Friday, September 23, 2011

The Canon 17-40 f4 L USM

I have always been a fan of prime lenses. They have given me joy through my years in my studio taking still shots and portraits. In my opinion, they are a very good alternative to getting those really expensive premium zooms in like the thousand dollar range, as they beat any zoom if you compare them in their own ranges. Like lets say if you compare a fixed 35mm to a zooms 35mm range, the prime lens will always prevail in image quality. Sharpness is never a question with primes...though a good photographer knows that sharpness isn't everything in photography.

I've always loved my 70mm macro, 50mm, 35mm, and my newly acquired 17mm, which was a replacement for my 10-20mm for non full frame. I brought my 17mm to a trip in Indiana and it brought me astounding results. In the studio, my 70mm is the king. If I needed more room because my studio is pretty small, I switch to the 35mm. Swapping lenses in my studio is a breeze...this becomes annoying outdoors.

I have swapped 3 lenses 3 times in like 10 minutes when I was outdoors the last time. It could've been my fault because I brought the wrong lens the first time but I never did know that something different would come up other than what I planned. A lot of times when taking shots, you get caught in a moment where you needed a shot but you had the wrong lens on. A lot of situations would allow you to swap...but not all the time. It can only take about a second till you miss that shot that you have been waiting for for years.

So I went home and thought about an ultra wide zoom lens. I went online and looked for the best deals they have for them. I realized that if I sold 2 of my lenses, I can purchase a really good one that will cover at least 2 focal ranges of my primes. So I thought about it all night. The next day, I swallowed my prime lens' pride and purchased my very first ultra wide angle zoom for full frame...and so I am now a proud owner of a Canon 17-40 f4L USM lens!

My 17-40L. Got it used online so the hood isn't in perfect condition. Still works great though.

After waiting for 3 days it finally arrived. Complete with box, hood, covers, bag, and manual. Took it from the box and surprised that it was pretty light. So I grabbed a body and slapped it on.

The 17-40L attached to my 5d Mk2. The lens seemed wider in appearance with the hood on.

I tried really quick shots in our living room. The 17mm looked awesome. Focusing was fast due to the USM motor, and it seemed that it's a pretty nice lens to handle. Here are the things I love about it:

Focusing is quick and quiet due to the USM focus.
Full time manual focus is also supported. You can manually focus instantly after the lens locks on to a focus spot. No need to switch to manual focus.
The zoom ring is really smooth. It feels like it slides.
Light, really easy to handle. This can be attached to a body around my neck and it wouldn't bother me at all for hours.
It has slots in the rear of the lens for drop in filters. You can cut these from sheets of gel you get from your photo store.
77mm filter threads which is compatible to most pro lenses.
Build is pretty good. Not as good as the 70-200mm L, but that cuts down on the weight of it.

The f4 maximum aperture doesn't really bother me at all. This lens will be used mainly for landscape photography so f8 and above will be the ideal aperture that I will be using on this. The f2.8 maximum aperture for the 16-35 L is good to have but for double the price the f4 would do good for me.

I will post my first outdoor shots with it in the next post!

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