Canon 17-40 F4 L

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: Sep 9 2000

I am not a professional photographer, more of a happy snapper with a little technical knowledge and no artistic flair. Initially put off purchasing a digital SLR because of the cost of 'wide angle' lenses, but purchased a Canon 300D, with the standard lens, when they came out. I have never been totally happy with this lens which I find soft at F8, and very soft when wide-open. Maybe I have a poor example.

Though (old) EF longer focal length lenses are tucked in the bag, the need (want?) now is for a decent 'standard' lens, with an eye on the Canon EF 17-40mm F4 L USM. Feeling the need to justify, to myself at least, the high cost of this is there anyone who can comment on whether it lives up to its reputation? I seldom print above A4 and wonder whether this justifies the cost of the 17-40?


Joined: Jun 1 2002

Hi. It really does depend on what sort of subjects you are mainly going to use it for.

I am mainly a portrait photographer and have tried the lens as I only had a small area to set the sceen in, but, it was not suitable as it did distort at the edges and that is no good for portraits. (even if you can now overcome this in photoshop cs2)

But the lens did work fine when I was ask to do a Garden. Gardens can be a problem to get any decent views which cover a wide area.

So yes, I am sure it will be fine providing you are not mainly going to use it for portraits.

As for the quality of the lens well it is as expected, very good.

I was lucky as I have a friend who has the lens and so could try it out.

All the best, Ron.

Joined: Nov 21 2000

I think you will find that most lenses will distort at the edges unless the lense has been designed specifically for APS sized ccd's/cmos chips. This should not be a problem though, as there is software available to apply simply fixes to such pictures.

A lense that gets decent reviews is the Sigma 18-125, not a pro spec lense but a lense that supposedly delivers sharp results, is small and light and it is a lot cheaper than a "L" lense. I would think it would make a very good all rounder.

Cheers John

Stuart B-M
Joined: Apr 6 2001


Have found the 17-40L to be a very good lens, as comments above state, at widest 17 there is a little distortion, but no more than any other lens,

Have found mine to be sharp and very good for landscape work,

Kind Regards

Joined: Mar 27 1999

I use the 16-35 Canon lens which I find excellent. The field of view with a DSLR with a full size sensor is stunning for landscapes.


Joined: Sep 9 2000

Thanks for the views and ideas. Found the fredmiranda site most interesting but still cannot make up my mind! I'm not sure that the camera gets enough use to justify buying the lens.


Gavin Gration
Joined: Jul 29 1999

I don't know if you've tried but think about shooting RAW and sharpen (as required) in Photoshop CS if you have it.

There's a Photoshop plug-in called Canon Daily Actions. It has some very good correction tools. Trouble is I can't find the current link.

It used to be at

If you can find it I highly recommend it. PM me if you can't find it.

Joined: Sep 9 2000

Thanks for the suggestion Gavin, I found something here:
which refers back to your link but seems directed at Elements rather than CS (both of which I have.)

Shooting RAW is not really an option for me as I tend to run out of storage and, on long trips, am away from 'civilisation' and 'facilties' for long periods. I don't take a laptop, for practical reasons, and have to rely on the CF storage I have with me, until I get to a place where I can burn some CDs.

Fortunately, although I photograph many buildings they tend not to have straight lines.