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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 17 Oct 2012 (Wednesday) 11:27
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Is 15-85IS much of an upgrade from 18-55IS?

 
SVT ­ Wylde
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Oct 19, 2012 14:40 |  #31

craiger81 wrote in post #15143596 (external link)
Biggest advantage for me is the wide focal range it provides. Love this lens on my 7D.

I agree. The 15-85mm was my first big lens purchase as a DSLR noob and I really like it. I have read reviews saying the IQ isn't much better than the 18-55mm and that it's overpriced. I took this lens with me on vacation to Washington DC and it was great having the 15mm wide angle and 85mm telephoto in one lens. Coming from a point and shoot, I can't complain about the image quality at all. I wanted the 17-55mm but I don't think I would like to be limited to 55mm with a walk around lens.

I was worried about getting a good copy of the 15-85mm. There are several reports in the forums on DP Review, that the quality of this lens has gone down in the past 6 months.


Canon 60D / EF-S 17-55mm 2.8 / EF 70-200mm 2.8 L II / EF-S 18-135mm STM / 600EX Flash

  
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mwsilver
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Oct 19, 2012 15:57 |  #32

SVT Wylde wrote in post #15144012 (external link)
I agree. The 15-85mm was my first big lens purchase as a DSLR noob and I really like it. I have read reviews saying the IQ isn't much better than the 18-55mm and that it's overpriced. I took this lens with me on vacation to Washington DC and it was great having the 15mm wide angle and 85mm telephoto in one lens. Coming from a point and shoot, I can't complain about the image quality at all. I wanted the 17-55mm but I don't think I would like to be limited to 55mm with a walk around lens.

I was worried about getting a good copy of the 15-85mm. There are several reports in the forums on DP Review, that the quality of this lens has gone down in the past 6 months.

I just went to dpreview and found the thread from 6 months ago regarding Canon quality with respect to the 15-85. You may not have read all the responses to the OP and there were a few dozen of them. Virtually no one who responded agreed with his general assertion. Secondly the Photozone review he quotes is quite old, refers to a specific copy they tested and has been quoted ad nauseum as "proof" that decentering is a common problem and that the lens is overpriced. You've found from your own experience, as most of us have, that this is a great lens.


Mark
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, Elements 15

  
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-MountainDog-
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Oct 19, 2012 16:11 |  #33

Also, don't forget about the 15-85's full time manual focus and non-rotating front lens. The latter is very nice when using filters.


Canon 70D; 18-135 IS STM, 15-85mm IS, 55-250mm IS, 35mm f2 IS, 50mm 1.8 II, Opteka 6.5mm Fisheye, 430ex II, YN-568ex II, Manfrotto 190CX3 w/ 496RC2, Olympus OM-4, 27" i7 iMac, Lightroom 5
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saintz
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Oct 19, 2012 17:07 |  #34

The 18-55 IS is actually optically pretty decent, but leaves something to be desired in autofocus. The more expensive zoom lenses biggest benefit is in build and focus, not so much in pure image quality improvement.


Sony A6000 | 18-55 | 16-50 | 50 f1.8

  
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Apricane
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Oct 19, 2012 21:04 |  #35

Indeed, the benefit is mostly on build and focus speed... and I wouldn't be able to go back to the 18-55 now that I have my 15-85.


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smythie
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Oct 19, 2012 23:08 |  #36

mwsilver wrote in post #15140465 (external link)
The 18-55, while having a much better build than the toy like Canon 50mm f/1.8, still feels flimsy and lightweight compared to the 15-85. Besides the lack of a USM motor and Full Time Manual Focus, the 18-55's focus is slow and noisy. The front element rotates making it difficult to use a polarizing filter. The focus ring is so narrow as to be almost non existent and is not enjoyable to use in MF mode.

MF with the 15-85 isn't all that great though. It might be better than the 18-55 with FTM but the focus ring is still skinny (not as bad as a 50/1.8 though), basically completely undamped and has a short throw.

When I first looked at this lens I was shooting predominantly with a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8-4.5 and the Canon didn't focus any faster and didn't seem any sharper in the couple of quick test shots I tried. The deal breaker at that time was the feel of the focus ring - not as nice as the Sigma 150/2.8 macro and nowhere near as nice as the Pentacon 200/4 I have.

I very rarely use MF on this lens for the above reasons but after use on a couple of locations, the colours, range of focal length and general IQ are what make this my main lens.


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mwsilver
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Oct 20, 2012 00:04 |  #37

smythie wrote in post #15145416 (external link)
MF with the 15-85 isn't all that great though. It might be better than the 18-55 with FTM but the focus ring is still skinny (not as bad as a 50/1.8 though), basically completely undamped and has a short throw.

When I first looked at this lens I was shooting predominantly with a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8-4.5 and the Canon didn't focus any faster and didn't seem any sharper in the couple of quick test shots I tried. The deal breaker at that time was the feel of the focus ring - not as nice as the Sigma 150/2.8 macro and nowhere near as nice as the Pentacon 200/4 I have.

I very rarely use MF on this lens for the above reasons but after use on a couple of locations, the colours, range of focal length and general IQ are what make this my main lens.

Don't know about your copy, but my 15-85 focus ring is very damped and very smooth. The focus ring on non USM Canon lenses tend to have no damping and are so loose they feel as if you could almost spin them. The throw doesn't seem terribly short to me. BTW the focus ring on the 18-55 is 1/2 the width.

The sigma you are comaring it to has a different focal length and list for $300 more. The Pentacon is a old manual focus lens. and looks like it has an all metal barrel. Assuming it's a good lens, I'll bet if it was available new today it would probably also be several hundred dollars more than the 15-85.

Agreed that the 15-85 focus ring should be wider, but the discussion, as you recall, was about the build quality of the 15-85 versus the 18-55, not to any other lenses. Given that, I'm glad you are happy with the IQ and AF


Mark
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, Elements 15

  
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1Tanker
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Oct 20, 2012 00:11 |  #38

mwsilver wrote in post #15145537 (external link)
Don't know about your copy, but my 15-85 focus ring is very damped and very smooth. The focus ring on non USM Canon lenses tend to have no damping and are so loose they feel as if you could almost spin them. The throw doesn't seem terribly short to me. BTW the focus ring on the 18-55 is 1/2 the width.

I was thinking the same thing Mark.. i'm very happy with the "feel" of the focus ring, as far as damping goes.. it's just the size, and more so.. the placement isn't ideal..IMO.


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smythie
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Oct 20, 2012 00:15 |  #39

Both the copy I have now and the couple of demos I tried over the years in stores have felt the same - very light action but as mwsilver suggests, very smooth in action. I guess the other lenses I have which are geared better for MF have spoiled me in that regard.

-edit- and while this thread might be between the 18-55 and 15-85, the comparison to the Sigma 150/2.8 and Pentacon were to provide reference that while the focus ring of the 15-85 might be better than the 18-55, in the grand scheme of things you are comparing poor with not-so-poor


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mwsilver
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Oct 20, 2012 00:32 |  #40

1Tanker wrote in post #15145552 (external link)
I was thinking the same thing Mark.. i'm very happy with the "feel" of the focus ring, as far as damping goes.. it's just the size, and more so.. the placement isn't ideal..IMO.

I agree with that. We all know the 15-85 is far from perfect, but a very nice and versatile lens nonetheless.


Mark
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, Elements 15

  
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mwsilver
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Oct 20, 2012 00:42 |  #41

smythie wrote in post #15145559 (external link)
Both the copy I have now and the couple of demos I tried over the years in stores have felt the same - very light action but as mwsilver suggests, very smooth in action. I guess the other lenses I have which are geared better for MF have spoiled me in that regard.

-edit- and while this thread might be between the 18-55 and 15-85, the comparison to the Sigma 150/2.8 and Pentacon were to provide reference that while the focus ring of the 15-85 might be better than the 18-55, in the grand scheme of things you are comparing poor with not-so-poor

True, but we could also make that same comparison to Canon L lenses. The only reason I made the argument in the first place was because you said the build quality of the 15-85 was only marginally better than the 18-55. You also said,you didn't own a copy of the 18-55mm. The build quality of the 15-85 is not marginally superior to the 18-55, it's vastly superior in features, functions, robustness, range, and, to a lesser but still noticeable extent, IQ.


Mark
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, Elements 15

  
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Is 15-85IS much of an upgrade from 18-55IS?
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