Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens, (tested with cropped-frame APS-C body)

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM resolution using Canon EOS 400D / XTi


Canon 17-40mm results continued…

Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting

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To measure and compare the resolving power of each lens using the Canon EOS 400D, we photographed the Enhanced Digital Camera Resolution Chart with each lens set to a focal length of 35mm and an aperture of f8. The 400D was set to Aperture Priority, Large Fine JPEG mode and its Standard Picture Style. All four lenses were tested within moments of each other under identical lighting conditions.

The crops are taken from the original images, saved as High Quality JPEGs in Photoshop CS2 and presented here at 100%. Each number represents 100 lines per picture height (lpph), so a figure of 20 means a resolution of 2000 lpph.

The best result in this particular test came from the EF 17-40 and EF-S 17-85 lenses which both resolved 2150 lpph horizontally and vertically. This is an impressive result for the 17-85mm, as the 17-40mm is a premium ‘L’ model and also designed for full-frame use.

The budget EF-S 18-55mm kit lens unsurprisingly resolves the least detail of the four, with 2000 and 2100 lpph of horizontal and vertical resolution respectively. Interestingly the next step-up in resolving power comes from the priciest of the group: the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 lens, which resolved 2050 and 2100 lpph horizontally and vertically respectively.

It’s also interesting to note the lenses with the highest resolving power also exhibited higher contrast and sharpness in this test; the 17-55mm and especially the 18-55mm exhibited noticeably lower sharpness and contrast here, and we should reconfirm all four lenses were tested during the same session, with identical lighting conditions and camera settings.

To compare how the same lenses performed on an EOS 350D / Rebel XT, see the resolution results page of our Canon 17-55mm review.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF 17-40mm horizontal resolution
Canon EF-S 17-85mm horizontal resolution
2150 lpph, 17-40mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
2150 lpph, 17-85mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
 
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Canon EF-S 18-55mm horizontal resolution
Canon EF-S 17-55mm horizontal resolution
2000 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
2050 lpph, 17-55mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF 17-40mm vertical resolution
Canon EF-S 17-85mm vertical resolution
2150 lpph, 17-40mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
2150 lpph, 17-85mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
 
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Canon EF-S 18-55mm vertical resolution
Canon EF-S 17-55mm vertical resolution
2100 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
2100 lpph, 17-55mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
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