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Archive 2013 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM
  
 
dafoosballking
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


I've got a 50D and am still trying to decide which lens route to go. My primary lens is the 18-55 and I'm looking to upgrade to get more reach, better build quality, better IQ. I've been looking at the 24-105L because of the f/4 and good build quality, but am not sure I can go without the 15-23 range.

Have any of you used the new 18-135 STM side by side with the 15-85? I'm curious if there is any difference in quality between these two lenses.

For the cost of what I'd pay for a 15-85, 24-105 or even a 17-55, I can buy an 18-135 STM and a 28 1.8 or 30 1.4. The 18-135 would be a great walkaround lens and the prime would be great for indoor family functions when I need the faster speed. Like I said though, IQ and quality is my main concern and I know the older 18-135 is very popular compared to the 15-85.

Do you guys think the 18-135 and 28/30 prime would be the way to go or should I be looking at a 15-85 or 24-105?

FYI, I don't plan to go FF any time soon. For the general landscapes shots and indoor family shots I do, the money I'd spend to go FF is probably better spent on lenses and flashes.



Jan 15, 2013 at 03:12 PM
lighthawk
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


Only half an answer here:

I just picked up a 15-85 from another FM member and am getting excellent results on a 7D body. I'm comparing it to my 17-55 and the 15-85 is very close in terms of sharpness. The width of 15-23 will be a big loss if you go the 24-105 route IMHO.



Jan 15, 2013 at 03:28 PM
GC5
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM



If you are going to spend the whole budget either way, I'd get the 18-135 and one of the primes you are considering.

The 15-85 is a very nice lens, but it's still a slow variable aperture lens. The other kit will give you greater versatility.



Jan 15, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


lighthawk wrote:
Only half an answer here:

I just picked up a 15-85 from another FM member and am getting excellent results on a 7D body. I'm comparing it to my 17-55 and the 15-85 is very close in terms of sharpness. The width of 15-23 will be a big loss if you go the 24-105 route IMHO.


I too have the 15-85 and 17-55 and find them very close in terms of IQ. Sharpness is essentially the same--very sharp--but the 15-85 is far more flare resistant. The zoom mechanism of the 15-85 is a little smoother albeit the 17-55 has better MF. The 15-85 has panning mode and about one stop better IS. Of course the constant F 2.8 aperture of the 17-55 is a biggie. However, the extra few millimeters at the short make a major different for me. I could never live with only 18mm at the short end (unless I have a 10-22 in the bag). Needless to say, the 15-85 has become my fav travel optic on crop. My review:

http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/canon_efs15-85.htm

I've not used the 18-135 STM but tried last year's model and it was poorly made, slow focusing and not very sharp. Canon would need some major redesign to best the 15-85.



Jan 15, 2013 at 04:59 PM
robbymack
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


It sounds like the 15-85 will tick all you desire, better iq than kit, more reach than kit. Ideally you should rent that along with the 17-55 2.8 IS before you make a decision. The latter IMHO is the best lens for aps-c but horses for courses they say. The 18-135 STM is a nice option for reach but probably not iq (I have never used the stm one just an assumption based on the old 18-135 I had). The 15-85 and a prime combo would work, but I suspect once you use the 17-55 you'll have little want to change lenses.


Jan 15, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Mike1.6
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


Brian, over at the Digital Picture.com has a good review of the 18-135 STM. He even makes some comparisons to the 15-85. As usual, he does not give definitive conclusions about how "good" the lens is but you can easily draw your own conclusions from his review. The review is here.

Since I haven't used the 18-135 STM lens I can't make a comparison for you. I have used and owned the 24-105, 17-55 and 15-85 with my 7D. Image quality on all three was fairly equal. If I was traveling, and wanted to go light, I brought the 15-85. I sold the 17-55 and keep the 24-105 on my 5D Mark III. Good luck.



Jan 15, 2013 at 08:18 PM
tr1957
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


Anyone able to add some more thoughts now that some more time has passed?

I have the 15-85 and am thinking about selling it for the 18-135 STM when I get a 70D. My logic is I have a 10-20 for the wide end, at 85mm the 15-85 is f5.6 while the STM is probalbly a half stop or so faster (assumption based on it being f5.6 at 135mm), and the generally very positive reviews for the 18-135 STM.

While I really like the 15-85, the touchscreen focus tracking on the 70D supposedly works very poorly with USM lenses.

Am I way off base?




Oct 20, 2013 at 04:07 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


I've seen plenty of examples where the 70D's Live-View focusing works great with USM lenses- but none where it really falls flat. I haven't seen it used on a 15-85 yet, though.

For sharpness, the 15-85 gives you what the 18-135 gives you in versatility, so it's a toss-up. If you need something faster, either the 50/1.4 or 85/1.8 work great on crop depending on where you spend most of your time, and are both significantly sharper than the zooms when stopped down to equivalent apertures.



Oct 20, 2013 at 04:30 AM
tr1957
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


johnctharp wrote:
I've seen plenty of examples where the 70D's Live-View focusing works great with USM lenses- but none where it really falls flat. I haven't seen it used on a 15-85 yet, though.

For sharpness, the 15-85 gives you what the 18-135 gives you in versatility, so it's a toss-up. If you need something faster, either the 50/1.4 or 85/1.8 work great on crop depending on where you spend most of your time, and are both significantly sharper than the zooms when stopped down to equivalent apertures.



Thanks. Just to clarify, this is for walk around use. I have other lenses (30/1.4, 50/1.4, 50-135/2.8, and 70-300) for more specific situations.



Oct 20, 2013 at 04:39 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


I'd go with the 18-135 for versatility, and guaranteed compatibility with DPAF.


Oct 20, 2013 at 05:26 AM
 

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EB-1
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


I'd much rather have the wider lens (15-85). The 3mm difference is a lot on a cropped body

EBH



Oct 20, 2013 at 05:32 AM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


dafoosballking wrote:
For the cost of what I'd pay for a 15-85, 24-105 or even a 17-55, I can buy an 18-135 STM and a 28 1.8 or 30 1.4. The 18-135 would be a great walkaround lens and the prime would be great for indoor family functions when I need the faster speed. Like I said though, IQ and quality is my main concern and I know the older 18-135 is very popular compared to the 15-85.

.


having had a 24-105 on a crop for a long time which was good upto the 40D I had but always underwhelmed on the 7D (and the 50D i had for a very short time ) , i finally bit the bullet and went for a 17-55 .
I have to say that on a crop its by far the best option available .
the 15-85 looks great but the slower speed will hurt indoors and in lower light .
the new 18-135 looks great also . but I will say the new STM drive while much better than micro AF motors (in previous cheap lenses) will still not be a s good for STILL shots using the NORMAL af system . its slower (which probably is a designed in feature to make it better for Video) .
Ive also had a couple of fast primes (30/1.4 included) and most of the time i found the 17-55 to be much more useful . the IS helped more than the extra speed unless the subject moves (lets face it how often do you shoot moving objects with 30 @ 1.4)

Ive now moved onto a FF and gone back to my 24-105 (which is much better on FF) but letting my 17-55 go was probably the biggest disappointment about the change .
if I had or was to get a 70D (or a new crop with the dual AF in the future) then id probably get it with the 18-135 STM for walkabout and video but if I had on crop id still want the 17-55 as my main stills lens .

By the way if your still looking at the 15-85 then look around used . they seem to be the lens thats taken the biggest hit in value terms lately . Ive seen good used ones on reputable 2nd hand store sites here (UK) for not a huge amount over the price of a new 18-135 STM (granted most of those around wont have been purchased at full retail but as kit lenses though)



Oct 20, 2013 at 09:24 AM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


EB-1 wrote:
I'd much rather have the wider lens (15-85). The 3mm difference is a lot on a cropped body

EBH


this is also a good point . as a single walkabout lens it could be a factor .
but i must say i also had the 10-22 (to go with my 17-55) . when i used it i tended to use it at or near its wide end . i doubt i ever used it in the middle of its range



Oct 20, 2013 at 09:26 AM
Jay968
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


Before purchasing the 15-85 I tried the 18-135 first. The reason I went with the 15-85 was because I felt the 18-135 was not quite as sharp on the wide end. It was great between about 50 and 135mm but I wanted something a bit better on the wide end. The 15-85 does the trick. The fact that it is a little smaller helped too.

Edited on Oct 21, 2013 at 12:06 AM · View previous versions



Oct 20, 2013 at 07:16 PM
johnctharp
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


Jay968 wrote:
Before purchasing the 15-85 I tried the 18-135 first. The reason I went with the 15-85 was because I felt the 18-135 was not quite as sharp on the wide end. It was great between about 50 and 135mm but I wanted something a bit better on the wide end. The 15-85 does does the trick. The fact that it is a little smaller helped too.


The 15-85 is fatter and heavier, while the 18-135 STM is longer, skinnier, and lighter-
compared here.

But the 15-85 is also, as you say, sharper on the wide end, and sharper across more of it's shared focal length range with the 18-135; and I did enjoy the wide end of the 15-85 on my 60D.

Makes the choice difficult, in that sense- but for it's intended uses, I'd expect the 18-135 STM to be more useful, especially if bought in a kit/from a parted kit. Retail, as with the 24-105L, is quite ridiculous.



Oct 20, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Jay968
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


I meant shorter. Yes it's fatter and heavier.

More useful? Depends on what you shoot I suppose. I prefer the wide end.



Oct 21, 2013 at 12:03 AM
IndyFab
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


I would chose this:
15-85 and the 55-250 STM is a nice kit.

Prefer the 15 at the wide end rather than the 18




Oct 21, 2013 at 01:47 AM
stanj
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


I have shot both against each other on a number of cameras and I certainly prefer the 15-85. However, I ended up with the 18-135 STM for my 70D due to the silent focusing in video mode, which is the whole reason why I got the 70D. So it's a compromise...


Oct 21, 2013 at 04:26 AM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 15-85 vs 18-135 STM


I had a good copy of the non-STM 18-135. It was not an idiot proof lens. Tended to miss focus at the wide end. Very happy overall though. The 15-85 is probably better optically, which you may not notice.

The 24-105 sounds more like a great ff zoom range. I have never used one but I doubt it's that super sharp, though it is probably fine. Probably best build of the 3 you asked about.

18-55's often can deliver excellent IQ. I wouldn't bet on 24-105 in that race. I use my 55-250 quite a bit.

If you shoot wide open a lot I'd say maybe 17-55. Primes don't zoom.

Just saw newer post I'd probably keep what you have and try for yourself. You have15-85 , and Youre already used to it. Plus you'll know how it works in a different mode and can make your own decision.



Oct 22, 2013 at 06:01 PM





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