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

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251 572992 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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Sundor_Gayak
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Registered: Jan 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, nice color balance, and very nice range. Futhermore, it's light and compact compared to my L lenses. A perfect, all around travel lens.
Cons:
The build quality is lacking. The lens has a rather unsubstantial, plasticky feel to it, and I'm not completely confident it would hold up in difficult conditions. There is noticable softness in the corners with some CA in certain situations.

I must say I am somewhat surprised at those who have commented that this lens is soft. I simply haven't had any issues in this regard, and as a rule I am very picky. The results from my lens have been excellent so far. I am used to my 24-70mm L and 17-40mm, and I've seen little difference from these optics in everyday shooting. I was looking for this lens to underperform, and it's excellent performance simply shocked me. Furthermore, I was expecting to stop the lens down to f8-11 for acceptable results, but this hasn't been necessary, as I'm shooting wide open quite often, with more than adequate results. The IS feature on this lens is excellent, having obtained excellent results at 1/8 and 85mm. However, one should not expect tack sharp results in these conditions, IS is superb, not miraculous. That said, shooting at 2 stops below 1/focal length will result in consistent, critically sharp images, when carefully taken. I have consistently seen CA with this lens, which I've seldom noticed with my 24-70mm, so this is a negative for me (shooting in raw does not make them miraculously disappear, as some have suggested). Finally, $600 is unecessarily steep for this lens, considering the build quality, and I think if it was priced in the $450-500 range, it would be a better value. However, I would recommend this lens without reservations. I've used this lens for a few images in my gallery.

Apr 22, 2005
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chinks
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Registered: Jun 18, 2004
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 266
Review Date: Apr 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $565.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, contrasty, great colour. Superb zoom range.
Cons:
A little overpriced.

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. The IS, of course, is also most welcome especially for all the lower light shots. If you're wondering if IS is even useful at 85mm, then ask yourself if you need it at 135mm on a film body. Some may not... but I certainly do.

Qualitywise there's really no complaints. Good sharpness, great contrast and colour. Build is solid and though the lens extends on zooming it's nothing worse than it's predecessor on the film cameras.

Price??? Hmmm, even at $50 less I'd call it value, because it does have IS and gives good results overall. But currently may be a tad pricey.



Apr 21, 2005
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Hammerli
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Registered: Apr 17, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1914
Review Date: Apr 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $535.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, range, weight
Cons:
No hood included, EF-S mount

Bought this with a 350 for my Fiance. I've found the lens to be pretty good when evaluated fairly. It seems many of the negative reviews of this lens suggest getting the 24-70 or 16-35. That's flawed thinking; they aren't in the same market(weight, cost, loss of range).

I don't find the loss in sharpness or contrast so noticeable, but then again I'm going off prints, not viewing my monitor at 600%, which doesn't seem to be the norm.

The IS at the wide end allows for some really long shutter speeds.

This lens is an excellent compromise. If you compare it to a $1200 constant 2.8 lens of course it isn't going to come out on top. But what it is is a reasonably priced lens that covers a nice focal range and performs pretty darn good, and is much more comfortable to carry around all day on a 350 than a L on a brick.


Apr 20, 2005
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jazzy17
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Registered: Apr 3, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 102
Review Date: Apr 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Brilliant walkaround lens with good range minimises lens changes (good for macro, landscape, portraits). Made for the 1.6 crop cameras. Works well with ETTL. Relatively light. IS.
Cons:
Price and only EF-S. Some CA and distortion when blowing pictures in print to larger than A4 size.

Yes the picture quality isn't perfect but hey have you heard how many people have had trouble with the similar focal range L lenses?! And they cost at least double the price of this lens.

I have used this lens for indoor low light (has to be with a flash - unfortunately) and for outdoor, available light work. I cannot complain about this lens too much at all. It has served me well over the last few months. A wider aperture would have been nice for indoor and better bokeh but hey we can't have everything in a zoom. Outdoor this lens can do portraits, macro, landscape (but not as good as specific wide lens), candids with great success. I have had my outdoor candids from a parade used by a local newspaper and projected on display in the town centre by the local authorities.

The price is a tad expensive but I feel that you are paying for the handy IS that helps a little with the shortcomings of not having a great aperture range.

This is definately not a pro lens. If you are an amateur getting into Digital SLR or heading towards semi-pro, this is a great EF-S all rounder. As for "not being able to use it on the pro Canon cameras in future" argument - do you really see yourself using an non L lens (regardless of it being EF or EF-S) on such an expensive full frame slr anyway?

Conclusion: good all rounder that would save an amateur the price of two separate 17-35/40 and 24/28 - 70 lenses and the lens changes between shots.


Apr 13, 2005
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bolling
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Registered: Jul 15, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 96
Review Date: Apr 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $535.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: I think this lens is getting a bad rap. It is not an L lens and people compare it to the 17-40L which is in the same ballpark pricewise but although it may produce slightly better pictures it does not have the range and does not have IS so I do not even get the comparison. The 17-85 can't really be compared to any other lens because there is no other lens with this range and IS for the Rebels and 10 and 20D. I think it is a great lens just for it's usefulness and quality. I think it takes great pictures and I do prefer Canon brand lenses. I have not done critical lens testing procedures on it and don't care to but it takes great real world pictures.
Cons:
I hate it when a lens does not include the lens hood. As with every piece of equipment I buy, I think it should be cheaper.



Apr 9, 2005
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jcharlesholt
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Registered: Mar 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 152
Review Date: Apr 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $549.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great range, certainly the most versatile in Canon's lineup. Good build quality.
Cons:
Heavy due to the IS. Suspectible to chromatic aberration at the wide end.

I had heard all of the negative things about this lens before I bought it. Knowing how picky photographers tend to be, I decided to give it a shot anyway. Well, everything they're saying is true. This lens does suffer from CA, and is not as sharp as an L lens. But guess what: It's NOT an L lens. If it was, it'd cost $2,000.

The IS on this lens works well. The range, as far as I can tell, is unmatched by any other lens out there when it comes to wide angle. If you're going on a vacation where you're likely to be taking photos both indoors and out, in locations where flash and tripods are not permitted (for example, every single tourist spot ever created), then this lens is your best choice, unless you don't mind carrying and swapping out extra lenses.

If you're expecting the kind of sharpness you get from a prime lens or one of Canon's L lenses, then forget it. It's sharper than the kit lens (18-55), and produces a nice 8x10 print, but it isn't going to please people who've been afflicted with L-itis.

Chromatic aberration, particularly purple fringing, can be problematic at the wider end, and is even visible on an 8x10 print in extreme conditions (such as dark branches against a light sky). But CA can appear on any lens, and the only way to minimize it is to pay more for specially designed or treated optics. And, once again, the CA isn't much worse than you'd get from the kit lens. Of course the kit lens is a fraction of the cost, but it doesn't have nearly the range, nor does it have IS.

Taking into account the range of the lens, the build quality of the lens, and particularly the Image Stabilization (which generally adds several hundred dollars to the price of a lens), the pricing of this lens falls into line with the rest of Canon's offerings. It may not offer the quality that people want from a $550 lens, but they're forgetting just how versatile this lens is designed to be. This lens isn't a deal, but it isn't the overpriced piece of junk that others are making it out to be either.

If you want razor sharpness and minimal CA, then go with multiple prime or L lenses. If you don't have the kind of money that this requires, or want the ability to not have to keep swapping your lenses to avoid missing shots, then this lens is really your only option. Be thankful Canon offers it.





Apr 7, 2005
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Michael-M
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Registered: Apr 21, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 2698
Review Date: Apr 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: easily the best zoom for price/performance in the non L class EOS lens lineup. build quality is excellent, IS is awesome to use.
Cons:
none

i bought this with my new 20D as the dealer was willing to make me a deal to sell this as a kit............i did however test shoot with it against my 24-70.
at 17mm and wide open there is a slight amount of CA when viewing the images at 100%(pixel peeping). at a normal monitor sized view however it is an excellent image. stopped down 1-2 stops and CA is non exsistent.
shooting at any focal length with aperture set to f/5.6-f/8 and this lens will yield some of the sharpest pictures i've seen yet for a non L zoom.
indoors- shoot at f/5.6 and iso200-400 with the IS on and you will be amazed at just how fast this zoom allows focus(although more to do with the 20D) and blur free shots.
i had a 24-85 and 28-135 in the past and always hated the rediculous amount of lens wobble............with the 17-85, it's non existent. my 24-70 actually has more wobble (normal amount for this lens though).
there has been some bogus reviews for this lens and my guess is that these users are not understanding photography, but rather just want the lens that can deliver RaZoR sharp images with exact detail of a nat 100yds away......not gonna happen with a sensor size that this lens or any other EF lens is shot with. for that you need medium format cameras.
all in all, i am so delighted with the wieght and performance of this 17-85, 20D and 580EX, that i have sold my 24-70 and will never look back.


Apr 2, 2005
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Dr D
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Registered: Feb 22, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 492
Review Date: Mar 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, focal range
Cons:
No lens hood

I got my lens for a steal off of the FM forums. A terrific walk around lens for the 20D. I had a 20-35 that I used to own and quality is comparable

On the PRO side:
-> Great focal range - I used to shoot either wide (20mm) or long (100-200mm) on film and rarely used a standard lens. I has forgotten how handy it is to have a lens that was neither too wide nor too long in the one package. Saves me changing lenses all the time.
-> IS. Need I say more? My first IS lens and I'm amazed at the ability to hand hold shots a few stops slower than I should be able to.

For the CONS:
-> No lens hood. Come on Canon, even Sigma can bundle a hood, why can't you?
-> Would prefer a constant length lens like my old 20-35mm. The number of times I've tried zooming against the glass protecting the exhibits in museums and bumped the lens is starting to get annoying. Again, a lens hood would help here...


Mar 30, 2005
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Speedi
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Registered: Mar 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $394.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very nice walk-around lens at a great price with Image Stabilization. My pictures are always sharp and the range from 17-85mm is a great plus.
Cons:
None

I replaced my 18-55mm Kit lens with this 17-85mm IS lens and think it's the best. I now keep the 17-85mm lens on the camera but am searching for the perfect telephoto lens. After about 1200 shots, it's still seeing pictures just as well as it was on day 1.

The build quality on this lens reminds me of a tank. It's rock-solid and I don't have to worry about it when I'm hauling it around in my bag. I can go from 17mm wide and zoom to 85mm in a snap. The motor is super quiet and focusing in quick.

Tx.
- Speedi


Mar 24, 2005
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chocy
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Registered: Mar 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 409
Review Date: Mar 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great Flexibility, Light, Love the IS. USM
Cons:
Noticable CA at corners. A little bit softer then L lense especially at corners

If you want wide end and the flexibility of walk around lense. There is no substitute!! It has a decent weight to it without being burdensome especially on 20D. It balances well and takes great pictures. There are some noticable CA in corners with high contrast but that is nothing ACR cannot fix (I shoot RAW only) Also sharpnese of the lense is also not necesarrily on par with more expensive zoom lenses (obviously) but also using USM in photoshop will compensate for this short coming. I am over all quite happy with the lense, IS is a life saver and USM focuses lightening quick. If these things I said describes your needs this lense is definitly is for you.

Mar 12, 2005
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radphoto
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Registered: Feb 5, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 9, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Image Stabilization, nice zoom range for a carry around lens. Build quality and operation is good.
Cons:
Images seem soft overall, even when using tripod with IS off. No lens hood.

After about 500 shots with this lens, I have to say I've been dissapointed in the results. I feel like I've given it a pretty fair shake, but I'm going to have to look for something else that seems to give me a sharper image. I don't have a lot of money for an L lens, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but I'm just not happy with this one.

Perhaps this one isn't the standard of what others have experienced, but mine is heading for eBay.


Mar 9, 2005
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Lalfer
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Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 542
Review Date: Mar 2, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: IS and range
Cons:
Price ,CA ,no hood only better than the 18-55 at 6 times the price....Sigma 18-125 better.

Lots of CA, not sharp......high price for a so so performer.

Mar 2, 2005
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Ironman43
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Registered: Jul 14, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 19
Review Date: Feb 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $599.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Focal length range and weight makes for a good walk around lens. The IS helps to offset the somewhat slow performance. The AF is very fast. Build quality is on a par with the 28-135mm IS.
Cons:
Cost.

This was just the walk around lens I'd been looking for. I've got great copies of both the 16-35mmL and 24-70mmL, however both have their limitations for portable, all-purpose applications. For me, 35mm was just not long enough, while the weight of the 24-70mm just made carrying a camera during a week-long vacation miserable. In my opinion, the image quality delivered by the 17-85mm is very good - both at the long and wide ends. For the uses I've targeted this lens for, it peforms as needed.

Feb 21, 2005
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santos
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Registered: Feb 18, 2004
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 17356
Review Date: Feb 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Most practical range, excellent image and build quality, IS
Cons:
Some CA under critical light conditions, expensive

I traded my EF 17-40 f/4 for this lens and never looked back after that. The EF-S 17-85 IS is a very solid, all-around performer with excellent build quality; it is pleasantly small and light given its extended range. Image quality is very good; there is some CA under extreme lighting, but so did my 17-40mm, though to a lesser extent. The range of this lens is impressive and useful virtually everywhere. The IS is a godsend, for instance in dimly lit interiors such as churches, where flash light should not be used, or even landscapes, where lowest ISO and great depth are desirable. IS goes a long, long way towards making up for the slow maximum aperture of the lens.

Feb 13, 2005
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kunze
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Registered: Feb 11, 2005
Location: Denmark
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 11, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Good range from 17 to 85. Image Stabilizer actually works. Practical size. Full-time MF.
Cons:
Build quality. Apeature 4-5.6. Rather expensive.

I think the price is too high, compared to, that you would propably be more satisfied paying a little less for e.g. the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 which has superb build quality, smaller size, equally good AF - but unfortunately less zoom.

I believe 4-5.6 is not good enough on a lense like this.

The AF works fine, but like any other lense, it might not always work under low-light conditions.

The IS works fine, but it had been better to have a better larger apeature and no IS.

Between 70 and 85mm, nothing really happens. So to me it seems that this is more like a 17-70 than 17-85.

The build-quality is not good IMO. Wriggle the zoom-ring forward and backwards (not the way it's turning) and it will move a little bit, which leaves a feeling of something which is not as good as it should be. I may be a naive perfectionist trying to compare a 900$ lense to my 6.000$ wristwatch (Prices in Denmark), but still... When Sigma can make a lense with excellent build-quality at a lower price, then i expect Canon to do the same.

I'm going to sell this lense ASAP and get a 24-70mm 2.8L instead.
I do not recommend this 17-85 from Canon. Try to find another one that will suit your needs for an all-round mid-range zoom lense.

- S.H. Kunze


Feb 11, 2005
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rosyb
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Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Convenient walk-around lens. Great zoom range for digital. IS makes this a faster lens. Sharp pics with little flare, minimal abberations.
Cons:
The lens could be faster, but IS helps. The lens is fine but is somewhat overpriced. Then again, I'd spend this much or more on two lenses to match the same zoom range.

My pics have been sharp; color and contrast have been good. I've been pleased with the results from this lens, even in some difficult situations (icestorm/snow/sun). IS seems to work well in low light, although it would be nice if this lens was faster. I think that the lens is a little overpriced for this range, and it's not an "L" lens. On the other hand, it's about the best walk-around that Canon offers for digitals. The wide angle always costs more, and now it's a necessity with digital. I think this lens sometimes gets a worse review than it deserves because it's pricey. In my opinion, it's as good or better than the 28-135, which has always been held in pretty good esteem. If you have a lot of money and don't mind carrying around a bag full of lenses, go for the "L" series. If you're on a moderate budget and don't want to carry several lenses, this is a great choice.

Jan 30, 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 572992 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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