Canon 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM EF-S Review Round-Up

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If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Get information and user reviews for this lens from Amazon: Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 Image Stabilized USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs

Photo Zone:

The EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 USM IS is a lens that promises many things. It is certainly a very versatile standard zoom with a long zoom range and an image stabilizer that can save the day in many situations. However, the build quality is somewhat disappointing and optically it is also something of a mixed bag. The lens is very sharp in the image center throughout the range but at the wide-end the extreme corners leave something to be desired. The 17mm setting also suffers from rather extreme distortions and rather hefty vignetting @ f/4. Finally chromatic aberrations aren’t really something to rave about either. So at the end of the day the lens is a tad better than the cheapo EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 but it can’t really compete with the new EF-S 18-55m f/3.5-5.6 IS or the EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L. The key feature of the EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 USM IS remains its versatility. While this may sound a little sceptical I should note that I preferred the lens compared to other higher quality options during testing – it is simply a darn convenient lens and despite the flaws it can produce very decent images as you can see from the samples – at least with a little tool support. READ FULL REVIEW

Other Canon 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM EF-S Reviews

SLR Gear

Overall, this lens is a nice performer, and the IS is a real boon for hand-held photography in uncertain lighting. As such, it deserves strong consideration for your main lens, if you’re buying a Rebel XT or EOS-20D, both of which are offered in bundles with this optic. If you have one of the original Rebels, this lens might be a nice upgrade for you, giving you a bit more range at the telephoto end and Canon’s very capable Image Stabilization at an affordable price. READ FULL REVIEW

Camera Labs

The most popular general-purpose Canon lens upgrade for 400D / XTi owners will undoubtedly be the EF-S 17-85mm. This lens primarily delivers a longer, more useful focal range than the kit lens while additionally boasting Image Stabilisation along with fast and quiet USM internal focusing. In terms of optical performance, it resolves comfortably greater detail and exhibits higher contrast than the kit lens, although light-fall off and geometric distortion are measurably worse. Light fall-off can be particularly noticeable in the corners of shots with blue skies and is the biggest issue with this lens. We also feel it’s priced a little high, especially considering its average focal ratio. That said, the EF-S 17-85mm still remains the best general-purpose upgrade lens from Canon for the 400D / XTi, with the key advantages of longer range, effective Image Stabilisation, higher resolution and superior focusing over the kit EF-S 18-55mm. READ FULL REVIEW

Digital Photography Review

The EF-S 17-85mm is a major step up from Canon’s EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 II kit lens, adding an extended focal length range, image stabilisation, fast and silent autofocus with a decent manual focus option, and substantially improved build quality. This makes it, at first sight at least, an ideal all-in-one “Ëśwalkaround’ lens for Canon’s APS-C SLRs, which will cover the majority of photographic opportunities when travelling light. And to a great extent it delivers on this potential, with good imaging performance over much of its range, especially in that extended telephoto region, plus effective image stabilisation which works as promised. But There’s no getting away from this lens’s Achilles’ Heel, which is comparatively poor optical performance at the wideangle end. Most intrusive is the green/magenta chromatic aberration at 17mm, which is highly visible in a wide variety of shooting situations. If you shoot primarily towards the telephoto end, this lens will reward you with excellent results, but if your interests tend more towards the wideangle end of the spectrum and you don’t want to shoot RAW, then it may well be a good idea to look away now. However overall it must be said this lens is really rather enjoyable to use; the zoom range is very flexible, the autofocus fast and silent, and the image stabilizer highly effective. So in balance its advantages probably outweigh its disadvantages, and despite its faults this lens is ultimately still one of our favourites for Canon’s APS-C dSLRs. READ FULL REVIEW

Pop Photo

With distortion under control, an IS system that delivers three extra stops of hand-holdable shutter speeds, excellent sharpness, and more, this lens will call out to any Digital Rebel or EOS 20D owner who can afford the price of admission. READ FULL REVIEW

Luminous Landscape

The 17-85mm f/4 – f.5.6 EFS IS lens turned out to a very usable lens – ideal for the kind of shooting that I was doing. On a 1.6X factor camera like the 20D it provides the equivalent of 28-135mm focal lengths. This covers the most common range used by most people. The lens’ Image Stabilization capability was appreciated, as always, even when shooting at wide angle settings. READ FULL REVIEW

Ken Rockwell

This is Canon’s best basic midrange digital zoom. It’s got great IS for sharp shots without a tripod. It’s super sharp, has great Image Stabilization, focuses almost instantly and is easy to use and carry. It’s a great lens! READ FULL REVIEW

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