My test of 17-40 - 16-35
A couple of months ago I was considering to do an up-grade of my 17-40 for 16-35 II. My 17-40 had served me well on a crop camera since 2005 - I even managed to sell a Vilnus night scene from this lens to Subaru to use it as a background for their product advertisement on A3 in some magazines. I was really impressed with the contrast and sharpness from 17-40. Nevertheless, it was some sort of a disappointment with image borders from 17-40 used on 5dII.
I read a number of reviews, comps and feedbacks and on this lens while several of them were controversy. I decided to buy 16-35 II and do my own resolution tests and comparison. I hope that the below will facilitate the decision making process 17-40 vs 16-35 II. My test does pretend to be throughout or comprehensive, please take it as it is.
Input: 5dII, ISO 100, tripod, 2 seconds delay, brick wall (ha-ha), around 6-7m distance to the wall = infinity on the lens scale, wide (17 vs 16) and tele (35 vs 35), cloudy, AWB, Av, centre point AF, ACR defaults
A crop from the centre
- To my surprise 16-35 II behaved marginally softer (can you notice this?) than 17-40 and the difference becomes more evident when the lens stopped down
- It is contrary to my expectations and what I get during the first test in the forest where 16-35 II performed slightly better than 17-40.
- I can explain it only the fact that my 17-40 is microadjusted (+5) while I did not do it with 16-35 II and therefore the wide shots from 16-35 are just misfocused
A crop from the right side
- 16-35 II and 17-40 seemed to be close to each other even at 2.8 vs 4
A crop from the upper right corner
- Similar to the crop from the center – 17-40 marginally bits 16-35 here – again misfocused?
NB: 1 mm difference between 16 mm and 17 mm on practice is a lot – and one may crop away a lot softness from 16-35 while still getting a wide angle shot at 17 mm which would be sharper on the borders as compared to 17 from 17-40
Tele at 35 (17-40 has a mark of 35 mm as opposed to 17 mm which is not shown on 16-35)
- 16-35 II considerably bits 17-40 in any part of image and at any aperture – even 2.8 vs 4
What I will do:
suggest that 16-35 II is sharper than 17-40, I tend to believe them
- I will do microadjustment for 16-35 II – hopefully it improves sharpness.
- However I will not re-perform the test – IMHO I have already spend too much time on it
- I will sell 17-40 as I need a faster lens as now I do a lot of in-door shooting. Moreover, I think it is a right time to dispose of 17-40 as it looks like that Canon is going to up-grade it with 2.8-4 version.
I will let you know if sharpness gets better after microadjustment
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