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View Poll Results: Is the Canon 15-85mm a good lens
It's excellent! 5 50.00%
It's good 5 50.00%
It's ok 0 0%
It's not very good 0 0%
It's awful! 0 0%
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Old Mar 27, 2011, 12:07 PM   #1
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Default Canon 15-85mm


I've had my Canon 550D for about 10 months now, and I absolutely love it. It is my first DSLR and I still use the 18-55 as my everyday lens.

I've been looking at the 15-85 to replace the 18-55 as a new everyday walk-about lens. Because i'm a student, and the price of the lens, I want to make sure it's definitely worth it to justify the money.

Does anyone have, or have experience using, the 15-85mm lens on the 550D body?
Is it much better than the 18-55 standard kit lens for things like image quality?
Does the USM motor make the focusing much faster?

Anymore advice or ideas would be really appreciated.
Phil Wright
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Canon EOS 550D ~ 18-55mm IS ~ 55-250mm IS ~ 430EXII
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Old Mar 27, 2011, 1:12 PM   #2
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I got this with my 60d and have wanted the lens since it came out. The reason? it is sharp at all apertures through the zoom range and handles flare well. And for a non-L the build is quite good, hefty and solid no zoom creep. I considered it and the 17-55 2.8 IS. They are both equally sharp through their shared zoom range, though as would be expected the larger aperture 2.8 can flare a bit more. I went with the 15-85 because I shoot more outdoor landscape/cityscapes where the extra width on the wide angle is useful, and I have some fast primes if I need low light. Both lenses are equally good and the best choice in consumer grade zooms in canon's lineup, just pick whichever one fills your needs most (if you need more range/wider angle, get the 15-85, if you need more speed for low-light, then the 17-55)
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Old Mar 27, 2011, 4:54 PM   #3
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the 18-135mm IS lens is not too too bad with a nice focal range
however i believe the reviews rate the quality under par with the lenses you mentioned
ive used a 28-135 for quite a while and it too was quite nice, only problem for me was lens creep
well the best thing is take your camera to a store and try them all out and see what yoiur comfortable with
i just got a 24-105mm and its a smooth lens
good luck
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Old Apr 4, 2011, 7:56 PM   #4
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I sold the old 17-85mm and bought the 15-85mm when it came out. A HUGE improvement and very sharp at all points. Distortion at 15mm is much better than expected, too. It's pricier, but rugged, and well-worth it IMHO. I rate it just a step below excellent.
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Old Apr 4, 2011, 9:26 PM   #5
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I have the 15-85mm lens, and it is a great lens. I rated it excellent- because for what it is (a variable aperture, nonL, EF-S lens) - I believe it is closer to 'excellent' than just 'good'.

The 15-85mm lens is my main lens on my Canon 7D, but I've also used it on my first DSLR (Canon 350D) - and it performs very well on both. I have no doubt it will do well on your Canon 550D.

Initally when I bought my Canon 350D, I had the kit lens (non IS 18-55mm) - which can be quite decent stopped down. But the 15-85 is better (sharper, more vivid colours, superior micro contrast).

USM focussing is the way to go. Much faster, but also more accurate (particularly in low light situations). The 15-85mm IS is great, I consistently get 4 stops hand-holding advantage (I can't compare it to the 18-55mm IS as I have the older /non-IS version).

The build quality of the 15-85mm is great, 2 decent steps up from the 18-55mm. I have a good copy of the Canon 28-135mm. But the 15-85mm is one step up again from the 28-135mm both in terms of image quality and build quality.

The 15-85mm is not quite as good as my Canon 70-300mm L nor the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro in terms of image quality, and certainly the L has again superior build quality.

However the 15-85mm is my 'go to lens' for general photography. It has great range (I found the 18-55mm range too limiting - particularly on the tele range). The 15-85mm is generally very sharp corner to corner at nearly all focal lengths and where it is not 'very sharp' it's 'sharp enough'. Handles flare well.

Hope you'll do well with your decision. Let us know - and share some photos!


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Old Apr 4, 2011, 11:54 PM   #6
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I talked to a Canon engineer at a show recently, and he told me that had Canon designated any of their EF-S lenses as "L" the 15-85 would probably have been the first to receive it. Other than the variable aperture I rate this lens as good on my 7D as my 24-105L is on my 5D. And that's excellent.
Canon 5D & 7D (both gripped), 24-105L, 100-400L, EF-S 15-85, 50 f1.8, Tamron 28-75, Sigma 12-24, G10, A1+10 FD lenses, tripods, lights etc
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