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Canon 16-35 vs 17-40 For 5D mk 2


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#1 MDB

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 09:53 AM

Trying to decide between the 16-35 and the 17-40. Are there significant advantages to the 16-35 that justify the additional $800?

Thanks,
Mike

#2 bmyates

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 10:36 AM

Trying to decide between the 16-35 and the 17-40. Are there significant advantages to the 16-35 that justify the additional $800?

Thanks,
Mike


For underwater use, the 17-40 is generally considered just as good, so save the money - get that one. I've had and used both uw, BTW. I now have a 16-35 II, but if I was starting with neither, I'd probably get the 17-40 unless money was no object.

Edited by bmyates, 20 October 2010 - 12:02 PM.

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#3 MaLe

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 10:49 AM

Hello Mike
personally I come to the point that It might be better co consider the 17-40 even so I never owned it. For the 16-35 you will really need a Dome which is big but you also you should be really sure that someone made the combination working. You will not find any decent and affordable Diopter for 82mm thread (if it is required).

The topside test of the 16-35 vs 17-40 show that there is no real gap between the lenses. Several persons are using the 17-40 + 5Dmk2 with very good results example Tony Wu a lot of his whale shots are with the 17-40 and a ProOne dome (ok this is also a bit a special one).

I guess it really depends more on the glass you have available in front of the lens then on the F2.8 compared to the F4.

Regards,
Matthias

Edited by MaLe, 20 October 2010 - 11:32 AM.

Best regards,
Matthias
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#4 Drew

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 12:42 PM

2 things why I consider the 16-35 II (I assume you are talking about the Mk II and not Mk I) to be better than the 17-40:

1. Better resolution throughout the frame from center to corner: The 16-35 II is generally sharper at all focal lengths than the 17-40, but especially at 16 vs 17mm in the corners until about f11. This is especially true when you use a 21mp camera, where the 17-40 shows lower resolution in the corners @17. The 16-35 does suffer slightly less sharp corners as you zoom towards 35mm, and the opposite is true for the 17-40. This is especially true topside. With underwater, it is almost equalized but I personally like the 16-35 more because...
2. The f2.8 aperture helps with AF speed and accuracy due to the center high precision AF pt functions best @ f2.8. I tested this quite thoroughly with both lenses. The 5D2 focuses slightly faster and a little more accurately with F2.8 lenses underwater with center AF.

I've tested the 17-40 and 16-35 on with 8"+ glass (Zen and Seacam) and acrylic (Aquatica) ports and the results are the same. Of course, if you are shooting whales and other subjects where soft corners aren't as important, then you just have to think about focus. In normal use, the AF will work fine with f4 lenses. Only when the light goes a bit darker, in deeper depths does the AF fail to acquire (like when I was shooting baitballs in South Africa) accurate subjects quickly without the f2.8 high precision center AF sensor.

As Matthias mentioned, you'll need a big port to use these lenses. You can use a diopter but using a diopter will narrow your FOV, somewhat significantly if you use higher power diopters.

If you don't require the best AF performance out of the 5D2, then the 17-40 will do underwater but not so well topside. Is that worth the extra money? :)

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#5 bmyates

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 01:18 PM

I think I wanna change my answer to what Drew said. :)

Bruce Yates
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"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damned fool about it." WC Fields


#6 JimG

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 12:06 AM

I support the positive comments about the 17/40 for UW use. I use this lens on my 5D mk2 plus Aquatica 8" dome and find it a great combo - sharp as a tack and instant focussing. Agreed there are soft corners at the very wide end but this can be minimised by not going below f8 and using a +2 dioptre supplementary. You can always "shoot to crop" in selected situations with the MP available on this camera.

There are some comments around about the variable quality of this lens with speculation that quality control in manufacture is not the best. I have two - one for normal UW use and one for critical UW portrait work which can involve some pretty big prints. I bought them both used off Ebay and I am delighted but both needed some fine adjusment in camera using the micro-adjustment feature.

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#7 Drew

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 12:39 AM

I think I wanna change my answer to what Drew said. :)

It's not a test, Bruce. Your answer is fine and very true. Mine is just more detailed (extraneously so) to give an idea of the differences. The law of diminishing returns applies to lenses as well when it comes to glass performance. 95% of the time I never care about faster lenses for AF because conditions allow them to work as well. Then once in awhile, the light drops and the 5D2 AF struggles with an F4 lens, whereas with a F1.4 or F2.8 lens it achieves focus. That's what spending the money is for in my mind. :) The ROI is obviously very subjective :)

I support the positive comments about the 17/40 for UW use. I use this lens on my 5D mk2 plus Aquatica 8" dome and find it a great combo - sharp as a tack and instant focussing. Agreed there are soft corners at the very wide end but this can be minimised by not going below f8 and using a +2 dioptre supplementary. You can always "shoot to crop" in selected situations with the MP available on this camera.

There are some comments around about the variable quality of this lens with speculation that quality control in manufacture is not the best. I have two - one for normal UW use and one for critical UW portrait work which can involve some pretty big prints. I bought them both used off Ebay and I am delighted but both needed some fine adjusment in camera using the micro-adjustment feature.

Interesting about the copy variances. I never really thought of that. I know Sigma had those issues. But I guess all camera manufacturers do.

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#8 MDB

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 01:31 PM

Thanks for the responses. It sounds like the 16-35 is worth it
Mike

#9 Cary Dean

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 01:37 AM

Hi Mike,

This is one I have personal experience with :)

I had the Subal DP-FE4 8" Dome w/ the Schneider diopter
and the 76mm Port Extension that was recommended and
the 16-35II. Had bad enough results that I quit using the
lens underwater and only shot my FE for W/A.

Almost a year later the Zen 230mm Dome has allowed me to
use my 16-35II with no diopter and I couldn't be happier with
the results.
(though I need to change my extension to a slightly smaller
one because of an occasional bit of vignetting at 16mm)

Sold the Subal port to a buddy that just bought the 7D
housing and it works a treat with his 10-17mm.

The 17-40 would have made things simpler but I already
owned the other lens...
"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."
Jacques Yves Cousteau

#10 MaLe

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 09:39 AM

Hello Dean,
I would love to se some example with the "Zen 230mm Dome". Would be nice if you could share one ore two image results.

Thanks a lot,
Matthias
Best regards,
Matthias
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#11 Cary Dean

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 07:28 PM

Hello Dean,
I would love to se some example with the "Zen 230mm Dome". Would be nice if you could share one ore two image results.

Thanks a lot,
Matthias


Hi Matthias,

Here's a couple shots....
The one thing I didn't mention though is that the Subal Dome was 4lbs
whereas the Zen Dome is 6lbs.

Attached Images

  • 20100829_Fiji_0020.jpg
  • 20100829_Fiji_0124.jpg

"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."
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#12 MaLe

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 06:28 AM

Hello Dean,
thanks a lot for sharing some examples looking in to the corners it really look like the 6lbs of the Zen Dome pay off :) .

Best regards,
Matthias
Best regards,
Matthias
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my images at Flickr
NEXUS 5D, 15mm fisheye, 100mm macro + diopter, 2xINON z240

#13 Drew

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 10:57 AM

Well looks like copy variances are pretty different for both 16-35II and 17-40. Someone sent me this:

Digilloyd lens comparison

which shows the 16-35II to be actually less sharp than the 17-40 at pretty much every f stop past f4 in the corners. There's not a lot of difference but noticeable. The test shots show more vignetting in the 17-40, but the resolution charts don't lie. It's the opposite of what I found, so I did a little search and found this:
Photozone 16-35 II IMATEST Results
Photozone 17-40 IMATEST
That supports my assertions about the 16-35 being sharper than the 17-40. Basically, I'd test a few copies of each and see which one performs the best. My other observation about AF still stands though, the f2.8 lens will let you use the X type AF sensor. I'm a little surprised by the variation in QC with the L lenses. I suppose every manufacturer has to deal with this.

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#14 Cary Dean

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 04:38 PM

Well looks like copy variances are pretty different for both 16-35II and 17-40. Someone sent me this:

Digilloyd lens comparison

which shows the 16-35II to be actually less sharp than the 17-40 at pretty much every f stop past f4 in the corners. There's not a lot of difference but noticeable. The test shots show more vignetting in the 17-40, but the resolution charts don't lie. It's the opposite of what I found, so I did a little search and found this:
Photozone 16-35 II IMATEST Results
Photozone 17-40 IMATEST
That supports my assertions about the 16-35 being sharper than the 17-40. Basically, I'd test a few copies of each and see which one performs the best. My other observation about AF still stands though, the f2.8 lens will let you use the X type AF sensor. I'm a little surprised by the variation in QC with the L lenses. I suppose every manufacturer has to deal with this.

Good point Drew!
I've been fortunate to mostly get good lenses out of the box.
Camera bodies are a different story. (5d's were perfect out of the box though)
Took the MKIV back 2X. Images just weren't sharp. Thought it
was unreasonable that one should have to calibrate body to lenses.
(Didn't use to have to with film) So took the body back till I got one that
was sharp out of the box. Did a lot of online studying before making
the decision to return though. (micro-adjust etc)
"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."
Jacques Yves Cousteau

#15 namgul

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 06:31 AM

I had the Subal DP-FE4 8" Dome w/ the Schneider diopter
and the 76mm Port Extension that was recommended and
the 16-35II. Had bad enough results that I quit using the
lens underwater and only shot my FE for W/A.


I'm using Subal FE4 with 16-35 without diopter lens, and I'm happy with it.
In 16-19 range the picture is very sharp in the center, but a little bit soft at corners, same at top-side.
In 20-35 range corners are ok.

I'm also very happy with autofocus performance thanks to 2.8. Had a chance to compare it this year at Cocos island: my friend with the same camera 5D2, but 17-40 lens had a lot of trouble focusing at 35m on hammerheads with clouded weather at the top. For me it was very simple, no trouble at all.