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Lens review

2010-01-25
 

Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

11. Summary

Pros:
  • Universal focal lengths
  • Excellent image quality at the center of the frame, starting from the maximum aperture, at all focal lengths
  • Very good image quality at the edge of the frame
  • Chromatic aberration medium or small for most combinations of focal lengths and apertures
  • Coma smaller than in competitors
  • Small astigmatism
  • Quite good work against bright light
  • Fast, silent and accurate autofocus
  • Efficient image stabilization

Cons:

  • Large chromatic aberration at 15 mm and around the maximum aperture
  • Large distortion at the widest angle
  • Noticeable vignetting
  • Build quality at this price could be better
  • Poor standard equipment 

If you want to be mean, you can summarize this test in one sentence: “Oh, so it is possible!” That’s because you can now see what minimalism it was of Canon to release the 17-85 mm IS USM model, which right after its premiere was sold barely cheaper than now 15-85 mm. Back then, however, were no competitors and the company used it. Now there is and it turned out that it’s possible to release a lens much better optically than its predecessor in almost every aspect, brightness, with efficient image stabilization and what’s the most important, with additional two millimeters at the wide angle.

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For our taste, this lens is currently too expensive. For a bit more you can get a much better made and sealed 24-105 mm IS USM L-lens, and that’s a full-frame lens with constant speed f/4.0. The comparison of these two lenses shows that EF-S 15-85 mm should be cheaper. Its current price is the result of the fact that it’s a novelty. Too bad no third party manufacturer offers a universal zoom lens with focal lengths starting at 15 mm. The presence of such a device on the market would definitely influence the Canon 15-85 mm’s price.


Sample shots:

Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 85 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 3.98 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 85 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.68 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.08 MB
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.19 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 35 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 3.68 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.3 MB
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 28 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 3.24 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 32 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 3.54 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 27 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 3.34 MB
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.35 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.31 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 35 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.21 MB
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 24 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.65 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 15 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.73 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 15 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 6.63 MB
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 35 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.87 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 70 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 5.32 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 15 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/60 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 6.58 MB
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/60 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 3.87 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 70 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/40 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.91 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 85 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 4752 x 3168 pix, 4.05 MB
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 7D
Parameters: 15 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/4000 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 5184 x 3456 pix, 5.98 MB
Camera: Canon 7D
Parameters: 15 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5184 x 3456 pix, 5 MB
Camera: Canon 7D
Parameters: 15 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 5184 x 3456 pix, 5.98 MB
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 7D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5184 x 3456 pix, 5.25 MB
Camera: Canon 7D
Parameters: 24 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5184 x 3456 pix, 5.93 MB
Camera: Canon 7D
Parameters: 15 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5184 x 3456 pix, 6.99 MB

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