Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Not yet tested
24-85mm $300
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(From Canon lens literature) Ultra-wide zoom lens with portrait-length telephoto capability. By having multiple lens groups move during zooming, the lens was made compact and lightweight. The Ashperical element suppresses distortion. High contrast is maintained at all focal lengths and sharp images are obtained.

Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM User Reviews

7.7/10 average of 14 review(s) Build Quality 7.4/10 Image Quality 7.6/10
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by transiently (26 reviews)
    Central sharpness is always good. Super-handy size for its great range.
    Corner sharpness is always weak. Sides/edges at wide/medium focal length are less good than expected until lens is stopped well down, with softness and some purple fringing.

    As tested on my 6D, this is a good but compromised lens. Compared with the also somewhat compromised but really very good 28-105ii, corner, edge and even side of frame performance is weaker than expected at wide and medium focal lengths, but when stopped well down, it is only the extreme corners of the full frame where the problem is observable. My impression is that I would prefer to shoot this lens at 24mm than the 20-35 3.5-4.5, which isn't a very strong lens. At 85mm I found this better than its reputation. Shooting near infinity, it is quite good across the frame even at its maximum aperture of 4.5.

    Interestingly, central sharpness at wide apertures is slightly better than the 28-105. It really shows that this lens was designed for APS cameras. Several years ago I had one of these in silver, before I had full frame digital but after I stopped shooting film. It was very good indeed on my 40D. I had wanted to try one ever since getting my 6D. This black example came in a package with a 10D. They usually sell on ebay UK for at least as much as they did when I last owned one, nine years ago. (100GBP).

    For me this lens complements my 28-105 and I will keep both. Colour balance is the same as my 28-105. Distortion is quite high at 24mm...but so is the 28-105 at 28mm. Vignetting is high at 24/3.5.

    Overall good for scenic photography whenever you can stop it down. Less good for eg street photography at wide apertures, where you will want better sharpness distribution across the frame than this lens can deliver.

    Tested sample is in good order and seems well centred.

    NB the site seems not to be showing the entire contents of the Pros/Cons sections at the top of my previous reviews, so I'm moving towards shortening them!

    reviewed January 20th, 2021
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by alex1962 (2 reviews)
    Sharp, price
    non IS

    A very good lens.

    reviewed June 30th, 2009 (purchased for $150)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by climber (11 reviews)
    USM, good image quality on APS-C, lightweight
    CA, distortion, slow

    A nice beginner lens with good IQ, USM and lightweight.

    reviewed April 21st, 2009 (purchased for $300)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by peddr (1 reviews)
    Lightweight, fast and quiet focus. Preety decent range for walk around lens.
    Noa afst IS

    Pretty decent quality. Versatile. Good range. Not as good as the 24-105, but not that much difference. On the plus side it is MUCH lighter and can be had on eBay for little money.

    reviewed April 13th, 2009 (purchased for $150)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by Wojtek (8 reviews)
    Small, light, inexpensive and sharp
    Low contrast at wide open apertures

    It is quite sharp, with relatively low distortions but only in 'standard' DSLRs. Low contrast causes impression of less sharpness than it really is. Significant distortions at the edges of full frame cameras. You can see the test results on Very good choice for cameras with APS-C sensors, if lower contrast does not bother you.

    reviewed February 17th, 2009
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by louisjaffe (6 reviews)
    light, compact, quick focusing, sharp
    limited zoom range, geometric distortion

    I purchased the lens over six years ago to use with my first DSLR, the Canon D30 (3 megapixel). Have continued to use it with a succession of Canon bodies. Am still using it with a Canon 5d.

    I purchased a Canon 24-105 f4L lens to use with the 5d. On comparison it was very little better than the 24-85, which is smaller, lighter, and 1/3 the price. The 24-105 was slightly sharper wide open at the edges of the full frame, but I found no advantage in center sharpness, and the 24-85 cleaned up nicely when stopped down. It also held up contrast-wise. I didn't compare for chromatic aberration.

    Decided to stick with the 24-85, and returned the 24-105 for a refund. Am just getting the 5d mkII. I'll be surprised if the 24-85 is sharp enough for the added pixels. But this lens has surprised me before.

    reviewed December 3rd, 2008 (purchased for $350)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by onlyone (8 reviews)
    Portable , Useful range , Good image quality ( f/8 is recommended)
    Lens slip (I don't know it's just mine or not) , AF doesn't well in low light

    One of my favorite lens. Image quality impress me (in range 50-85 is well enough) even in the wide apeture (but f/8 is recommended).

    In 24-50 has a little distortion and some CA but accepatable.

    Only problem that I dislike is len's slip, for mine, in range 24-50 often slip when put it in vertical direction.

    In this cost, for Canon, it has Sigma 24-70 f2.8 as alternative, I've used it too and I thought that pay little more money and get 2.8 apeture wide along range might be a better idea.

    However, I love this len and still keep it even I have many more lens (in this range also).

    reviewed May 31st, 2008 (purchased for $350)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by carskick (3 reviews)
    Amazing Contrast, Consistently good IQ throughout range, Compact
    Wide open is pretty good, but 1 stop down is much better

    This lens is older, and was probably originally designed as a mid-priced widezoom, but I find it has a nice home as an outdoor lens on my 20D. My primary walk-around lens is a Tamron 17-50 F2.8 which is awesome except it can be a bit short outside. Well, often I want some available extra reach without going full blown tele, so I got this lens.

    I bought it expecting it to be a little soft wide open, but it was actually better than I thought it would be based on the reviews I've read. However, this lens really shows it's stuff between F5.6-11, where while not natively razor sharp, it captures excellent color and contrast throughout the range, and sharpens nicely in PP or if you boost in camera sharpness.

    This was also my first USM AF lens, and I really enjoy it, though this is an older USM design, and isn't as smooth as some of the newer ones, and does have a little play in the ring, but isn't a deal breaker. There is some wobble in the barrel, but only if forced, it doesn't wobble while in normal use. Due to the compact nature of this lens, the zoom and focus rings are small, but just large enough to not be bothersome.

    In all honesty from the tests I've seen and comparing my lens to others, this lens is not that far behind a Canon 24-105 F4L. The aperture is similar, though it doesn't have IS and it's shorter, it is a lot lighter and less expensive. On a 1.6x body, it has no significant vingetting or CA, and the contrast is approaching L grade even near wide open.

    This lens is a diamond in the rough, which is nice, as it is found for about half new price on ebay as I did, and the results are very good.

    This is an excellent first lens or kit replacement if you shoot mostly outdoors. Some say it is not wide enough for a walk around on a 1.6x body, but I beg to differ, especially if you have a dedicated wide angle such as the Canon 10-22. Indoors, it is better to have a F2.8 lens, but this is still much better than kit indoors, except for it's less wide stance. However, 85mm F4.5 will allow you to dabble with portraiture.

    I think this lens would also be excellent for a travel/walkaround on a 1.3x camera.

    While this is by no means a perfect lens, I think it is a great lens for just about any Canon body, though it's usage might be different depending on what you strap it on.

    Update: After spending even more time with this lens, my opinion is fairly consistent. The main flaw of this lens is the build quality, which could have been so much tighter. The materials are fine, but the play in the barrel and rings are more on par for a low end lens, not a medium end lens.

    reviewed August 29th, 2007 (purchased for $170)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by minute (3 reviews)
    Small, light, excellent zoom range for both full-frame and cropped digital
    Soft corners at wide aperture, some flare problems, zoom creep

    I bought this lens to use on an EOS film camera but I am now also using it on a 400D.

    On a full-frame camera it makes in my opinion the best walk-around zoom you can buy if you don't have the cash or muscle for the 24-70L. It's light, it's got a very flexible range (I love 24mm), USM and the image quality is very good.

    On a digital camera it still makes a useful 37-135mm general purpose lens and I use it almost daily.

    I noticed softer corners at wide apertures on 35mm slides, especially towards the wide angle, but to be frank these were not real situations - most of the time at wide angle one has to stop down a bit to get appropriate DOF. It also shows a bit of flare/lost contrast when shooting against the light - probably due to the wider glass elements.

    Build-wise there is some zoom creep if pointed downwards - wish it was a bit more damped. Also, I wish the zoom turn would be a bit longer, it takes a very small rotation to go from 24mm to 35mm for instance.

    Otherwise it's a lens I highly recommend and I certainly advise against the 28-105 alternative which is less useful if you are contemplating a crop-sensor digital camera.

    reviewed December 14th, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by tvoj (6 reviews)
    Good range, not too expensive, compact, decent construction, quiet/fast/accurrate AF operation
    Definitely not well-sealed, sometimes a little soft, flare/blooming is an issue with my 30d

    I originally bought this lens for my EOS film body. It went nice and wide, back then.

    Now on my 1.6x crop digital, it's one of my most-used lenses because the range is pretty good for general use.

    It can be a bit soft at times. Contrast/color are OK, but don't really pop out at you.

    One thing I've noticed is that flare or blooming effects are pronouned on digital in more extreme/contrasty lighting situations. It's totally apparant with point light sources that are near/on axis with the lens.

    This seems to be an interaction with the UV filter I have on the front of the lens. Removing the filter moderates the effect. I haven't tried a multicoated filter, which could help. But I've never seen this extreme effect with filters in front of my other lenses.

    This lens got sand or dirt inside within weeks of purchase - I had to send it back to Canon for cleaning.

    reviewed December 8th, 2006 (purchased for $400)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by Michael LV (3 reviews)
    Fairly light, sharp at F#8.0
    Built quality, low res. at open apertures, Zoom ring does not hold position

    I used this Lens as universal Lens for for my Canon Elan and for Canon XT
    It is a bit softer than I need. It makes sharp images with good color and contrast at apertures around f8.0.
    Zoom ring does not hold position and front of the Lens "pulled' out while carried on camera. Need a better seal.

    reviewed December 6th, 2006 (purchased for $340)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by gadgetguy (62 reviews)
    great range for full-frame; nice color and contrast; reasonalbe price
    none, except for unusual 67mm filter size

    As a nice, light zoom for a full-frame camera, this is almost ideal. You get 24mm (wide!) and 85mm (perfect for portraits). It's also reasonably well contrsucted and gives good color and contrast.

    Sure, it's not an L but for what you pay, you get close enough - price differnce considred. It's also quite good looking!

    reviewed December 3rd, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by pz (8 reviews)
    for its price it is a very good lens
    24 mm is not ideal for a digital body

    On my 300D it was a very good objective, I used it a lot, I liked it.

    reviewed November 17th, 2006
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by David Hay (8 reviews)
    Light, fairly cheap, good performance.
    Sometimes fails to focus first time at the wide-angle setting.

    This is a very useful zoom range on a full frame camera. The difference between 28 and 24 mm is well worth having. Focus is usually fast and quiet but it seems to fail to focus first time at the wide-angle setting more often than other full time USM lenses I have.

    Image quality is quite good for the price. A friend does weddings with his one despite it not being an L-series lens. Distortion is quite well controlled.

    reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $490)