Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 17-85mm 1: 4-5.6 IS USM review

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Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 17-85mm 1: 4-5.6 IS USM

Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 17-85mm 1: 4-5.6 IS USM

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  1. Browse Navigation
  2. In short
  3. History
  4. Main Specifications
  5. Assembly
  6. Stabilizer
  7. Focusing
  8. Image quality and sample photos
  9. My personal experience with the lens
  10. Prices / where to buy
  11. Results
  12. User Comments
  13. Add your review or question on the lens

In this review, the Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 17-85mm 1: 4-5.6 IS USM lens (according to the inscriptions on its body) I will call in abbreviation - Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM.

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

In short

The Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM is an old all-round lens for Canon EOS cropped EF-S cameras. In general, it is better than the line of 18-55 / 3.5 (4) -5.6 class lenses. There are imperfections in image quality, especially at 17mm. All in all it is a balanced lens for everyday amateur photography. Nowadays, it is very easy to find it at a low cost in the secondary market.

Unlike many similar lenses, the Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM attracts with its wide-angle shooting at 17 mm focal length, instead of the classic 18 mm, which are used in the vast majority of amateur universal lenses. Also, Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM has a good build, fast focusing, constant manual focus control mode and image stabilizer.

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM


Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM was introduced in September 2004. Subsequently, it often went as a standard lens for amateur Canon EOS cameras with an EF-S mount, was first seen as a kit lens along with a Canon EOS camera 20D (introduced August 19, 2004) and Canon EOS 350D Digital (aka Canon Digital Rebel XT, aka Canon Kiss Digital n, introduced February 17, 2005). In October 2009 Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM was supplemented / replaced with a similar lens - Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 15-85 mm 1: 3.5-5.6 IS USM.

At that time, only a few modifications of the Canon EF-S 18-55 / 3.5-5.6 existed from such universal lenses; against their background the Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM was pleasantly distinguished by its extended focal length range, better assembly and image stabilizer . Over the years, countless copies of the Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM have been released.

An accurate and complete list of all original Canon EF-S lenses can see here.

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM. View from the bayonet side. The metal mount of the bayonet mount, the type of contacts of the microprocessor and the rear lens.

Main Specifications of Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 17-85mm 1: 4-5.6 IS USM:

Review Instance Name Near the front lens' Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 17-85mm 1: 4-5.6 IS USM Canon INC. ø67mm ', mount side' Canon INC. Made In TAIWAN '
Basic properties
  • Ef-s (Eelectro-Focus Small image circle) - lens designed for Canon EOS cameras with APS-C sensor and bayonet mount Ef-s.
  • USM (UltraSabout nothing Motor) - ultrasonic focusing motor.
  • AF-MF (Auto Focus-Manual Focus) - the lens is equipped with a focus mode switch
  • FTM (Full Time Manual Focusing) - continuous manual focus control
  • IF (Iinternal Focus) - internal focus
  • IS (Istomach Stabilizer) - built-in image stabilizer
  • Stabilizer ON / OFF stabilizer operation mode switch
  • aspherical - aspherical elements are used in the optical design
  • Macro - an indication of the possibility of pseudo-macro photography
  • Canon Extension Tube Support EF23 II, EF 12 II
Front Filter Diameter 67 mm, plastic thread for filters
Focal length 17-85mm, EGF for Canon cameras with APS-C sensor is 27.2-136 mm
Zoom ratio 5 x
Designed by for SLR cameras Canon EOS with bayonet mount Ef-s
Number of aperture blades 6 rounded petals
Tags bayonet mount and hood mounts, a window with a focus distance scale, marks for focal lengths
  • 17mm - F / 4-F / 22
  • 24mm - F / 4.5-F / 22
  • 35mm - F / 5-F / 29
  • 50mm - F / 5.6-F / 32
  • 70mm - F / 5.6-F / 32
  • 85mm - F / 5.6-F / 32
MDF 0.35m, maximum magnification ratio 1: 5. The scale of the focusing distances has the inscription 'Macro', indicating the possibility of amateur macro photography.
The weight 475 g
Optical design 17 elements in 12 groups. The lens uses 1 aspherical element (double-sided molded glass aspherics are used)

Optical design of Canon 17-85

Lens hood Lens hood EW-73
Manufacturer country Made In Taiwan
Period Since September 2004, in 2009 it was supplemented by a similar model Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 15-85 mm 1: 3.5-5.6 IS USM
Instructions View ->
3D view View ->

The lens is a bit confused by the maximum relative aperture of 17 mm focal length, which is 1: 4 instead of the classic and generally accepted 1: 3.5. The difference is about a third of the step (1/3 of the T-stop for aperture). Of these lenses, only the new Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-55mm 1: 4-5.6 IS STM sank just as low.

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM


Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM assembled well. Of the advantages of the assembly, I immediately want to note a metal bayonet mount.

The zoom ring (zoom) is rubberized, wide and pleasant to use. When changing the focal length, the front lens does not rotate. The retractable frame of the body (trunk) consists of two plastic sections. The focus ring is not rubberized, but quite pleasant to use.

There is a bayonet mount mark and a mark on the case for quick installation of the hood. The lens uses a plastic hood EW-73, which is fixed in special grooves located near the front lens of the lens. The hood can be installed in the opposite direction for transportation. In this position, access to the zoom ring is a little difficult. When you change the focal length, the lens hood moves with the front of the lens.

When changing the focal length, the rear lens moves in the middle of the lens body like a pump - it draws in and pushes out air. This behavior of the rear lens is called 'vacuum cleaner effect', which can increase the amount of dust that accumulates in the camera.

Unfortunately, over time, the lens begins to spontaneously change the focal length (spontaneous crawl of the trunk).

Unfortunately, diaphragm consists of only 6 rounded petals.

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM


Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM has Canon's built-in image stabilizer IS (Istomach Stabilizer). There is a switch on the case that is responsible for turning it on and off. According to the instructions, the stabilization system can compensate 3 stops by shutter speed. In numerical terms, this means that you can shoot at shutter speeds 8 times longer than what a lens without a stabilizer requires. This is close to the truth. I was able to take pictures with my hands without grease on shutter speed 1/10 second and 85 mm of focal length.

During shooting from a tripod, as well as during shooting in BULB mode, the stabilizer should be turned off.

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

The sizes of the Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM and CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.8 (MKI)


Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM uses ultrasonic focusing motor Canon USM (Ultrasonic). The lens uses a large and powerful ultrasonic focusing motor ring type. The difference between the ring ultrasonic and the reduced ultrasonic motor is shown and described. here.

Focus is fast. On a Canon Camera 450D I had no particular complaints about the accuracy of focusing.

Noise from the focus motor is almost inaudible, but still a small level of noise is present and will affect the sound quality when shooting video using the microphone built into the camera.

During focusing, the front and rear lenses remain stationary, as the lens uses internal focus. The front lens also does not rotate during zooming. It is possible to use any filters without problems.

The minimum focusing distance is only 35 cm, while you can shoot Macro with 1: 5 magnification... By and large, the inscription 'Macro 0.35m / 1.2ft 'on the lens just talks about MDF, not about the true macro opportunity.

The lens has a window with a distance scale with marks in meters and feet. The scale is small, on it there are labels only for 0.6, 1, 1.5, 3, 10 m and the label is 'infinity'. Such a scale in itself is of little use and is present more for show (justification of this thought here).

In manual focus mode, the ring rotates 120 degrees, when it reaches the extreme positions it does not rest, but continues to slide, without affecting the focus.

There is only one switch on the lens body that is responsible for the focus mode - 'AF / MF' (auto / manual focus). Auto AF is supported by Canon continuous manual focus control FTM (Full Time Manual Focusing), which implies that you can rotate the focus ring at any time. But, in fact, according to the instructions manual focus is available after focusing on the subject in single-frame autofocus (ONE SHOT AF). Canon FTM details well described here.


  1. There is a small effect of 'Focus Breathing' (changing the viewing angle during focusing).
  2. The Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM does not have much focus problems in Live View (tested on Canon 450D).
  3. When changing the focal length, focusing is a bit confused.
  4. The lens does not have a hard stop (hard infinity mechanical stop) which allows you to accurately and quickly focus the lens to infinity under any external temperature conditions.
  5. At 85 mm of the focal length, while focusing on the MDF, the distance from the front lens of the lens to the subject is about 20 cm.
  6. There is no depth of field scale and labels for working in the infrared spectrum.
  7. Focus shift (shift-focus) was not noticed during operation and testing.
Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

Image quality and sample photos

The image quality is not particularly pleasing. In general, this is mediocre lensnevertheless, it is impossible to demand quality from it, as with L-series lenses.

The main disadvantage of the lens is the strong chromatic aberration at the edges and corners of the image by 17 mm of focal length, as well as a strong subsidence of sharpness by 17 mm, strong venetation and distortion. The 17 mm focal length of the Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM turned out to be a very weak link.

In the center of the frame, the lens is sharp across the entire range, even at open apertures.

Neutral color reproduction, simple (boring) bokeh, slight chromatism in the range of 35-85 and large chromatism in the range of 17-35.

All pictures in the gallery were taken using Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi, images shown without processing, normal camera format JPEG. Everything was removed from the hands.

You can download the original photos in the '.JPEG' format at this link.

My experience

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM is a balanced lens. But due to poor image quality at 17mm focal length and general antiquity of the lens (one of the first lenses for Canon EF-S), I recommend looking to the side instead of Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-135 mm 1: 3.5-5.6 IS.

I do not recommend changing the class lens 18-55 / 3.5-5.6 with stabilizer to Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM. It will be difficult to achieve special gains in image quality and usability.

As a result, the Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM can be a good replacement only for class 18-55 / 3.5-5.6 lenses without an image stabilizer (old line), as well as as the first lensthat is bought together or separately from the camera.

Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM

Lens sizes Tokina AT-X AF Aspherical 24-200 1: 3.5-5.6 (AT-X 242 AF) and Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM


Prices for the Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM lens in popular online stores can look at this linkor in the price block located below:

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Canon 17-85 / 4-5.6 IS USM left a mixed impression. It is more convenient to use than the kit lenses of the 18-55 / 3.5-5.6 line, but the poor image quality at 17 mm repels from this lens.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 72, on the topic: Review of Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 17-85mm 1: 4-5.6 IS USM

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    One more shot.

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