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

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251 574284 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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tlgordo
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Registered: Jan 29, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent zoom range with digital camera. Great walk-around lens. Image stabilization allows for low light shooting. My pictures have been sharp and contrasty.
Cons:
Price is a bit high but better when you purchase with camera. Canon is gouging us for convenience. It's a little soft wide open, but so is the 17-40 and look what it costs.

I debated and researched a long time before choosing this lens with the 20D. Thus far, I have been happy with my purchase. It may be a bit soft wide open, but so is the 17-40, and it's even more expensive. It is a trade-off for the convenience of being able to carry one good walk-around lens vs several. It's hard to find a wide angle that isn't a bit soft or doesn't distort images. I also considered the 28-135, but I wanted the wide angle coverage. I think these two lenses are very similar in terms of quality. Alas, the 17-85mm is about the best solution for the money. It's true that Canon is gouging us a bit for convenience. I wish this lens was a little faster, but Image Stabilization helps compensate for that. I must have a good copy of this lens because my pictures have been sharp and contrasty. I will couple this lens with the 70-200L and a good, fast standard lens. Let's face it, if I were rich, I'd buy only L lenses, but even then I'd have a hard time packing them around in certain situations. I like having a walk-around lens and I think this one is pretty decent for the money.

Jan 30, 2005
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Photo_lc
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Registered: Jan 4, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jan 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $575.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Very convenient zoom range. Good build-quality. Compact in size. Fast focus. Very useful IS function. Good sharpness at f/8.
Cons:
Can't Canon make a f/4.5 at 85mm? Soft (although better than 18-55mm) wide open.

I purchased this lens with my new 20D. I did take it with me in my Bahama vacation. Over all, I feel that this lens has a very convenient zoom range. Its IS feature made me shoot at 1/20 with acceptable sharpness under low light. When shooting under bright sunny light or bright shaded areas, this lens performs as well as L lens in sharpness. Distortion is not too bad either. Plus it has fast focus speed. So this is one of the best candidates for "vacation" uses. I also took my 50mm 1.8 prime. The results are: all pictures taken from 50mm were noticeably better than this 17-85mm took in same conditions. But the difference is much less under brighter light than under low lights, which is to my expectation.

However, if you are willing to carry two lenses (assume no children), theTamron 17-35mm and Tamron 28-75mm combination easily blow this lens away! Therefore, if you would like the convenience and do not often edit/crop/enlarge your photos, I would strongly recommend this lens. The photos from this lens generally look very good with 4X6 size. But if you often look at the details of your digital photos (view them at 100%), you will very often be unsatisfied with the photo quality. I passed this lens to my father who is using digital rebel. I am holding the Canon 17-40mm and Tamron 28-75mm (for this range).


Jan 27, 2005
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Ric Grupe
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Registered: Jan 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 43
Review Date: Jan 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $599.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fits the 20D like a glove. If you could afford only one lens...this would be it. Solid feel and stiff zoom (much to my liking).
Cons:
Not quite as good as the 17-40L. That extra reach makes it more useable for me.



Jan 24, 2005
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CanonB
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Registered: Jan 6, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 5
Review Date: Jan 19, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Range, IS, Size
Cons:
CA, soft between 17-35, price

I returned this lens after only 1 day. I think its too soft from 17 to 35mm. Its also only F4 wide open.

For 100$ more, you can get the 17-40L.


Jan 19, 2005
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ezzard_s
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Registered: Dec 2, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jan 17, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Offers good balance on camera and fit in Canon's pouch with body. Mine is a good copy and I like the picture quality, flare is minimal.
Cons:
Light flare at 17mm when shot in bright sun light.

Purchased as a kit with 20D and love the convinence of not having to change lens too often. Also have 70-200 f4, makes a good package.

Jan 17, 2005
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Wai288
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Registered: Jan 4, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 9
Review Date: Jan 17, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Size,IS,Range
Cons:
lack of shapness

Had a hard time trying to buy a 20D body only,so i could buy this lens,so brought a 20D with kit lens 18-55 and brought 17-85, what a big mistake should have tried the kit lens first, its the same shapness as the 17-85.

Now sold the 17-85 and brought a 50mm f1.4,this is very sharp,will also save up for 24-70.



Jan 17, 2005
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POAH
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Registered: Jan 12, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 215
Review Date: Jan 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: very good range, IS, nice balance with 20D
Cons:
price, only f4 when wide open, does seem to be a lack of sharpness with my lens even when using a tripod compared to my 18-55 EFS

Without really thinking I bought this lens as part of the 20D kit. with hindsight I would have bought the 18-55 kit and bought the sigma 70-200 f2.8 (well I just have). for the price your paying it's not worth it. ok it's got IS and it is a nice lens just not worth £400 UK. knock £100 off the price and its worth it. having used the 18-55 on a 300D I liked it so would use it again

Jan 13, 2005
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craig360
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Registered: Sep 19, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 374
Review Date: Jan 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $599.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Perfect walk around lens at a low weight and reasonably good image quality. Great for snapshots or travel/vacations.
Cons:
Critical sharpness isn't there but that is what primes are for anyway.

For what this lens is, a walk around digital version of the 28-135, it is a great lens. It is on my 20D most of the time when it is just laying around or in the bag. Great for a multitude of images and unless you are printing over 8x10 you won't see much difference between this and primes. Does exhibit a good amount of CA in extreme lighting.

Jan 11, 2005
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alfred08
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Registered: Dec 28, 2004
Location: France
Posts: 2
Review Date: Dec 28, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, IS, range
Cons:
price ?

Great lens, IS works good. The range is super and AF very fast.

Dec 28, 2004
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kandoro
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Registered: Oct 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 14
Review Date: Dec 19, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent range for the APS-C size sensors...It exhibits more resolution than either my Canon 24-85 or 28-135 IS used on a 20D...The IS is a godsend in low light situtations...They say there is no substitute for a fast lens but I'll take the extra 3 stop IS anyday...
Cons:
Shows a little more CA than 24-85 and 28-135 when wide open...Also even with the IS it would have been nice so see a 3.5-4.5 aperture...

I find this lens to be a super value...The USM is lightning fast and the IS functions flawlessly...Overall, it's the perfect walk around lens for a 20D...I tried the Sigma 18-125, 18-50 f/2.8 and sent them back...I also tried a Tamron 28-75 but got another bad one as usual..The Canon 17-85 IS is at the top of the consumer line walk around lenses...

Dec 19, 2004
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Zane Yau
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Registered: May 30, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 3142
Review Date: Dec 9, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Lightweight and compact (compare it with 28-135IS), good range, IS, build quality (same material as my 16-35, strangely, different material/shine to the 20D as they came out together), perfect Canon lens for walk around with a 20D, good general purpose lens, close up ability.
Cons:
Expensive. Price matches L glass (close to), but quality doesn't. Sharpness and bokeh is acceptable but not exceptional (compared with a similarly priced 17-40L), Sigma has and Tamron will have a better range walk around lens.

The following was originally an answer to a thread, but let's not waste it:

I had my 28-135IS and 24-85 for a long time. I once used these two as a walk around lens as they are compact, especially the 24-85. But the 24-85 on 20D (or previously my 300D) is kind of long (38-135) and I was missing the wide angle when I walk around with just one lens. Even missed more wide angle on the 28-135 (44-210).

I always had in mind that I would get myself the 70-200 and 100-400 zooms and other nice glasses for serious shooting, but then get a lightweight simple superzoom for walkaround. Before I purchase all these nice glasses (back then when I only had my 28-135 and 24-85), I bought myself a Sigma 18-125. I had the 18-125 for 3 days and it was returned to Adorama. It's got AF problem at the tele-end of the zoom. I asked for a refund rather than a replacement because I didn't like the 18-125 that much. It was my first Sigma lens and I see it (correctly or not) as a more inferior lens.

Then I had a chance to use my friend's Tamron 28-75 which made me thought about the Tamron 18-200 superzoom which is due to come out next Spring (Northern hemisphere). I set my mind on 18-200 and told myself that I am waiting to see this lens. I was aware of the existence of other possible walk around lens and they are the EFS17-85 and the expensive 28-300 IS L.but I ruled them out because:

1. For the 17-85IS, it's an EFS lens and I always think that EFS dont keep their value and it's quite short (= 28-135, which I have), comparing with Sigma and Tamron. I know that it's going to be a quality lens as I had used my 28-135 for the last 2 years as my major general purpose lens when I was using film. But I said nah, it's EFS, and it's expensive, could nearly get a 17-40 for that money.

2. For the 28-300 L, it's expensive. But I thought, ok, I am going to get the 70-200 and 100-400 and they are also expensive and I can actually get the 28-300 and forget about these two zooms. Use the 28-300 and the 16-35 as walk around. When I calm down, I realised that it is against my initial wish of having a lightweight walkaround lens. I won't walk around with this large zoom.

I went to Hong Kong few weeks ago, a trip which allowed me to buy all the lenses I wanted. I bought the 16-35, 70-200 and the 100-400 and a 20D for my friend here in Australia. The salesperson said 20D is running out and he was only willing to sell the 20D + 17-85 as a kit. He told me to get the 20D for the friend and keep the 17-85. He would sell the 17-85 to me for about 20% less than the normal retail price. I said 'nah', it's not worth the money. I went away and for the next few days, I was walking around Hong Kong with a 16-35 and 70-200 for no serious photography. I found that they are so bloody heavy to carry around and secondly one is too short, the other is too long as a walkaround lens for quick snapshots. I also needed something to take to China for a 3 day business trip. I didn't want to carry this combo again as the main purpose of that trip is to meet my clients and I didnt want my clients to see all my camera gears (by the way, I am a lawyer). I felt that I really needed a walk around lens and the Tamron was (and is) still unavailable. I finally decided to go back to that shop and got a 20D for my friend and the 17-85IS for myself at 20% less than the retail price.

I've been quite happy with this lens so far. No, it's not the sharpest lens, it's bokeh is not as nice as my other L lenses. It hasn't got the tele-ability I required. But I found that:

1. It's light enough to carry around with a 20D;
2. Its image quality is acceptable;
3. Backlight shooting is good, flare well controlled;
4. acceptable sharpness;
5. acceptable bokeh;
6. Fulfills 85% of my shooting requirements when I just 'walk around'
7. Increases photo opportunity as it's capable of shooting in low light: approx 50-70% success rate when I shot between 1/8s to 1s (with some support for my body, like a wall). The IS works.
8. Familiar Canon design, material, fast and silent USM etc

No more thinking of Tamron 18-200.


Dec 9, 2004
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rd4tile
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Registered: Mar 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2220
Review Date: Nov 26, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $540.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: RANGE, RANGE, RANGE! IS, image quality, build, AF speed
Cons:
Price, ef-s bodies only, not an f2.8 lens

This is simply the best street zoom for 1.6X crop bodies IMHO. It has excellent image quality across it's range, 90-95% of the image quality of the 17-40L at 17mm (mostly due to slightly less sharpness at the corners). Through the rest of the zoom range I found it to be a bit sharper than the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 and equal to my Tamron 28-75 (of which I have an extremely sharp copy). My 17-85 is also better across the board than the 18-55 kit lens and the Sigma 18-125. The AF is fast with the 20D in spite of it not being an f2.8 lens, speed was comparable to the 17-40L. For ultimate image quality I'll stick to the primes, but this lens is great for everything else. Solid, heavy build. I think this lens will be a great bargain when it's price hits the $450-$475 range in the meantime if you want this range I don't think there's a substitute out there so I can live with the cost.

Nov 26, 2004
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ibizargak
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Registered: Nov 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Nov 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $549.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Zoom range, image stabilization.
Cons:
Price. And, it's heavy.

I've had a lot more time to evaluate this lense. It is a heavy bit of glass to throw on the dRebel, though I don't know what others may think of that. It may be a bit much for you 300D users. I haven't yet found anything so great about it, other than the good zoom range. My first impressions of IS is that a wider apererature is a better bet. The IS is a funny, uncontrollable servant that just seems to kick in when it wants to. It has good clarity, but not great. I haven't had any photos taken with it so far that make me swoon as the cheap little f/1.8 50mm has caused. Color is good but that is an easy matter to control with parameters. This thing is freakin' heavy. AF is fast but not I think lightening fast. The IS is always moving things around, sometimes not the way I want. I really do think a faster lens is a better idea rather than the IS. Of course this lens is better than the 18-55 kit lens, but I can't really say it's 6x times better, that's the price you'll pay. All in all, I would say this lens is twice as good as the kit lens. I agree with those who say this lens should be on a par price-wise as the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, at around $400 it is a good buy, but reaching up to 500-600? I don't thing it's a good buy, I feel as though Canon is gouging this 1.6 crop factor market for all it's worth.

I feel as though I am stuck with this lens ...it's frustrating and unpleasant. This is not a pro-lens, no way. I shot the heck out of Thanksgiving at my home with a lot of guests and the lens just was no way fast enough, I just don't think you can cover this zoom range with this low aperature and no pro-flash going on. So even at ISO 800 and above, it's just a get-lucky kind of shot deal. Nature stuff, it's not really, really sharp even stopped down and with the IS off, mirror lock on, etc. Here it is 10x better than the kit lens but still not sharp enough to be called remarkable. And the slowness of the lens, is a major stricture.

Reasonable clarity. Good color. Heavy even 'massive' lens. IS is just pretty much gimmick stuff unless your are riding in a boat or car, or don't see the need to steady yourself, at least at this focal range, I think it's malarky. I am not really happy with this lens and I am one of those people who tries to be happy with what they got. At this price, I must recommend not buying this lens.

I have some 100% crops on file at

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/sdbennett/1855/17-85_18-55.html

that may help you a bit please don't hesitate to contact me if you are considering spending a lot of savings on this lens.

I am stuck with this lens because I put every penny into it. Saved 2 months I don't think it's worth it but what can you do at this crop factor?

Maybe, if like me, your wife is never, ever going to let you get another lens, this zoom factor would decide you and you'll settle for the middling quality of the images. That's what I'm a gonna do.






Nov 24, 2004
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ltravieso
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Registered: Feb 1, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 13
Review Date: Nov 19, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $569.00 | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: Zoom Range
Cons:
High CA, lack of sharpness on the borders, pricey and no lens shade included.

I had to return this lens to the dealer. At 17mm f11 it had no sharpness
on the borders, more to the right than to the left. The CA was also very
noticeable. After doing some test at 35mm to 85mm the lens gets better,and it is acceptable but from 17mm to 24mm it just unacceptable
specially for a lens of this price.


Nov 19, 2004
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deevee
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Registered: Mar 12, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 367
Review Date: Nov 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: nice build, not L like but good enough; nice focal range, fast USM almost as sharp as 17-40 L IS is handy at 85mm
Cons:
no hood included some purple fringing if shot against bright background zoom not as smooth as old manual FD or L lenses

i shot w this lens and the venerable 17-40mm L w my 20d and found no discernible differences; if inspected closely and at 100% mag, side by side, the L may edge out slightly. Colors and contrast are as good as the L. Some pics may display purple fringing where the bright background meets the darker foreground but may not show up on prints; the zooming mechanism is not as smooth as the L; again here the build is good but not quite solid as the L .The IS is welcome at longer focal , it gives you that extra EV or 2.
So conclusion: i always wanted a walkaround lens good for most subjects. This lens is the answer. Price is a bit high for a non L but quality is almost L like. Canon could have included a hood at that price :-((
The verdict: My L will have to go since it's been nice but the range is too short for being on cam most of the time, especially at the long end
If you're like me, do a lot of hiking fotography and need to carry light, don't hesitate to check this one out. Its perfect companion would be the 10-22m at wide, and the 75-300mm DO lens at tele. All you need is those 3 lenses. L or not, this lens is good enough for most people.
Cheers,


Nov 18, 2004
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Carsten
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Registered: Jul 15, 2003
Location: Sweden
Posts: 32
Review Date: Nov 15, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Sharp,IS and zoom range
Cons:
Purple fringing is terrible at wide angle and light background

I΄m not going to keep this lens. It΄s not worth the money.

Nov 15, 2004
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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 574284 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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