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

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251 571478 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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sendtofats
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Registered: Jun 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $579.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Image Stabilization works well, covers a wide range, great for a 'walkaround' lens, manageable size
Cons:

I was undecided which zoom to buy as a general walkaround lens the 17-85 IS USM or the 28-135 IS USM seemed to be the best options as far as bang for the buck and range.

I bought both to compare. I went with the 17-85 because of the wider angle as it made more sense for my type of applications.

I'm very happy with the lens and the quality.

I also bought a 28-70 f/2.8L USM in order to compare because it was so highly rated. It is larger, heavier, and much more bulky (especially with the hood). For my purposes, the 17-85 works out perfectly. There is definitely something great about the 'L' Lenses though, I might just end up keeping it.

If you are looking for a great lens to keep on your camera the majority of time, this 17-85 is an excellent option.


Jun 26, 2005
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Falconetti
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Registered: Jun 25, 2005
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Canon, good IS, 17-85 focal range,
Cons:
sometimes too dark, price

Another good answer from Canon, the 17-85 IS is very much the equivalent to the 28-135 IS on EF-S mount EOS cameras. Good workhorse and all-round lens with it's large zoom range.


Jun 25, 2005
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terer
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Registered: May 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: sharp. light.
Cons:
body

I use this as my standard lens.

My only complaint is that after 4 weeks of heavy use I am starting to get dust inside the glass. I presume this is because the body does not have the seals (or the design) that a better quality lens would use to keep dust out.


Jun 24, 2005
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JGriff
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Registered: May 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 23, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $469.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great for low light situations.
Cons:
Expensive if you don't get it less than retail.

Just got this lens last night and tested it out around the house. I take a lot of pictures indoors and don't like to use flash. Until now I've used a 50mm f1.8 mkII for this. After using this lens I think the 50mm will be rarley used in the future. I got far sharper pictures and had a much more useable depth of focus. I took photos of trees against the sky and could find very little CA. I couldn't be happier with this lens, it gets results that are very close to what my 70-200 f4L gives me outdoors.

Jun 23, 2005
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Shonan
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Registered: Apr 5, 2005
Location: Japan
Posts: 120
Review Date: Jun 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Versatility, the focal length is perfect. IS is flawless Surprisingly good image quality Perfect walk around lense for 1.6 crop factor cameras
Cons:
Perceived as expensive.

This lens has had a rough start and a lot of bad reviews, primarily because of the price. I bought it as part of the kit with the 20D. I have probably taken upwards of 2000 photos with it. I have a number of other lenses, but this one is like it is magnetized to my camera. I like to use primes, but somehow, it always ends up attached to my len mount. It's versatility as a one lens solution/travel lens is unsurpassed. It is an almost perfect mate for the 20D which I think was introduced at about the same time. With the high ISO of the 20D, this combo can do almost anything. The 17-40 and 24-70 can't cut it for the focal lengths necessary to qualify as a travel lens, at least for me. If the 1.6 crop factor becomes a standard this will be a classic

Jun 13, 2005
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malsop
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Registered: Jun 8, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Good zoom range for most general shooting, reasonally sharp at most focal lengths and apertures
Cons:
Slow, IS causes autofocus to hunt at 17mm and 85mm, soft at 17mm, f/5.6

Using only unmodified raw files from the 20D I examined the results from 5 focal lengths (83mm, 50mm, 35mm, 24mm, 17mm) at 5 f-stops (f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22) in Photoshop CS. I shot the test in late afternoon daylight, no flash. I used ISO values ranging from 100 to 1600 as the aperture was reduced so that the shutter speed stayed above 1/5 sec. I was shooting off a good Manfroto tripod with a good Gitzo head. All frames were taken using the manual mode.

I had to turn off IS because autofocus would hunt continually at 85mm and 17mm. With IS off autofocus worked perfectly. I have had this problem with this lens from day one, handheld or on a tripod. IS/Autofocus seems to work fine together at the in-between focal lengths.

At the short focal lengths there is some color fringing, especially noticeable at 17mm in the corners and along the short sides. At 50mm and above there was no noticeable fringing and the in-between focal lengths were proportional between these two.

At 17mm there was a lot of softness at the edges when the center was in focus, even at smaller apertures. At max aperture for 17mm the whole image was quite soft but it sharpened up in the center by f/8.

All photos taken at 17mm show up as a 56mm focal length in the Metadata, other focal lengths are reported correctly.

I know that there is a natural problem that occurs as the aperture gets smaller than about f/22 (diffraction limit) but it seems to me that all of my lenses get a little soft (even the expensive L lenses) once the aperture goes below f/11 or f/16. This lens is no different, the images tend to look a bit softer at f/16 and smaller than they do at f/8... but this is nit-picking by comparison to the color finging and softness at 17mm.

Because of my experience with this lens I have only purchased prime lenses to fill out the needs I have encountered.


Jun 8, 2005
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jzalkin
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Registered: Mar 20, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 8
Review Date: Jun 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great walk-around/travel lens
Cons:
None found yet

Best lens with all the fetures needed in a travel lens. Size, IS, Quality.

Jun 2, 2005
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hunter3316
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Registered: Feb 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Review Date: May 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IS (can hand hold at even at 1sec shutter), Great range, Very close to L glass sharpness from 24-85mm, 17-24mm sharp in center. Color great. The best walk around lense available! BAR NONE!
Cons:
Not a fast lense, considerably heavier than the kit lense, CA very apparent at 17-20mm on the edge of the image, and also soft there (but still sharper than kit at 18mm)

The best walk-around lense available... I belive this would easly make an L lense IF the image was a bit sharper and lacked CA on the edges at 17-24mm. I consider this lense L quality from 24-85mm, and with IS to boot its awsome. FAR FAR FAR sharper than the kit lense (18-55mm). From 17-24 mm I concider this lense to be similar to the kit lense on the edges but sharper in the center than the kit lense at these focal distances. which means sharpness at 17mm is still better than the kit lense at 18mm. However, this lense has signifigant CA at the edges (not center) which the kit lense does not. Though what do you expect for such a large range (17-85mm). Show me a single lense that can do this range with out CA at wide open.. you can't, theres not one.

The lense I think while more than I wanted to spend is really not to bad of a price concidering it has IS and truly is sharp throughout the image at 24-85mm. The softness and CA at the edges at wideopen are a trade off for the large focal range. I love the IS and think it is very valuble despite the fact that its a wide anle lense. I can hand hold for over exposures over 1 sec, at 24-50mm. and get sharp pics ~65% of the time.

Of course if it was faster it would be that much nicer... but again, the compromize for the range... if you want dont want the range, than by the 17-40mm L. But I concider 40 to not be sufficent range for a multi purpose (walk-around) lense.... so until canon makes a 17-85mm f/2.8 IS that lacks CA and softness at the edges at wide open. This is the best there is for the focal range. Dont forget CA is easlily removed in PS.


May 24, 2005
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leoyong17
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Registered: May 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 21, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Good weight and balance. IS is useful under low light conditions
Cons:
Unacceptable distortion and severe CA on the edges from 17-50mm. Soft image all round. Expensive.

Made the mistake of upgrading to the 17-85mm when I purchased my 20D without first checking out reviews on the lens. After shooting for a week, I am terribly disappointed. CA and distortion is so bad at 17mm that it renders the lens worthless for landscapes of general outdoor shooting. Some CA is still visible at 70mm and is obviously more apparent at the edges when capturing higher contrast images.

I actually had my 20D swapped for a new one thinking that it was the chip on the camera that was to blame. Image is very soft at 17 to 35mm. That makes it worthless for even amateur landscape photography. Probably acceptble to use for general purpose photography when used in the telephoto mode.

The only redeeming feature of this lens is the IS. Despite the useful focal range, this lens is a major disappointment. I am now looking for something else to replace it.

Not recommended!


May 21, 2005
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tvalentin
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Registered: Dec 11, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 19
Review Date: May 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: I find it to be very sharp. Colors are deep, rich, saturated. A great carry-around lens.
Cons:
I guess the weight.

Yeah, it's way too expensive. I find that it really makes colors and sharpness snap in ways previous Canon lenses, used in the same situation, did not. I recently used it on the island of Nevis, basically repeating a trip I took there earlier with a Canon 18-55 and a 50mm 1.8. The 17-85 mm just made almost identical photos pop out with saturated colors and sharpness. I wasn't planning this trip to be any kind of comparison; it's just that when I later checked out my photos of almost identical subjects, the 17-85 looked so much more alive. I also noted that in the narrow overlap area (70--85 mm) it greatly outclassed the 75-300 IS Canon lens. Granted, that one isn't so great anyhow, but this one is just so superior. Can't imagine what other critics have found wrong with this thing. Other than speed and weight, it's just excellent.

May 18, 2005
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svx94
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Registered: Mar 25, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 657
Review Date: May 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $589.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Focus is dead-on, IS works beautifully, quiet, nice looking and nicely built. No glare.
Cons:
CA is the worst I've seen. Lack of the sharp feeling, the edge very fuzzy at 17mm, and still soft at F8-11. Distortion is very visible.

I first got a Sigma 18-50/2.8, and found out over half of the picture taken are out of focus. That lens is very nice otherwise, but I don't have time for the exchange, so I returned it and bought this 17-85 from a local store. This give me an opportunity to compare those two lenses.

Credit:
I like the focus 17-85, even in very dark situation. The focusing chart test always shows perfectly. I tried the AF assist light from the 20D on board flash. it worked as advertised. (I also found out that you can turn off the flash function but still use the AF assist light). It just seems the lens and the 20D work as ONE.

My copy doesn't vignette at all with regular UV on. If I put my thin heliopan c-pl filter on top of the UV, the upper corners will show some vignetting, which is fair to me.

The IS is my favorite part of this lens. I can shoot with 1/15s, sometimes 1/8s. This function improves my sucessful rate more than any other factors.

Glare is very well controlled.

Build is nicely done. The zoom is smoother than the Sigma, but has a bit plastic feel.

The downside is also significant:
Compare with the Sigma, the sharpness is not close, center or edge. The edge seems worse than my Nikon 4500 P/S.

The CA bothers me the most. It is visible everywhere if the background is bright enough, and I have no effective tools to remove it. I've never seen a lens that has worse CA than this.

Distortion is visible. But it can be fixed easily and nicely by PTLens. (I don't even need check the Vignette box in the tool). In that sense, the big tummy distortion won't bother me much.

Neutral:
The lens seems less contrasty than the Sigma. But because the lighting condition was different for the two testing, I can't tell you it is because of the lens. But Sigma produces brighter image overall.

Bokeh is not very graceful, but if I can avoid highlights in the background, it won't show up that bad.

The sweat spot of my copy seem to be F8-11 at all focal length. F16 is about the same as F5.6 in terms of sharpness.


May 16, 2005
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imeod
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Registered: May 13, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 35
Review Date: May 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $599.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, 17-85mm focal range, and small size for IS
Cons:
No hood, telescoping zoom

I decided to replace my 17-40mm with this one. I liked the lens build and quality of the 17-40mm, but the size, limited focal range, and f4 made me switch. I have no complaints yet, but I realy do miss the solid feel of the 17-40mm. I too am a L series snob and hate lenses with a telescoping zoom. I will use the 17-85mm as my everyday lens and will buy the 16-35mm when/if the price comes down.

May 13, 2005
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Schemeloong
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Registered: Apr 29, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 318
Review Date: May 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: IS, useful one lens zoom range.
Cons:
Pricey, apparent CA, small aperture, flimsy zoom mechanism.

Tried the lens with a 20D, like the zoom range very much but optically much inferior to the 17-40F4 L, wish Canon can add some UD elements to it and improve the optically quality then this lens will be a winner. Current price too steep for the quality (optical and mechanical). Would rather go for the 17-40 F4 L with better optics and full frame coverage.

May 4, 2005
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didierv
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Registered: Apr 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 315
Review Date: May 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $565.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent walkaround, will stay on my 20D 90%of the time. Sharp and fast lens. Image quality, though not L, far exceeds my kit lens. For a zoom with this kind of range quality is excellent and IS really works
Cons:
Price is a little steep, but you the 17-85 could replace 2 other zooms with less range, so in the end it's a good investment.



May 1, 2005
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csd2020
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Registered: Apr 27, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1005
Review Date: Apr 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, versatile, IS is wonderful
Cons:
No lens hood included

I have a 17-40L and a 70-200L. I was shopping for something in between (maybe 24-70L or Tamron 28-75) when salesman suggested trying the 17-85. I did and I'm glad. I have compared the 17-40 against the 17-85 extensively and get consistently sharper results from the 17-85. I'm sure IS is a factor since I shoot primarily handheld. I had become an L snob but no more. This lens effectively replaces the 17-40L and a standard zoom as well, making the price very reasonable in my book. I use this lens on a 20D and think it's the best all-around and most versatile lens available for this camera. It's not built like the L but still not bad.

Apr 29, 2005
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elopezso
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Registered: Apr 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $530.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Wonderful optics. IS works extremely well
Cons:
Price. No lens hood

Despite all the negative reviews, my experience with this lens has been wonderful. Yes, at 17mm, the pics are a little soft (but I borrowed the 17-40 and so was it at 17mm). Beginning at 24 and through 85mm, the pics are tack sharp.

I think folks have been too hard on this lens. The wide focal range makes it an ideal walk around lens which hardly comes off my camera!


Apr 26, 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 571478 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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