8 out of 10 points and recommendedGood image quality, fast focussing, IS is excellentbuild quality is mediocre, annoying lens creep
Excellent all round walkabout lens but on a 1.6x crop, not wide enough in town.reviewed October 30th, 2005 (purchased for $600)
8 out of 10 points and recommendedsuperb range on a 1.6x cropThis lens cost me $700 from Hong Kong & the CA isn't acceptable at that price
In reviewing this lens I have compared it with my 28-135 IS lens.reviewed October 30th, 2005 (purchased for $700)
Image Quality; compared with 28-135 IS
Not much in it really. Pixel peepers excluded, you would be hard pressed to find too much to complain about with my copy of the 28-135, despite widespread reports that it is too soft. Mine is excellent. Overall though, I reckon the 17-85 has the edge. It tends to be fractionally sharper, about 75% of the time. The colours are a fraction better too. The only down side I have about it is the occasional display of CA, which is a tad dissappointing in a lens costing anything between £425 & £500 in the UK
Image Stabilisation; compared with 28-135 IS
Surprisingly, I can see no difference between the two. I expected the 17-85 to be superior, since it’s a later generation, yet the reality is they’re both around 1.5-2 stops. No difference.
Build Quality; compared with 28-135 IS
Again, very similar, but again my copy of the 17-85 has the edge. It is a little more precise in its feel and operation. The main gripe with the 28-135 is the irritating lens creep. No sign of that with the 17-85.
Handling and operation; compared with 28-135 IS
Both lenses focus quickly and quietly most of the time but occasionally the 17-85 hunts at the long end. Not too much, but more than the 28-135, for sure. Despite the facts and figures that tell me that both are very similar in size and weight, the 17-85 feels much lighter and smaller!
Range; compared with 28-135 IS
A totally subjective point, but I find the 28-135 isn’t wide enough in town. I find the 17-85 is good for 95% of the photography I do.
To conclude, then; I shall probably sell the 28-135, despite the fact that I can use a cheap collapsible rubber lens hood with it instead of a £20 odd quid Canon petal rip off!. It wins on most of the aspects that I have considered, albeit only fractionally. The main factor is the range (which is totally subjective), the fact that it’s more or less a single lens option (personal bee in the bonnet) and the fact that if I go down that road I can dispense with the kit lens and get £50 for it on ebay.