Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

This review covers


» Image Quality «


» Sample Pictures «

» Conclusion «

» Further Information «

Table of contents

Shot with the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM:

Okavango Delta  (35mm / 56mm eff., f/7.1, 1/200s, ISO 100, APS-C)  © Gil De Sousa



EF-S 15-85mm
f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

The EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is one of quite a few Canon standard zoom lenses for APS-C cameras. "Standard" of course refers to the focal range of this lens rather than its build and image quality which is certainly above standard. Made from high-end plastics and featuring a metal lens mount the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM does have a very solid feel. The ultra sound focus motor is very fast and acurate and even more impressive is the modern image stabilizer that compensates 4 exposure values.

While the resolution of the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is really good and rivals some L series lenses other image quality factors are not as good. Distortion is a serious issue at the wide end of the focal range but well under control for longer focal lengths. Color errors are quite intense but only in focused areas of the image. Out-of-focus areas fortunately do not have color fringes and the bokeh is very even as well. There is also some curvature of the focal plane and a still healthy amount of corner shadow.

Overall the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is certainly one of Canon's high-end offerings and has its price tag for a good reason. Some might prefer the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM over this lens for its better maximum aperture and image quality. But of course that lens is bigger, heavier and has a much narrower focal range which limits one thing that's very important for a general purpose standard zoom lens: versatility. I have taken the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM on many trips with no regret...

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Further Information


-Data table

NameCanon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
Model year2009
Market price (Germany)€ 630
Market price (USA)$ 740
CompatibilityNot compatible with full frame cameras
Lens typeZoom
Aperture range at shortest focal lengthf/3.5 to f/22
Aperture range at longest focal lengthf/5.6 to f/36
Model No.?
Number of aperture blades7
Aperture blades are circular?Yes
Has image stabilization?Yes
F-stop gain of image stabilizer4
Number of image stabilizer modes1
Allows manual override during autofocus?Yes
Has filter thread?Yes
Filter size72 mm
Officially compatible with extenders?No
Has a metal lens mount?Yes
Weight20 oz
Diameter3.2 "
Length (mount surface to front end)3.4 "
Length - fully extended5 "
Length - fully extended with hood7 "
Shortest focal length15 mm
Longest focal length85 mm
Effective shortest focal length on cameras with APS-C sensor24 mm
Effective longest focal length on cameras with APS-C sensor136 mm
Minimum focus distance1.15 '
Maximum magnification0.21 x
Front element rotates when focusing?No
Front element rotates when zooming?No
Extends when focusing?No
Extends when zooming?Yes
Zoom lockable?No
Number of AF ranges1
Number of AF presets0
Length of AF preset recall ringn.a.
Sealed against dust and moisture?No
Seal requires filter to be present?n.a.
Has AF stop switch?Yes
Has AF stop button?No
Has distance indicator?Yes
Distance information is in EXIF data??
Uses drop-in type filters?No
Drop-in filter sizen.a.
Length of zoom ring1.1 "
Length of focus ring0.3 "
Number of lenses17
Number of optical groups12
Lens Hood
Weight1.1 oz
Maximum diameter3.9 "
Length2.0 "
Model No.EW-78E
Lens Cap
Weight0.6 oz
Length0.2 "
Model No.E-72
Tripod Mount
Maximum diameter?
Model No.?
Case / Pouch
Model No.LP1116



Image Quality