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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Canon wide angle zoom: f/4 vs f/2.8?
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03/19/2010 09:10:58 PM · #1
So I am thinking about buying one of Canons wide angle zooms, either the "Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM" or the "Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM".
How much of a benefit is the extra stop of light for landscape photography? I'm guessing there won't be a lot of difference DOF wise being that wide angle?

Currently I only have the "Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM" and I haven't tried anything faster.

Is it worth paying 2x the $$$ for the 2.8 and extra mm?
03/19/2010 09:27:22 PM · #2
For landscape there is very little benefit... you are going to be shooting stopped down most of the time anyhow. The 17-40 is a great value. If you later decide that you really do have use for f/2.8, you won't lose much at all trading up.
03/19/2010 10:50:33 PM · #3
for landscape photography the f/4 17-40 is just fine where as already pointed out, you won't be shooting wide open anyway and will stop down to a smaller aperture.

However, if you want to do shots indoors in low light where you can't use a flash, say at a wedding ceremony, the 2.8 is a great great advantage to have.
03/19/2010 11:03:07 PM · #4
The 16-35 can make a difference for wide field star/landscapes, but other than that the 17-40 is great for the $$$. It is somewhat softer at the edges, but not by a ton.
03/19/2010 11:06:08 PM · #5
17-40 also has noticeably more barrel distortion (arched horizon) at the wide end. If I had been able to afford it, I'd happily have gotten the 16-35; plus, as Doc says, it's a little sharper at the edges as well.

Regarding the DOF issue, if you're TRYING to do images with a near object (very near) being sharp and the rest fading off, 2.8 will be a real help there, but you can accomplish sort of the same thing by front focusing a bit with the 4.0 lens...

R.
03/20/2010 12:51:55 AM · #6
Thanks guys,
I will probably end up with the 17-40 :)
03/20/2010 12:56:52 AM · #7
I went through the same decision around Christmas time. Which to choose, the 16-35 2.8 or the 17-40 4? In the end the $$$ was the deciding factor for me. I couldn't justify paying double the price for 1 extra mm and an extra stop, especially since my main objective was to use it outdoors. Plus I got a good deal on the 17-40 :) Great lens!
03/20/2010 01:56:31 AM · #8
I don't have either lens, however, for my full frame wide angle lens, I use the Sigma 12-24. While 4 or 5 mm doesn't seem like much, the difference in angle of view is impressive.
03/20/2010 03:00:32 AM · #9
Having bought and used both lenses I'm gonna come down on the side of the 16-35, not because of the extra f/stop or extra width but because of the noticeably superior image quality that it produces.

The 16-35 is my best glass and I will chose it over all other lenses whenever possible. It is a terrific landscape lens, especially for compositions with great foreground and background balance where you need superwide clarity. There is no substitute for quality.

This picture was taken with the 16-35...

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Anyone who has ever photographed Horseshoe Bend knows you have to have a superwide to include the whole river in one frame. In this image the closest rock in the frame is less than 1 foot away from the lens yet there is great sharpness across the entire frame all the way out to infinity.

The superwide makes this look as if this picture is taken at an angle but I can assure you that the near riverbank is literally 1,000 feet strait down below me and I'd have barely brushed the rock wall while plummeting to my death if I'd fallen.

To take this I had to lay flat on my stomach on the cliff edge while clutching the camera and lean over looking strait down. You have to experience it before you can fully appreciate how intimidating that is. The whole time all I could think about was several thousand dollars worth of camera and lens tumbling down through the open air below me. It was all brand new then. :)

Message edited by author 2010-03-20 03:23:55.
03/20/2010 07:56:47 AM · #10
just got the 24-70 2.8 and I love the thing. I cant stop shooting with it.
03/20/2010 10:31:51 AM · #11
The other thing to is that the 16-35 also takes a 82mm filter size. So if you have other 77mm L lenses, you'll need to grab new filters. The 17-40mm is 77mm.
03/20/2010 11:19:07 AM · #12
Originally posted by wolf:

The other thing to is that the 16-35 also takes a 82mm filter size. So if you have other 77mm L lenses, you'll need to grab new filters. The 17-40mm is 77mm.

True, but if you bought the 16-35mm and all your filters at 82mm first then you could simply buy adaptor rings to use the filters on the narrower lenses.

I made all my ND and polarizer purchases at 77mm BEFORE I bought the 16-35. With adaptor rings I can use all those filters on my 300mm tele, 70-200mm zoom, 24-105 zoom and 100mm Macro.

The exception is that I always buy a UV filter for each lens to protect the main optic at all times. Everyone does that.

I bought a special thin polarizer for the 16-35 that is its constant companion. ;) I have no ND filters for the 16-35.
03/20/2010 11:49:20 AM · #13
Originally posted by Artifacts:

To take this I had to lay flat on my stomach on the cliff edge while clutching the camera and lean over looking strait down.


Man, I had to crawl up to the edge myself. I just couldn't do it on foot. There are moments when I have no problems with heights and moments where I do. This was definitely one of the latter.
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