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

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Reviews Views Date of last review
251 573469 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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PratyushPandya
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Registered: Sep 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 24
Review Date: Oct 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very sharp, Good colors, IS, Affordable, Very good everyday lens.
Cons:
Noticeable vignetting, Somewhat soft corners (not bad, though).

I purchased my first DSLR Canon 30D with this lens. I have been very happy with it. It is quite sharp and shows very good colors. There is noticeable vignetting; however, I have been able to cure that with cropping.
The best feature of this lens is it has image stabilization. This lens stays on my camera the most. If you don't have the budget for an L, this will be a very good choice for an every day lens.

I definitely recommend it.


Oct 29, 2007
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surly
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Registered: Aug 27, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 999
Review Date: Oct 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great focal length for crop bodies. Nice build. IS
Cons:
Could be better at 17. Could be faster

I think this lens gets a bad rap. No its not an L lens but it doesnt cost 1k either. Lets keep things in perspective. Its certainly a better focal length on a crop body then a 28-135.

I have taken pictures with this lens and an XT which are hanging on my wall 20" wide.

I was a satisfied customer


Oct 25, 2007
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Veino
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Registered: Sep 30, 2007
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 30, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Versatile lenght, IS is nice
Cons:
Not good at 17mm, slow apertures

It's pretty good walkaround lens and you can get decent shots in many conditions, but getting very good shots isn't that easy. At 17mm, especially wide open, the quality isn't that good. IS helps on low light, but slow apertures aren't helping.

It might be good choice if you get good deal like 400D + EF-S 17-85 IS but there is better lenses for same price. If you want IS and pretty handy zoom range, you might be intrested in it, but don't expect miracles, atleast on 17-25mm.


Sep 30, 2007
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Chris Fawkes
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Registered: Feb 1, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 3828
Review Date: Aug 19, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Sharp, better build than the 28-135 (which it becomes on a crop sensor)
Cons:
non

Great lens and perfect range for 1.6 crop sensors.
I have 20x30 inch prints from this lens and unless told you would not know it was not from a more expensive lens.
The wedding at www.chrisfawkes.net/lianda2/index.html was taken almost exclusively with this lens.


Aug 19, 2007
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jandrewyang
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Registered: Sep 2, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 51
Review Date: Aug 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Good zoom range, nice build quality as compared to kit lens. FTM, and decent macro. IS. Cheap lens upgrade if purchased in a kit.
Cons:
Slow lens. Some zoom creep. Too expensive outside of a bundle.

I've found generally good results with this lens. It's pretty flexible in terms of the focal lengths and focusing distances available. Seems Canon assumes the IS will make-up for the slow apertures. From my recollection, the aperture stops down as noted below.

17 mm - f/4
22 mm - f/4.5
24 mm - f/5.6

General sharpness, contrast and colour seem pretty good. Not prickly sharp or surreal with colour but definitely an upgrade from the standard kit which is all this seemingly is meant to be.


Aug 14, 2007
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Brian Mitchell
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Registered: Jun 7, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: IS, light weight, low cost
Cons:
Narrow aperture range

This lens came with my Canon 20D (as part of an upgrade package), I used it sparingly, and then gave up on it too soon for an upgrade to a Canon 24-70mm 2.8L. I upgraded because I like to take low light shots without a flash, and thought that I needed a wider aperture. Two years later, and after reading reviews like below, I realize that I was under utilizing the technology found in both the lens and the camera and, with some practice, you can get great shots out of this lens. The 17-85 range is great, making this a fantastic walk-around lens. I just bought my father a Digital Rebel for his birthday, and included this lens, and it is all he will need for some time to come.

Some of my better shots with the lens (mostly in Cambodia) can be found here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/62641147@N00/sets/72157600675727830/


Jul 26, 2007
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gwhitegeog
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Registered: Jun 16, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jul 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Well made, compact, lightweight, very useful IS, good zoom range on 400D, pretty good optically
Cons:
Some pincushion and barrel distortion

I rate this lens better optically than some reviews, though I agree it is no-L series. I think one has to bear in mind the price which is very reasonable for what you get - 28-135mm equivalent, IS and lightweight. There is quite a lot of distortion at the wide end (barrel distortion) but overall quality is better stopped down, which is possible due to IS.
It stays on my 400D (Digital Rebel XTi?) nearly all the time as a travel package for weekends away, cycling and backpacking, when I don't want to carry a brick (e.g. 5D and 24-105L). My 17-40L performs better on the 400D but is significant more costly and only 40mm at the long end and no IS. Not Canon's best optically but very acceptable and no quality control issues like some independent manufacturers.


Jul 7, 2007
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Roberto Cruz
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Registered: Jun 7, 2007
Location: Mexico
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Image stabilization, good zoom range, lightweight, cost.
Cons:
Chromatic aberrations, barrel and pin cushion distortion.

I have been using this lens with my Canon 20D for over two years.
I like the range this lens offers as well as the excellent image stabilization so very useful at low shutter speeds.
Using this lens with the 580 EX flash indoors produced very good results.
Now the bad, barrel and pincushion distortion at 17mm thru about 50mm and chromatic aberrations. Sharpness in the center is good but the edges suffer with this lens.
I rate this lens better than average because it is so useful.


Jun 12, 2007
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zeemanp
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Registered: May 27, 2007
Location: Spain
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $560.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Sharp, USM, IS, perfect for "one lens do it all", fast and accurate focusing.
Cons:
Barrel distortion wide open, but not a big deal when post processing.

I guess many people made reviews on this lens based on comparisons with L class lens.

I decided to take the risk and get this lens, and it was a very good decision. The lens performs great, the focusing is fast and accurate and its great to carry on when travelling. It stays in my camera 90% of the time.

I definetely recommend this lens.


May 27, 2007
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Clovermead
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Registered: May 9, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 675
Review Date: May 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Underrated image quality.
Cons:
Distortion at 17.

Excellent walk-around lens. Very sharp stopped down a little. Decent wide open, but not great. A lens that can stay on your Rebel, 20, 30D most of the time. Very underrated image quality. I have owned this lens for a little over two years and have gotten consistently good images from it. Nice detail for landscapes. I don't find CA to be too bad. IS comes in handy more often than you might think.

May 19, 2007
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Mark McCardell
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Registered: May 17, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 279
Review Date: May 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, tack sharp 50-85mm, Price
Cons:
significant distortion at 17mm

Im new to this forum, but not to photography.
A common theme I see on the reviews is comparing consumer level glass to L glass. Thank god you guys dont do car reviews. I can see it now: The build quality on the $15k Kia Spectra just doesnt match the build quality on the $90k Mercedes SL500.
Do you see what I am getting at? Its pointless to disparage what is obviously a consumer lens because it doesnt match up with a $1.5k lens.

Thats being said on to the review.

I bought my nephew a Rebel XT and wanted him to have a good, basic all purpose lens that he could learn photography with. After shooting with this lens, I decided to look no further.

The good stuff:
Great range for a cropped sensor. Slap this on and the average user is never going to buy another lens. I have gone on hikes with my nephew and he has produced good shots of everything from birds to closeups of bugs.
IS: I was initially skeptical of this feature. After playing around with it indoors in poor lighting I came away impressed. It turned several very bad shots into relatively decent shots. I think this feature is VERY useful for the consumer level.

The bad stuff:
Massive distortion at 17mm. Probably the worse I have seen on a Canon lens. However, I have yet to use a lens that was perfect.

Over all this is a very good every day lens. Is it L quality? Of course not. When was the last time you saw an L zoom selling for <$500? So stop complaining that its not an L lens.

I would recommend this lens to any amateur/consumer photographer. You wont be disappointed.


May 17, 2007
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godzakka
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Registered: Sep 4, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 560
Review Date: Apr 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Better range than 17-40L, very sharp wide open at 85mm, moderatly sharp at 17mm wide open, no visible CA, nice OOF and very little sun flare. Lighter, more range, IS, cheaper, etc than many other lenses in this range
Cons:
Could be a tad bit sharper wide open at 17mm, but it's not an L. Build quality not an L. Needs to be "reconfigured" to fit 10D, but that's easy enough. Very heavy barrel distortion when at wide end

I own a 17-40L, so I can directly compare. To keep it short and to the point, this lens has better range, slightly less sharpness wide open, lower (but not bad by any means) build quality, and it's cheaper than the 17-40L as well. I was very, very skeptical, but I bought this because I kept complaining (to my wife's dismay) that I couldn't zoom in on stuff enough. I wanted to prove to myself that this wasn't anywhere near L-class and then I could sell it and keep complaining. I've shot night shots, day shots, indoors and outdoors, and this lens just impresses me.

It has heavy barrel distortion at 17mm, and the edges are slightly soft, but it is an ultrawide lens, essentially, so those are to be expected. I haven't seen the IS kick in and save the day, but that's not to say it isn't there helping and I just shake too much...

Sharpness, especially at 85mm wide open, is downright impressive. Zoom range is virtually identical to 28-135 and perfect in my opinion (unless of course Canon makes an 18-200IS or similar). I haven't noticed any CA and seen very little lens flare when aiming at the sun or birght lights. OOF looks relatively round, but sometimes you can see the 6 aperature blades and it's not as pretty as the 17-40L's 8 (I think 8 blades...).

Overall I would've given this a 10 if it was a bit sharper at 17mm wide open, but a little USM and it's completely awesome. The build rating was because once you've experienced L, you can hardly call a consumer a 10, and the price rating is a 9 because I think it should be more comparable to a 28-135IS, which I think is about $300 or so. The price does seem to be coming down, though.

In case anyone is interested, to fit it to a 10D (or a 1D or FF), remove the four small tiny screws on the mount (careful as this holds the shell and electronics in, too), push out the plastic EF-S ring, and viola!, instant EF mount. The glass does not (at least in every version I've come across) protrude farther than a standard 50mm f/1.8 mk2, so no worries about mirror slap. Enjoy!


Apr 25, 2007
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DerekIz
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Registered: Apr 1, 2007
Location: Japan
Posts: 42
Review Date: Apr 18, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: The range , the AF speed , the AF accuracy-never hunts, the excellent color , decent price, nice look , the increased keeper rate with the IS.
Cons:
CA and distortion at 17mm but it is easily corrected digitally.

Well , I love this one , most of time stay on my Camera .

I also have a Tamron 17-50 and I love both in differnt ways ....

I replaced my old slow and silly looking Sigma 18-200 with this lens and 70-300 IS, and could not be happier ......

The Sigma had urine color cast which I really hated and wanted to replace it ASAP with something better without compromising too much of range .............


For me this is the best walk around lens with decent optics , I feel that the Canon's optical compromises with this lens was the smartest way of compromise in digital age .....people gripe about the distortion or CA at the widest end of this lens very often and because of that , this lens is extremely unfairly under-rated, and been compared to much lower class of Sigmas like 18-125 or 17-70.


Maybe , the Sigma 17-70 , which often compared to this Canon , is a teeny bit shaper at 17mm though, that one is noticeably less sharp at 50 and 70mm than this Canon at the same focal lengths , also the Sigma's 70mm is more like 64 mm.


I feel that most of people just care about F matters and ignore the 3 stops advantage of the IS , and trash this one as useless in low light .........

The IS is great and extremely under rated.

If you shoot in a museum where you 're not allowed to use a tripod , you will get it and realize the f2.8 without IS is not better than the f4-5.6 with IS.

I also tested the very over rated 17-55IS against this one and I concluded this lens has better IQ in terms of flare resistance, color tone and vignetting although the 17-55 has much better center sharpness and distortion control.

My point is all problems associated with this lens are easily correted in PP digitally but the problems associated with the Sigma 17-70 or 17-55 IS are not digitally correctable.


And I dont understand why so many people rave about the 17-55 IS , which is over priced , and trade the 55-85 range of this lens for the F2.8 of the 17-55IS with increased risk of ghosting and flare problems.




Apr 18, 2007
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big_mike
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Registered: Apr 10, 2006
Location: Russia
Posts: 17
Review Date: Apr 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Most versatile walkabout lens for APS-C; excellent image quality from 24 to 85 mm; still good from 17 to 24mm (very good with PP); IS.
Cons:
Nothing much to speak.

I use the lens for 2 years 90% of shooting time. No regrets. There is no one lens without some shortcomings, even among L-grade. Yes, EF-S 17-85 IS a compromise, but finest!

(The price indicated is for Russion market)


Apr 12, 2007
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DerekIz
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Registered: Apr 1, 2007
Location: Japan
Posts: 42
Review Date: Apr 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Center sharpness through-out the range ,the Powerful IS,the body design,the color and contrast, the super fast and accurate AF with FTM.
Cons:
Vignetting at 17mm ,CA at wide angle, bigger than the Tamron 17-50.

This is a wonderful lens , compromised optically but in very samrt way .

the barrel distortion and CA at wide angle are a bit severe but they are easily corrected in PP.

the color is very good , the design is nice , elegant looking.

the IS is very effective , nothing like the in-camera AS of Sony alpha , which I thought did not work well and I decided to return .

unless you are extremely critical of extreme corner sharpness that can not be seen within most of normal sized prints or build quality, this is a great walk -around lens esp for the price.

Highly recommended.


Apr 4, 2007
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BrandonRussell
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Registered: Jan 6, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 543
Review Date: Apr 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great all around lens, best on the wide end, durable, IS
Cons:

This was my first lens and was a great intro to wide angle photography for me, and was also excellent for sports, landscapes, portraits etc. I travel a lot and this lens has been amazing for travel, especially coupled with a 70-200.

Apr 3, 2007
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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 573469 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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