Canon 17-55 impressions (vs 17-40)

Started Jun 17, 2006 | Discussions thread
Richard Crowe Veteran Member • Posts: 3,318
I like neither the 17-40l nor the 17-55mm

I just thought that I would put my 2-cents worth into this thread. These lenses are neither wide enough nor long enough for my tastes (although the 17-55 is much better at the long end than the 17-40L). They tend to be in a never-never land for me. The 17-40L drove me crazy at the longer end because 40mm does nothing for my tastes and 17mm is wide but, not wide enough for me on a 1.6x camera.

I prefer a 3-lens combination anchored with a great mid-range zoom. I shoot with a 24-70 f/2.8L but, the 24-105mm f/4L IS or the Tamron or Sigma mid range-zooms would certainly fit into my scheme also.

I do 70-80% of my shooting with the 24-70L. The 24mm side is wide enough for a good percentage of my shooting but, when I switch to a wide lens - I want a WIDE lens. The 70mm is not really long, but much better than 40 or 55mm.

For my wide lens, I chose the 12-24mm f/4L Tokina. The vista of a good lens with a 10mm or 12mm wide end will blow away the lenses that have 17mm as their wide side. Subjectively, although I never did a head to head test, I like the Tokina better than the 17-40L as far as quality of imagery and there is no comparison regarding the angle of view.

I guess that the 17-40L might be a decent lens for a full-frame camera but, IMO, it doesn't work on a 1.6x body; either on the short or the long side. Regarding the long side of the 17-40L - that computes to 64mm; not exactly a favorite focal length in photography. Except for the 60mm macro, I can't think of a prime lens ever being produced in that focal length.

On the long side of my 24-70L, I use a 70-200mm f/4L. The build and quality of imagery is great and I can throw on a 1.4x TC if I need a longer lens. Sure, I'd like an f/2.8 aperture but, I am vascilating about paying the price either in $$$ or more importantly in weight. I would very much like to have IS and may feel a need to convert to the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS someday despite its greater weight and bulk.

At one time; I thought that I could be happy with a 17-40L on one body and a 70-200mm f/4L on another. That was not the case - I really missed the range between 40 and 70mm.

By the way, I shoot with two 1.6x cameras and have no intention of switching to full frame at any time. Carrying two bodies mounted with either the 12-24mm and 24-70mm or the 24-70mm and the 70-200mm gives me a great amount of freedom in my shooting.

Would I like IS on my shorter lenses? I see no need on the 12-24mm but, perhaps someday I will get an itch for the 24-105mm f/4L IS. The nice thing about L lenses is that they hold their value. I purchased my 24-70L used and I am sure I will get my money back at any time if I decide to sell it and convert to the 24-105mm IS.

As far as cost; a 3-lens combination (if you selected the Tamron 28-75mm as your mid range zoom) would not be excessively more exppensive than the 17-55mm Canon alone.

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Retired Navy Master Chief Photographer's Mate - 30 years service. Combat Cameraman, Motion Picture Director and Naval Aircrewman. I have done considerable comercial photography including advertising, weddings and portraiture.

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