Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Started Apr 6, 2013 | Discussions
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MaxCh Contributing Member • Posts: 892
Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

As I understand, the 15-85  has USM which makes it faster than 18-55 or 18-135? How noticeable is the difference ? The USM ens is supposed to make the lens quieter but I do not care about. I do not find 18-55 to be too loud.

I can't decide whether 15-85mm is a worthy upgrade from 15-55 or whether I should just get 18-135 to get the extra range.

Thanks

 MaxCh's gear list:MaxCh's gear list
Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +1 more
Messiah Complex Regular Member • Posts: 133
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Substantially.  I'm not really sure how else to phrase it without having actual measurements on hand.  There's a significant difference in focusing speed between the two.

I'm actually considering a USM telephoto because my 55-250 feels agonizingly slow by comparison.

Edit: Obviously, I assumed you meant it focuses faster; both lenses have the same minimum aperture.

 Messiah Complex's gear list:Messiah Complex's gear list
Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 70D Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II +3 more
mykal900 New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

The 15-85mm focuses noticeably faster. I was surprised by how much when i upgraded from the 18-55mm.

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Dareshooter Senior Member • Posts: 1,821
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

USM lenses are faster and quieter than their non USM counterparts and they are a joy to use. If you can afford a lens with USM then go for it.Also the 15-85 has FTM (full time manual focusing), a great feature that should not be overlooked when making your choice.

MaxCh OP Contributing Member • Posts: 892
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Thank you! What exactly is a faster lens? Does it mean it focuses faster? And if it does are we talking specifically in AF? Does the lens focus faster if I use single focus point ? MF?

Thanks again!

 MaxCh's gear list:MaxCh's gear list
Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +1 more
Dareshooter Senior Member • Posts: 1,821
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

MaxCh wrote:

Thank you! What exactly is a faster lens? Does it mean it focuses faster? And if it does are we talking specifically in AF? Does the lens focus faster if I use single focus point ? MF?

Thanks again!

Your welcome and I'm sorry I should have said USM has faster AF. Best to use a single focusing point not just for speed but for accuracy because with all focus point active the camera will usually focus on the nearest thing to it which may not be what you want. Not sure how to answer your last point though,if you could expand on that one I'll do my best to answer

blue hour Regular Member • Posts: 150
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Lenses with wider aperture give the cameras

phase detection autofocus unit more light to work with.

Taking that into account all constant f 2.8 zooms

have an advantage.

Watch out:

There is a current 18-135mm STM

thats supposed to be optically better than its older counterpart.

In general STM is quiet and aids live view and video focus in particular.

MaxCh OP Contributing Member • Posts: 892
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Thanks! I am really struggling whether 15-85mm is a good upgrade from my kit lens or I should get 18-135 to get the extra range.

 MaxCh's gear list:MaxCh's gear list
Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +1 more
MaxCh OP Contributing Member • Posts: 892
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Thanks! I am just wondering if having a faster lens helps with MF.

 MaxCh's gear list:MaxCh's gear list
Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +1 more
Dareshooter Senior Member • Posts: 1,821
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

MaxCh wrote:

Thanks! I am just wondering if having a faster lens helps with MF.

Faster as in wider aperture e.g. 2.8 will aid manual focusing because the viewfinder will be brighter. Obviously faster AF won't help at all.

007peter
007peter Forum Pro • Posts: 10,379
Not "Substantial" between 15-85 vs 18-55, but substantial on Telephoto Lens

Messiah Complex wrote:

Substantially.  I'm not really sure how else to phrase it without having actual measurements on hand.  There's a significant difference in focusing speed between the two.

There is no simple answer to this question.  It really depends on:

1. Type of Lens.  USM is noticeably faster on Telephoto lens than it is on Wide-Normal Zoom

2. Distance of Focus Travel.  18-55mm IS has a very Short Focus Travel from MFD to Infinity.  As the result, 18-55IS can focus very FAST in spiteof lacking USM

3. MACRO lens have insanely Long Focus Travel = resulting in "SUBSTANTIAL" speed advantage.

I have owned over 19+ lens in my 8 years with canon.  I would say his based on my own hands-on experience:

  • 18-55 IS vs 15-85 "USM" = only about 10-20% faster
  • Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 vs Canon 70-200 f/2.8 "USM" = about 400% ~ 500% faster
  • Tamron 90 f/2.8 Macro vs Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro = 400% ~ 500% faster

18-55 IS and most Sigma/Tamron standard zoom have very short Focus Travel, this makes Auto Focus faster at the cost of less precision.

Macro Lens are notorious Slow to AF due to its extremely Long Focus Travel, the trade-off is you gain "substantial" PRECISION on focusing.

For me, lacking USM on wide to standard zoom isn't a big deal.  But when it comes to Macro and Telephoto lens, the importance of having a USM really becomes substantial.

Like I say, is more complicated than a simple generalization.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH
blue hour Regular Member • Posts: 150
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Did you consider

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

or

Canon 24-105mm f4 IS USM

or

Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 VC ?

I don't intend to make the choice even more difficult

but I'd try to upgrade to a brighter lens (lower f-number=larger aperture).

blue hour Regular Member • Posts: 150
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

The new kit zoom EF-S 18-55mm STM with inner focusing

should offer improved autofocus speed and better manual focusing too. It's focus ring no longer extends with the lens barrel.

MaxCh OP Contributing Member • Posts: 892
Re: Not "Substantial" between 15-85 vs 18-55, but substantial on Telephoto Lens

Thanks! I appreciate the help. I am considering a general walk-around lens. I do not see an obvious advantage of 15-85 over the kit lens if this is only a slightly 10%-20% faster. I am also not sure the image quality is that much better.  I think I am more interested in the longer reach. At least that is one obvious difference which does not require pixel peeping.

I know 18-55 vs 18-135 comes up all the time

thanks

 MaxCh's gear list:MaxCh's gear list
Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +1 more
Fredy Ross Veteran Member • Posts: 6,708
Re: Not "Substantial" between 15-85 vs 18-55, but substantial on Telephoto Lens

I have both the 15-85 and 18-135mm and use them both in av mode and stopped down 2 stops to get sharper. I think the first is a better lens but always take the 18-135 when I go overseas as it is so versatile. Mind you I travel also with a 17-55mm f2.8 for night shots. All of them I paid for the hood as that also means better shots. Good luck.

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fredyr

MaxCh OP Contributing Member • Posts: 892
Re: Not "Substantial" between 15-85 vs 18-55, but substantial on Telephoto Lens

Is the image quality of 18-135 same as that of the the KIT lens? Are they really different? I do not meant the difference that is only noticeable in some top left corner at 100% magnification. If I take a picture of my kids running around in the center would I see any degradation in quality? Thanks in advance

 MaxCh's gear list:MaxCh's gear list
Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM +1 more
Damoo Contributing Member • Posts: 924
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Since you asked if its worthy

i) The wide angle difference between 18mm and 15mm is substantial.

ii) The zoom difference from 55mm to 85mm can't be ignored either.

Good IS, reasonably fast AF & nice build quality makes 15-85mm a decent lens. However, IMHO it should be priced 75-100$ lesser than what its being priced now. Its not significantly sharper than the 18-55mm lenses.

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gdjoslin
gdjoslin Senior Member • Posts: 1,050
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

MaxCh wrote:

As I understand, the 15-85  has USM which makes it faster than 18-55 or 18-135? How noticeable is the difference ? The USM ens is supposed to make the lens quieter but I do not care about. I do not find 18-55 to be too loud.

I can't decide whether 15-85mm is a worthy upgrade from 15-55 or whether I should just get 18-135 to get the extra range.

Thanks

I would say it depends. Are you shooting or wanting more WA. There is a big difference in 15 v 18mm.. If you want more reach I would get the other.   I think focus speed is about the same.

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Gary

NetMage Senior Member • Posts: 2,909
Re: Not "Substantial" between 15-85 vs 18-55, but substantial on Telephoto Lens

Consider this comparison:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-S-15-85mm-f-3.5-5.6-IS-USM-Lens-Comparisons.aspx

Bottom line, the 15-85 is first or second behind the 17-55 in areas they overlap and first where they don't versus the 18-55, 17-85, 18-135 and 18-200 at wider apertures.

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Robert J. Gonzalez Senior Member • Posts: 1,173
Re: Is the 15-85mm really faster than 18-55 or 18-135?

Love it when people assume everyone know what letters stand for.

What does STM stand for?

blue hour wrote:

Lenses with wider aperture give the cameras

phase detection autofocus unit more light to work with.

Taking that into account all constant f 2.8 zooms

have an advantage.

Watch out:

There is a current 18-135mm STM

thats supposed to be optically better than its older counterpart.

In general STM is quiet and aids live view and video focus in particular.

 Robert J. Gonzalez's gear list:Robert J. Gonzalez's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 50D Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM +4 more
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