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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 574350 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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Keith Krueger
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Registered: Mar 25, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great range, IS, takes great pictures
Cons:
Barrel distortion at the wide end

I bought this lens 3 months ago when I got my Xti, which is my first dslr.

I was drawn to it because it had the most useful range of the lenses that I was looking at. I liked the fact that it had IS. Despite mixed reviews I saw a lot of very nice pictures taken with the lens. I couldn't justify the cost of L glass.

I'm very happy with it. It's a great all around lens. I live in the Seattle area and the IS comes in very handy when taking outdoor shots when it's overcast. It's very quiet and the auto focus is very fast. It has a very nice look and feel to it on my Xti and most importantly it takes very nice pictures.

The only real downside is the distortion at 17mm which can be pretty noticeable depending on the lines in the picture.

Every lens has it's pros and cons. For me the pros far outweigh the cons. It was the perfect upgrade for the kit lens.

Keith


Mar 25, 2007
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SamDCruz
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Registered: Mar 12, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 95
Review Date: Mar 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: IS, Range
Cons:
Build Quality

This lense has been an absolute gem for me.

I have used it over the last 3 months and made back mor than 8 times what I paid for it in the work I have done with it.

The IS is excellent and makes a huge difference especially useful photographing dim temples where I can even get away with 1/8sec at wide angle.

The range has been excellent however it would be useful if it had gone up to say 120mm.... but..... then I probably wouldn't have bought the Canon 70-200 F4 IS L lense which produced stunning quality.

If you can, then only buy the camera body and buy this lense to accompany it, it is well worth the money and a great lense to start off with. I'm tempted to upgrade to the 24-104L but then i lose my wide angle so for now this one is doing the job.

- Also build quality is terrible on this lense. In only a month of using it (alot though) the lesne got so loose that when it is pointing down it just slips to full telephoto very easily. I took it to canon in Bangkok where I was on an assignment and they took it, tightened it up, cleaned it and my camera body inside and out in less than 6 hours. Very good service.

However 6 weeks later it isnt as loose as it got before but it is certaininly looseneing up again. This deonst impair image quality at all it is just damn annoying and cheap feeling when using it.

Here are couple of shots i got in SE Asia with it

http://imagex.smugmug.com/gallery/2221325#135871509

http://imagex.smugmug.com/gallery/2221325#129173040

http://imagex.smugmug.com/gallery/2221325#135873503

Sam
www.imagex.co.uk



Mar 15, 2007
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phibes
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Registered: Jan 1, 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 142
Review Date: Mar 14, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: IS, center-sharpness ok
Cons:
feels cheap, heavy distortions and vignetting at wideangel, f5.6, should have been 17-200mm like the Nikon. No lenshood ... get the 17-40L instead.

while the range & IS is nice i dont really like this one, too many cons

Mar 14, 2007
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Aaron T
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Registered: Dec 12, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 31
Review Date: Feb 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fairly sharp (center), light, good solid build, very good IS, convenient Focal length, very queit and focuses very fast
Cons:
Should have included the lens hood, no case, vignetting wide open at 17mm, some CA but fixeable

Great lens for the price. Although I bought it used with a hood included, it would really suck to pay $30 for a peice of petal shaped plastic...Altogether the lens is great, it's a good walkaround. At super-wide angle, i don't suggest you take pictures of close objects (up to 4meters) as it will turn their slender faces into an inflated balloon. Too bad the f/4 turns to f/5.6 at around 30-50mm. Still sharp though. For the price, I'd say try it out at a store and see for yourself.

Feb 12, 2007
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Rixu
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Registered: Jan 16, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 10
Review Date: Feb 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $525.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IS, great range, like the look, sharp
Cons:
I like a lock on the lens so it doesnt move from 17mm to 85 when i move my cam.

Unless a lot of bad reviews i went for it, on the salesmans advice and a test. IS, range all the way from landscape to headshots.

Im happy with the results really. Maybe i have a good copy? because it is rated very bad in some cases. like sub average... well its perfect for me as a allround lens. Way better then the kit.


Feb 7, 2007
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Louis Simpson
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Registered: Dec 22, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 313
Review Date: Feb 2, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Decent AF, good focal length range
Cons:
Dust inside the lens, soft

I must admit this is the first Canon product I have ever been dissatisfied with.

I found this lens to be very soft. After a year of use I can honestly say that I didn't get but a few really crisp images out of it. Those images were at f8 and above.

My biggest problem was the dust that got inside the lens. Maybe all lenses get a little dust in them at some point and time, but not like this. At 17mm against a blue sky it was a big problem. No amount of PS was worth the time to fix that type of shot.

I'll pay to have it cleaned and then it will be sold.

I had high hopes for this lens when I bought it, but it let me down.


Feb 2, 2007
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ilind
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Registered: Aug 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jan 21, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Solid all-around lens.
Cons:

I commented positively on this lens some time back and continue to find it one of my most useful lenses. In terms of image quality, I would rate the Canon prime 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.8 higher, but for all around utility this is the lens I rely on.

I was out with some of our cats this morning and shot a series of photos, all with the 17-85. If you're interested, here's the link:

http://ilind.net/gallery_2007/cats012107


-Ian Lind, Kaaawa, Hawaii


Jan 21, 2007
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JL Spencer1
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Registered: Jan 19, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great zoom range, Very good image quality, good sharpness (yes, despite many reviews to the contrary) lightweight
Cons:
build quality ok, but is put to shame by stablemate EF-S 10-22 which appears to be an L lense in all but name and 'official' weatherproofing

despite reading a number of mixed reviews I have always been intrigued by this lense. I have recently taken the plunge, purchased and have been very pleasantly surprised by the results.

The lense is lightweight and, for it's functionality, reasonably compact. I have the ef-s 10-22 and build quality is not on a par with this, but perhaps not a fair comparison. The 17-85 is on a par with other Canon non-pro lenses in this area.

a well documented complaint has been sharpness, but I have seen no reason to complain here at all. Not on a par with L lenses, but neither should it be. Images are generally faithfully reproduced with good colour and contrast on both my 400d and 30d. chromatic abs and barrel distortion are present, but again not to any alarming degree and none that cannot be resolved easily in post processing. no vignetting without filter, awaiting deliver of adapter ring to use my circ pol, so no view as yet.

The IS feature is a great addition and very useful in those borderline situations where high ISO can degrade impact. No noticeable drop in battery life observed yet.

A great addition to your bag and an excellent choice for those upgrading from the 18-55 kit lense.


Jan 19, 2007
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SteveWang
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Registered: Jan 2, 2006
Location: Taiwan
Posts: 145
Review Date: Jan 19, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Image Stabilizer , zoom range
Cons:
to improve the mechanical, a lot of barrel distortion

It's very nice the Image Stabilizer for I have some age that need to reduce the hands shaking. But hope it has a better mechanical,and don't looks like more plastic surface.
my test shots....
http://myweb.hinet.net/home2/stevewang/TEMP/IMG_0054.jpg
http://myweb.hinet.net/home2/stevewang/TEMP/IMG_0053.jpg


Jan 19, 2007
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twin-pt
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Registered: Sep 10, 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jan 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great carry around lens. Excellent zoom range, it stays on my camera 90% of the time. IS is great!
Cons:
EF-S, but who cares? FF on the Rebel/x00D price range is still a long way ahead...

I’ve had this lens on an EOS Rebel/300D for more than a year now, couldn’t be much happier. It replaced my 18-55 from my 300D kit and I’ve never looked back!

No, it isn’t the perfect lens as it isn’t as fast as everyone would like, No, it isn’t build like a tank as the L’s lens but it’s the best carry around lens that one can buy for a Canon APS DSLR.

Its zoom range and last generation IS helps to get the picture that otherwise would probably miss. Its size and weight makes it portable on a day basis, so you can carry your gear with you most of the times that you wouldn’t do with a heavier gear.

Ok, someone could argue that the EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS USM (I haven’t used one) could be a better lens – I agree – but it cost twice as much, an it’s not as convenient zoom range wise. I've tested a friend's 28-135 IS and my 17-85 is much better, sharper and feels more solid (sample variation or I'm just lucky?).

For me is a keeper. And will make a long companion through my photographic outings.


Jan 1, 2007
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Tom M.
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Registered: Nov 5, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 31, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $450.00

 
Pros: Sharp, IS, Construction
Cons:
Distortion, Digital lens (not compatible with full frame)

I don't know why some people dislike this lens. You have to really understand what you're getting here. If you don't know much about digital photography then you're going to be unhappy with this lens. Likewise, if you don't do much low-light shooting, or don't often use filters, you'll also miss the value of this lens.

Most digital SLR cameras come with a comparable lens in terms of your zoom. You'll see "similar" images so most people don't understand why get another lens with the same range?

Well...first, the apertures are a bit different...you should have some larger ones. BUT the IS is the biggest thing and most important. Aside from better glass than the cheap kit lens.

The IS is extremely underrated. It's not just so you can take photographs inside without a flash or even with a flash but with better results (less blurry photos). The average user will think that's it's only use...granted it's a popular one.

However....if you are like me and like to stack filters then the use is infinitely greater than having a lens that opens up wider.

For example, I used a circular polarizer and enhancing filter to take a photo at ISO 100 on a sunny day an the exposure was 1/40th? I don't know, less than 1/60th of a second. What happened? PERFECT crystal clear crisp photo with wonderful colors because of the filters. This is something you would need a tripod for normally.

The thing is...I can stack filters and shoot outside in a bright sunny day and STILL get acceptable exposures...furthermore, I can shoot at lower ISO which always yields better photo quality. So because of all that, this lens is extremely valuable.

But it won't be valuable to someone who always shoots at ISO400 + and rarely uses filters.

It's just a matter of knowing how and when to use the lens. However, it is a terrific everyday walk around lens due to weight, zoom range, and IS.

Don't underestimate this lens.

The minor distortion...it happens, use software to correct. Happens with most lenses. But if you're using a non-full frame camera, you can sometimes avoid some distortion by using a lens made for a full-frame camera because you're not using all of the glass. Don't mistake other lenses like that for being better in quality...you just may not be seeing the imperfections yet until you jump to a 5D or something.


Dec 31, 2006
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seattlesteve
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Registered: Oct 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 248
Review Date: Dec 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good range on a 1.6 body, effective IS, appropriate pricing
Cons:
Build quality

This lens has great range and an effective IS system. It is a little on the slow side and the build could be better, but for the price you are getting a decent walk-around lens with good image quality.

Dec 13, 2006
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drumz0rz
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Registered: Dec 13, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $509.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Quality build, USM, IS, sharp photos
Cons:
heavy, corners show vignetting, AF in low light

I bought this lens with my 350D. It's served me very well for 6 months. The USM is very quiet and usually pretty accurate. It does struggle a bit in low light, it's easier to manually focus in that situation. IS is wonderful, I can get crisp shots sometimes up to 1/2 second. With the camera's built in flash, the lens will cause a shadow across the bottom of the image. Also, theres noticeable vignetting at higher focal lenghts.

Overall it's a great lens, well worth the money. It's does well for macro, portraits and landscape photos. A great all around lens.


Dec 13, 2006
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Scanor
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Registered: Oct 30, 2005
Location: Norway
Posts: 1
Review Date: Dec 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very versitile, tack sharp when stopped down, can be used for almost anything that does not require more than 85MM zoom. Ok build quality and the IS is very usefull indeed.
Cons:
For some reason Canon chooses not to include a lens hood.

I picked my copy of this lens up in Tokyo last summer and been using it stedly for 5 months now.

I have no negative experiance with it whatsoever. It preforms nicely as long as certain messures are taken.

I always stop it down to F7.1 or so. As long as I do that it works like a charm.
The pics are nice and sharp, although I miss some the crispnes I get from my 70-200 F4L. But then again the 17-85 IS is not an L-series lens and should not be treated or reviewed as one.

The IS has saved me more than once and I have no problem getting sharp shots down to 1/15 sec handhold. I have also got nightshots with it handhold without using a a flash.. Granted Tokyo and Las Vegas are well lit up at night..

The only thing I'm slightly enoyed with. Canon is that they don't include a lenshood. It's not more than about 20 USD in Tokyo, but hey...still I'd expect to get a lenshood when I purchase a lens..

Other than that like said, this lens preforms well for a non-L lens, and I have no problem recomending it.


Dec 13, 2006
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ralph m
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Registered: May 26, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 24
Review Date: Dec 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compared to the kit lens, better color, contrast, USM, very quite focus, IS is a big plus. Prices are coming down and it is on the current rebate list.
Cons:
On an XT, it is not a "small" lens. It is hefty and makes me think that the optional grib may be in order.

This is a very good step up from the 18-55 kit lens. It is my perception that the color and contrast are much improved over that lens. The IS is great as it is in all the other Canon lenses. Focus is fast and accurate. I have checked and I do not have any front or back focus issues. My lens appears to be right on. Like a lot of others, I spent a lot of time trying to decide on a kit upgrade. Since the 1970's I have never bought a third party lens and had misgivings about doing it now. I finally bought this one and am not sorry I did. I wanted the extra length that it affords and it is considerably less expensive than the L cousins or the newer 17-55 EFS. It is not a small lens on the XT. However, consider that in the past I carried about 5 lenses to cover this guy's range.. it ain't all that bad. It does have distortion at 17 to 24 but that is easily corrected. Even PS Elements 5 has that correction screen now. Like a lot of others, I have short spurts of travel and a lot of time for general photography... parties, anniversarys, weddings, etc. For me, this is a good choice. It covers a lot of bases, delivers a quality image at a decent price.

Dec 12, 2006
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didierv
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Registered: Apr 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 316
Review Date: Nov 26, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Extremly versatile, perfect range for 1.6 crop format
Cons:
not quite fast enough

I already reviewed this lens well over a year ago and gave it a 9.
I feel compelled to post another review now that I have used it extensively and put thousands and thousands of shots on it.

I do not understand why people trash this lens so much.
You read so much bad reviews on it, that I had convinced myself that I needed an upgrade and went and got the 24-105 L.
Well I kept the 24-105 exactly 2 days and returned it to keep the 17-85.
Yes the 24-105 was a little better, just a little better when I tested both of them wide open and looked at 100% crops. Other than that I could not tell the difference. May be I have a good copy of the 17-85 and had a bad one of the 24-105, but I did not want to try another copy of the 24-105, no matter how better it could have been, I felt the huge price difference could not possibly be justified.
Instead I got a 35 mm 2.0 and a 100 mm 2.8 macro, and kept over $400.00 in my pocket.

The 17-85 might not be the best lens out there but it really is a jack of all trades.Yes there are sharper lenses, there are faster lenses, but it still takes great pictures and unless you are a pixel peeper or an "L" snob I can't possibly see ant reasons to spend an enormous amount of money on an "L" zoom.
If you want fast lenses, great bokeh, sharper images; then I guess you've got get yourself some primes. As far as walk around zooms are concerned, the 17-85 will keep doing it for me.


Nov 26, 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 574350 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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