EF 17-40mm f/4L or EF 28mm f/1.8 Prime? I own 50mm

Started Jan 12, 2013 | Questions thread
Dave Throgmartin
Dave Throgmartin Contributing Member • Posts: 871
Re: EF 17-40mm f/4L or EF 28mm f/1.8 Prime? I own 50mm

AJ153 wrote:

I need some advice! I own the Canon 60D with a 50mm 1.4 USM lens. I'm more into taking video, nature shots, or group pictures with friends. At times I found the 50mm hard to manage indoors when recording something or getting a group shot. Taking many steps back, to get what I need (and at times its impossible with restricted area) I was wondering if I should get a 28mm or 35mm. I was watching DigitalRev which got me to lean more on the 28mm, cos they say 35 is really close to 50mm. I don't mind getting close when taking pictures, but I just something else in the bag if I'm restricted to space and can't back up. Suggestions?

I actually own both of these and use them on a crop camera (60D). IHMO they are quite different lenses on a crop sensor.

The 28mm is best suited as an available light lens or low-weight walk around. Center of frame image sharpness has been very good for me from f/2.2 on. f/1.8 tends to be a bit dreamy and gets better by f/2.2. The corners are ok but never really reach the critical sharpness level if you want landscape tree branches to look great. I think it'd be fine for street work, etc...

The 17-40 is designed as a full frame ultrawide, but is fantastic as a crop walk around lens. I use mine a lot for landscapes and general task photography. I don't take a lot of people shots, but it'd be good for environmental portrait type shots. Note that it's not an available light lens indoors. But, in my experience f/2.8 lenses are also too slow to use for that purpose without flash. In my opinion corner sharpness is superior to the 28mm as are general color / contrast. 17-40 images have more "pop" than 28mm images.

For your purpose I think the 28mm will still be too long for group shots (effective 45mm length on crop sensor) and the 17-40 would be a good choice.

Want samples?

28mm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/68255851@N05/tags/28f18/

17-40

http://www.flickr.com/photos/68255851@N05/tags/1740/

Best of luck deciding.

Dave

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