Reviews and Problems with Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Showing 1-10 of 13
25 July 2011
Excerpt: The first step up Canon's ladder of standard zoom lenses, at least from the kit lens supplied with the 550D and 600D, is the EF-S 17-85mm. It's better built, with a much sturdier feel than the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens for those cameras.
Summary: The build quality of this lens is one of the major drawbacks. Border quality at the wide zoom range is another one. All-in-all, the lens tries to be a lot of things but fails in most of them. Considering that the lens produces mediocre results on the wide side of the focal length, why not to go with a more conservative zoom? The lens is still better then the standard Canon kit lens but not by much.
Conclusion: 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 stabilization, 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 ‘walkaround’ lens for Canon’s APS-C SLRs, which will cover the majority of photographic opportunities when traveling light.
Pros: Decent build quality - much better than any of Canon's 18-55mm kit lenses, Very useful focal length range, almost ideal for a walkaround lens, Highly effective image stabilization, Excellent autofocus and manual override, Consistently high image quality across almost all of the range
Cons: Poor performance at wideangle, with marked barrel distortion, high levels of light falloff, and intense green/magenta chromatic aberration, Slow maximum aperture, Very average close-up performance
Excerpt: Keep in mind that the 17-85 IS is an "EF-S" lens and only works on EF-S compatible Canon EOS bodies such as the **D and Digital Rebel / ***D Series. EF-S is Canon's moniker for Small Image Circle. The distance between the film (sensor) plane and the rear of the lens is shorter than in an EF lens. Many question the longevity of this standard.
Conclusion: I can’t help feeling that Canon have pushed the focal range a tad too far at the wide end of this optic because from the 20mm mark through to the 85mm end it is a cracking walkabout lens. It is only the widest few millimetres that let it down a touch. Having said that, with a little judicious work post processing images at that end, they are still very usable.
Pros: Excellent resolution holds up throughout the focal range., IS system helps a lot in low light., The lens makes a good replacement for kit lenses, The focal range ideal for a walkabout lens.
Cons: Distortion is bad at the widest settings and a little CA creeps in., Front lip is prone to damage., Hood is an optional extra.
Summary: In practice though, the Canon EF-S 17-85mm is a slightly mixed bag. On the upside,
the range is considerably more useful than the basic 3x of the 18-55mm, squeezing
in fractionally more at the wide angle end, and offering far more scope at the
telephoto. Now you really can get closer to subjects and produce decent-looking
portraits with a nice small depth of field.
Conclusion: I’m a bit confused when writing about this lens. I have to admit that I was thinking about buying this lens but only until we got the test results. Canon seems to use an odd kind of policy, (i.e., we will produce something good, but so that it is not too good we will make one of its characteristics flawed). So the lens has a weak aperture but still it is sizable. It is enough to compare the lens with the better aperture Sigmas 17-70 and 18-50 mm.
Cons: high level of chromatic aberration at 17 mm focal length, weak picture resolution at 17 mm at the edges of the frame, visible vignetting at 17 mm, very large distortion at 17 mm focal length, weak aperture
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 USM IS - Review / Test Report
21 August 2007
Conclusion: 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.
Conclusion: The Canon 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 corners are generally somewhat softer (but still acceptable).