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Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4~5.6 IS USM lens review Gordon Laing, December 2005

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



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Click here for the Canon EF-S 17-85mm video tour

Canon EF-S 17-85mm uniformity, wide angle

To measure lens vignetting and light fall-off we photographed a white target with a highly diffused custom filter. The lenses were tested at their widest focal length with the aperture wide open using a Canon EOS-350D / Digital Rebel XT in Aperture Priority mode. The images were analysed with Imatest and the full areas presented here at a reduced resolution.

With light falling off to an average of 57.8% in the corners, the 17-85mm EF-S was noticeably worse than the other two lenses. The light fall-off at wide angle is probably the worst aspect of this lens and is quite visible in some of our gallery shots on the previous page. The 17-40mm EF L, designed for a full frame camera, unsurprisingly performed best in this test, although light fall-off was still measured at 79.4% even in the corners of the cropped frame of the 350D / Digital Rebel XT.

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4~5.6 IS USM
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5~5.6
Canon EF 17-40mm f4.0L USM
Canon 17-85mm lens wide angle uniformity test
Canon 18-55mm lens wide angle uniformity test
Canon 17-40mm lens wide angle uniformity test
17-85mm EF-S at 17mm f4
Mean corner fall-off: 57.8%
  18-55mm EF-S at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 68.8%
  17-40mm EF L at 17mm f4
Mean corner fall-off: 79.4%


Canon EF-S 17-85mm uniformity, telephoto

To measure lens vignetting and light fall-off we photographed a white target with a highly diffused custom filter. The lenses were tested at their longest focal length with the aperture wide open using a Canon EOS-350D / Digital Rebel XT in Aperture Priority mode. The images were analysed with Imatest and the full areas presented here at a reduced resolution.

Zoomed-in to their longest focal lengths, all three lenses performed quite similarly and while the 17-85mm EF-S was still the worst of the group, it almost caught up with its rivals. Interestingly though, despite being designed for a full-frame body, the 17-40mm EF-L performed no better than the budget 18-55mm EF-S in this test even on a cropped body. Indeed the 18-55mm EF-S scored fractionally higher, although the difference wouldn't be noticeable in real-life.

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4~5.6 IS USM
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5~5.6
Canon EF 17-40mm f4.0L USM
Canon 17-85mm lens telephoto uniformity test
Canon 18-55mm lens telephoto uniformity test
Canon 17-40mm lens telephoto uniformity test
17-85mm EF-S at 85mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 77.5%
  18-55mm EF-S at 55mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 83.8%
  17-40mm EF L at 40mm f4
Mean corner fall-off: 82.2%

Canon 17-85mm results

Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting
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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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