Canon EF 17-40 or EF-S 17-55?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by yeti, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. yeti

    yeti TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I own a Canon 40D and am looking for good lens to use as a walkaround lens. I have no plans to upgrade to full-frame anytime soon, and if I ever do, I will still need a walkaround lens for THIS camera. Maybe I am doing it wrong, but I am just buying a lens for the camera I have right now.

    Money is, naturally, a problem, but I don't want to sacrifice quality too much. This is a walkaround lens, one that will probably take some 50% of my pictures, so I am looking for a good-quality lens that would handle low-light shooting without flash or tripod every once in a while.

    So here are the finalists:

    Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8L IS
    Costs ridiculously lots of money, build quality is ... well, plastic and has every feature imaginable. It's not every day you see something like this. I have concerns about build quality. I had concerns about image quality as well, but so far reviews tend to agree that it is on-par with L-class.

    Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
    Very reasonable price, L-class build, L-class quality, but on my body I will be changing lenses every time I need something slightly on the long side. Clearly this lens was never meant to be used as a walkaround lens on a half-frame camera. Also it's a full stop slower than the 17-55. I have concerns how it performs in low-light.

    I have read all sorts of reviews, I have gone through all sorts of pretty Excel graphs measuring everything imaginable. Both lenses appear to be pretty good.

    I would like to account for the "human factor". How many of you have used either of the two lenses and what are your impressions from them? Advice and opinions are welcome.

    Thanks!
     
  2. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Mostly you have answered it yourself. The difference between 40mm - 55mm is not hugely significant though.

    That said I'd jhave the 17-55IS in a heartbeat. the only reason to buy the 17-40L is if you plan on upgrading to (or already own) a non EFS camera.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree...I'd go with the 17-55 F2.8 IS. I know many wedding photographers who swear by this lens. It's one stop faster but with IS, you can get another two or three stops worth of hand-holdability.
     
  4. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    I got the 17-55 just before Christmas and it's a world away from the standard kit lens in build and performance - well worth having in my view.
     
  5. yeti

    yeti TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to everyone!

    Chris, if I am correct you have been using your lens for almost three months now. Can you please peek behind the front element of your lens and let me know if you find it accumulating dust there? Also how do you find your lens in terms of build quality?

    Thanks again! I truly appreciate it.
     
  6. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

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    I'd definitely say the 17-55 is worth it. It's the lens I'll replace my 17-50 Tamron with. I sometimes find my 17-50 too short, but manageable, I couldn't deal with going to a 17-40. My step dad's friend has the 17-40 on his 5D however and it works great for that application.
     
  7. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    Well I've just had a look, but can't see anything behind the front element. To be fair, it hasn't had an awful lot of use just yet and it had a UV filter put on it the day it came out of the box (no idea whether that makes a difference). To me, the build quality feels just fine, majorly so when compared with the kit lens. I've never held an 'L' series so can't do you a comparison with that. It feels very solid to me, though like any lens/camera combo, I would want to make a habit of knocking them against a solid object. To be honest, I doubt you'd be disappointed.
     
  8. Atropine

    Atropine TPF Noob!

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    I have been using the 17-55 as an allround lens for eight months and I am fairly pleased with it. The build quality is not at all in par with the L lenses though. The feeling is plastic and there is a small play between the outer and inner part. There is also a big difference in resistance when zooming in/out when you point the camera upwards or downwards. But the performance is good and I still think it is worth its quite large price tag.
     

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