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From 17-40 to 16-35 II

Simon T , Dec 06, 2011; 10:15 a.m.

I it worth exchanging my 17-40mm f4 with a 16-35mmL in terms of image quality or it would be best to stick with the 17-40mm for my 5dII.
Thanks in advance.
Simon.

Responses


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Mark Pierlot , Dec 06, 2011; 10:34 a.m.

It depends on what you're planning on doing with the lens. The 17-40 is optically at least as good as the 16-35 at smaller apertures, and the 16-35 is superior at larger apertures. So if you typically shoot at larger apertures, then yes, the trade would be worthwhile; but if you usually stop down to f/8 or so, then no, it wouldn't.

David Littleboy (Tokyo, Japan) , Dec 06, 2011; 10:54 a.m.

Short answer: Stick with the 17-40, pray for a 17-40 II, and shoot at f/11 or f/16.
Long answer: My reading of this chart comparison
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=412&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=5&LensComp=100&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=4
is that the 16-35/2.8 II is quite a bit better at f/4.0 and f/5.6, but that at f/8.0 and f/11 they're pretty similar. CA is there in both, and your extreme corners are going to be soft. The 17-40 is smaller and lighter, which is real nice. And the slightly longer on the long end makes it cover my whole normal to superwide range. I'd buy a 17-40/4.0 II with better optical performance at just about any price. If you insist on razor sharp images across the frame in that range, you need the 17TSE, Zeiss 21/2.8, 24TSE II, and 35/1.4. That's a lot of heavy, expensive glass. Sigh.

Dunno about the 16-35, but the 17-40 works great with IR, even with deep-IR converted cameras. (Some lenses produce hot spots in the center of the frame and can't really be used.) So it's worth keeping if you plan to do that. (My 5D has been deep-IR converted, and it's quite fun.)

Green Photog , Dec 06, 2011; 11:20 a.m.

The 16-35 II is better on paper but I doubt you'll see any real life differences with the 17-40, especially if you stop down.

Currenly B&H is selling the 16-35 II for $1400 and the 17-40 for $700 so for an extra $700 you gain a F stop with the 16-35 II which hardly seems worth it. But I'm getting the 16-35 II because it has never been this low in price (usually around $1600).

I tried to get a used one of 16-35 II from CL for a while and I couldn't find a seller willing to sell for less than $1300. It's all from a price perspective but I don't think there is a lot that the 16-35 can do that the 17-40 can't from a functional perspective.

Sheldon Nalos , Dec 06, 2011; 11:30 a.m.

I made the jump from the 17-40 to the 16-35 II. I had both for a while briefly and tested them against each other as well in real world outdoor shooting situations. Both are great lenses, and are sharp when stopped down to f/11 or so. I would have to give a slight edge to my 16-35 over the 17-40, just a tiny bit sharper out towards the edges depending on focal length, etc. Nothing you'd really notice without making a large print. My 17-40 wasn't a bad copy either, I've had several of them and kept the best one.

The 16-35 II also does one thing better than the 17-40... sunstars. If you ever shoot directly into the sun with the lens stopped down to f/22, the 16-35 makes nice crisp sunstars where the rays come to a clean point. I find it nice when shooting landscape and the sun is just peeking over the horizon or through some trees.

But for most purposes, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between them. Only you can decide if the tiny differences and slightly wider focal length are worth double the price.

Mendel Leisk , Dec 06, 2011; 03:07 p.m.

My understanding: 17mm to 16mm is significantly wider. Every mm at the wide end of focal length spectrum makes a difference. That said, I have the 17-40 and for me it's plenty wide on full frame.

G Dan Mitchell , Dec 06, 2011; 03:51 p.m.

To chime in along with others here... both are excellent lenses and both do an excellent job with the subjects and situations to which they are best suited. It really comes down to what you intend to do with the lenses.

If your main goal is to shoot low-light, hand-held, ultra-wide-angle work on a full frame camera, then there is a very good chance that the 16-35 could be a great lens for you. Its performance advantage comes at the very largest apertures - obvious because it has f/2.8 and because it may be less prone to corner softness than that 17-40 at f/4.

If your main goal is to shoot landscapes, architecture, or similar work typically done a smaller apertures - say f/8 to f/16 on full frame - then the 17-40 will produce excellent image quality in a smaller, lighter, and less expensive package. It also uses the semi-standare 77mm filter threads, unlike the 16-35 that uses 82mm threads.

If you shoot a cropped sensor camera, I urge you to consider something entirely different and not either of the L lenses. Instead, the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens arguably is a better choice on virtually all counts for shooting crop:

  • excellent image quality that at least equals that of the two L lenses on crop
  • f/2.8 maximum aperture
  • image stabilization
  • larger focal length range

Dan

Peter J , Dec 06, 2011; 07:29 p.m.

I it worth exchanging...

Yes. Absolutely.I did.

Jim Greenfield , Dec 07, 2011; 04:43 a.m.

I use a 17/40 on a 5D2. I try to work at f8 or tighter and the results never fail to amaze me - they are so punchy and tack sharp. I have seen a number of similar discussions before and see no sense in doubling my outlay for what really are pretty questionable benefts. Just my take and would suggest, if possible, you try a 16/35 first.
Jim Greenfield www.oceaneyephoto.com

Marco Palladino , Dec 09, 2011; 09:22 p.m.

I currently use the 17-40 on an eos 1ds2 and it is great, with some limitations of course. The most of wich can be corected in ACR o DPP, i.e. light-fall at the borders.
The point is, if you don't need the extra stop, I don't think the upgrade is worth. The diameter of the 16-35 II (82mm) is also a problem for using filters, for that the 1st version is a better choise.
The 17-40 is also very good at flare-resistance, which is important in landscape, but I don't much like the rays it makes with the sun, the 16-35 is better at that.
This is a comparison I made 17-40 vs 16-35 II...it is not very accurate, so take it for what it is, but at that timed it seemed clear enought to decide NOT to make the change. Now that I need the extra stop at 2.8, and the 16-35 remains very good at max aperture, I'm considering the replacement.
Here is the link (sorry the blog is in Italian): http://marcopalladino.blogspot.com/2010/11/canon-ef-16-35-f28-l-vs-canon-ef-17-40.html
another good comparison is here: http://www.juzaphoto.com/article.php?l=en&article=42
I dont' have a comparison of the two about the against-light performance, but I can show two pics of same subject, quite the same values but with a better performer, the 50mm 1.4 VS. the 17-40...btw, the same subject was taken by my scholars with the comercial zooms such as the 18-55 at f11, tripod and correct technique...but the lights there resulted ugly, much worse than the 17-40, with even lots of flares around them.


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