Canon EF-S 17-85mm F4-5.6 IS USM Review

General information

This is a zoom lens manufactured by Canon and the lens was released 2004.
The lens belongs to the category standard zoom lenses, a normal lens where you have the possibility to zoom in and out.

Product description from Canon

At launch 2004 Canon wrote this regarding Canon EF-S 17-85mm F4-5.6 IS USM :

"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 Canonīs Image Stabilization system, allowing safe hand-holding at speeds up to three stops slower than otherwise possible. And of course, itīs 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.

The Canon Zoom Lens EF-S17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is the ideal standard zoom lens companion for Canonís EOS 20D digital SLR camera, offering a 5x zoom ratio that enables broad shooting range from wide angle to telephoto. While offering a wide focal range equivalent to 27-136 mm in the 35 mm format, the lensís optical design capitalizes on the merits of the reduced image circle to realize a compact, lightweight body that is 4.8 mm shorter and 65 g lighter that the comparable EF-series lens. Moreover, the effective positioning of a double-sided glass-molded aspherical lens element ensures exceptional image quality throughout the zoom range. The lens incorporates Canonís high-performance Image Stabilizer (IS), which compensates for approximately three shutter speeds to allow the handheld capture of shots that would otherwise be blurred by camera shake. Other performance-enhancing features include a fulltime manual focus override, and a 0.35 m minimum focusing distance throughout the entire zoom range for close-up magnifications. The EF-S17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM zoom lens features an environmentally conscious design that anticipates the EUís Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) Directive, which is due to take effect from July 2006. The RoHS Directive requires the elimination* of lead, mercury, cadmium hexavelent chromium, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)."


Compatibility, autofocus and focal length

This lens is designed and meant for Canon cameras with a smaller sensor (often referred to as 'APS-C') which means that the lens does not fit all camera models. By clicking on the link below you can make sure that the lens works with your camera model and you should do an additional check with your local dealer as well, before you buy the lens just to be sure.

The ability to use autofocus is available for all cameras.

The lens has a focal length of 17-85 mm. Since the lens is designed to be used on a camera with smaller sensor ('APS-C') the focal length will be equivalent to 27-136 mm on your Canon camera.

Lens brightness and image stabilizer

The lens brightness and aperture value is f/4-5,6.

This lens is not considered to have a good aperture value and brightness. It is something to consider before you purchase the lens. To compensate for this you might, while photographing in less favorable light conditions, be forced to either use higher ISO settings (which generates more noise in the image), slower shutter speeds (which may give some motion blur) or flash lightning. Read more at the link below what lens brightness means to you as a photographer.

One thing to consider is that the lens has a variable brightness, which means that depending on how much you are zooming the lens will have a different maximum aperture value. At 17 mm the lens brightness is f/4 and at 85 mm the brightness is f/5,6. Through the link below you can read more about what this could mean for you as a photographer.

Inside the lens there is an image stabilizer, which helps to fend off possible movements and tremors. This is very positive and can be of great help in situations and conditions where the light is inadequate and not enough for decent shutter speeds.

Filter and Lens Hood

The lens has a traditional filter thread on the front and its measuring 67 mm which also the filter you will use must have. If you use for example an UV filter can be a cheap insurance against scratches and dust.

There is a lens hood that fits the lens (model name "EW-73B") but unfortunately this is something that is not included when purchasing the lens and must be ordered and bought separately, as an accessory.

Images of Canon EF-S 17-85mm F4-5.6 IS USM

In order to see larger product images of the lens, click the link below.

Things to consider before buying

Below you will find some summarized points and facts that can be considered as the 'pros and cons' of this lens. These are based entirely on the facts and values that are accessible through the lens specification, so we highly recommend that you also read the reported reviews available (see tab 'Reviews'); this in order to get a more complete view of the lens and its capabilities. Reviewer opinions reflect the lens, its use and its optical performance in a more accurate way, but any way - here a few different points to consider before buying this lens.

  • The price (more info)
  • A versatile lens for those who own their first DSLR camera
  • Has a built-in image stabilizer
  • Light weight (475 gr)
  • Works only on cameras with APS-C sensor
  • Poor aperture value with its f/5,6
  • A variable lens brightness at different focal lengths
  • No lens hood is included
  • The lens is not sealed against moisture and dust

Our Review Ratings

Time to grade Canon EF-S 17-85mm F4-5.6 IS USM .

Build Quality     
Image Quality     
Autofocus     
Sharpness     
Versatility     
Value     
Overall rating 3 of 5

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