the frame borders and corners are VERY good at f5.6-8, and almost perfect at f11 (thus suffering from diffraction at this f-stop).

So – my experience – get the 16-35II. It is no doubt a better lens optically compared to the 17-40, in addition you have 2.8 and 1mm more coverage at the wide end – it’s worth the extra money for me. BUT as my starting point says, there are at least two elements in my advice that must be taken into consideration: I have owned two samples of the 17-40, but not a perfect one! And my 16-35II lens is a flawless sample. I will most probably never sell it – it’s that good.

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clager
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to Snupi6, May 3, 2013

Snupi6 wrote:

It is a lot copy to copy variation among Canon glass, and I think this is one reason why photographers have different experiences, and as a result the advices given will differ. A “perfect” sample of L-glass will almost always be rated optically as a good lens by most photographers.

I have owned and used a lot two samples of the 17-40, and I ended up selling them. In short – I didn’t like them. Especially the last version was almost useless at 40mm setting (5DII) – the left side of the frame was very soft even at f8. None of them were good at 17mm, and both lenses had a lot of chromatic aberrations.

After almost two years without a UWA-zoom I finally pulled the trigger and bought the 16-35/2.8II – and luckily – I got a perfect sample. No trace of alignment problems, very little CA in the 16-20mm region, nothing thereafter. It’s extremely sharp in the central area of the frame.  I have compared the central sharpness of the 16-35 with two versions of the EF 24-70/2.8II at the same focal lenghts, and it was hard to see any difference at 100% screen mode at f-stops above 4 (RAW-files). And by compensating for the field curvature of the 16-35 when focusing, the frame borders and corners are VERY good at f5.6-8, and almost perfect at f11 (thus suffering from diffraction at this f-stop).

So – my experience – get the 16-35II. It is no doubt a better lens optically compared to the 17-40, in addition you have 2.8 and 1mm more coverage at the wide end – it’s worth the extra money for me. BUT as my starting point says, there are at least two elements in my advice that must be taken into consideration: I have owned two samples of the 17-40, but not a perfect one! And my 16-35II lens is a flawless sample. I will most probably never sell it – it’s that good.

Absoloutely!  I went through two copys of the 16-35.II.  before getting the right one, same with the 70-300L, two samples, etc.

With the 17-40 I was lucky and got a perfect copy from the start.

We are not the only ones. Nikon suffers the same dilema, good copy/bad copy.

Todays optics from canon and Nikon are not produced in-house, Nikon used to make their own glass but I am sure they stopped doing it. Buying a lens has become a luck of the draw and if one doesnt know what to look for. Chanses are you walk around with an inferior lens without even knowing it.

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Andy M
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to qianp2k, May 5, 2013

That's my experience too. I had a good 17-40, but recently sold it as I found a used mint & boxed TS-E 17 for £100 over the price of a new 16-35.

If flexibility and price are important then get the 17-40. If cost is less of an issue and you don't mind the weight, then assuming you have a need for f2.8, get the 16-35.

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birdbrain
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to hotdog321, May 5, 2013

hotdog321 wrote:

I'd definitely get the 16-35. That extra millimeter doesn't sound like much, but it makes a huge difference in the photographs. I can't count the number of times where I really NEEDED every bit of that 16mm, and sometimes I wished I had a bit more!

The 16-35 is NOT super sharp like a 70-200 or the new 24-70 f/2.8L II, but it is all we have. I just add a slug of sharpening in the post processing. If Canon ever comes out with a 16-35 that is as sharp as the telephoto L lenses, I'm going to marry it!

Have you tried using the DLO in DPP yet for the 16-35? It seems to me it does a good job at adding some sharpness to the 16-35.

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hotdog321
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to birdbrain, May 5, 2013

I'm using CS6 and the lens correction and sharpening features for RAW are amazing, especially good at tweaking that 16-35mm. Nothing against DPP, I just never learned how to use it. It is supposed to be very good, too.

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lightandday
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to clager, May 6, 2013

clager wrote:

Snupi6 wrote:

It is a lot copy to copy variation among Canon glass, and I think this is one reason why photographers have different experiences, and as a result the advices given will differ. A “perfect” sample of L-glass will almost always be rated optically as a good lens by most photographers.

I have owned and used a lot two samples of the 17-40, and I ended up selling them. In short – I didn’t like them. Especially the last version was almost useless at 40mm setting (5DII) – the left side of the frame was very soft even at f8. None of them were good at 17mm, and both lenses had a lot of chromatic aberrations.

After almost two years without a UWA-zoom I finally pulled the trigger and bought the 16-35/2.8II – and luckily – I got a perfect sample. No trace of alignment problems, very little CA in the 16-20mm region, nothing thereafter. It’s extremely sharp in the central area of the frame.  I have compared the central sharpness of the 16-35 with two versions of the EF 24-70/2.8II at the same focal lenghts, and it was hard to see any difference at 100% screen mode at f-stops above 4 (RAW-files). And by compensating for the field curvature of the 16-35 when focusing, the frame borders and corners are VERY good at f5.6-8, and almost perfect at f11 (thus suffering from diffraction at this f-stop).

So – my experience – get the 16-35II. It is no doubt a better lens optically compared to the 17-40, in addition you have 2.8 and 1mm more coverage at the wide end – it’s worth the extra money for me. BUT as my starting point says, there are at least two elements in my advice that must be taken into consideration: I have owned two samples of the 17-40, but not a perfect one! And my 16-35II lens is a flawless sample. I will most probably never sell it – it’s that good.

Absoloutely!  I went through two copys of the 16-35.II.  before getting the right one, same with the 70-300L, two samples, etc.

With the 17-40 I was lucky and got a perfect copy from the start.

We are not the only ones. Nikon suffers the same dilema, good copy/bad copy.

Todays optics from canon and Nikon are not produced in-house, Nikon used to make their own glass but I am sure they stopped doing it. Buying a lens has become a luck of the draw and if one doesnt know what to look for. Chanses are you walk around with an inferior lens without even knowing it.

Hi 'you've got me thinking about my 17-40 - I'm delighted with the images but what you said i.e. "chances are you are walking around with an inferior lens without knowing it " made me think (dangerous some might say )!

The bottom line is how can I check my lens in a simple test ?

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clager
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to lightandday, May 6, 2013

lightandday wrote:

clager wrote:

Snupi6 wrote:

It is a lot copy to copy variation among Canon glass, and I think this is one reason why photographers have different experiences, and as a result the advices given will differ. A “perfect” sample of L-glass will almost always be rated optically as a good lens by most photographers.

I have owned and used a lot two samples of the 17-40, and I ended up selling them. In short – I didn’t like them. Especially the last version was almost useless at 40mm setting (5DII) – the left side of the frame was very soft even at f8. None of them were good at 17mm, and both lenses had a lot of chromatic aberrations.

After almost two years without a UWA-zoom I finally pulled the trigger and bought the 16-35/2.8II – and luckily – I got a perfect sample. No trace of alignment problems, very little CA in the 16-20mm region, nothing thereafter. It’s extremely sharp in the central area of the frame.  I have compared the central sharpness of the 16-35 with two versions of the EF 24-70/2.8II at the same focal lenghts, and it was hard to see any difference at 100% screen mode at f-stops above 4 (RAW-files). And by compensating for the field curvature of the 16-35 when focusing, the frame borders and corners are VERY good at f5.6-8, and almost perfect at f11 (thus suffering from diffraction at this f-stop).

So – my experience – get the 16-35II. It is no doubt a better lens optically compared to the 17-40, in addition you have 2.8 and 1mm more coverage at the wide end – it’s worth the extra money for me. BUT as my starting point says, there are at least two elements in my advice that must be taken into consideration: I have owned two samples of the 17-40, but not a perfect one! And my 16-35II lens is a flawless sample. I will most probably never sell it – it’s that good.

Absoloutely!  I went through two copys of the 16-35.II.  before getting the right one, same with the 70-300L, two samples, etc.

With the 17-40 I was lucky and got a perfect copy from the start.

We are not the only ones. Nikon suffers the same dilema, good copy/bad copy.

Todays optics from canon and Nikon are not produced in-house, Nikon used to make their own glass but I am sure they stopped doing it. Buying a lens has become a luck of the draw and if one doesnt know what to look for. Chanses are you walk around with an inferior lens without even knowing it.

Hi 'you've got me thinking about my 17-40 - I'm delighted with the images but what you said i.e. "chances are you are walking around with an inferior lens without knowing it " made me think (dangerous some might say )!

The bottom line is how can I check my lens in a simple test ?

Forget reviews and all that, most of them are biast anyway. Best thing to do is simply to test two or three copies and thats that.
   Its no big deal. Looking for sharpness on a 100% monitor is pretty easy, too much CA can also be spotted fairly easy.
   Believe me once you see the differance between a good and bad copy. You will KNOW.
    
      Remember that this is straight out of the camera and in Raw. No PP or PS or anything.
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
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lightandday
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to clager, May 8, 2013

G'day Clager,

Thank you for your assistance - my problem I have the lens already - it sounds like I should exercise  more  caution in the examination of my lens purchases in future - I wonder if my posting of a photo taken with my 17-40mm for scrutiny  would be of any benefit - I doubt it as the size of the upload would limit a meaningful image for examination ?

I am happy with the results I get with my 17-40mm but my old eyes and mind proably except and adjust for imperfection and without comparing alternatives ( I.E. images from other 17-40mm ) I don't know what I'm missing !

All the best ! Thank you !

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vbourrut
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to SohoAperture, May 13, 2013

If you do not need the f2.8, just get the 17-40mm, the IQ is the same. The filters size on the 16-35 is huge and very expensive, should you need a polarizer or other type of filters.

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qianp2k
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to vbourrut, May 13, 2013

vbourrut wrote:

If you do not need the f2.8, just get the 17-40mm, the IQ is the same.

Although I never own 16-35L II and used to own 17-40L, I have to say 16-35L II is sharper at edges/corners from what I have seen. If OPer can afford go with 16-35L II otherwise 17-40L is still pretty nice.

The filters size on the 16-35 is huge and very expensive, should you need a polarizer or other type of filters.

It's 82mm, same as the new 24-70L/2.8 II. That's why I switched to 4x6" filter system (with Cokin Z-Pro holder) as it's flexible to buy one set of filters for all sizes of lenses. Cost more initially but will save money down to the road.

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qianp2k
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to hotdog321, May 13, 2013

hotdog321 wrote:

I'm using CS6 and the lens correction and sharpening features for RAW are amazing, especially good at tweaking that 16-35mm. Nothing against DPP, I just never learned how to use it. It is supposed to be very good, too.

http://www.andrewsgibson.com/blog/2012/04/dpps-digital-lens-optimiser/

I actually just read an article talking about DPP DLO which is a free plugin for DPP. But third party software such as CS6/LR4/DXO provide similar lens' profiles and support more lenses especially third party lenses and offer similar and likely more advanced lens optimization features.

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SohoAperture
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to qianp2k, May 14, 2013

Hi,

Thanks for all your comments

In the end it came down to price, i really wanted the 16-35 but could not justify paying almost double the price of the 17-40.  My local Canon dealer in London is offering the 17-40 for £559 and the 16-35 for £1,050.

I also thought that if i wanted to upgrade to the 16-35 in future i could re-sell the 17-40 without losing too much money.

I am visiting Paris this weekend so intend to give the lens a full try out there.

Again thanks for all your comments.

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clager
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to lightandday, May 14, 2013
 

lightandday wrote:

G'day Clager,

Thank you for your assistance - my problem I have the lens already - it sounds like I should exercise  more  caution in the examination of my lens purchases in future - I wonder if my posting of a photo taken with my 17-40mm for scrutiny  would be of any benefit - I doubt it as the size of the upload would limit a meaningful image for examination ?

I am happy with the results I get with my 17-40mm but my old eyes and mind proably except and adjust for imperfection and without comparing alternatives ( I.E. images from other 17-40mm ) I don't know what I'm missing !

All the best ! Thank you !

Think about it this way and it should be fairly easy to decide. If you need the extra stop of 2.8, i.e. for fast action, night-photography, low light, etc. Then its worth it, one stop might not sound much but in reallity it is, especially when you really need it and DONT have it.
Apart from that, the 16-35 and 17-40 are optically just as good, even with the same IQ I believe so its no differance. Just by looking at the images on the screen and at 100%, you would not know which lens took what.

Best. Chris.

 
 
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soumya_b5
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I used both 16-35, 17-40
In reply to SohoAperture, May 14, 2013

i used both. sold 17-40L and acquired the 16-35L II.

i feel, for a landscape photographer, 17-40L is more value for money lens. as far as my knowledge with landscape photography goes, most of the time the aperture that is in use is in the range of f/8-f/16. so, it's very unlikely that the lens would be used wide open. in that case, does a f/2.8 lens make any sense here? even the f/4 lens would be used at f/8 or smaller for landscapes, right?

under my usage, both the lenses were producing equally sharp images at f/5.6 beyond. color-contrast-clarity were similar as well. pricewise, 17-40L is almost half that of 16-35L II. so, in my humble opinion, 17-40L is a better value for money in canon world.

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twan
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Re: I used both 16-35, 17-40
In reply to soumya_b5, May 14, 2013

Make sense to me.

If you add the new 24 2.8 IS or 35 2.0 IS, low light is also covered

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soumya_b5
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Re: I used both 16-35, 17-40
In reply to twan, May 15, 2013

i do own a 35/2 (non-IS) and the brilliant 24/1.4 L II. planning to replace the 35/2 with sigma's new offering 35/1.4 art. i mainly shoot people/culture/street/daily life, so this set of focal lengths covers me up well.

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geopro
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to SohoAperture, May 15, 2013

Yeah, everybody says how much better the 16-35 II is in the corners.  However, I say, why do people care about the corners so much?  If your post-processing is good, it's not going to matter to mostin most cases. And for big prints? Give me  break. (In my opinion, and those who buy my prints) it's the rare image that needs that extra minimal % of detail that cannot be achieved by decent PP that warrants it. (If it does, stitch images from a prime!)

However, the 16-35 renders much better sunstars than the 17-40 and this is important to many landscape shooters, and almost justifies the purchase in my opinion. (If you don't shoot landscapes, you can pretty much ignore this post.)

Remember that if you have invested in/use filters, you will need 82mm for the 16-35, which means added investment to avoid vignetting.

Got the bucks? Buy it. If not, be happy with what you've got, it's a marginal difference. There's still stellar images to be made. If you really want the ultimate in this range, fork out for the Zeiss or wait until Canon finally releases their answer to the Nikon 14-24 (but it won't be cheap).

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Gunzorro
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to SohoAperture, May 15, 2013

Yes, I'm happy I traded up from 17-40L to 16-35L II.

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LunaCat Studio
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Re: Canon wide angle 'L' lenses - 16-35 and 17-40
In reply to SohoAperture, 9 months ago

I was in the same situation when I first starting wanted wide angle photos. The thing is, the price difference is quite huge. If you really need the max aperture of 2.8, then go for the 16-35. If you plan more on making landscape photos that don't need such a wide aperture, you can really go with the 17-40 without any hesitation. There have been some tests about the quality difference between the two lenses and it seems that at f/8 you just could not see a difference at all. So the answer really depends on what you want this lens to be used for!

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