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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 572663 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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Tom M.
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Registered: Nov 5, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image Stabilizer - Price - Range
Cons:
Distortion at low end.

I got mine "used" (but brand new with registration card) at a camera show. So REALLY good price, but even at $500-550, it's still worth it.

A lot of people seem to have some superficial reservations about this lens, but I really think it's perfect for what it is. It's an EF-S...so.....20d it is or Rebel or d60 or whatever flavor you like. It's not meant for the newer 5D or full frame camera. So if you're SUPER concerned about the details and being "professional" - step outside the "pro-sumer" market. You're not quite there yet for super professional grade with this lens or any of the cameras you are going to use it on for that matter.

So - apples for apples the lens is perfect in my opinion. IF it was an L lens, it'd be even better...and that's the only thing I wish that was different.

The range is perfect for an everyday lens. It stays on my camera always - swapping out for a Sigma 50-500mm when I need that kinda coverage...but as you could imagine that's heavy. THIS Canon isn't. It's perfect.

No lens hood doesn't bother me, I have found myself holding my hand over it a lot - but no biggie. There is in fact barrel distortion - but that comes with all wide angle lenses...it's called Photoshop.

There is some crhomatic abberation on it - more common with digital and when shooting at something bright or backlit. Again, Photoshop and many other pieces of software fix that.

If you aren't prepared to do some post-processing digital work - then don't get this lens and don't get any camera that it mounts to. Go for a 5D or go film. However you're still going to have to do some post-processing work always. It's just part of photography.

The most valuable thing that people underrate is the image stabilizer. It's NOT JUST for low-light. I need it in the brightest time of day. Huh? Why? Because I like to say that I "simulate" darkness....when I stack a bunch of filters on the lens. So it becomes very very handy in those situations.

Again this is the perfect walk around lens because with it, you won't need to lug around a tripod for as many circumstances. PERFECT lens for a 20D, etc. and perfect replacement for the kit lens. Looking back, I'd buy just the body and this lens...or some places even have this as a custom "kit" and sell the 20D with this lens. Honestly - if you said you had a 20D, I'd say this is your must have lens. If you said 5D, I'd say 17-40L or something else of course =)


Nov 5, 2006
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CountryBob
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Registered: Oct 3, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 244
Review Date: Nov 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: IS and Range
Cons:
Little soft at the lower end.

I bought this lens 12 months ago and it has been an big improvement over the kit lens which it replaced on my 350D. From 17-35mm it is a bit soft but above 40mm it becomes progresively sharper and I have had some quite sharp images at 70-85mm. I've used the lens with the macro function of my camera and have had some very nice results.
Overall I'd say the lens is a little over priced.........but at the same time not a bad lens if you are just starting out and need a general all purpose lens.


Nov 3, 2006
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Frank D
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Registered: Sep 11, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 2, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Range, Image Stabilization
Cons:
Price, size, weight, quality

I bought this lens despite the negative reviews on here. I guess I should have listened. The images taken with this lens were so soft, I though there was something wrong with my Rebel XT. I ended up buying an EF 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 on eBay for $200 and can't tell you how much happier I am.

Nov 2, 2006
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Richard Steer
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Registered: Sep 5, 2006
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 123
Review Date: Oct 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Nice range, Image Stabilisation, generally very good image quality.
Cons:
Soft when used wide open, CA, heavy distortion at 17mm.

I bought this with my 350D instead of getting the 18-55 kit lens, and have been quite happy with it.

If you expect it to match a $1000 lens then you're going to be gravely disappointed, but the 17-85 is a great compromise between functionality and price. If you're wanting a good, reasonable quality, versatile mid-range lens without spending a fortune, then this one's worth looking at.


Oct 4, 2006
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achromatic
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Registered: Sep 15, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $598.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: A good 'entry' level lens with a nice range, particularly on 1.6x crop bodies.
Cons:
Let down by chromatic aberration particularly at wide angles.

This was the first lens I got with my camera and it served me well. Decently wide, and with more range than the 17-55 offering. Chromatic aberration and fringing were noticeable at times - easily correctible in post processing, but still.

Nonetheless, definitely a decent midrange lens.


Sep 28, 2006
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Radeon-888
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Registered: Oct 9, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 26, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $525.00 | Rating: 1 

Pros: Good range, lightweight, IS
Cons:
Poor image quality even stopped down, cheap construction, distortion is the worse I have seen.

Bought lens, tried for a month, bought L lens, compared the 2 and sold the 17-85 right away. Its not a very good lens, a cheap lens with IS tacked on. OK for newbies or for travel but there are better choices out there. Needs allot of USM to look good.

Sep 26, 2006
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Southswede
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Registered: Mar 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 85
Review Date: Sep 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $509.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Range, build and IS.
Cons:
no hood included

I don't see why people are so hard on this lens, while others have great things to say about the 28-105 II USM. I have both and they are very close in most aspects.



Sep 14, 2006
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SweetChin
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Registered: Feb 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 156
Review Date: Sep 12, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Range, IS, internal focusing
Cons:
DUST, No Lens Hood, Soft at 17

I bought this lens mainly for the range that it has and heard some good reviews at the time. The only thing that really turns me off with this lens is how easily it attracts dust inside the lens.
Although its soft when zoomed out, it is fairly sharp once you get out to 22mm+
I do like this lens but dont think its worth the money... Canon could have at least thrown in a lens hood


Sep 12, 2006
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motioneffects
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Registered: Apr 6, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 2
Review Date: Sep 2, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: IS, nice zoom range
Cons:
Not worth what i paid for back then $600+ ($530 now)

I though this would be a great lens when i read the reviews back in early 2005. So Last Christmas, I decided to treat myself to a gift after buying everyone else presents. I acquired the EFS 17-85mm IS. My first impression was the built quality, not that great and not too shabby, I could live with that. Than I notice the distortion and blurriness with all my photos. The 17-85mm had distortion at the wide end and was soft at 85mm. I thought maybe it was my camera. Turns out to be the poor quility of the glass. I think if i could do it all over again, I would fork out a few more dallars and get the 17-40L

Sep 2, 2006
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hrs749
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Registered: Jun 16, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 69
Review Date: Aug 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent range, very sharp and of course, IS.
Cons:
Distortion at wide end but correctable with software.

Despite some mixed reviews, this lens provides surprisingly good results especially at the long end. It focuses very quickly with nice color and contrast. The IS is amazing and the range is very useful. Overall, this is an excellent walk around lens.

Aug 8, 2006
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Folk312
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Registered: Aug 5, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 5, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: IS works well, all round lens.
Cons:
IQ not what I expected for the price, lens does not feel solid.

I bought this lens together with my 20D about a year and a half ago, and all I can say about it is I don't like it. It has gotten to a point that I don't really enjoy using my 20D as much as I should, because I know I won't be happy with the image quality (having a 50/1.4 I know what de 20D is capable of).
The softness in the corners at wide angles is beyond what I find acceptable. I also don't like how much contrast the lens gives to the pictures. Dark areas become black where other lenses still see detail.
The 17-85 is very sharp at F8 but gets soft very soon and is almost unusable at F4.
Last but not least, this lens gives you very little possibilities to play with focus/unfocused or bouquet. Even at F4 everything looks more or less in focus.
Maybe I'm too demanding, or maybe I got a bad copy. But this lens is not the one for me.


Aug 5, 2006
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ibwild511
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Registered: Aug 2, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 17
Review Date: Aug 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: A great daytime blend of AF, IS, very useful range, and relatively light weight.
Cons:
The aperture just doesn't open as wide as I need. The zoom ring feels a bit sticky at time, and the front element picks up a lot of dust.

Overall, I cannot complain about this lens; it has treated me well. It is a very practical daytime walk-around, especially if you only want to cary one lens. The build quality, though decent, falls short a little bit, especially in the zoom and focus rings. IS is a wonder, and has spoilt me in terms of my future purchases. Overall, the right first lens on a 20 or 30D.

All this, not to mention it looks pretty darn cool on the end of my camera; sleek contours and lots of P&S stumping switches.


Aug 2, 2006
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Budwise
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Registered: Jun 13, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 42
Review Date: Jul 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Sharp, IS, USM, Non Rotating Front Element, Smooth Zoom
Cons:
Price, Hood not included, a little slow for indoors

Upon entering the dSLR experience i first got a Tamron 18-200. Big mistake... So i sold it and got the 17-85 IS. WOW, im in love. I have had a little experience with L glass and i still love the 17-85. My dad and I took a trip to South Dakota, he took his 24-70L and 70-200 2.8L IS and i took my 50 1.8 and my 17-85. Lets just say he was impressed at the performance of the 17-85 even when compared to his heavy L's. As long as the Canon bodies support EF-S, i can say I dont see myself selling this lens anytime soon. Highly recommended.

Jul 27, 2006
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lordbeau
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Registered: Jul 24, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 24, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Strong build IS is successful Range is useful
Cons:
Not sharp Terrible CA and purple fringing Distortion

One of the biggest mistakes I made was to buy this lens when I got the 20D. It took me nearly two years to realise that the reason my pictures on the 20D were so lacking in sparkle comapared to the 300D (Digital Rebel) was the use of this lens. It makes you realise just how good the kit lens is. This lens by comparison is not sharp and very lacklustre in terms of results. The kit lens is clear, bright and colourful.

Here's my advice: DON'T!


Jul 24, 2006
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foodin65
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Registered: May 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Jul 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Love the range this lens offers. Great lens for hiking (which I do alot of) and a good lens for weddings (which I do a few of). Light weight. good price. Great IS!! Like that the front element does not rotate when focusing.
Cons:
The lens collects dust inside due to the zooming mechanism (don't know how to stop this or how to get the dust out). It's variable aperture, which isn't a fault, that's just how it was designed and I can't yet afford a constant aperture lens.

Most of my shots are outdoors while hiking all over the place so this lens does quite well and give me alot of useful focal length coverage.

The variable aperture does not usually bother me, only occationally when shooting portraits or at dusk.

The IS is wonderful. I think there should be some sort of government mandate requiring all lenses to be manufactured with it. Smile

The image quality is good as far as I can tell, but then again I have never shot with an L quality lens and don't own anythign better with which to comapare results.

The one major fault is with dust. Because I do most of my shooting outdoors, and alot in the desert, I seem to be having a dust problem. When zooming out the lens seems to suck dust into its insides. I don't know how to stop this or how to get it out (any suggestions would be great). I would prefer if this lens had internal zooming to go along with its internal focusing.

The auto focus is awesome. compared to another lens I own, (tameron 75-300mm) the AF on this lens totally blows it out of the water. Rarley misses focus (only in low light or on subjects with little or no contrast). Very silent and very fast.

I don't know what else to say about this lens I like it alot for a begginers lens, but I will soon be replacing it with a 24-105 F/4 because I want the constant aperture and will be moving to the FF 5D, so I will have the same Focal lengths.


Jul 19, 2006
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Dixcee
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Registered: Jun 2, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Jul 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: This is a great 'walk-around' lens. The 5:1 zoom range is one of the broadest available. Image quality is very good and the IS is a life-saver. The F4 - 5.6 aperture isn't really a limit as you can 'up' the ISO or use flash in low-light. Overall handling is quite comfortable.
Cons:
To be fussy - maybe size when extended to 85mm and the weight - it would be nice if lighter,, but neither are a problem.



Jul 14, 2006
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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 572663 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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