i had the 17-40, bought a 16-35, and then sold the 17-40. i find the 16-35 to have somewhat better IQ, but the main reason i bought it was that i do a lot of shooting in dimly lit areas and the extra stop is a big help. It's handy also because at these wide focal lengths i can actually use 2.8 and not have nearly everything out of focus due to the larger depth of field. i figured i wouldn't notice the difference between 16mm and 17mm but i did. not huge, but i did notice it. last thing, i felt that a lens for (around) 2x the price for 2x the light gathering ability was a pretty good deal actually, as most of the time the jump from f4 to f2.8 on a top lens costs 4-5x as much. i've never heard anyone look at that that way, but that's the way i see it. i really had no complaints with the 17-40, it was fine, the 16-35 is just better.