Go wide angle!

Happy Friday everybody.

Today I am writing about my Canon 17-40mm f4 L.
I’ve purchased this to finish my lens kit because I stopped having a wide-angle lens when I switched to full frame.
My favorite lens was a Sigma 10-20mm f3.5. This lens was always in my 7D. The distortion was amazing, the constant f3.5 allowed me to shoot indoors without having any serious problems. In reality I had a 16-26mm because we need to consider Canon’s multiplication factor by 1.6x.

This particular Sigma lens made my days when it came to architecture shots. It was an amazing piece of equipment and was able to cover a lot of architectural details. Some people dislike the distortion. I personally like it.

Since I changed to full-frame I constantly thought about a lens that would be as cool as the Sigma 10-20. I even took the lens for a ride because it can be used in a full-frame without damaging the camera. Unfortunately the vignetting was too much to handle and I saw an image quality drop because the new sensor really demands a good piece of glass.
So I waited and searched for the best wide angle lens. The 17-40mm was not my first choice because of the f4. What I really wanted was a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II. Indeed this was the lens I was flirting with.

Unfortunately the 16-35mm is very very expensive and I took the decision to buy something cheaper after talking to the store owner and ask him about the major differences between these two lenses.
After listening to his explanation, after researching online I purchased the 17-40mm f4.

Why the f4 vs the f2.8 doesn’t really bother me.

My camera handles high ISO values very well. If I am shooting indoors I can boost the ISO to let’s say 12000 and I know that will not ruin the photo. I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software to get rid of inconvenient noise and that works fine.

Why I am not worried about distortion.

I already explained previously that I like the distortion effect wide lenses usually have.
Not all lenses cause distortion and one major proof of that is the gorgeous Carl Zeiss 15mm f2.8.
Having to settle with the 17-40mm I can say that I didn’t notice any major distortion in my test photos. (The photo below is straight from the camera, except for the crop. Export quality to jpg was downsized).
I really can’t see anything distorted in the scene. I’ve aligned the camera’s guide lines with the walls and it looks damn straight to me.

Why do I like this lens more than the 24-70mm

My camera is heavy. My camera bag is heavy. My Winter coats give me problems because I can’t move my arms properly when I’m shooting. I have the camera bag on my back and every time I try to put my arms up to take a picture I hurt literally because everything is so tight up. (mental note: buy coats 3 times larger than your regular size).
The 24-70mm is heavy! If we sum up everything I end up doing workouts every time I go out to shoot, which is definitely not a bad thing because I am a lazy laaaaazzzzyyyy person. 🙂
When I switch lens I feel a weight being lifted! The 17-40 is light as a feather and it gives me time to put my wrists to rest.

Why I didn’t regret my purchase yet.

Although I like to buy the best glass there is, I couldn’t simply justify spending 1500 euros just because a little bit more quality and an f2.8.
Last year Canon made a promotion consisting of giving back part of the money we spent on certain materials (cameras and lenses). I took that opportunity up, plus a little discount from my usual seller and bought the lens for less than 800 euros. It is a major price difference.
Oh, and did I mention that the 17-40mm has a great focus speed? Yup. It does. But I shoot still things with the wide-angle. Even so it is fast.

Quite honestly I am amazed by my progress and knowledge when it comes to photo material. Maybe one day I will tell you the story about this stupid girl who ended up spending a lot of money just because she wanted to change gear almost every day. Yup, that was me. Uninformed, spoiled brat. A lot has changed since 2008 and for once, I never EVER buy material without being 100% informed about it. Learning from mistakes is the best thing I do.

For more information on Canon 17-40mm f4 L, go here.
For more information on Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II, go here.
I really like to read Ken Rockwell’s reviews.


Tilting and shifting

Last Saturday I discovered I was really wrong about what a tilt-and-shift lens is.

I saw this man shooting with what looked like a regular wide-angle lens. I thought it was a Canon 8-15mm fisheye, so I  approached him and asked him if I could take a look at the pictures he was taking (I wanted to check the distortion of the lens).
It wasn’t a wide-angle, at least a regular one but a tilt-and-shift.

Image from “The Digital Picture”

I always thought that a tilt-and-shift lens would tilt to the left and right giving you the possibility to capture weird angles without distorting the photo.
And, oh boy, I was so wrong. He placed the camera in my hands and explained me what to do.
The lens is heavy and difficult to manipulate. I felt really dumb while trying to understand what he was doing.
It was a really interesting experience. You can move the lens up and down, point to a building or something and see the magic happening. The things you are shooting will not be distorted at all.
I thought to myself that the lens is a really fantastic toy with a bunch of possibilities.

And no, I will not buy it. I will keep my my 17-40mm with distortion and everything. 🙂

See more about this lens here: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-TS-E-17mm-f-4-L-Tilt-Shift-Lens-Review.aspx