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

Canon Standard Zoom Lens

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

Rating Summary for the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens
Construction:
70/100
Price Rating:
85/100
Image Quality:
80/100
Overall Score:
82/100
This is an "B-" Quality Lens

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Lens Tech Specs

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture:

17 - 85mm; f/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

Lens Review

The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens is now one of the kit lenses that Canon offers with their fairly new Canon 30D Digital SLR body. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens was originally introduced to take the place of the other popular kit lens which is the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens had an amazingly convenient zoom range which will cover most everyday shooting. I am sure you are anxious to hear about this thing, so let’s get this thing going with the basics.

The subject distance scale comes standard on the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens, which I wish was present on every Canon lens. This allows you to gauge (to a degree) how close you are to the subject you are shooting.

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens comes standard with the powerful ring type USM (Ultrasonic Motor) drive which enables you to have lightning fast focusing, with a silent motor so you don’t scare away the wildlife. It also helps to be able to focus quickly and accurately when you don’t think conditions will permit.

The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens comes standard with both AF (autofocus) and MF (manual focus) modes. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens also has Full-Time Manual Focusing which enables the photographer to focus manually even when the autofocus mode is turned on. You simply set the camera to ONE SHOT AF mode and then press the shutter button down halfway. While you have the shutter button down halfway you may turn the focus ring to focus manually. Having this function on the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens will help new users avoid stripping their focus rings while doing manual focusing in and autofocus mode.

The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens also includes what is commonly termed “IS” or “Image Stabilizer”, which is a fairly new technology (within the last few years) Canon developed. Canon’s Image Stabilizer allows a photographer to take “hand-held” shots in almost any environment, well at least where you never thought you could take them before. The Canon Image Stabilizer on the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens will allow you to shoot wildlife at the 135mm focal length on a cloudy day at 100 ISO and produce a great in-focus image. You may also have the ability to take a shot late in the evening at a shutter speed of 1/8 sec (depending on available natural light of course) to produce a clear image. Canon advertises the Canon Image Stabilizer having the ability to take a handheld shot at 3 stops less than you standard “non-IS” lens would be able to do. This particular image stabilizer mode on the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens will possibly malfunction on a tripod and so it is not recommended for such use, because it is designed to reduced camera shake. The Canon image stabilizer (IS) technology is designed to eliminate or significantly reduce camera shake which is caused by the photographer on hand-held shots typically slower than a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second. The Canon image stabilizer (IS) technology is generally ideal for still life (stationary subjects) photography, subjects at dusk or indoors (dimly lit), museums and other places where flash photography is not permitted and any other situation where subjects cannot be captured with a faster shutter speed. The Canon image stabilizer (IS) function will not freeze motion. It is designed to reduce camera shake, not subject movement. The Canon image stabilizer (IS) technology is amazing though and that is why it has become so desired among photographers. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens comes with this technology which is a huge bonus to the overall value of Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens.

The image quality produced by the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens is much better than the lens it replaces the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM lens. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens is a little soft wide open at f/4, but does an excellent job at f/5.6 and at f/8. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens starts to get a little soft at f/11, which you can see consistently with most lenses. The only focal length I found to be the opposite was when the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens was fully extended to 85mm it looked like at f/11 it was slightly sharper than at f/5.6. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens was sharpest throughout all tests at f/8, which is typically consistent with most lenses.

Now as far as chromatic aberrations are concerned, lets just say they are there. The nice purple bars will appear just about as easily as they did on the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM lens. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 USM lens is not the best that money can buy as so you will have to sacrifice some and that it just how the cookie crumbles.

All-in-all the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens is a great lens and you have great versatility with the focal lengths that it covers. You cannot expect to get the best of the best for the money you pay for this lens, but it is definitely an upgrade from the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM lens. You will be much happier with what you produce with this lens. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens a great lens for you beginners out there looking for a decent kit lens.

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