Difference between an L lens and EF-S lens

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Joel
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#1
Hi all,

I'm interested in upgrading my EFS-10-18 landscape lens and wondered what improvement I would see by going to an L lens such as the Canon 17-40 f/4 L USM ?

I understand the focal distance change with an APS-C DSLR but I am more interested in what difference there is in IQ etc. How would it improve my images?
 
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#2
With the example you gave, not much. The 10-18 is a remarkable lens for the money.

It's also worth noting that 17-40 will actually give you an angle of view equivalent to 27.2mm at the wide end.

Ef lenses are designed to work with full frame sensors whereas efs will generally only work on aps-c sensor cameras.

Don't get me wrong, the 17-40 is a pretty good lens but as to any benefits over the 10-18 is a tough call.
 
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#3
Hi all,

I'm interested in upgrading my EFS-10-18 landscape lens and wondered what improvement I would see by going to an L lens such as the Canon 17-40 f/4 L USM ?

I understand the focal distance change with an APS-C DSLR but I am more interested in what difference there is in IQ etc. How would it improve my images?
Equivalence doesn't matter if you plan to use it on the same APSC camera, you know it's never going to be as wide. Maybe you need the extra reach? For landscape you're mostly going to be stopped down so I doubt there will be much in it IQ-wise. More width, or extra reach, only you can answer
 
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#4
The 17-40mm is imo a mediocre to poor lens when compared to something like the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 or Canons own 17-55mm f2.8.

I'd recommend the Sigma 12-24mm as it's an excellent lens and useable on both APS-C and FF.
 
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#6
The 17-40mm is imo a mediocre to poor lens when compared to something like the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 or Canons own 17-55mm f2.8.
I'll not dispute that but, it was my first foray into the expensive world of L series optics.
At certain focal lengths and apertures my copy did produce some good images and much better than my efs 18-55.
 
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#7
I'll not dispute that but, it was my first foray into the expensive world of L series optics.
At certain focal lengths and apertures my copy did produce some good images and much better than my efs 18-55.
I think people maybe get a bit blinded by the whole L lens kudos thing, not that you would of course :D but looked at more dispassionately the 17-40mm f4 was designed as a wide angle full frame lens and unless I've missed a significant update it's quite an old design and f4. That recipe has never really filled me with lust for it as an APS-C lens when there are good modern 17-50mm f2.8 lenses giving you a wider aperture and a bit more length and wider field of view lenses in the 10-22mm sort of range if that's what you're looking for.

I've only tried the 17-40mm f4 once and was completely underwhelmed and went for what I saw as the superior in every respect that mattered to me Tamron 17-50mm f2.8.

I'm sure that there are optically excellent L lenses but I'm just not convinced that the 17-40mm is one of them especially when mounted on an APS-C camera and compared to some of the other choices available. But of course the appeal of an L lens could in part be more about build quality and weather sealing and things like that rather than ultimate image quality when compared to the best in class in that focal range. Looked at as a nice well built lens the 17-40mm might make a lot of sense and very likely claw some kudos back against what may be seen as optically better but not as good in other ways 17-50mm f2.8's.
 
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#8
Hi all,

I'm interested in upgrading my EFS-10-18 landscape lens and wondered what improvement I would see by going to an L lens such as the Canon 17-40 f/4 L USM ?

I understand the focal distance change with an APS-C DSLR but I am more interested in what difference there is in IQ etc. How would it improve my images?
The Canon 17-40 is soft in the corners but pretty sharp in the centre so on a crop camera is a pretty good "standard" lens; if you put it on full frame it will show its optical weakness though.

The other main benefit of "L" lenses is build quality and weatherproofing, although for a proper seal you might have to put a 77mm filter on.

I had the 17-40 as my standard lens when I shot a 300D/350D/400D and on those cameras it was a good lens. Once I put it on a 5D though it was outperformed by Canon's 10-22 EF-S lens on a crop body.
 
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#10
Last year I was using my canon 77d with a sigma 17-50 f2.8. Pics were ok and I was happy. On a job and borrowed a 16-35 L f2.8 and the pics went from ok to wow. Colours and clarity were so much better.

When I got back I was looking to buy one, but also had in mind that I would like to upgrade to full frame to get better low light ability.

I opted for the 24-70 L f2.8ii and am so happy with this lens. I have also bought the canon eos r, so the 16-35 (or 17-40) would have been too wide for me.

From my understanding not all L lenses are equal. My plan is to get a 70-200 L f2.8 ii or iii and the 1.4x and 2x extenders. This should cover me for most of my needs.

It may pay to rent a lens to try out before committing, could save you ££££!

T
 
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#11
Last year I was using my canon 77d with a sigma 17-50 f2.8. Pics were ok and I was happy. On a job and borrowed a 16-35 L f2.8 and the pics went from ok to wow. Colours and clarity were so much better.

When I got back I was looking to buy one, but also had in mind that I would like to upgrade to full frame to get better low light ability.

I opted for the 24-70 L f2.8ii and am so happy with this lens. I have also bought the canon eos r, so the 16-35 (or 17-40) would have been too wide for me.

From my understanding not all L lenses are equal. My plan is to get a 70-200 L f2.8 ii or iii and the 1.4x and 2x extenders. This should cover me for most of my needs.

It may pay to rent a lens to try out before committing, could save you ££££!

T
Was that the 16-35 on the 77D?
 
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#13
Not mentioned above, so adding it here:

EF-S lenses are built to cover APSC sensors and thus if you ever "upgrade" to a larger sensor camera the lens will have the corners cut off (worst case) or vignette (it can't cover a larger sensor). That basically means you'll have to either sell it or put up with it. EF lenses (including the Ls) will work just fine on either.
 
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#14
Just to respond correctly to the OP.

Image quality difference between 10-18 and 17-40 will be minimal.

The 16-35 either 2.8 of 4.0 will be much better in all respects.
 
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#15
Not mentioned above, so adding it here:

EF-S lenses are built to cover APSC sensors and thus if you ever "upgrade" to a larger sensor camera the lens will have the corners cut off (worst case) or vignette (it can't cover a larger sensor). That basically means you'll have to either sell it or put up with it. EF lenses (including the Ls) will work just fine on either.
EF-S lenses don't fit on FF cameras.
 
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#17
So noticeably better clarity, colours and sharpness ?
Without a doubt in my mind.
Corner to corner sharpness will be better than the first lenses you mentioned.
Colour and contrast will be improved.

I owned the 16-35 f4 and it was an incredible thing although not cheap as a new item.
I bought the f4.0 in preference to the f2.8 version as the f4 has image stabilisation, is cheaper from new and has less vignette at the respective max aperture.
The only reason I no longer own it is, I'm useless at landscapes and architecture.
 
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#18
So noticeably better clarity, colours and sharpness ?
There is a website called pixelpeeper that has thousands of full size sample photos of various equipment.

Compare 17-40 L with other lenses and you probably will be completely unable to tell them apart at all unless zooming into corners but who looks a zooms of corners in photos ?
 
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#19
There is a website called pixelpeeper that has thousands of full size sample photos of various equipment.

Compare 17-40 L with other lenses and you probably will be completely unable to tell them apart at all unless zooming into corners but who looks a zooms of corners in photos ?
I was led to think corner sharpness was a big deal for landscaper types.
But as I said, I'm garbage at that sort of thing.
 
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#20
Was that the 16-35 on the 77D?
Yes, it was the 16-35 L f2.8 ii, on the 77d it performed like a 25.6-56mm lens because of the crop. Would have been to wide for me now I am mainly using full frame.

Superbly sharp and clear, like all of the f2.8 L lenses reasonably heavy as well!!

What are you mainly shooting?

T
 
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#21
Just read a review on amazon on the 16-35 which is interesting :

" If you already own a 17-40 and are deciding on whether to upgrade or not, or if you are looking to buy this or the 17-40 then the answer depends on what you shoot.

If you shoot landscape at f/11 or smaller then you do not need to upgrade as both lenses are near identical at that aperture. I know, I've had both and done a head to head with them.

If however you want to shoot things at f/4 then there really is no competition between them. The 17-40 is well known to be soft in the mids and corners wide open and doesn't really get sharp across the frame until f/11, which is great for landscapes but useless for anything else that you may want to be sharp across the frame. "

... which concurs with your posts above about the softness of the 17-40 when open. But I do landscape photography and my apertures are usually f11 or thereabouts.
Yes, it was the 16-35 L f2.8 ii, on the 77d it performed like a 25.6-56mm lens because of the crop. Would have been to wide for me now I am mainly using full frame.

Superbly sharp and clear, like all of the f2.8 L lenses reasonably heavy as well!!

What are you mainly shooting?

T
Landscapes.
 
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David
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#22
Just read a review on amazon on the 16-35 which is interesting :

" If you already own a 17-40 and are deciding on whether to upgrade or not, or if you are looking to buy this or the 17-40 then the answer depends on what you shoot.

If you shoot landscape at f/11 or smaller then you do not need to upgrade as both lenses are near identical at that aperture. I know, I've had both and done a head to head with them.

If however you want to shoot things at f/4 then there really is no competition between them. The 17-40 is well known to be soft in the mids and corners wide open and doesn't really get sharp across the frame until f/11, which is great for landscapes but useless for anything else that you may want to be sharp across the frame. "

... which concurs with your posts above about the softness of the 17-40 when open. But I do landscape photography and my apertures are usually f11 or thereabouts.


Landscapes.
Feel free to ignore my comment then - I rarely shoot anything at F11 or above
 
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#28
Just read a review on amazon on the 16-35 which is interesting :

" If you already own a 17-40 and are deciding on whether to upgrade or not, or if you are looking to buy this or the 17-40 then the answer depends on what you shoot.

If you shoot landscape at f/11 or smaller then you do not need to upgrade as both lenses are near identical at that aperture. I know, I've had both and done a head to head with them.

If however you want to shoot things at f/4 then there really is no competition between them. The 17-40 is well known to be soft in the mids and corners wide open and doesn't really get sharp across the frame until f/11, which is great for landscapes but useless for anything else that you may want to be sharp across the frame. "

... which concurs with your posts above about the softness of the 17-40 when open. But I do landscape photography and my apertures are usually f11 or thereabouts.


Landscapes.
I am usually at an event, indoors, no flash allowed and in questionable lighting situations!! Competition events under horrible lights or dim restaurants with fast moving subjects!!

Aperture is usually wide open for me, which can soften the pics. I think that is where some of the faster L lenses are more noticeably better than non L lenses.

At F11, I have no idea. I am not sure I have ever shot at f11!!!!

T
 
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#29
I am usually at an event, indoors, no flash allowed and in questionable lighting situations!! Competition events under horrible lights or dim restaurants with fast moving subjects!!

Aperture is usually wide open for me, which can soften the pics. I think that is where some of the faster L lenses are more noticeably better than non L lenses.

At F11, I have no idea. I am not sure I have ever shot at f11!!!!

T
Another Tony.
Hello namesake.
In case you hadn't guessed, my name isn't really Soupdragon.
 
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#30
Last year I was using my canon 77d with a sigma 17-50 f2.8. Pics were ok and I was happy. On a job and borrowed a 16-35 L f2.8 and the pics went from ok to wow. Colours and clarity were so much better.

From my understanding not all L lenses are equal. My plan is to get a 70-200 L f2.8 ii or iii and the 1.4x and 2x extenders. This should cover me for most of my needs.
Putting an extender on that lens would negate the advantage of having f2.8 - the 1.4x extender would make it the equivalent of f4 and the 2x extender the equivalent of f5.6.

But you could try Topaz Labs "AI Gigapixel" upscaling program which would could upscale any images taken with the 200mm to the equivalent of 400mm and still retain the advantages of the f2.8 aperture.

And possibly save a lot of cash.:)
 
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#32
Putting an extender on that lens would negate the advantage of having f2.8 - the 1.4x extender would make it the equivalent of f4 and the 2x extender the equivalent of f5.6.

But you could try Topaz Labs "AI Gigapixel" upscaling program which would could upscale any images taken with the 200mm to the equivalent of 400mm and still retain the advantages of the f2.8 aperture.

And possibly save a lot of cash.:)
Last year I was at an opening ceremony event in Budapest. They put us media people really far back, I only had a cheap 75-300 on the 77D (so 480mm) and was only just close enough. At 300mm (480mm) it was f5.6 and the pics were just about ok.

Was thinking, 70-200 with 2x converter would give me 400mm and f5.6 but with much better glass! Also on the R will have better iso and higher res so can crop a bit. If I put it on the 77d it would be 640mm.

I would use a 70-200 more than a 100-400 without a doubt. Hence my reasoning!! The next gig is in Russia this August, so need to be sorted by then!!

I dod use Ai Gigapixel but it takes time and the pics I take are needed quickly.

T
 
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#33
Last year I was at an opening ceremony event in Budapest. They put us media people really far back, I only had a cheap 75-300 on the 77D (so 480mm) and was only just close enough. At 300mm (480mm) it was f5.6 and the pics were just about ok.

Was thinking, 70-200 with 2x converter would give me 400mm and f5.6 but with much better glass! Also on the R will have better iso and higher res so can crop a bit. If I put it on the 77d it would be 640mm.

I would use a 70-200 more than a 100-400 without a doubt. Hence my reasoning!! The next gig is in Russia this August, so need to be sorted by then!!

I dod use Ai Gigapixel but it takes time and the pics I take are needed quickly.

T
Well in that case would a 100-400mm L suit you better or be too big and heavy?
 
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#34
Well in that case would a 100-400mm L suit you better or be too big and heavy?
A 70-200 I would use regularly, mainly because of the f2.8.

A 100-400 I would use once, maybe twice a year!

My thoughts are get the 70-200, and use the teleconverter to give me the extra reach when needed (400mm@f5.6 or 280mm@f4). It would be more adaptable for me with less weight (2 lenses rather than 3) as i would still need the 70-200 f2.8 for other parts of the job.

Ideally, a 70-500mm f2.8 would be great :D or even better, a 17-500 f1.8 but with the same weight as the kit 18-55! Not sure either of these would happen anytime soon!!!!

T
 
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