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First announced in August 2004 to coincide with the launch of the EOS 20D, the EF-S 17-85mm F4-5.6 IS USM is Canon’s logical upgrade from the basic 18-55mm kit lens supplied with its APS-C dSLRs. With a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 27-136mm, it covers a decent wideangle to telephoto range, making it a useful ‘walkaround’  lens which will cover a wide range of photographic opportunities. It also sports Canon's 2nd-generation optical image stabilizer, which allows hand-holding at slower shutter speeds than usual before the image-degrading effects of camera shake become apparent. This lens is clearly an attempt by Canon to replicate the success of their earlier 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM, which gained a strong reputation as an excellent performer on 35mm film; so is the 17-85mm up to scratch?

Headline features

  • 27-136mm equivalent focal length range; F4-5.6 maximum aperture
  • Optical image stabilization – 3 stops 
  • Ring-type USM focusing with full-time manual override
  • EF-S mount for Canon APS-C dSLRS only

Angle of view

The pictures below illustrate the focal length range from wide to telephoto:

17mm (27mm equivalent) 85mm (136mm equivalent)

Canon EF-S 17-85mm 1:4-5.6 IS USM specifications

Street price • US: $520
• UK: £360
Date introduced August 2004
Maximum format size APS-C
Focal length 17-85mm
35mm equivalent focal length (APS-C) 27-136mm
Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C) 78º - 18º
Maximum aperture F4-5.6
Minimum aperture F22-32
Lens Construction • 17 elements/12 groups
• 1 Aspherical element
Number of diaphragm blades 6
Minimum focus 0.35m
Maximum magnification 0.20x at 85mm
AF motor type • Ring-type Ultrasonic Motor
• Full-time manual focus
Focus method Internal
Image stabilization • 3 stops
• Single mode (no panning)
Filter thread • 67mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories • Front and rear caps
Optional accessories • EW-73B Hood
• LP1116 Case
Weight 475 g (16.7 oz)
Dimensions 78.5 mm diameter x 92 mm length
(3.1 x 3.6 in)
Lens Mount Canon EF-S only
Other Supplies distance information for E-TTL II flash metering

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area