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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Canon 18-55 IS kit lens vs. 17-85 f4-5.6 feedback
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11/05/2013 02:01:38 PM · #1
I'm thinking about moving on from the kit lens and and looking for anyone who may have experience with both lenses. Does the 17-85 offer any better quality than the 18-55, or is it just an upgrade in reach? Any other reasonably priced (cheap)/decent quality lenses that you'd consider an upgrade from the 18-55 kit lens?

Thanks in advance

//www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/351548-USA/Canon_9517A002BA_EF_S_17_85mm_f_4_5_6_IS.html

11/05/2013 02:12:32 PM · #2
Look into the Tamron 18-270 zoom. It will take care of 90%+ of most needs.
11/05/2013 02:40:23 PM · #3
what is the upper limit of cheap/decent, and are you willing to buy used gear with cosmetic damage?
11/05/2013 03:05:53 PM · #4
It's sharper than the kit lens. I felt the difference and was much happier. It's obviously not competing with the big bucks stuff but I felt it was an upgrade for me (maybe I'm easily pleased)

I bought it second hand and missed the fact that there was some internal damage. It was extremely soft on the left hand upper corner at 17mm (I'm embarrassed to say I didn't notice for days). I was discussing this with a camera shop owner and he admitted there were plenty of damaged 17-85s floating about in the market for some weird reason.

Message edited by author 2013-11-05 15:11:10.
11/05/2013 03:12:35 PM · #5
Originally posted by Cory:

what is the upper limit of cheap/decent, and are you willing to buy used gear with cosmetic damage?


$400ish, and will consider used with mild cosmetic imperfections. B&H has the lens used for about $250, which is about half price from new, which seems odd to me. They go about $230 on eBay. I don't often see lenses depreciated that much, so it got me to wondering if the lens was an overall dud, even though the reviews seem positive. I'm still in the contemplative stage, and not necessarily ready to jump right now.

Message edited by author 2013-11-05 15:13:15.
11/05/2013 03:20:12 PM · #6
I have survived for over 4 years with just a nifty fifty and a 17-85 lens. The 17-85 is quite a useful lens and with the right lighting conditions produces superb image quality. I have had to have mine repaired twice and I am sure there must be a fault with these lenses as I have read numerous reports of the same fault occurring on others. Sorry, I can't remember the exact fault but I am sure a quick google search would bring it up. For the price you can pick it up for it isn't a bad lens if you do not have any problems with it. I am probably not the best person to give advice as I have no experience of any other lenses apart from the 3 I own. I would definitely miss not having the 17-85 lens in my bag.

Just to add that this photo was taken with the 17-85 and I really like this photo:)

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Message edited by author 2013-11-05 15:21:22.
11/05/2013 03:35:35 PM · #7
Originally posted by P-A-U-L:

I have survived for over 4 years with just a nifty fifty and a 17-85 lens. The 17-85 is quite a useful lens and with the right lighting conditions produces superb image quality. I have had to have mine repaired twice and I am sure there must be a fault with these lenses as I have read numerous reports of the same fault occurring on others. Sorry, I can't remember the exact fault but I am sure a quick google search would bring it up. For the price you can pick it up for it isn't a bad lens if you do not have any problems with it. I am probably not the best person to give advice as I have no experience of any other lenses apart from the 3 I own. I would definitely miss not having the 17-85 lens in my bag.

Just to add that this photo was taken with the 17-85 and I really like this photo:)

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If I were to buy the 17-85, would animals stop running away from me when I point a camera at them? : - )
11/05/2013 03:37:32 PM · #8
Lol, no you need to wear the sheep or cow costumes for that:)
11/05/2013 03:41:04 PM · #9
Originally posted by larryslights:

Originally posted by P-A-U-L:

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If I were to buy the 17-85, would animals stop running away from me when I point a camera at them? : - )

Based on this evidence I think you need to worry more about the animals running over you ... :-)
11/06/2013 02:08:17 AM · #10
Originally posted by larryslights:

Originally posted by Cory:

what is the upper limit of cheap/decent, and are you willing to buy used gear with cosmetic damage?


$400ish, and will consider used with mild cosmetic imperfections. B&H has the lens used for about $250, which is about half price from new, which seems odd to me. They go about $230 on eBay. I don't often see lenses depreciated that much, so it got me to wondering if the lens was an overall dud, even though the reviews seem positive. I'm still in the contemplative stage, and not necessarily ready to jump right now.


The lens at it's best condition is remarkable but it needs a lot of patching up over the years even if you treat it with a lot of caution. I would be inclined to be believe the lens that's being sold at the cheap price has been to the shop for repairs a couple of times rather than there being anything wrong with the IQ. I would not recommend a 2nd hand buy for this lens.
11/06/2013 02:14:39 AM · #11
I'd say, if you're willing to buy used, look for a good deal on the 15-85... I really loved that lens, and miss it a great deal.... (I sold it with my 50D since neither my 1D nor 5D can use it)
11/06/2013 02:21:43 PM · #12
Thanks for the feedback. Maybe I'll just have to save a few more pennies and look at the 15-85. You've spooked me from the 17-85.
11/25/2013 03:31:33 PM · #13
Canon has the 15-85mm refurb for $544. //shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/lenses-flashes/refurbished-lenses/ef-s-15-85mm-f-35-56-is-usm-refurbished?WT.mc_id=C126149&afsrc=1

That's about $105 cheaper than new from reputable vendors. Has anyone done refurbs from Canon? Do I have anything to fear? It comes with a 1 year warranty, so I figure if anything is wrong, I just send it back. Right?
11/25/2013 03:39:23 PM · #14
Originally posted by LN13:

Canon has the 15-85mm refurb for $544. //shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/lenses-flashes/refurbished-lenses/ef-s-15-85mm-f-35-56-is-usm-refurbished?WT.mc_id=C126149&afsrc=1

That's about $105 cheaper than new from reputable vendors. Has anyone done refurbs from Canon? Do I have anything to fear? It comes with a 1 year warranty, so I figure if anything is wrong, I just send it back. Right?


Not only is the warranty fine - but the lens has now been hand-checked and tested. I think that's arguably better than new.
11/25/2013 03:54:00 PM · #15
Originally posted by Cory:



Not only is the warranty fine - but the lens has now been hand-checked and tested. I think that's arguably better than new.


Yeah I wouldn't worry about quality when getting a refurb company direct in the least.

In the future, if you're ever looking for used products, I'd strongly recommend KEH.com. They've been top notch in my dealings with them and have very conservative ratings (my "excellent" lens honestly had zero wear anywhere on it... case included it looked like it just came out of the box).
11/25/2013 07:35:56 PM · #16
Originally posted by LN13:

Any other reasonably priced (cheap)/decent quality lenses that you'd consider an upgrade from the 18-55 kit lens?

I upgraded from the 18-55 to a 17-85 I bought from ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/17203.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/17203.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Scalvert. A moderate but noticeable difference in image quality. My wife is still using the 17-85.

My most often used lens now is the EF-S 18-135, which is also a kit lens, but the one that comes with higher end cameras than the Rebel series. I think it is the kit lens on the 7D and 60D. Most of my photos these days are taken with it. I think it is a little sharper than the 17-85. Build quality is not as robust as the 17-85, but it's a great lens for a budget and I don't have to worry about babying it as it is easily replaced (I've taken it into a cloud of magenta cornstarch once). I paid $250 for mine in 2010 and just bought a second one for my daughter for $180. $250 seems to be the upper end of the price range for this lens now. At least where I live.
11/26/2013 12:46:01 PM · #17
After careful consideration, I finally ordered the 15-85mm refurbished from Canon. $577 after sales tax.
11/26/2013 01:15:13 PM · #18
Can't wait to hear your thoughts after a week of use. :)
12/05/2013 08:45:47 AM · #19
I bought the 15-85mm after recommendations on these forums... and I've never looked back. If I had to nit-pick.. I would say it's a little heavy.
12/05/2013 08:57:27 AM · #20
Mine arrived last Friday. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to use it yet, but the few shots I have taken, I think I'm going to like it. Shifty's right, the weight is going to take some getting used to. the 18-55 weighs 7.1oz. The 15-85, 20.3oz. But it feels really solid and not plasticy like the kit lens.

I think I'm going to be happy.
12/05/2013 09:42:17 AM · #21
Originally posted by LN13:

Mine arrived last Friday. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to use it yet, but the few shots I have taken, I think I'm going to like it. Shifty's right, the weight is going to take some getting used to. the 18-55 weighs 7.1oz. The 15-85, 20.3oz. But it feels really solid and not plasticy like the kit lens.

I think I'm going to be happy.


Hehe.. "heavy".. I don't consider any lens that can be lifted without another human's help 'heavy' anymore... :D
12/05/2013 10:19:05 AM · #22
That's because you have Python guns Cory....stop bragging. :=)
12/05/2013 11:08:49 AM · #23
Originally posted by Trotterjay:

That's because you have Python guns Cory....stop bragging. :=)


Hehe... In all seriousness, I often prefer my tiny S95 to my bigger gear - it gets old lugging around so much crap.
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