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Canon EOS 400D / Digital Rebel XTi kit lens upgrade group test Gordon Laing, September 2006 / updated July 2007

More results: Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting

Canon EF-S 18-55mm vs 17-85mm vs 17-55mm vs EF 17-40mm outdoor scene with Canon 400D / XTi


To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm, EF-S 17-85mm, EF-S 17-55mm and EF 17-40mm lenses, all set to a focal length of 25mm and an aperture of f8. Each lens was mounted on a Canon EOS 400D / XTi set to 100 ISO and using its best quality JPEG settings. All images were taken within moments of each other.

The image left was taken with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm at 25mm f8, with a sensitivity of 100 ISO; the original Large Fine JPEG measured 4.40MB. The crops are taken from the upper left, centre and lower right portions of the originals and presented here for evaluation at 100%.

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Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Using Canon 400D / XTi
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6
Using Canon 400D / XTi
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8
Using Canon 400D / XTi
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4
Using Canon 400D / XTi
Canon EF-S 18-55mm - crop 1   Canon EF-S 17-85mm - crop 1   Canon EF-S 17-55mm - crop 1   Canon EF 17-40mm - crop 1
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
Canon EF-S 18-55mm - crop 2   Canon EF-S 17-85mm - crop 2   Canon EF-S 17-55mm - crop 2   Canon EF 17-40mm - crop 2
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
Canon EF-S 18-55mm - crop 3   Canon EF-S 17-85mm - crop 3   Canon EF-S 17-55mm - crop 3   Canon EF 17-40mm - crop 3
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO
1/250, f8, 100 ISO

At first glance the crops from all four lenses appear quite similar, but look a little closer and some differences emerge. In the first row of crops taken from the upper left corner of the image, the EF-S 17-55mm is noticeably softer in the corners than the others. This is only apparent in the extreme corners though and this lens delivers very sharp results once you move in a little.

Interestingly when you look at the third row of crops, taken from the bottom right corner, it's the EF-S 17-85mm which is softer than the others, although again the EF-S 17-55mm isn't far behind. The EF-S 17-85mm also exhibits greater coloured fringing in other areas of the image not shown here.

The middle row of crops, taken from the centre of the image all show similar levels of detail, although the EF-S 17-55mm and EF 17-40mm appear to have slightly higher contrast. The EF 17-40mm certainly performs well here in all three rows, and we'd say it fractionally has the edge overall, but it's not the significant difference you may have been expecting for a lens that's corrected for a full frame body. It's also good to see a sample of the EF-S 18-55mm kit lens performing respectably here. Finally, remember this is a test performed with each lens focused to infinity with the apertures closed to f8. To see how the lenses perform under other conditions and in other respects, check out our other results pages listed below.

Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi lens upgrade results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting

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Canon EF-S 17-85 IS USM



All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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