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Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L vs Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens Comparison

When Canon announced the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens I thought it would replace the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens in their lineup. Well it has been quite some time and the 17-40mm is still strong in the lineup. So how do the two lenses compare? Read on to see my Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L vs Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L comparison.

Spoiler alert: The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is simply amazing and comes highly recommended.

Primary Differences

In the side by side image you can see the size difference in the two lenses. The 17-40mm lens is 0.63 inches shorter and weighs about 0.3 lbs less than the 16-35mm lens. The 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens has 16 elements in 12 groups while the 17-40mm lens only has 12 elements in 9 groups.

The 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is FULLY weather sealed while the 17-40mm requires a front filter to help complete the sealing. Both lenses shift the front element within the lens body when zooming but the lens itself stays the same overall length.

Both lenses feature a circular aperture blade design for smoother out of focus areas. The 16-35mm has 9 aperture blades while the 17-40mm only has 7. This will affect the out of focus highlights with the 16-35mm appearing smoother and more circular. Both lenses have the same close focusing distance but the 17-40mm achieves a slightly higher 0.24x (vs 0.23x) magnification – thanks to the slightly longer 40mm focal length.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L vs Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L User Review Comparison

The overall user reviews for the two lenses are pretty close. The 16-35mm has an overall rating of 4.87 out of 5 stars. The 17-40mm lens rates 4.65 out of 5 stars. However, the 16-35mm lens has a staggering 91% of reviewers giving it 5 stars! The 17-40mm lens, for comparison, has 73% of reviewers giving it 5 stars. When you combine the 4 and 5 star totals, the 2 lenses are closer with the 16-35mm lens getting nearly 98% and the 17-40mm lens getting about 95%.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Pricing*

  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM - $1099.00

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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Pricing*

  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM - $799.99

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*Pricing from Manufacturer's website - Current selling price may be different. Be sure to visit the links below for current pricing.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Advantages

  • Sharper Image Quality
  • Image Stabilization
  • Lens hood provides more coverage
  • Slightly wider
  • Fully weather sealed

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Advantages

  • Smaller
  • lighter
  • Less Expensive
  • More telephoto range

Conclusion

Both lenses are excellent but the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is one of the best ultra wide zoom lenses ever made. It offers excellent sharpness, contrast and resistance to lens flare as well as image stabilization to help with hand holding in low light or smaller apertures. Everything about this lens is incredible. So why would you consider the 17-40mm f/4L USM lens? Price certainly comes into play – the 17-40mm costs about 2/3 the price of the 16-35mm lens. The 17-40mm is also slightly smaller and lighter than the 16-35mm. However, the 16-35mm has the added benefit of Image Stabilization while the 17-40mm lens does not.

My recommendation? If you can afford the 16-35mm f/4L IS USM then you should definitely buy it. But, if your budget is tight and the 17-40mm f/4L is all you can afford, it is one of the best value “L” lenses from Canon (along with the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM).The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is a great lens for the lightweight trinity of f/4 lenses that include the EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM and the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Overall User Rating

4.87 out of 5

based on 691 user reviews online.

: 91% (628.28)
: 7% (48.24)
: 1% (5.24)
: 1% (3.62)
: 1% (5.62)

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Overall User Rating

4.65 out of 5

based on 1654 user reviews online.

: 73% (1211)
: 22% (372)
: 2% (36)
: 1% (15)
: 1% (12)

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Specs

Spec Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
Focal Length 16 17
Max Aperture f/4 f/4
Minimum Aperture f/22 f/22
Minimum Focus distance 11.02 inches 11.02 inches
Maximum Magnification .23x 0.24x
Number of Elements 16 12
Number of Groups 12 9
Aperture Blade Design Rounded Rounded
Number of Aperture Blades 9 7
Filter Size 77 mm 77 mm
Diameter 3.25 in. 3.26 in.
Length 4.44 in. 3.81 in.
Weight 1.35 lbs. 1.05 lbs.
Lens Mount Construction Metal Metal
Tripod Collar None None
Weather Sealed Yes Yes
Distance Scale Yes - No Hyper Focal Markings Yes - No Hyper Focal Markings
Image Stabilization Yes No
Lens Shade Included Included