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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 20 Apr 2012 (Friday) 12:28
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Thoughts on the 15-85 F3.5-5.6?

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Apr 20, 2012 12:28 |  #1

Friend of mine is thinking of buying one of these.

Is there anything else better for the money?

Would a Tamron F2.8 + Flash be better spent?

What are peoples thoughts?

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Cream of the Crop
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Apr 20, 2012 12:32 |  #2

Very good lens from what I've seen.
Whether the 2.8 zooms are a better choice depends on the needs of the shooter; aperture versus more zoom range.

There's nothing "better" for the money, only alternatives.

You've mentioned one with the tamron, there's also the sigma version of the 17-50 which has better AF than the tamron and adds OS.

There's also the sigma 17-70 2.8-4, which is a nice middle ground between the 15-85's range and the fast aperture of the 17-50's. I went with this one myself because I wanted both faster aperture and longer range than the kit lens, plus its on the cheap end of the scale, has HSM and OS, and very nice IQ. If this had not been available, I don't doubt that I would have been very happy with the 15-85.

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Cream of the Crop
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Apr 20, 2012 12:34 |  #3

My opinion: too slow for $700

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Apr 20, 2012 12:59 |  #4

I have both and like the range better. Then again i have both and use both.

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Apr 20, 2012 13:20 |  #5

I have it and find it great as a walk around on the 7D. Yes it is slow so sometimes I wish I had a faster aperture for less depth of field but otherwise a great lens! I cn't fault the sharpness either!

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Apr 20, 2012 14:07 |  #6

I have heard (and seen) that this lens produces some top quality images. If Canon had such a thing, it would be an EFs "L" lens. That being said, I went with the 17-55 f/2.8 because its a faster lens. The comparable Tamron and Sigma offerings seem equally as good.

You just need to ask yourself what is most important... range or speed.

Canon 7D2 Gripped | Canon 7D Gripped | Canon SL1 | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM | Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM | Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM | Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX | Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 OS | Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM | Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro | Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II | Canon Extender 1.4x III | Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Sleepless in Hampshire
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Apr 20, 2012 14:54 |  #7

This is my walk round lens on my 7D, superb IQ, unless you are desperate for a 'fast' lens this is an excellent choice.

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Apr 20, 2012 14:58 |  #8

Don't forget it has excellent IS

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Apr 20, 2012 16:18 |  #9

tkbslc wrote in post #14299025 (external link)
My opinion: too slow for $700

This. I tried one out and also picked up a 17-85 for $175. The 17-85 was almost as good for what I was using them for and vastly cheaper. At the end of the day, it's a slow, variable aperture zoom. It has a good range, and is sharp, but it's just not that special in my opinion. I'd get a third party 2.8 lens over it in a heartbeat. (external link)

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Apr 20, 2012 16:44 |  #10

If you don't say what you will use it for, you will get inconsistent answers, because people are guessing at what you will use it for.

Do you need extra speed? do you need shallower DOF? do you need a lighter lens? Would you make use of the greater range?

If you don't need speed or shallow DOF, you don't mind the weight, you don't mind the cost, and you want the range, it is a superb lens. I use one as an outdoors walk-around for that reason. I don't need speed and don't want shallow DOF for landscapes. If I were using it, say, for candid shots of people indoors, I would want both greater speed and shallower DOF. (For that, I use a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8.)

I have owned both this and the 17-85. The 15-85 is a considerably better lens, but it costs a lot more money. You can buy a 17-85 used, in perfect condition, for $250 or so.

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Apr 20, 2012 16:55 as a reply to  @ paddler4's post |  #11

if you need fast --> 17-55 f2.8
if you need reach --> 15-85 (15 is way wider than 17 as well)
if you are on budget --> third party

i use the 15-85 and love it!

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80D | 7D | M6 | 15-85 | 70-300 L | Sig 10-20 | 50 1.8 |100 2.8 macro|28 F2.8 | efs24| efm 15-45| efs 55-250 stm |270EX | 430EXII |

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Apr 20, 2012 18:29 |  #12

I considered the 15-85 before buying my 17-55. I LOVE the constant F/2.8 aperture of the 17-55.

I believe the 15-85 is a good lens but too "slow" for the money. If you want a good lens get a 17-55 or even a 24-105 (which I also own). Both are 300 bucks more but worth it IMO.

All that said....the 15-85 is still a tempting lens IF your style supports it and you're willing to use a variable aperture lens. I like fixed aperture (as do all who have used them)

I would not get a third party lens. They twist the wrong way!

7D - - 17-55 F/2.8 - 24-105 F/4L - 100mm F/2.8 - 50mm F/1.8 - S95 / To see all click here
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Apr 20, 2012 18:38 |  #13

I loved mine for my recent trip to India. Didn't leave the camera at all! With that said, I'm selling it because I found a good deal on a 17-55 IS, and don't need both lenses. If your friend wants an excellent-condition copy for 20% less than retail, mine is listed in the sale section for $570. …/showthread.php​?t=1171363

a mere speck
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Apr 20, 2012 19:59 |  #14

Shoot, Bob.... I looked through the ads but didn't do a search or go back far enough or I would have purchased your 15-85. I realized after reading the threads that the 17-55 IS 2.8 has some advantages over the 15-85.... but I had to start with just one lens... .so the 15-85 is it.. for now.

Kim (the male variety) Canon 1DX2 | 1D IV | 16-35 f/4 IS | 24-105 f/4 IS | 100L IS macro | 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II | 100-400Lii | 50 f/1.8 STM | Canon 1.4X III
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Apr 20, 2012 23:59 |  #15

tkbslc wrote in post #14299025 (external link)
My opinion: too slow for $700

The conventional wisdom is that this lens is too expensive and too slow. However, those of us that actually own one quickly tend to think of it as a bargain. The IQ is terrific and the build excellent. It eliminates the need for a wide angle lens and has a 35mm equivalent of 136mm on the long end. With 3+stops of IS and fast and quiet USM, its a great walk around lens.

Canon 7D2, 60D, T3i, T2i, Sigma 18-35 f/1.8, 30 f/1.4. Canon EF 70-200 L f/4 IS, EF 35 f/2 IS, EFs 10-18 STM, EFs 15-85, EFs 18-200, EF 50 f/1.8 STM, Tamron 18-270 PZD, B+W MRC CPL, Canon 320EX, Vanguard Alta Pro 254CT & SBH 250 head. RODE Stereo Videomic Pro, DXO PhotoLab Elite, ON1

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Thoughts on the 15-85 F3.5-5.6?
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