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How About The Canon EF-S 15-85 F/3.5-5.6 Is USM?  
User currently offlineToVeR From Belgium, joined Jun 2005, 43 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6780 times:

My current lens kit consist out of the:

  • Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM II
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM

    These are used in combination with one of my cameras:

  • Canon EOS 400D
  • Canon EOS 50D

    Recently a couple of pictures graphically illustrated that the 17-85 is by no means on an equal quality level as the L lenses I have got (the only comparison is where the lens ranges overlap, the subjects a taxiing NATO E-3A and a KC-135R, both at Geilenkirchen). I am aware I could expect the L-types to outperform the EF-S one, but the extent to which this happened surprised me. The difference was not only visible during "pixel peeping", but also when looking at the picture when it scaled to fill my computer screen.

    Needless to say, since then I am seriously looking for an upgrade to the short range lens. And this is where my troubles start.

    I mainly do aircraft spotting and every once in a while some motorsport (car racing). The 27-85 is mainly used for:

  • Parked aircraft, both at static displays during airshows as well as parked on civilian airfields. Same holds for "static" cars.
  • Aircraft taxiing nearby, can be both civil and military (like from the viewing terrace at EHAM, or from the station platform at EDDL).
  • Musea, bot aircraft and cars.

    The way I currently do my photography, I pretty much require the entire zoom range I have available. From the 17 (which I sometimes even consider not wide enough) all the way up to 400.

    On this forum I can find plenty of posts about the L lenses, with the 24-70 and the 24-105 frequently playing a lead role. However, considering I am using a crop camera (and a change to full frame is unlikely), and that I am using the range down to 17mm, I am wondering about the 15-85. From a zoom range point of view, although quite large in a single lens, it sounds interesting, and from what I read about it, it is an improvement over the 17-85.

    This might initially be more about me trying to get my ideas and thoughts about an upgrade right in my mind, than one of many threads about which lens to get. At this stage I am gathering info, with there being no must for a replacement on the short term.

    So: any comments and feedbacks about the Canon EF-S 15-85 F/3.5-5.6 IS USM? Would be greatly appreciated.

    Greetz,

    Tom


  • 9 replies: All unread, jump to last
     
    User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2878 posts, RR: 2
    Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6751 times:

    Hi Tom,

    I know how you feel with this as I was in your position not too long ago! The 17-85 is an ok lens, but it had it's flaws. I went for the 24-85 USM rather than that one which was great at the time. I believe the updated 15-85 addressed some of the issues, but it's only a slight improvement over the previous model and by no means an L lens. You have a couple of options really, subject to budget and needs. The 17-40 F/4 L is a cracking lens, but obviously leaves a gap between 40mm and your 70-200. As you mention, the 24-105 F/4 L is a cracking lens, that's what I went for and love it. But as you say, it's not wide enough for cabins, flights decks or museums on a crop body. That's why I also have a Sigma 10-20 EX, to cater for the wider angles. I don't think you're going to get a lens that will do everything, certainly not up to L quality although the 15-85 might be a close second.

    Darren



    Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
    User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
    Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6738 times:

    Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 1):
    or museums on a crop body

    I've used my 24-105 in museums and it's been fine. I agree however that it's not wide enough for cabin/cockpit shots.

    I was amazed how much difference the 4mm extra of the 24-105 made compared with my old 28-105. I've used the 24-105 for ramp shots of large aircraft and recently at SXM, where 747s are only metres away.

    I decided that, for the few times I need less than 24mm, the 18-55 kit lens does the job.

    Karl


    User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2878 posts, RR: 2
    Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 6721 times:

    Quoting JakTrax (Reply 2):
    I've used my 24-105 in museums and it's been fine.

    It depends on the museum and how compact the exhibits are though really. I tend to find I'm swapping lenses between the 24-105 and 10-20 regularly, so tend to just stick with the 10-20 unless there's enough room. Outdoor exhibits are usually fine though with enough room around them, so prefer the 24-105..

    Darren



    Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
    User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
    Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 6697 times:

    hello Tom

    I was in a situation like yours several months ago... I had to upload my 18-55 kit lens and I wanted something good but "flexible" at the same time, with a wide range (18mm or less) but capable of getting near 70 mm (the "start" of my 70-200).

    I had several choices, but I decided to give some of them up because of several reasons: mosto of L lenses didn't work for my 450D... the crop factor would have killed some photo-opportunities.
    So, 24-105, 24-85 and all the similar were not good for my needs.

    I eventually went for the 15-85 and I haven't regret the money I've spent on it yet.
    It does its work and sometimes in a good way and its focal range is something great in my opinion (that makes it perfect for everyday photography, if you visit a city and all) !  
    Pretty sharp on the whole frame and with some barrel effect at shortest focals.
    It has its faults too, like the vignetting, especially wide open and at the minimum focal lenght, but I fix it shooting in RAW and then adjust it in post-production.

    One thing that I've found pretty nice is the color rendering... it works very well in this sense!  
    At least, it seems to my eyes... LOL

    Hoping not to be blamed for self plug I will post some examples of pictures taken with this lens, just to give you an idea of the sharpness, a good one in my opinion:

    View Large View Medium
    Click here for bigger photo!

    Photo © Matteo Stella


    View Large View Medium
    Click here for bigger photo!

    Photo © Matteo Stella



    Still, it's not at the same level of mine 70-200 f/4L USM...
    I was told that it was good (not excellent/perfect) and it really is... but not as a L one could be.

    So, you should decide according to your needs too...
    And it's better to try lenses out first: so, if you have the chance go to a shop near you and ask if they let you try it out for a while... or you can rent it too.  

    Although this is the second short lens I have ever tried, I felt like to share my experience with this lens  

    Hoping to have been helpful,

    Matteo


    User currently offlineJRowson From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 351 posts, RR: 12
    Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6669 times:

    I'm all Canon and my preferred aviation set up is: 10-22 / 24-105F4L / 70-200F2.8L (+1.4x). I also have a 17-40 but it gets rarely used these days and only really keeping it incase I go full frame one day.


    James Rowson. Canonite and lover of all things L. JAR Photography.
    User currently offlineToVeR From Belgium, joined Jun 2005, 43 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 6616 times:

    At this stage practicality dominates over the pursuit of the best possible lenses in my thinking. The more I think about it, the more interesting the 15-85 becomes. It is just that I do not like the hassle of switching lenses when shooting pictures. One can argue: you have two bodies... two lenses & two bodies ... problem solved! That is obviously not the case. I almost always have one telezoom on one of the bodies (strangely enough I am recently tempted to have them on the 450D and not the more capable 50D), leaving the other for the short range/wide angle shots. So: one body only. Then two lenses? Impractical. Admittedly the 24-105 would be good for the majority of these shots, but I do not want to give up the ones I will be missing with this.

    Changing lenses as a solution? Not a very good one when rushing from one subject to another. Even a worse idea when rushing from one subject to another in a dusty environment. I understand one of the great features of a DSLR is the ability to switch between lenses for the best possible zoom ranges, and sensor cleaning is not a big hassle anymore (even I dare to do it these days) but if it is not needed ... well, then it is not needed.

    Switching to FF? I have to admit it did cross my mind, but only until I checked the prices of the EOS 5D.

    Another thing makes me think: I might separate between purposes. Wide angle mainly needed in musea (most use of wide angle)? Perhaps I can look into a good lens for musea (17-55 f/2.8?) and another good one for the other purposes.

    Too many options & too many ideas for now.


    User currently offlineMical From Australia, joined Sep 2008, 3 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 6534 times:

    Hi All,

    I have the 15-85, and it is a great lens. I had the 17-85 that you mention too, however it was stolen (my whole kit was, including 7D, HD vid cam, lens', accessories etc!!). I found the 17-85 a poor lens, it had so much chromatic abberation that I hardly used it.

    The 15-85 is nice and sharp, on the wide end it does produce vignette that was mentioned in earlier post, but is sharp enough, I have a few photos up here with the 15-85.

    The other option you have is the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 lens, I've not used it, but apparently is nice and sharp, and at f/2.8 its a nice fast lens to have, it was reasonably expensive and not quite the range I needed, however so I went with the 15-85.

    Good luck with your purchase.


    User currently offlineToVeR From Belgium, joined Jun 2005, 43 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 6417 times:

    With all consideration I am giving this subject, I have not yet found one killer argument that makes any one lens superior for me over the 15-85. It is clearly better than the 17-85 (from user comments and from review forums). I fear I am looking to much into the L-type, only because it is "L" and that I have tasted their quality (albeit in a different zoom range). The wide angle makes it interesting, it overlaps with the 70-200L, and only has a small gap to the 100-400 (a gap that the 24-105 would cover).

    Seems that now I am pondering over two sets (however unlikely they might seem). One is only the 15-85, the other would be the 24-105 with the necessity of combining it with a wide angle lens (Canon 10-22 or third party). Benefit of the first is the improvement over the current situation and a usable zoom range in a single lens. The second should have even higher image quality (for sure between 24 and 105), but with the drawback of lens changes for anything closer. And as conditions might change rapidly (I am not the quickest of changers), the former one is currently on top.


    User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2878 posts, RR: 2
    Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 6415 times:

    I know where you are coming from with this ToVeR as many of us have been there. If it's quality you're after, you really can't go wrong with the 24-105 L and an ultra wide for when it's needed. The Canon 10-22 is excellent but I went for the Sigma 10-20 that I love and regularly use in musea and many other applications. It's pin sharp and not far from half the cost of the Canon. Just make sure you get a good copy. I was only at a static display of aircraft a few weeks ago and took my 24-105 and 10-20 as I wasn't sure what I'd need. Luckily, I was invited onboard some of the aircraft so I managed to shoot them with the 24-105 on the outside, and 10-20 on the inside. You're never going to get a lens that will do everything with the quality you're accustomed to, but I've felt the combination I and many others use covers everything nicely. You do need to change lenses at times, but if you're mainly using the wider angles for musea, then you have time to plan and change lenses as needed. I normally take my photos with the 24-105 then swap to the wider angle and do those, it saves constantly swapping lenses. A few examples from the other week;


    View Large View Medium
    Click here for bigger photo!

    Photo © Darren Wilson
    View Large View Medium
    Click here for bigger photo!

    Photo © Darren Wilson


    Canon 24-104 F/4 L (50D)



    View Large View Medium
    Click here for bigger photo!

    Photo © Darren Wilson
    View Large View Medium
    Click here for bigger photo!

    Photo © Darren Wilson


    Sigma 10-20 EX (50D)

    Darren



    Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
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