EF-S 15-85 as walkabout zoom

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by mark_pierlot, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. I have a dual format kit (5DII/7D) and tend to use my 7D while walking about. I have the telephoto end well covered with my 70-200, but find that my 24-70 often isn't wide enough on my 7D, hence the need for a wider zoom.
    I think that the 15-85 would best suit my needs (informal portaiture of my kids, landscapes, nature), and I have an opportunity to get a like new copy for a little over $500. I know it's slow, but it will be used outdoors in good light. So I'd appreciate hearing about the experience and thoughts of people who've used the 15-85 for applications similar to mine.
     
  2. Actually I have ,done very similar to what you plan,I have 3 small body cameras and the 15-85 should do very nicely for what your plans
    are, its more than wide enough, I have the 10-22 and at 15 its ample in taking in large crowds and scenery etc,the 85 end of the spectrum
    will be perfect for the portrait shots you would want ,particularly when outside, you will get a nice bokeh out of the 85 even stil with it
    being 85 x 1.6 and the price sounds fair to me,I tend to rent or borrow a lot of lens such as the one you are in question of,im in a smug
    mug group and we are all pretty liberal on sharing our equipment,and i also shoot some weddings that require a better glass than I have on hand. .I hope this is of some help and I wish you the best trip ever.
     
  3. Thanks for sharing your experience, Jim. I wish I were going on a trip, but, alas, that'll have to wait till the summer. :-(
     
  4. I use a 17-55 f/2.8 as my everyday lens and highly recommend it! It will cost a little more than the 15-85, but well worth it in my opinion. You do lose the 55-85 reach, however. I haven't missed it - my 18-135mm lens just sits unused, and I switch exclusively between the 17-55 and my 100mm f/2.8 macro.
     
  5. Yes, the 17-55 is a lens I have considered. In fact, I briefly had a Tamron 17-50, but got rid of it because it had misaligned elements.
    I'm considering the 15-85 partly because of the price of this particular one. Here in BC, the lens retails for $950 including tax, and I should be able to get the seller down to $500. A used 17-55 would cost me around $800.
    My thought is that if I need top-drawer IQ, I can sacrifice some width and use my 24-70.
     
  6. I have the older, and less capable, EF-S 17-85mm lens. It is still my one-lens solution for the APS-C cameras I still shoot with. It has its flaws, improved in the newer version, but it is easily corrected in postprocessing where it actually shows up in the results.
    Not the best for architectural work, but it can be used even there in a pinch.
     
  7. A sort of in-between is the newly updated (released Jan 2013) version of Sigma's 17-70 f/2.8-4 OS HSM C. However, I don't know if anyone has tested this version yet though as I can only find reviews of the previous version. I have the first-generation 17-70, which had an aperture range of f/2.8-4.5 and did not have OS (but had closer focusing), and have found it more than adequate for my needs.
     
  8. I went ahead and got the 15-85, and will be trying it out it this weekend. I'll comment in this thread how I fare.
    Thanks for all the input, guys.
     
  9. Mark, I used the 15-85 for quite a while until I was in a position where I had to choose between keeping the 15-85 or my 24-105. I kept the latter largely due to the fact that it can be used on my 7D and 1v. I found the 15-85 to be an outstanding lens and with a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24-136mm, it has a fantastically usable focal range for general, walk-around shooting. I do intend to acquire another one in the near future because it's a wonderful lens to leave mounted on the 7D. The image quality from it is superb and I think the build quality is also excellent. Not weather sealed like the 24-105 and it doesn't have quite the same warmth as the 24-105 does but otherwise it's superb. I think it's great for a very wide range of applications and while the 17-55/2.8 is certainly faster, the IS on the 15-85 is excellent and combined with the high-ISO capability of the 7D, it won't present much of a problem. At least I never had much issue with it being a 'slow' lens. I think you'll really enjoy using this lens and I think you'll be quite impressed. I think it's great for people shots of all types but I found it to be excellent for landscapes and skyscapes as well. A wonderful all-around lens! Buy it!
     
  10. A 7D and a 15-85 is a great combination.
     
  11. I really love mine on the 60d (and, like you, use a 5dII + 2.8's etc for the "serious" stuff). Fewer worries taking it to the pool, slopes, beach - a simple but effective 1-lens solution. Throw in a 40/2.8 or 50/1.8 if you want something light, cheap, and faster along for the ride - you'll still be under cost of the 17-55/2.8. Have fun!
     
  12. Rob Bernhard said:
    A sort of in-between is the newly updated (released Jan 2013) version of Sigma's 17-70 f/2.8-4 OS HSM C. However, I don't know if anyone has tested this version yet though as I can only find reviews of the previous version. I have the first-generation 17-70, which had an aperture range of f/2.8-4.5 and did not have OS (but had closer focusing), and have found it more than adequate for my needs.​
    Rob, I think there have been three versions of this lens: an early f/2.8-4.5, then a first version of the f/2.8-4.0 released in about 2010 or 2009, which was refreshed last year. I had the second version - the original f/2.8-4.0 . I enjoyed using it, but I got the opportunity to use a 15-85 while the Sigma was being repaired for an alignment problem. I was so impressed with the 15-85 that I sold the Sigma and bought the Canon. I have found it sharper, and I prefer the greater range. (The Sigma was originally used with a 500D, then the comparison was done shortly after I switched to a 60D.)
     
  13. [[Rob, I think there have been three versions of this lens: an early f/2.8-4.5, then a first version of the f/2.8-4.0 released in about 2010 or 2009, which was refreshed last year.]]
    I'm sorry I was not clear. My post was not meant to be a compendium of all versions of the lens. "First version" != "previous version" though I can see how one could read it that way.
     
  14. It was a pleasant evening here in Vancouver yesterday, so I managed to get a few "test" shots in and I'm quite impressed.
    The lens is sharp wide open, which is good since it's so slow and I'll be using it wide open quite a bit. The variable aperture is going to take some getting used to, since it's my first lens with that "feature."
    I'm going to take the 7D w/ 15-85 out with my kids this weekend to give them all a good workout.
     
  15. Where I wanted to travel light and have been traveling primarily for reasons other than picture taking, I have gone on entire trips with only an APS-C body and my EF-S 17-85mm. Never really felt 'cramped' in my style.
    I think you will like the lens.
     
  16. I'm sure I'm going to like the lens, and am looking forward to shooting with it this weekend. It's going to complement my 70-200/4 L IS nicely while I'm traveling or just walking about.
    Part of my impetus for buying it was recently re-reading the review Peter Kun Frary (aka Puppy Face) did of it a few years back. He used it on a 7D, and showed and reported outstanding results. I wish he still did lens reviews, full as they are of very useful real-world experience, but I guess he's busy with other pursuits such as doing photography and making and teaching music.
     
  17. Mark,
    I used the 15-85 on my 50D as a walkaround/landscape lens and I loved it. It is a great general use range. Very sharp, contrasty, decent bokeh (neutral at the least). The IS worked well (I barely noticed it kick in, too), and I had no zoom creep. The speed was the only issue, so I complemented it with a 50mm for indoor use.
    I was also influenced by reading Peter Kun Frary's review you linked, and found he was dead-on.
    As an aside, I bought a Vello lens hood for it, and had to do a bit of trimming/filing to get it to fit reversed. Slight manufacturing defect that has hopefully been fixed by now, though fixing it myself was easy enough.
    http://www.photo.net/photo/16663117
    http://www.photo.net/photo/16663113
     
  18. I use both the 17-55 2.8 and 15-85 IS on a 7D and they're both great optics. However I ultimately found the range of the 15-85 more useful for travel and walking around. Sharpness at the same F-stop and aperture is about the same between the two zooms so there is little difference in IQ. I found the 15-85 sharper for close focus, more flare resistant but more prone to barrel distortion than the 17-55. The IS design of the 15-85 is about a stop better and has panning mode. Build quality is similar but the zoom of the 15-85 is a little smoother. So it comes down to how important F2.8 is vs. a wider zoom range. My reviews of the 15-85 and 17-55:
    http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/canon_efs15-85.htm
    http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/canon_efs17-55.htm
     

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