Every lens manufacturer has a few secret weapons in it’s arsenal. Those hidden little gems who’s performance, quality and value far exceed their price. For landscape photographers shooting with Canon DSLRs one of these is the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM.
The build quality of this lens is nothing less than superb and the fact that it’s Canon’s smallest and lightest ultra-wide angle zoom makes this an ideal landscape lens in the field. The ring-type USM (ultra-sonic motor) focuses very fast and silently. Both the focus ring and zoom ring are firm to the touch and spaced apart enough not to interfere with one another in use. The zoom function is completely internal (the barrel does not extend) and the focus is the same. Again, both of these features are ideal for landscape photography. The image quality from this lens is nothing less than superb and the optical design uses of three aspherical lens elements and one of Canon’s “Super UD” (ultra-low dispersion) glass elements.
However, the best feature of this incredible, little landscape lens is the price. At $750 (USD) it’s half the price of it’s much more expensive big brother the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM II, priced at $1520 (USD). Yes, the EF 16-35mm is one full stop faster, but when was the last time you used an ultra-wide angle zoom wide open? I generally shoot landscape shots with my 5D Mark II at f/16 or smaller to achieve the greatest depth of field possible.
Like I said, the EF 17-40mm f/4L IS USM is a perfect landscape lens.
Photo & charts courtesy and copyright © Canon
Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 17 – 40mm; 1:4
Lens Construction: 12 elements in 9 groups
Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM
Closest Focusing Distance: ~ 1 foot
Zoom System: Internal Rotation
Filter Size: 77mm
Largest Diameter x Length and Weight: 3.3″ x 3.8″, 1.1 lbs