Canon EFS 15-85mm IS vs Kit Lens

Started Nov 13, 2011 | Discussions thread
technic Veteran Member • Posts: 8,932
Re: Canon EFS 15-85mm IS vs Kit Lens

Montana500 wrote:

The 15-85 is sharper on the long end than the kit, and has better color. It also has better build quality (although still not very good, IMHO), a non-rotating front element (essential for filter work) and USM focusing. But the vignetting is unacceptable for a $750 lens, and the distortion is almost as bad.

I was very impressed by my 15-85 IS at the long end. The wide end was poor.

yes, I agree with that. I have 15-85IS now, used 18-55IS previously (and some other standard zooms like Sigma EX 2.8/18-50). The 18-55IS has terrific value for money, and in the corners in the WA range (especially wide open) it is often sharper than the expensive 15-85IS. People who claim that the 15-85IS is sharper usually only look at the centre resolution (where it is probably better indeed, but not relevant in practice), or compare only at the long end of the range.

Focusing on the 18-55IS is very fast, I don't think the 15-85IS is any faster (it probably has to move at least 10x the bulk for focusing ...). I also have the impression that the IS of the 18-55 is a bit more effective. The 15mm range on the 15-85 is very nice (use it for over half of my shots), but the lens is too expensive for its performance IMHO. Unfortunately there are no real alternatives with similar range.

I ditched the 18-55IS because it has a weird diffuse flare problem; in high contrast scenes you will get low contrast (grey instead of black etc.) around highlights, which is almost impossible to cure in PP. The 15-85IS does not have this problem, and in general it gives better color and contrast than the 18-55IS. Sooner or later I will probably move to another standard zoom with better image quality (probabyl Sigma 2.8/17-50).

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