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Thread: Canon EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 lens (I think)

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    Canon EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 lens (I think)

    For landscapes and general photography I'm using the EF-S 18-55 kit lens that came with my Canon EOS 60D body. For anything longer I use the EF-S 55-250 kit lens. They do a good job for me - good enough that problems with my photos are caused by me, not the lens.

    The 18-55 lens has a couple of traits that are causing me problems. I often have to switch between manual and autofocus & I often forget the switch. Also, when I manually focus, the focus ring is very touchy - it moves, not just rotates. My other lens does this also, but it's not as noticeable & not as often.

    I'm looking for a walk around lens to replace the 18-55. It looks like the Canon EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 is a good candidate in that it has full time manual focus & covers a similar focal range. Reviews of image quality vs price are also very favourable. It also gives me some overlap in focal range with my other lens so I don't have to change lenses so often.

    Has anyone here used it who can comment on what the feel of the manual focus is like please? Also, does the filter mount rotate with focusing - will I need to be careful with a CPL for example? The other posts here that refer to the lens are positive, but I couldn't see these things when I searched.

    Thanks for reading this

    Steve
    Steve


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    Great lens, manual focus is smooth and precise, front element does not rotate when focusing.
    Mark

    Canon 70D w/Grip l Canon 60D w/Grip l EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM l EF 70-200 f4L IS USM l EF-S 15-85 f3.5-5.6 IS USM l EF 100 f2.8 USM Macro l EF-S 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS STM l EF 50 f1.8 II l Canon EF-S 10-22 f3.5-4.5 USM l 430 EX II Flash l Rode Stereo VideoMic l Manfrotto 055XPROB + 498RC2 Tripod l Benro MP-96 M8 Monopod l Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack l Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW Backpack l PS CS5 Extended l Lightroom 4.3

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    I agree with Mark. That's a great choice, Strat. In fact, it's very hard to imagine a better choice. But for the record, you might also consider:

    • Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 USM IS $440. Canon's ugly duckling, now more-or-less discontinued in favour of the much improved 15-85 but still readily available. Useful focal length range, excellent build quality, but some quite significant distortion problems and has never been very popular. But at two-thirds the price of the newer model, worth mentioning. Build quality is identical - only the optics are different.
    • Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS. About $970. The best lens in class, but a bit short and quite expensive. If you can live with 55mm at the long end and spending $1000-odd, and if f/2.8 is important to you, easily the best all-rounder on the market. Nothing else offers the tempting combination of f/2.8 speed, outstanding optical quality, and IS. On the other hand, it isn't nearly as wide as the 15-85 (2mm at that end is a lot!), nor is it nearly as long, and you very seldom use f/2.8 for landscapes anyway.
    • Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. About $350. Said to be very good considering its over-optimistic zoom range and inexpensive price range. No USM but decent build, apparently. Probably not for you.
    • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. Around $930. On APS-C, 24mm is not nearly wide enough for most people; you would certainly need a wider lens to go with it (such as a 10-22) and I'd suggest a second body if you don't want to spend your entire life lens swapping. The barrel distortion below 28mm may or may not bother you, but the 24-105 is otherwise vice-free and an excellent lens which will be even more useful if/when you upgrade to full frame. (The 24-105 on FX, by the way, is a very close equivalent to the 15-85 on crop. It works out to the equivalent of a 15-65/4. The two lenses even look almost the same - if it wasn't for the red ring, Belinda and I would pick the wrong one up all the time!)
    • Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC OS HSM. About $410. A very usable focal length range and excellent value for money. This new image stabilised version is the one to have. Generally quite well regarded, but some negative reports.


    Against those, the 15-85 is not fast, but excellent in every other way: build quality, USM focus motor, image quality, latest IS. All things considered, I rate it as the best single choice for an all-round general-purpose lens on crop, provided only that you don't need f/2.8. As I more-or-less mentioned, Belinda and I have 40D & 15-85 (her) and 5D II & 24-105 (me). There is remarkably little to pick between them. Build quality isn't quite the same but is very close. No complaints at all: it's a very nice general-purpose lens and you will enjoy using it.
    Last edited by Tannin; 14-05-2012 at 11:53am.
    Tony

    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.

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    Thank you unistudent1962 and Tannin, that's good news about the 15-85 I will definitely be looking at other lenses before I buy - I don't have a deadline so I'd like to feel comfortable that I got the right one

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    I did try some of the lenses suggested here - thank you to the people who took the time to reply The Canon 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 was what I ended up buying - for price, weight and features (compared to what I was originally looking for) I think it's the right one for me. Although I have to say I had no idea what a range was available out there. Very dangerous if you have your credit card in the wallet I think.

    I've been playing a little with it this morning, just getting used to it. Some photos will be posted during the weekend...

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