Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens (full-frame tests)

Canon EF 17-40mm gallery


taken with Canon EOS 5D

The following images were taken with the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens using the Canon EOS 5D; note the 5D’s full frame sensor allows the lens to deliver exactly the same field of view as it would on a 35mm body. Each image was recorded using the 5D’s Evaluative Metering, Large Fine JPEG mode and Standard Picture Style. The individual file size, exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, ISO and lens details are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the Very High quality preset, while the resized full images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image. For more 17-40mm shots with the 5D, visit the Gallery of our Canon EOS 5D review.

Landscape: 6.40MB, Aperture Priority, 1/60, f16, ISO 200, 17-40mm at 17mm (equivalent to 17mm)

Landscape Chile - Canon EF 17-40mm at 17mm f16  

The 17-40mm can capture massive landscape views when fitted on a full-frame body and zoomed-out.

Unsurprisingly there’s some geometric distortion, but if you’re careful with the composition it can be effectively hidden.

The crops are detailed and relatively sharp, with only the slightest coloured fringing in high contrast areas.


City: 5.66MB, Program, 1/100, f7.1, ISO 200, 17-40mm at 17mm (equivalent to 17mm)

City Las Vegas - Canon EF 17-40mm at 17mm f7.1     17mm may sound extreme, but it’s perfectly suited for urban compositions. It’s allowed us to capture the base and full tower here while retaining a large depth-of-field.

The crops are impressively sharp and detailed and only soften slightly in the extreme corners.

Note this shot was taken with a polarising filter, hence the darkening in the upper right corner.


Indoor: 4.75MB, Program, 1/15, f4, ISO 800, 17-40mm at 17mm (equivalent to 17mm)

Indoor Peru - Canon EF 17-40mm at 17mm f4  

Ultra wide angles aren’t just for standing back and capturing as much as possible. They’re also invaluable at close range when there’s literally no room for manoeuvre.

Here it’s allowed us to capture the entire food stall, complete with menus and ingredients on the periphery.

Considering the 5D was set to 800 ISO to cope with the low light, noise levels are quite low, and the crops are also sharp at the edges, even with the aperture wide open at f4.


Wildlife: 5.71MB, Program, 1/200, f10, ISO 400, 17-40mm at 17mm (equivalent to 17mm)

Wildlife Peru - Canon EF 17-40mm at 17mm f10     Here’s another example where pressed up against a wall, we literally couldn’t step back any further. The llama nonchalantly strolled right past at a distance of less than half a meter, but by zooming out to 17mm, we easily captured the moment.

The crops show a little motion blur on the llama and some distortion in the extreme corners, but the background is very detailed.


Close subject: 6.36MB, Program, 1/125, f8, ISO 200, 17-40mm at 17mm (equivalent to 17mm)

Easter Island close subject - Canon EF 17-40mm at 17mm f8     The 17-40mm is great fun to use zoomed-out to its widest position and positioned up close to the subject. It allows you to capture views which look dramatic, while not obviously taken with an ultra-wide lens.

The crops are pretty sharp and detailed, and the darkening in the top right corner is due to a polarising filter.


Landscape: 4.49MB, Program, 1/125, f8, ISO 200, 17-40mm at 36mm (equivalent to 36mm)

Landscape Wanaka - Canon EF 17-40mm at 36mm f8  

The 17-40mm is so much fun zoomed-out that you often forget it covers a complete range of wide focal lengths.

Here we’ve zoomed-into 35mm, so are approaching its upper limit. The main shot looks fine, but there’s considerable softening in the corners. This is also apparent in our outdoor results pages compared to the 24-105mm lens.

We may have a poor copy, but from our test shots, the 17-40mm performs best in the corners at its widest focal lengths.

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