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Gidders 11-11-06 13:59

Canon 17-85 IS USM
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When I was looking to move from a prosumer compact to a dSLR, like many it was a Canon/Nikon choice. My choice was driven largely by the lens which I expected to find on the camera for the majority of the time which was either going to be the Nikon 18-70 or this lens. I read the reviews and in terms of image quality there seemed to be very little in it, but the Canon had the benefit if IS so thats the route I went down. So having had the camera/lens for ~ 6 months what are my thoughts?

Well I like it a lot, and my experiences bear out the reviews that I read. It is not a L series lens but then its not L series price, but in many circumstances it performs nearly as well. Its at its best from about 30-85mm and like most lenses benefits from stopping down a couple of stops to f8/f11. Its weakest area is at maximum wide angle were is does exhibit some barrel distorsion and a little chromatic aberation and softness can be noticed in some circumstances. However if shooting in RAW this is easily removed if it occurs

Attached are two 100% crops of a shot that I took at 24mm. In the left had image the chromatic aberation is clearly visible down the back edge of the girls jeans and on both sides of the hrizontal bar on the stool. The right hand image is the same shot with some adjustment on the lens tab in camera raw and a modest unsharp mask applied.

All the recent posts in my gallery since April (except the Appleby Horse Fairs pics - 70-300 IS & Acer - Minolta A2) were shot with this lens and I think the shots of Holly and Rapids both shot at 1/13th hand held sec really show the benefits of the IS system.

From everything I've read this lens is a big improvement over the Canon 18-55mm kit lens. Check out which has both qualitative & quantitive tests and thier unique clickable interactive graphs of both the 17-85 IS and the 18-55 kit lenses. They have also tested the new 17-55mm f/2.8 IS which appears to offer superiour perfermance again, is faster, but is doesnt have the range and is about 300 more expensive. Other reviews are available on and

So would I recommend it? Yes. Would I buy the more expensive 17-55 f2.8 which appears to offer even sharper performance? I can't help feeling that I would end up swapping lenses more often but if starting from scratch, I might be tempted. I might even be tempted to upgrade if I could recover most of the purchase price of my 17-85, but them I'm also thinking of changing my 70-300 IS for the new 70-200 f4 L IS :D - now where that llottery ticket :rolleyes:

Moonlighter 19-03-09 23:37

Choosing the right lens is a real problem..

Rudra Sen 20-03-09 01:07


The right hand image is the same shot with some adjustment on the lens tab in camera raw and a modest unsharp mask applied.
Clive, what are the steps here?

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