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Old Mar 11, 2007, 2:03 PM   #1
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I am thinking of buying the 400D (XTi) and I already have two lenses - 28 - 80 (cheap plastic tat with an old EOS 500) and a 75 -300 lens. What I am looking for is a really good value lens to get the low wide angle. Is the EFS 17-85 IS one to be looking at, or is there something even better I should be considering?
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 2:37 PM   #2
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dumfriesdick wrote:
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... What I am looking for is a really good value lens to get the low wide angle. Is the EFS 17-85 IS one to be looking at, or is there something even better I should be considering?
The kit lens comes for almost free and @ 18-55mm replaces your 28-80 with the crop factor which is no longer that useful...
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Old Mar 12, 2007, 3:04 AM   #3
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so, if i can, the 17 - 85 would be a much better lense than the standard kit one (18- 55)?
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Old Mar 12, 2007, 4:21 AM   #4
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The 17-85 is a better lens than the 18-55 in a number of ways:

1. Bigger range.
2. Much faster and quieter focus.
3. Image Stabilisation.
4. Slightly better sharpness over most of the range (the 18-55 is actually fairly sharp).
5. Significantly better build quality (not as good as L quality though).

The wider range though does have some necessary trade-offs:
1. Marginally more barrel distortion at the wide end.
2. Some reports of slighly worse CA at the wide end (though I personally have not found this to be an issue.)

There are a wide variety of non-Canon lenses now that are possible alternatives to the 17-85 however.

There is no real way of saying one of them is the BEST lens, as every one has its trade-offs, so depending on the type of photography one likes one of those other lenses may be better than the 17-85 for that individual.

I do think that the 17-85 is a very good all-rounder and would likely buy it again.

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Old Mar 13, 2007, 11:45 PM   #5
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I've had a lot of experience with both lenses. In the end, I would pick the 17-85 over the kit lens. It's almost better in every way possible. The only downside (that bothers me, anyway) is the barrel distortion at 17mm, which is very noticeable (the kit lens has very little distortion at 18mm in comparison). But I still believe it's better than the kit lens when it comes to a general purpose lens.
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Old Jun 7, 2007, 3:22 AM   #6
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The 17-85 is a great general purpose lens. The Barrel distortion is very strong, but is onlyannoying for architecture shots.

The long end of 85mm is a bit soft, but can makes good portrait.

A close up lens works fine on it, to turn it into a macro lens for a cheap price, but makes the focusing distance from the subject not very flexible, better get a real macro lens.

I recommend you always step down 1 stop when using this lens at all focal length, I see clear improvement on image quality, even if IQ wide open is fine too.

All in all it's a very convenient and recommended general purpose lens, but if you know mostly what you plan to use it for, like you stated, (mostly for thewide angle) so for landscapes, architecturethere might be better alternatives like the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L (Better IQ, and half the barrel distortion, L grade lens) and cover the longer range with your other lens.

There is no IS on the 17-40L,and its about 650$ vs. about 500$ for the 17-85 IS
IS is convenient, can shoot handheldup to 1/4 sec and get a sharp shot.

I haven't found the longer focal range of the 17-85 very useful, it's not zooming that much... and the zoom range you would lose with the 17-40L would often mean walking about 1-2 step forward. Anyway the sharpness of the long end of 17-85 for lets say a close up animal in a zoo, or close large birds, don't feel sharp enough for me (even with photoshop sharpening)
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