15-85 or 17-40L

Started Dec 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
M J Valentine Senior Member • Posts: 1,260
Re: 15-85 or 17-40L


I own a 15-85 and hired a 17-40L recently. The 17-40L is better built but the limited range and distortion at wide angle made it hard to justify on a crop body for me at least. The lack of image stabilisation made obtaining sharp results indoors without a flash or tripod very difficult.

If your requirement is to use such a lens mainly outdoors in good light then a 17-40L produces better contrast than the 15-85 and focuses more reliably on my 650D. The 15-85 may exceed the 17-40L in absolute sharpness but somehow the images produced by the 17-40L are more pleasing. While beside the point I did hire a 17-55 f/2.8 and disliked the shoddy build quality (compared to an L lens).

There are reports of the 15-85 suffering from decentering, i.e. loss of sharpness in a specific portion of the image, so be prepared to return this lens. The 15-85 also suffers from flare at 15mm which may not be possible to adequately correct in software. This only disappears by 17mm.

Having used both lenses I would suggest that you try both and err on the side of the 17-40L if you can live without the 4 stop image stabilisation of the 15-85. A 17-40L with a fast prime may be a better bet than a 15-85.

For me a full frame camera with a 24-105L would be a dream come true...


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