Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L First Impressions

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM

A new lens arrived in the post the other day – the Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L! Ever since picking up the Canon 5D I’ve been lacking anything in the sub-50mm range so this will be a welcome addition.

There are a few reasons why I decided on this lens. The first is that I needed something that would fit on both my 5D and my 500D. I previously had a Sigma 10-20mm and a Tamron 17-50 but I decided to abandon the idea of having a mixture of EF and EF-S fit lenses. It didn’t make much sense having two camera bodies and lenses that weren’t fully cross-compatible, especially if I was relying on one or the other as backup.

The second reason is this lens represents great value for money. For me, it serves as two lenses in one – on my 5D it will be my wide-angle and on my 500D it will be used as a general purpose zoom. The focal length when mounted on the 500D is equivalent to 27-64 (approx) which is not a million miles away from the classic 24-70 zooms.

Would I recommend this as a general purpose lens on a crop sensor camera? Well, yes and no. Yes because the range is useful, the autofocus is quick and very quiet, the build quality is excellent and the image quality is very good. No because… well, at f/4.0, it’s going to struggle a bit in low/indoor lighting. I have faster lenses for these situations but not everybody has, and although some people will suggest using a flash it’s not always appropriate or convenient. I should really describe this as my general purpose outdoor zoom. If you’re looking for an upgrade from your kit lens, then I highly recommend you consider the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (non-VC version).

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM close focus

The minimum focusing distance of 28cm is also very handy

So that’s about it for now – I’d love to be out taking pictures but it’s currently raining quite heavily. I hope to return with a “verdict” on this lens after using it for a few months so watch out for that.




Filed under Equipment, Opinions

2 responses to “Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L First Impressions

  1. I’ve had one for a long time on a 5D and my current 5D MKII and wouldn’t change it for anything. (Even though it does suffer a bit from fringing on high contrast edges) 🙂

  2. Hi, thanks for the comment!

    Yes I’m very pleased with the lens so far. I even used it for a few shots during a portrait test shoot a couple of weeks ago and the colours were really quite nice and the images had great contrast. It does soften and vignette in the corners on the 5D a little, but these things don’t bother me and I often vignette my photos anyway – it saves me a job! 🙂

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