Canon 17-40mm f/4L USM EF Review Round-Up


If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Get information and user reviews for this lens from Amazon: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Photo Zone:

The Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L showed a very good to excellent performance in the lab as well as during the field tests. The lens exhibited very little vignetting and excellent resolution figures. On the downsode the level of distortions could haven been a little better at the wide-angle setting. Typical for most wide-angle zooms chromatic aberrations can be visible but the problem remains comparatively low. The quality of the construction is next to perfect. READ FULL REVIEW

Other Canon 17-40mm f/4L USM EF Reviews

SLR Gear

The Canon 17-40mm f/4 L is a high quality lens with a full-frame image circle that showed really exceptional performance on the EOS-20D we used to test it with. Sharpness at maximum aperture is excellent across the board (just a slight decrease in sharpness around 30 mm), and the “sweet spot” for sharpness is unusually broad, with truly excellent results from f/5.6 to f/8 at all focal lengths. All in all, the 17-40mm f/4 L easily justifies its premium price with top-notch optical performance. READ FULL REVIEW

Photo Review

The EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens is a member of a suite of Canon zoom lenses that retain a constant f4 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. Designed for use on 35mm SLR cameras, this ultra-wide zoom is ideal for capturing dramatic landscape shots and taking portraits of large groups of people. It will also prove useful for shooting in cramped interiors. READ FULL REVIEW

Camera Labs (reviewed for full-sensor SLRs):

The EF 17-40mm f/4.0L is one of the best lenses in Canon’s range. It brings you a taste of the truly exotic with ultra-wide coverage, while boasting “˜L’ quality all at a surprisingly affordable price. Sure it ain’t exactly cheap, but it’s considerably more affordable than the EF 24-105mm f/4.0L and almost half the price of the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L. The coverage may sound extreme, but as we’ve shown in our Gallery, it can be more practical than you’d think, and if you mostly shoot at wide angle, you’re effectively getting at least four classic prime focal lengths in one convenient package. Coupled with a full-frame body like the EOS 5D, it’s a great performer. READ FULL REVIEW

Camera Labs (reviewed on small-sensor SLRs):

The Canon EF 17-40mm may deliver spectacular ultra-wide angle coverage when fitted to a full-frame body like the EOS 5D, but offers a more normal, general-purpose range when mounted on cropped bodies like the EOS 30D or 400D / XTi. As such when evaluating it for cropped bodies, it’s important to compare it against other general purpose options like Canon’s standard kit lens and the popular EF-S 17-85mm. At first glance the EF 17-40mm comes up short compared to the other general-purpose lens options for cropped bodies – literally. With a focal range of 17-40mm, it may zoom fractionally wider than the kit lens, but doesn’t get as close. This difference is even more apparent compared against the EF-S 17-85mm, which zooms-in more than twice as far, and boasts Image Stabilisation, all for slightly less than the asking price of the EF 17-40mm. But the EF 17-40mm has several unique advantages. First of all, it’s an “˜L’ lens, which means superior build and optical quality. The former is really noticeable too when you compare them side-by-side with EF-S models. The “˜L’ lenses feel tougher and feature much smoother manual focusing and zoom rings; the “˜L’ zoom rings feel like you can turn them as finely as required, whereas the EF-S zoom rings seem to almost catch in comparison. Read full review READ FULL REVIEW

Digital Picture

The 17-40 f/4 L fills out the bottom focal length range of Canon’s f/4 L zoom lens series. It is the lightest L lens currently made (1.1 lbs / 475g) and is the smallest L zoom lens currently produced (3.3″ x 3.8″ / 83.5mm x 96.8mm – DxL). As you expect from an “L” lens, the 17-40’s build quality is very high. This is an easy-to-take-with-you lens – It handles very nicely as well. Utilizing Ring USM, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM Lens focuses very fast, quietly and accurately. Although the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM Lens can be a good people lens, it is not a good short-distance people lens. A head shot from this lens will emphasize the subject’s nose more than the subject will want. The 17-40mm focal length range is great for group pictures, environmental portraits and full body pictures. As with any other general purpose/ultra wide angle lens, this lens has far more uses than I am going to think of. But if you want a great wide angle lens for an attractive price, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM Lens is a very good choice. READ FULL REVIEW

It isn’t lighter than the 16-35/2.8L. It isn’t better quality than the 16-35/2.8L. It isn’t dramatically wide on the small sensor cameras. However, if you want a high quality wide-angle zoom with a medium weight and a medium aperture, the 17-40/4L is an excellent value. READ FULL REVIEW

Pop Photo

Canon, unlike other manufacturers, has limited its ultrawide zooms to just two pricey constant-aperture models, the f/2.8 ($1,300 street) and this one; an affordable variable-aperture lens would be a welcome addition. Despite its cost, this lens is well-made, with close focusing to under 11 inches. Equally suited to film or digital systems, it would probably serve all but architectural photographers well (due to distortion at 17mm). READ FULL REVIEW

Luminous Landscape

The 17-40mm displays higher resolving power. extent to which the 17-40mm lens is “sharper” can also be easily seen. At f/4 the 17-40mm is sharper, has less flare and higher contrast. The new 17-40mm f/4L is a welcome surprise though. At nearly half the price of the faster and slightly wider 16-35mm f/2.8L it provides excellent image quality, surpassing that of the more expensive lens in several areas. READ FULL REVIEW

Ken Rockwell

I love my Canon 17-40mm f/4 L. It has top notch optics, light weight, durable construction, great ergonomics and costs and weighs half of what the 16-35mm L does. READ FULL REVIEW

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for all these great reviews, I have this lens on my 50D, I love it. Very sharp! Now I am consider buying a 20-70mm F4L IS, what’s your recommendation?

  2. I love this lens. I used it as my walk around lens when I was in Thailand in August 2010. I was able to get some great pictures of the temples we visited. It is a great lens.

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