Canon 17-40mm f4 over the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 Mark II

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16-35mm I have been wanting a wide angle lens for sometime and have researched a lot of different sites and forums. For me price isn’t an issue as I am a firm believer that if you by the best lens the first time you will never buy twice and because I use it for work could justify the $1100 difference between the two lenses.

Anyway I bought the 17-40mm f4 lens for two main reasons over the 16-35mm. The main one being the 17-40mm lens takes a 77mm filter where the 16-35mm takes an 82mm. Big deal you may be thinking but for me this was the deal breaker. I really love shooting with my 10 stop ND filter and they arn’t available for the 82mm lens. Quite a few people on forums also put this as a negative and wished companies like Hoya and B+W made an 82mm 10 stop filter.

Another selling point for the 17-40mm for me was that at apertures of f11 and up the image quality is said to be equal to that of the 16-35mm, it is when the 17-40mm lens is shot at wide open that the 16-35mm is the far winner in image sharpness and contrast as you would hope and expect seeing you dropped the extra cash for the f2.8 lens. Seeing I don’t shoot at those apertures often I didn’t see the need to want this.17-40mm

One thing I have found with the 17-40 that I believe is a trade off is that even when shooting at f11 and up in aperture at 17mm there is a small issue of fall off that is evident in certain lighting situations. But I knew this prior to purchase after reading the article on the Luminous landscape site. Though the article was based on the 16-35mm f2.8 Mark I not the Mark II lens.

I think in the near future I will own both lenses. 17-40mm for the long exposure shots and the 16-35mm for everything else. Maybe owning both is a bit excessive but for me at then end of the day I want the best lens that will get the job done at the exposure time I want and need for the look and effect in a shot.

0 thoughts on “Canon 17-40mm f4 over the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 Mark II

  1. cool stuff there mate, yep thats true what you said about this… ” if you by the best lens the first time you will never buy twice ”
    and also you get what you pay for, im currently saving up for a nikkor 12-24mm lens, i only have $700 now but i made that from just my photography 🙂


  2. You may also want to point out the vignetting Matt. I have the 17-40mm and have noticed some severe vignetting wide open on my 35mm photographs. This is apparently a lot worse than the 16-35mm. I didn’t realise that the 10 stop ND filters were limited to 77mm – I’m thinking of getting one myself.

  3. Hi Cain, Yea the vignetting is an issue as well but only when you stack say a 10 stop and then a polariser or a 10 stop and the lee filter kit. I dont get it with just the lee kit or just the 10 stop.

    You can get a 3 stop in the 82mm but not a 10 stop. Yea you should get a 10 stop they are a lot of fun.

  4. I use the 17-40mm a lot and I find that at f/8 and smaller apertures it is tack sharp and works very well. A small light fall off in corners and a little less corner sharpness but still very good images.

    Wide open yes there is severe vignetting and soft corners. If you need to shoot wide open this is not the best lens.

    But for landscapes it is great, 77mm as you mention, and it is small and light, making it easy to hike with it.

    I still wish Canon would produce a killer wide angle like the outstanding Nikon 14-24mm that blows everything else out of the water, see this test:

  5. I hope the 17-40 goes ok, gosh knows I know of people who simply traded it in very quickly for a 16-35mm. I went straight with the 16-35 (not much more expensive imported from BH in New York). While the 82mm filter size is a bit annoying, the image quality is unbeatable. THe 17-40 just has too many problems.

  6. A company called formatt filters in the UK make a 10 stop ND to fit the lee filter holder ( Have not purchsed it yet but plan to. Want a 105mm cpl first.

    I used their smaller filters a few years ago before going full frame and found them to be good quality. Maybe not as good as Lee but way better than the cokin crap.

    That way you can get around the stacking filter holders on top of the ND problems.

  7. Mitch.. yea the chromatic aberration is something you dont want in a lens. I remember owning the 10-22mm years ago on a Canon 20D and that had a lot of it.

    Adam.. yea I see your point, but I guess it is how you use the lens and work around its issues as I said I wanted it for the 77mm filter size. Hence why I will probably get the 16-35mm soon as well.

    Thanks for the info on that Ian I will looking into the 10 stop filter to fit the lee system.

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