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

Review Date: Apr 27, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: I have had this lens for just over 5 years now and generally I have been happy with the image quality of the photographs that I have taken with it. It may not be the sharpest or fastest lens around, but it has been a handy walkabout lens and I have found it very useful for landscape and wildlife photography.
My main criticism of this lens is the build quality; it does not feel particularly robust and suffers from extremely bad lens creep, which has worsened over the years to the point that if you tilt it a few degrees forward, it will fully extend to 85mm unless you are keeping a firm grip on the zoom ring. Furthermore, after just 5 years of use it has now developed an issue with the autofocus mechanism that produces an 'Err 99' message on the camera body (in this case a 450D) when auto-focusing at certain focal lengths. I find this particularly disappointing as the lens itself has been well taken care of and has not seen extensive use. There seems to be quite a few cases of this issue occurring reported online, which seems to be related to the overextension of an internal flex cable that becomes damaged over time. Canon will fix this problem, but will charge a fee for doing so. I have also raised the issue with Canon who say that this fault is not very common, even though a quick search of Internet forums suggests otherwise, and they will refuse to repair it under warranty. To summarise, I think this is a good lens, with a useful focal range that I have been pleased with over the last 5 years, only let down by disappointing build quality issues.