Nigel Atkinson Photography

Equipment review: Canon 17-40mm f4 L


Before reading this review please read my general introduction to reviews here


I bought this lens on eBay in August 2006 and received it just the evening before a family holiday to Switzerland. The UK was in the midst of extreme airport security measures and I knew I would not be able to take both my digital SLRs as I had planned. I therefore gambled and took the 17-40mm as my wide angle lens for the holiday (used with the Canon 5D). I was relieved to find that the lens produced great results.


I can best compare this lens with the 10-22mm on the 350D (and also the 20-35mm that I also used with film). The 10-22mm is an excellent lens and very similar in size and shape to the 17-40mm. They can even use the same lens hood. The 17-40mm feels slightly more solid but other than this there is little difference. I've never used them both together with the same subject, but I feel that the colours are slightly better with the 17-40mm.


On the 5D there is some shading in the corners when shooting at 17mm near f4. It was also clear that my thicker polarising filter made this worse so it is worth buying the thinner types. (The polariser also made the skies look awful, so I won't be using it with this lens again.)


There is also the sort of distortion I fully expect with an ultra wide-angle. In short it does just what I wanted.


I've briefly tried the lens on the 350D and found it much less useful with the crop sensor - the same reason I sold my 20-35mm. The zoom range is just too small to be worth it.



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Nigel Atkinson