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Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

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251 572958 Apr 12, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
80% of reviewers $569.41
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.70
6.70
7.6
EF17-85

Specifications:
Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 17 - 85mm; 1:4-5.6
Lens Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 78 30' - 18 25'
Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing system, with focusing cam
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.35m - 1.15 ft.
Zoom System: Ring USM
Filter Size: 67mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.1" x 3.6", 16.8 oz. / 78.5 x 92mm, 475g


 


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mpanoff
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Registered: Nov 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 48
Review Date: Dec 1, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: IS, zoom range, fast focus, build quality
Cons:
CA and distortion at the wide-end, flare, contrast, front tube extends leading to potential dust problems

Let me start off by saying that I purchased a refurbished model, but hopefully it was completely to Canon spec. After using the lens for almost a month, I returned it.

I liked having the flexibility of the zoom range, but it really under-performed at the wide-end. Excessive distortion and CA problems, especialy at the edges of the frame (at f/22). It also seemed very sensitive to lens flare, which I think contributes to the contrast problems, very washed out colors.. especially if you are shooting towards a bright light source. In terms of cost, it is very close to a 17-40mm, whicj is what I replaced it with. Unfortunantly I don't have the reach now. That's the compromise, if you're mostly shotting from the middle to long-end, it is very sharp with minimal distortion.. plus the IS really does work.

If Canon could just clean up the wide-end, this would be a killer lens.


Dec 1, 2005
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tsangc
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Registered: Nov 22, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 242
Review Date: Nov 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS stablizer, ideal range for travelling, colours are nice.
Cons:
Cost. Seems fragile. CA at 17mm. Lack of included lens hood and carrying bag.

This is an ideal lens for travelling and general purpose photography with the EF-S APS type cameras, such as the EOS300D, 350D, or 20D.

I bought my EOS300D with the kit 18-55mm. It was not a bad choice as I needed to learn the limitations of the basic lens before stepping up to a better one. The 17-85mm is ideal for amateurs who want something more than the kit lens, but can't justify a L series lens selection's price tags:

-Stabilization for lower light situations
-Longer zoom than 55m for portaits and closeups
-Wideangle for landscapes

The most important feature of this lens is the range: You could buy the 28-135mm IS USM, but on a crop body, 28mm is not wide enough. I got used to shooting at 18mm on the kit lens, so the 17mm wide angle is important to me, especially when travelling for shooting landscapes and getting in scenery. 55mm is fine for most day to day shooting, but 85mm is very useful for portraits and also to pick up details while on the road.

IS is my favourite feature of this lens. I don't like using flash and I can't see myself lugging a tripod around on vacation, so the stablizer is crucial. It really does work as advertised, BUT with one caveat: You can stablize the camera, but you can't stablize the subject. So IS is great for inanimate objects in the distance or in the dark, but not for people dancing or kids jumping around in those situations. Regardless, the Image Stablizer is one of the major reasons why I like this lens.

The USM focusing is icing on the cake, but not critical. The 17-85mm supports FTM.

The major downside is the price of this lens. It's almost six times the cost of the kit lens and not widely found like the 28-135mm. So you are paying a premium for the EF-S mount, which you may upgrade away from in the future. I can't see myself being able to afford a full frame body for years, so I don't think it's an issue for me, but you'll have to make that call yourself.

I'm not stringent on image quality as some, but I did notice CA at the wide st angle of this lens. The lens also appears fragile with the IS components inside.

I also wish that Canon would throw in a lens hood and pouch the way Sigma does with their lenses. Even the cheapest Sigma lens comes with an included lens hood. After buying such an expensive lens (at least for my budget) it's annoying to have to pay more for what is a very cheap part to manufacture.

In summary, a good choice as an upgrade from the basic EF-S package lens.


Nov 27, 2005
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Janika
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Registered: Oct 17, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 367
Review Date: Nov 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $440.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Wide and long which makes this the ultimate walk around and travel lens for the price nothing touches it. IS works well and takes sharp pictures between 24 & 85-mm. Not too large or heavy, fast n quiet focusing...
Cons:
Distorts at 17-mm and there is visible CA on images when looking at them full sized. Thin focus ring, No hood included, pricey.

Got this lens used, as I didn't want to fork out the $900- Cdn for a brand new one. I needed a replacement lens for the EFS 18-55, kit lens and wanted a versatile walk around lens for travel. I also needed a lens that has image stabilization and takes sharp images as I will also use this lens for group shots on weddings. The build quality of this lens if good to very good. It's not an L lens but feels like one. The focusing is fast and quiet. The thin focus ring is a lill annoying, but hey it's not an L lens and at least it has one! The image stabilization works well and you can see this on your images if turned off. I also like the metal lens mount instead of plastic. Images coming out of this lens are neutral in color and sharp, but do not expect miracles. When looking at an image 100% magnified, you can spot the chromatic effects on edges which is a downfall of this lens. It also distorts at 17-mm, but still gives you a true wide angle view at 24-mm as this lens is designed for cameras with the 1.6 crop factor. It can be used on the Canon Eos Rebel (300D) rebel-XT (350D) and on the EOS 20D. All in all there is no lens on the market today which could touch this one as far as versatility is concerned. It has the wideness, the zoom, the fast focus and takes sharp pictures, all wrapped in a small and light housing. The price should be around $400- US for what it is. I do recommend this lens for landscapes and travel. Just a decent walk around lens for many possible uses.

Nov 26, 2005
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Ribeiro
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Registered: Nov 18, 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excelente zoom range fora walk arround lens!!! Is realy works well!!! Good optical quality! FTM focus.
Cons:
Not "L" quality built. Some image distortion when at 17. Price

I have had this lens for a couple of months now and I love it! I baught it as a walk arround lens as I didn't like the results with the kit lens taht came with my 350D... and it was a great improvement!
Built qulity is not "L" but is realy nice. FTM focus is a plus in my book! Image quality is verry good , just a bit softer and less contrasty than the L lenses, but if your not a pro shhoter than this is a minor issue as the results you get arerealy good!
IS is a dream.. it realy works like a dream! Focus is fast and sharp!
There is nioticeble distortion at 17mm... but it is expected given the zoom range! There is good control over flair and gosting but tht is still some CA.
To me the only major con is its price... I think it is to expensive, costing more than my Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L lens.

Overall... I lithis lens and recomend it to all amateurs looking for a great walk-arroud lens.


Nov 19, 2005
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RonR
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Registered: Jul 31, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1218
Review Date: Nov 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, quick USM focus, effective IS, compact build.
Cons:
Not build like an L lens but not priced like one either.

This is an excellent "everyday" lens. Great optical performance, very effective IS that is as quick and quiet as the super fast USM focusing. It is sharp at wide angle from edge to edge. I shoot architectural and interiors and this lens is every bit as sharp as my previous 17-40 L lens. This is a very capable lens and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an "all in one" EF-S lens.

Best Regards,
Ron


Nov 19, 2005
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incdigital
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Registered: Aug 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 226
Review Date: Nov 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $599.99 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Best normal range lens for rebel or 20D, 3ed Gen IS, Compact, 5X zoom, Sharper than old 28-135IS, Above average color and contrast, Great Travel Lens
Cons:
Slow lens, CA, Vignetting, low light AF, Price, EF-S

Overall this lens is kinda a niche lens...w/ nothing in its class to really compare it to...the 24-105L IS F4 being the closest and almost double the price. The lens covers a very usefull range for any shooter using a 20D or digital rebel. I highly recommend it.

Nov 16, 2005
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downeyimages
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Registered: Sep 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Nov 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $560.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, great in low-light, smooth, auto-focus is fast even in darkness
Cons:
I wish it had the physical built like an "L" lens

I love this lens! I did not think that the IS would make a hugh difference with this lens, but it does. I was hesitant to purchase this lens because it only works with 20D or Digital Rebel, but I have no regrets.

This lens is sharp, with wonderful colors. It is smooth, autofocus is very fast. For hand holding photography this is a hard lens to beat.

I shoot weddings, and I shot with a 24-70/2.8 L lens, no question that this lens is sharp, and the build quality is much better, but hand holding at lower shutters speeds with flash the 17-85 outperforms that lens at shutter spends of 1/15. The lowest I was able to go hand holding on the 24-70 was about 1/30 and the images were softer than the 17-85.

Anyhow, highly recommend this lens for the price. Which makes me wonder if I should get the 24-105/f4-L IS. I mean if I get this kind of results with the 17-85, then the 24-105 must be really sharp and super steady with the IS.

I am the process of evaluating a zoom lens 70-200 range. Right now for my budget the options are the L 70-200/f4 or the 70-300/4-5.6 IS. After using the IS on my lens, and reading the reviews for the 70-300 I am very close to buying this lens.

If I need the 70-200/2.8L IS I'll just rent for those special shoots.


Nov 8, 2005
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ibizargak
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Registered: Nov 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Nov 7, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: $569.00

Pros: Fairly light, fairly compact, quite fast focusing and silent, fairly nice bokeh in the right conditions, solid build, black is not too conspicuous, fairly sharp on 1.6 body, "reasonably' priced compared to 'L' series. OUTSTANDINGLY useful focal range. Always focuses on the red dot no back-focus issues for me at all. Top of the line for hobos like me.
Cons:
Fairly heavy, fairly huge on a DRebel body, fairly darned expensive

I've had this lens for a year now and I gave it some bad knocks when I had only had it a week, in my initial review. Well, I have mellowed out a lot after some experience with other lenses and with the perspective of time and some 20,000 shots since then on my digital Rebel. This lens is the lens that is on the camera all the time. It's quite fast focusing, the IS is indispensable at the longer ranges of the zoom and I've really gotten to rely on that. I added a lens hood and some of the flare/wash-out issues I had at first disappeared, and I got to know the lens much better. I've dragged this lens through woods and bad weather, knocked it around a lot now and it's still my faithful servant. 17mm even at the 1.6 crop factor still gives plenty of that wide-angle effect, yet I can get a good fairly medium-range zoom effect too at 85mm which roughly equals 135mm on a normal frame body.
I have felt hindered by the f/4-5.6 aperture range... but most of my subject matter does't move that much and being of steadier hand now I find myself taking more and more advantage of the IS, which is very intuitive and helpful.
My only other experiences other than stolen shots with expensive lenses in camera stores, are the 50mm 1.8, EF 35mm f/2.0 and the kit lens. I prefer the background blur on the 1.8, of course. Otherwise this lens is in a whole other realm. It's ten times faster focusing than any of them, ten times more useful. That 35MM f/2.0 blows by the way, but that's another review and maybe I didn't give it a chance, but I think I did.

I personally could not justify the cost of a higher-quality L series lens ...and I don't see any that can match the zoom range of this lens anyway for a walk-around lens.

Here are some sample pictures, not the best I have or the worst of this lens, but I wish there had been some around like this when I was agonizing over this lens.

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/sdbennett/17-85/17-85_Samples.html

I am glad I bought it, after all. Some of the images are 100% crops, full-size and one reduction, I don't have that much file space. Also I'm sorry can't leave these on here indefinitely. But I hope it gives you some idea of the quality and drawbacks of this outstanding lens.

I hope one day, to have a better lens, but it would have to be a hell of a lens to replace this one, and I'm sure it will cost a hell of a lot of money. For now this is all I need or really want, or all I want or all I really need, and I'm satisfied. I pawned a lot of things when I lost my job, but this lens was not one of them :-)


Nov 7, 2005
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frankie138
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Registered: Sep 26, 2004
Location: Belgium
Posts: 4
Review Date: Nov 7, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Very usefull IS, good build quality excellent range
Cons:
A lot of CA, too much for the money, image quality doesn't cut it for me

I bought this lens because i wanted a good standard zoom that covered the most frequently used range in a good package. The package of this lens is very good in terms of build quality but i find image quality wanting.
Right now i am planning to sell this lens to buy a 17-40 wich may not have IS but has much higher image performance. The 17-85 shows a lot of chromic abberation and overall sharpness isn't that great.
Beside that this is a great lens and if your eye isn't as critical as mine you'll be in love with this lens. IS is very useful, the range is perfect and it feels solid in your hand.


Nov 7, 2005
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jonbrach
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Registered: Dec 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 896
Review Date: Nov 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $549.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp,wide,IS
Cons:
slow

This is a marvelous lens,very underrated in my view....it would rate a 10 in my opinion if it were 4.0 throughout and if it wasnt only able to be used on 1.6 crop cameras...that said i love the wide angle at 17mm and i love the IS...i also own the new 24-105 and i have this lens for use when i need something a bit wider....this lens isnt up to the build quality of the L and it isnt quite as sharp but at half the cost it is quite a terrific performer and i dont have any problem using this lens at anytime.....recommended

Nov 1, 2005
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PandaT13
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Registered: Oct 15, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros:
Cons:



Oct 20, 2005
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locopano
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Registered: Jan 10, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 19
Review Date: Oct 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: compact, light,sharp,excellent image quality,quite fast and perfect focal length range for everyday. IS is better than i thought and has been used more than i imagined i would.
Cons:
didnt come with lens hood

At the price this lens is now (over here in AUS) both new and 2nd hand i cant see a better value for money lens. I have also had the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 and i would choose this over it. It is almost permanently on my camera and i have been blown away with the results. Its very sharp, colours are nice and its fast. If you put this with the 350D or 20D it can be used in low light as the high ISO and IS work effectively together. Im considering selling my Tamron 28-75 f2.8 as this has just been so useful and produced stellar results.

Im able to handhold 1/15 @85mm and 1/5 at 17mm which is just so useful. I find that the lens allows me to take pictures in situations where usually wouldnt. Im now experimenting more in low light shooting and being able to capture the atmosphere of these places (eg in bars or peoples places) without having to ruin it by using the flash.

This is the type of lens that could be your one lens setup - its that good and that useful.


Oct 16, 2005
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gullevek
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Registered: Oct 15, 2005
Location: Japan
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: wide range to medium zoom, IS, UMS, FTM
Cons:
at wide range not at its best: CA and other small problems, no hood

Probably the best walk around lense for any APC-S sized camer. Comes from wide to medium zoom, has IS and therefore ideal for low light situations. Which is a must with this lense because it has only f5.6 on the zoom end.
The UMS gives this camera very fast AF and it also has FTM, so you can half press the shutter and then change the focus.
It's not without flaws. At the wide end you have visible CA and also some barrel distortion. But, its not a show stopper.

I highly recommend that lense for every APC-S sized SLR camera owner.


Oct 15, 2005
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RedRebel
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Registered: Oct 13, 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 183
Review Date: Oct 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very usable zoom range;sharp;much detail;consistent;good focus;
Cons:
some purple fringing; distorsion at 17mm

I bought this lens together wit a 350D (Rebel XT) a month ago. I took it on a holiday to spain and made ~400 shots with it. Off course during daylight it works fine, but also inside dark churches (Mesquitta Cordoba, Alhambra Granada) I could take sharp pictures using shutter speeds up to 1/3~1/2 S! The amount of detail is also great.

Of course a 2.8 (L) lens would perform better under those (dark) circumstances, but as a general purpose lense it will surpise you in a positive way. For people without a steady hand (like me) the IS works definately.

I took pictures at night from a water fountain in which a lamp post was visable. Back home a could see some purple fringing around this lamp. The same happend when I took a picture from a tree with the sun shining through it. It should not be exagherated, but it is there... Just pay some more attention when the sun is shining towards you.

I would consider the new 24-105 L f/4 IS lens, and buy a wide angle lens with it (EF-S 10-22). However the 24-104 is also only f/4 and no f/2.8....so a 17-85 is not such a bad choice I think.


Oct 14, 2005
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majorkimba
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Registered: Oct 11, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 3
Review Date: Oct 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: compact, convenient range, is, ring usm, sharp in the center, you're getting what you pay for
Cons:
no zoom lock, a bit slow @ 4-5.6, no included hood or case, some ca and softness wide

This lens was made for the aps-c 1.6x crop cameras. Not perfect wide open, but stopped down a bit easily matches the sensor resolution. IS is unbelievable, you really don't realize how much camera shake can affect your pic's until you begin using a non-IS lens. I can take pictures at night and still have 35-50% chance of decent outcome.

Overall, great lens for rebel/xt, 20d. You can pixel peep all you want, but to get the range of this lens you would need several lenses and if you want L-quality, well, you're going to be spending an extra $2000+ .

I have no regrets getting this lens, don't have to worry about qc control and focus issues of 3rd party 28-75's. 5x zoom range 17mm and 85 mm ends comes in very handy.


Oct 13, 2005
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dwolfbearer
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Registered: Oct 4, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 946
Review Date: Oct 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, fast focus, IS, build quality, range
Cons:
slow (f/4-5.6), CA, interior dust (due to zoom extension)

Great mid-range zoom for 20D or rebel. The slow aperature is the most noteable problem with this lens, as f/4-5.6 is REALLY slow when you are doing anything other than outdoor daytime shots. However, the IS makes up for this, in some cases more than makes up for it. I have shot sharp pictures in the dead of night at 1/2 of a second at 17mm handheld. There is some CA noticable in pictures taken with strong highlights, but that is expected with most, if not all, zooms. The focus is very fast and accurate, but sometimes the lens hunts when there is not enough light (more hunting than faster lenses). The lens is built well, better than most consumer zooms, but not as good as L lenses. The only problem with the build is that the lens sucks in some dust when it zoom. I have a decent amount of dust in the interior of my lens and at one point even had a full eyelash on an interior element - none of this has affected quality, but it is annoying. I also dislike the focusing ring (too narrow), but do not see how that could be greatly improved, given the design of the lens.
Overall, this is a great lens and has provided me with thousands of wonderful pictures. Highly reccomended.


Oct 11, 2005
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Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
251 572958 Apr 12, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
80% of reviewers $569.41
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.70
6.70
7.6
EF17-85


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