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Author Topic: EF 17-40 F4L vs EF-S 17-85 F4-5.6 IS USM  (Read 8231 times)
jdyke
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« on: June 10, 2005, 07:18:10 AM »
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You are going to see better results with the 17-40. Period.
The 17-85 is a good lens but the glass is not of the quality of the 'L' Glass.  On an A4 print you would probably have to look quite hard to see a major difference (although the Cromatic Aberation on the 17-85 can be problamatic).  On an A3 print you will see better edge to edge sharpness across the whole zoom range on the 17-40.  The 17-85 will have some softness near the edges of the print and maybe a little more distortion at either end.  There are masses of reviews on both lenses (check out Fred Miranda's site for some user reviews).  The 17-85 seems to have a Quallity Control problem from what I read with some people getting good examples and other lousy ones.   The quaility of the 17-40 although not guaranteed is generaaly going to be better.

As Ray says above there is no definitive answer but genrally 'L' glass is going to give you the best results.
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boku
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2005, 06:33:21 AM »
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thank you guys for your input. I've learned one thing from your replies: an EF-S 17-85 can be different from another one in terms of optical quality, so can an EF 17-40 though less likely. So whatever I buy I must make sure I get a good copy.

I still have not decided. My lens combo can be either:

1. 17-40mm F4L, 50mm F2.5 Macro and 80-200mm F2.8L, or
2. 17-85mm IS, 50mm F2.5 Macro and 80-200mm F2.8L

Both look alright to me but I might go for the latter as 17-85mm alone is a good walk-around lens and my wife might like it more. But I will only add a lens after i sell my 28-105mm.

My interest is mainly on night photography but will do some macro n portaits as well. Any comments?

Frank
I'd be much more inclined to go for a 100mm macro for the improved working distance.

Also, the tele-zoom starts at 70mm, not 80. In the past, I have found the gap between the 17-40 and the 70-200 to be a non-issue.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2005, 02:32:52 PM »
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I agree with Boku. I have the 17-40/4L and 70-200/4L zooms, which I use on my 10D (same size sensor as the 20D) but I wanted a good macro. After reading all the comments on the LL forum, I went with the 100, and I'm glad I did. It's a terrific lens that lets you stay a reasonable distance from the subject.

Eric
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franxon
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2005, 11:29:43 AM »
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boku, how does the 100mm macro USM version compare to the micro motor version?
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franxon
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2005, 12:17:56 AM »
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Well, I bet this topic is one of the most FAQs about lenses, but unfortunately I failed to find replies that exactly answer my question. So I put it up here hoping it would help others too. OK, the question is,

how is the performance (resolution, CA, distortion etc) of the EF-S 17-85 F4-5.6 IS USM comparing to the EF 17-40 F4L *on A3 or A4 prints* at 17-40mm range before and after PS?

If anyone has test prints I'd appreciate your reply; if anyone has test shots, I'd like to have the permission to get some 100% crops of them (corners, centre) for prints.

Thank you very much.

Frank
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Ray
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2005, 11:22:31 PM »
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You will find that subtle differences between any two lenses that might be discernible at 100% or 200% enlargement on screen can be irrelevant on prints of a given size.

However, it's impossible to answer your question definitively because two EF 17-40 lenses from different manufacturing batches could show as much quality variation, visible on screen and print, as any randomly chosen EF 17-40 and EF-S 17-85 compared under the same conditions.

Because of quality control variation, apparently objective assessment meticulously carried out, cannot necessarily be applied across the board. From what I've read, there's quite a lot of QC variation in both of these lenses.

My policy is, always carry out your own tests before buying a lens, if possible. Compare it with another lens you own that you know is good, at the same focal length.
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BobbyT
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2005, 03:03:20 PM »
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It is my belief that in sharpness, color and contrast there is virtually no difference between these two lenses.  The 17-85 has more chromatic aberation and barrel distortion than the 17-40.  I personally chose the 17-85 because I like it's zoom range better for a walkabout lens.  I tolerate the lens distortion and correct for it in photoshop.
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franxon
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2005, 04:14:26 AM »
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thank you guys for your input. I've learned one thing from your replies: an EF-S 17-85 can be different from another one in terms of optical quality, so can an EF 17-40 though less likely. So whatever I buy I must make sure I get a good copy.

I still have not decided. My lens combo can be either:

1. 17-40mm F4L, 50mm F2.5 Macro and 80-200mm F2.8L, or
2. 17-85mm IS, 50mm F2.5 Macro and 80-200mm F2.8L

Both look alright to me but I might go for the latter as 17-85mm alone is a good walk-around lens and my wife might like it more. But I will only add a lens after i sell my 28-105mm.

My interest is mainly on night photography but will do some macro n portaits as well. Any comments?

Frank
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2005, 09:30:36 AM »
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You can't go wrong with any of the choices you outline.

To complement my 17-85 I have the 70-300 DO, which is of course not as good a lens as the 70-200 f2.8 IS L - but it is a very good walk-around zoom and somewhat cheaper and very much lighter and smaller.

Those 2 lenses make a very nice zoom combo that covers 17-300mm, they're not L quality, but they are quite close, and combined with the 20D and the Epson R800 give me excellent prints. I doubt that with the 20D and that printer there would be a noticable difference compared to the L glass under most conditions. With larger prints it may well be a different matter.

P.S.
I also have the EF 28mm f1.8 USM, which *1.6 = 45mm and is my snapshot lens of choice; I find I use it at least as much as the 17-85.
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boku
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2005, 12:32:18 PM »
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I'd be much more inclined to go for a 100mm macro for the improved working distance.

Also, the tele-zoom starts at 70mm, not 80. In the past, I have found the gap between the 17-40 and the 70-200 to be a non-issue.
thank you boku for your reply. since I'm using a 20D, do you think a 100 macro is a bit too long for macro work in this case? however, i'll borrow a 100 macro and give it a try. i know it's a good lens.

i'm on budget, so I must cover the wide angle first. i'm still thinking which one to go for....
This 100 is perfect for the 20D (my camera as well). It is the equivalent of 160mm full-frame. That's starting to get into the range of a highly desirable macro tool.
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boku
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2005, 12:56:00 PM »
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thank you boku, your replies are very helpful. they helped me make my decision: 17-85 IS.

I have both 50mm F1.8 and F2.5 macro. according to photodo.com reports, F2.5 macro has better optics, but my own tests show that F2.5 macro is softer than F1.8 through out the apertures from f2.5 to f13. centre or corners, at 100% enlargement. do you think my F2.5 macro has a below-average optics? my tests were performed with camera mounted on tripod, mirror lock-up, RAW and ISO 100 (no cable release though).
Sorry, my 50mm is the 1.4 USM. Don't know about these others. I never use the 50, by the way. But, it looks cool in the camera bag.
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2005, 10:46:57 AM »
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I was surprised by the performance of the 70-300 DO vs. everything I'd read about it (there are some pretty mixed reviews out there). My particular example is pretty sharp but not quite as contrasty as the 24-70/17-40L lenses. It definitely makes for a far more portable solution than the 70-200 2.8L or 4L lenses and if you add a bit of contrast enhancement (USM 50/30/0) then it seems every bit as good as the others.

With the 20D I did find the gap between the 17-40L and 70-300 to be a problem. I initially went with the slow zoom 50/2.5 macro but in the end pony'd up for the 24-70 2.8L after finding that for my type of shots I needed a zoom across the 40-70 range. YMMV. With a 17-85 this would be a non issue.
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franxon
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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2005, 10:15:11 PM »
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This 100 is perfect for the 20D (my camera as well). It is the equivalent of 160mm full-frame. That's starting to get into the range of a highly desirable macro tool.
I'll give the 100mm macro a try definitely.

two more questions boku, since you have both 17-40 F4L and 17-85 IS, when both mounted on tripod or both handheld, do A4 prints from 17-85 IS look unacceptable comparing to 17-40 F4L?

my second question is, how often do you use 17-25mm n 25-40 mm focal range of your 17-40 F4L? is the 40mm end less frequently used?
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franxon
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2005, 10:34:23 AM »
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thank you boku, your replies are very helpful. they helped me make my decision: 17-85 IS.

I have both 50mm F1.8 and F2.5 macro. according to photodo.com reports, F2.5 macro has better optics, but my own tests show that F2.5 macro is softer than F1.8 through out the apertures from f2.5 to f13. centre or corners, at 100% enlargement. do you think my F2.5 macro has a below-average optics? my tests were performed with camera mounted on tripod, mirror lock-up, RAW and ISO 100 (no cable release though).
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franxon
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2005, 10:13:20 PM »
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Both lenses have been extensively discussed by the pros and semi-pros when asked which one to buy in this forum. But how come no one bothers to say a word when it comes to the look of the prints? Or am I being rude here?
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boku
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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2005, 03:42:13 PM »
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It is my belief that in sharpness, color and contrast there is virtually no difference between these two lenses. The 17-85 has more chromatic aberation and barrel distortion than the 17-40. I personally chose the 17-85 because I like it's zoom range better for a walkabout lens. I tolerate the lens distortion and correct for it in photoshop.
I agree 100% with your assessement. All lenses are subject to sample variation, so if you are a stickler, try before you buy as already suggested.

I own both lenses and use both lenses.

17-85 IS for travel and walkaround (and photoshop-away the CA and distortion)
17-40 L for controlled tripod situations where I desire top quality from the get go and can carry other lenses to cover the upper range that is missing.
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Bob Kulon

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franxon
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2005, 10:52:23 AM »
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I'd be much more inclined to go for a 100mm macro for the improved working distance.

Also, the tele-zoom starts at 70mm, not 80. In the past, I have found the gap between the 17-40 and the 70-200 to be a non-issue.
thank you boku for your reply. since I'm using a 20D, do you think a 100 macro is a bit too long for macro work in this case? however, i'll borrow a 100 macro and give it a try. i know it's a good lens.

i'm on budget, so I must cover the wide angle first. i'm still thinking which one to go for....
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boku
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« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2005, 07:28:41 AM »
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Franxson
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This 100 is perfect for the 20D (my camera as well). It is the equivalent of 160mm full-frame. That's starting to get into the range of a highly desirable macro tool.
I'll give the 100mm macro a try definitely.

two more questions boku, since you have both 17-40 F4L and 17-85 IS, when both mounted on tripod or both handheld, do A4 prints from 17-85 IS look unacceptable comparing to 17-40 F4L?

my second question is, how often do you use 17-25mm n 25-40 mm focal range of your 17-40 F4L? is the 40mm end less frequently used?
Franxson,

At A4 print size, I would say that either lens will produce entirely acceptable results to me. Bear in mind that I take great care in my workflow and can compensate for lens deficiencies (and both lenses occasionally need a bit of PS help). In general, the 17-40 needs less help less often, but I never had an image from the 17-85 that couldn't be adjusted easily.

As far as your second qustion goes, I would say that I use the entire range of the 17-40 equally. No favoring wide or narrow end. When I use the 17-85, I tend to use the 17-40 range and the 70-85 ranges the most (the extremes). I guess the 40-70 mid lenghts just don't hold much perspective interest for me. If I did much journalistic or portrait work, then my profile would favor the 40-70 lenghts, but I do mostly intimate landscape studies.
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Bob Kulon

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boku
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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2005, 12:57:09 PM »
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boku, how does the 100mm macro USM version compare to the micro motor version?
HuhHuhHuh??

Mine is the USM. That is current production.

I generally turn off Autofocus, so motors don't do much for me.
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Bob Kulon

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Play it Straight and Play it True, my Brother.
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