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Best all round lens to replace my 18-55mm kit lens

edited March 2012 Posted in » Canon T2i Forum
Hi Moose great site! I'm looking to upgrade my kit lens in the near future and have been looking at the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM. What is your opinion of this lens? I have read so many reviews on it and there are a lot of good, but also bad opinions on it. I will have to buy a used lens, as I'm on a budget and cant afford the price new. Thanks in advance.


  • Howdy @brizzoluk - Thanks for the kind words! To be honest, I'm not sure you would notice any difference in image quality between your 18-55mm and the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 USM. However, you would notice an increase in focusing speed and accuracy. If focusing is the primary issue you're facing, then yes, the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 would give you better performance when compared to your kit lens.

    If you're interested in a particular type of photography or effect (wildlife, close-ups, portraits with silky smooth backgrounds, etc...), then I would consider other alternatives. What are you hoping to shoot and what kind of effects are you after? With that in mind, I can suggest some lenses in your price range.

    Happy shooting! :)
  • edited March 2012
    Hi Brizzoluk - I recently purchased the Canon 15-85mm which more or less replaced the 17-85mm. I read a lot of reviews - some good, some bad - but finally went ahead. I know it is a bit more expensive, but looking online it seems to be cheaper in the US than here in England.

    All I can say is what a piece of glass. Coupled with the T2i the clarity of the pictures is superb and with 18 megapixels to play with, cropping doesn't really pose an issue.

    The negative comments I read included...
    1. That it is a little top heavy on the T2i - true but I have quite small hands and don't find it much of an issue especially if I fit the BG-E8 battery grip.

    2. Strong barrel distortion at 15mm - true but a twist of just a couple of millimetres makes the distortion go away (around 24mm). Even so this distortion is easily rectified in Canon's DPP software as the lens is supported.

    3. It has a sweet spot around f8 to f11 - probably true, but a blind man in the dark would be delighted to see the differences between apertures at normal resolution.

    Be wary of reviewers. One that I read was really scathing but admitted at the end that he hadn't actually used or handled this lens but was working from the specs.

    I'm pleased that I ignored the reviews. I haven't tried it out in every situation obviously, but if I come across any real problems, I'll post them.

    In the meantime Brizzoluk, take up Moose's offer of suggested lenses as he knows far better than me what he is talking about. Regards, PBked
  • edited March 2012
    @PBked - Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD. For those wondering, the key ingredient with this lens is the "UD" glass element, which adds optical clarity and wonderful color tonality to your shots. Happy shooting! :)
  • edited March 2012
    Thanks for the replies sorry about the delay getting back on here. Some great advice here much appreciated!

    I take a lot of photos of my kids, a lot around the house which my 50mm f/1.8 is great for (such a shame it hasn't got IS). When I'm out and about I do like taking landscape shots and I have a family holiday coming up in July which is when I'm aiming to have the lens.
  • edited March 2012
  • edited March 2012
    I just purchased the 15-85mm and I think its a great lens so far. My lens line-up now consists of the 15-85mm, 50mm f/1.4, and 55-250mm. I'm set from 15mm to 250mm, day light to low light.
  • @t2iski - Thanks for sharing...happy shooting! :)
  • edited April 2012
    Thanks for the great advice!
  • edited December 2012
    I have a Canon T2i with a Canon EF-S 18-200mm. Is this combo any good?
  • edited December 2012
    I'm sure that everyone that has already posted knows far more about this stuff than I do, but I can say that I am also looking to replace my kit lens. The lens that I am looking hard at is the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 non-VC model. That lens has virtually the same range as the kit lens, but from the reviews I've read, it beats it in every measurable performance category. Obviously the f/2.8 is significantly faster for better low light performance. Most reviews also note that the non-VC (vibration compensation) model performs better than their newer VC model, and it's less expensive! So, if you aren't looking to change your effective zoom range, you might want to take a look at this Tamron model.
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