Canon EF-s 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Last updated (18 May’10):
- Review & Sample Photos @ CameraLabs

Canon EF-s 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM features Compact and lightweight standard zoom lens specifically for digital SLR’s that accept EF-S lenses, 5x zoom ratio, mage Stabilizer gives the equivalent effect of a shutter speed three stops faster, Inner focusing, ring USM and new AF algorithms for fast and quiet autofocusing, Double-sided, aspherical lens element (GMo) for high image quality at all focal lengths, Optimized lens coating minimising flare and ghosting prone occurring with digital cameras, Minimum focusing distance of 0.35m at all focal lengths, and Circular aperture for beautiful out-of-focus images.

Canon EF-s 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

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

CameraLabs reviews the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens and writes:
“Ultimately if you can accept its optical issues and the fact it will only ever work on EF-S compatible bodies, there’s a lot going for the Canon 17-85mm. It’s far from perfect and arguably over-priced, but none-the-less remains one of the best general purpose lenses for owners of Canon EF-S compatible bodies; as such it misses out on our top rating, but still comes Recommended.”

Rating: ★★★½☆

Photozone reviews the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens and writes:
“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…. 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. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

Photodo reviews the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens and writes:
“The Image Stabilisation system is a boon in low lighting conditions and made pictures in those situations quite viable. For owners of the cameras that the lens will fit, it is a good addition to the camera bag. “
Rating: N/A

DigitalMediaThougths reviews the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens and writes:
“Although expensive, the 17-85mm EF-S lens offers a lot to the photographer who is looking for a good all-rounder. The use of image stabilisation will help in lowish light conditions when you don’t have a tripod, or the time to set one up. Auto-focussing on the lens is fast and quiet. There is a lot of competition out there but this lens offers a 5x zoom range that is hard to beat.”
Rating: N/A

Luminous-Landscape reviews the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens and writes:
” It is small and light, and when combine with its IS capability and you have a lens that at the equivalent of 28-135mm, is about as close to an ideal walk-around lens as one could want. Oh yes, did I say that the image quality was high?”
Rating: N/A

The-digital-picture reviews the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens and writes;
“There is a huge range of subject matter that fits nicely in this focal length range. And in addition to being relatively small and light, the 17-85′s image quality is quite good. The Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens is a lens I would recommend for many situations. “
Rating: N/A

VirtualTraveller reviews the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens and writes:
“I imagine the Canon 16-35 f2.8L lens would produce sharper wall shots. But it lacks IS, is big and heavy and costs more than twice as much as the 17-85. I suspect in my hands it wouldn’t produce better real world shots. “
Rating: N/A compares Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens to Canon EF 17-40mm F/4L and writes;
“My basic recommendation is this. If you shoot for a living, get the 17-40L, it is optically superior. Going down one stop, you will have tack sharp images from edge to edge with controlled CA. However, if you are looking for a fantastic walkaround/vacation lens with excellent reach, usable low light (through IS) and very good optics but can live with some softness at the corners/edges and some CA, then the 17-85 is it.”
Rating: N/A

User Opinions

Canon EF-s 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM User Reviews

The lens that should have been included, | Rating: ★★★★★
“This lens was originally part of the 40D kit. I don’t know why, but now the cheaply made, overall useless 28-135 mm lens is the only lens you can find in the kit. You are better off buying the body only then purchasing this lens. Remember that the 40D has a crop factor of 1.6 – meaning that you have to multiply your lens by 1.6 – so a 28-135 is actually a 45-216 mm lens. Nice on the zoom part – awful on the other! This lens is equivalent to a 28-136 mm lens – a perfect overall size. Picture being in a 12×12 foot room. With this lens you can shoot a small group. With the other lens (46mm equiv.) you have to climb a chair and stretch – and miss most of the group anyway. Seriously. I’ve been there. “ – by Richard C. Drew

Good medium grade lens | Rating: ★★★★☆
“Bought the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 lens to use as a general purpose lens on my Canon 40D. Overall I am pleased with the quality of the optics. It’s not a “L” lens so don’t expect it to perform like one. One complaint I have is that the zoom ring feels a little loose and wobbly. However the focus ring is tight and precise. “ – by MadMax

Great upgrade for your kit lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“Read the reviews of all the professionals and see for yourself. I’m an amateur and cannot operate all those photography terms, but I can see the huge difference in the quality of the pictures from my kit lens. It is a little bit heavy and big, but the quality worth it.” – by Been-there,done-that “A picky buyer”

Great images, great versatility | Rating: ★★★★☆
“The Canon EF-S 17-85mm zoom lens is a great alternative to the 18-55mm kit lens. I use it on a Canon EOS Rebel XTi. It produces higher quality images and the greater zoom range is very handy. The auto-focus is very accurate and it’s easy to manual focus as well. The image stabilization circuitry is great: I’ve shot pix from a moving cable car in San Francisco, panned, caught birds in flight, and captured moving surfers — all without shake or blur. The 17-85mm zoom range (27-135mm on a camera with an APS-C sensor like the Rebel I use) gives you everything from wide-angle to medium telephoto in one lens. There are a lot of great photos to be captured within that zoom range. And you can capture them without carrying multiple lenses. In the high-priced world of camera lenses, it’s a relative bargain, too.” – by A. Broughton

great lens | Rating: ★★★★☆
“I bought this lens in July 08. It stays on my 40d about 80% of the time. Only problem i have had, it seems to be a bit soft at f4 and 5.6. But it is sharp as a tack at f11. Maybe my copy is a bit off, but other than that I love it. “ – by J. Lewis

Great Lens ! | Rating: ★★★★★
“This lens is a great lens not only because it is extremely versatile in its range going from a wide angle to a telephoto but also because I found the quality of the pictures that I got from it to be excellent.The Image Stabilizer is a good tool to have in situations where there is not a lot of light.You can drop your shutter speed down,have enough light for a good exposure, and not have an out of focus picture. I would highly recommend this lens. I have a 70-200 L series Canon lens that I am very happy with because of it’s high optic quality, but I have no problem at all, and all the confidence in the world using this “S” series lens in any situation that I feel to be appropriate at the time. “ – by Leslie Kasen “Les”

Much better quality than the default lens | Rating: ★★★★★
“I purhcased this lens to replace the one that came with my EOS 30D camera, and I was indeed impressed with the significant improvement of picture quality. I made my purchase based on others’ reviews and they were indeed accurate and helpful. This lens definitely worths keeping as the new default lens for my 30D. I am not a professional and was only trying to shoot sharper and more color-rich images of my kids and landscapes, and it seemed I did reach my goal with this lens. “ – by Steve S. Yang

Great all-around lens! | Rating: ★★★★★
“This has been one of those lenses that stays attached to my Canon 40D almost 90% of the time. Takes sharp pictures and does a good job eliminating camera shake. USM adds great focus ability and really fast. Nice hefty and solid feel to it without being so heavy that it hurts your hands/wrists after a few hundred shots.” – by FrequentBuyer “Amazonaholic”

More user opinions | Write your opinion

Features & Specifications

Canon EF-s 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Specifications

Equivalent to a 28-135mm lens, this new EF-S lens brings true wide-angle to tele coverage to EOS 20D and Digital Rebel shooters. It has Canon’s Image Stabilization system, allowing safe hand-holding at speeds up to three stops slower than otherwise possible. And of course, it’s optically optimized for digital SLRs. A ring-type USM means both fast and silent AF, as well as full-time manual focus when in the AF mode.


* Compact, lightweight design with a 5x zoom ratio — 28 to 135mm equivalent
* Excellent optical quality: Aspheric element with two Aspherical surfaces utilized
* Close-focusing to 1.15 feet — at 135mm, fills the frame with subject 3 x 4.4 inches
* Ring-type Ultrasonic motor for superior AF performance; allows full-time MF
* Image Stabilization extends the lens’s usefulness in low-light levels
* Circular aperture design — natural highlights, even stopped down two stops
* Non-rotating front element; lens length does not change during zooming
* EF-S lens mount — exclusively for EOS 20D and Digital Rebel bodies

See also: Canon Lenses | Lens Reviews

Share your photos with our readers, make your own profile page, create blog, get unlimited storage for your photos, discuss photography equipment & techniques by joining our photo community

Subscribe for our latest updates sent to your e-mail (no spam)

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

RSS feed | Trackback URI

Comments »

No posts yet.

Have Your Say

Your Comment may not appear immediately due to moderation
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your Comment.