Canon 15-85mm IS USM quick review

November 12th, 2009

Visited metropolitan recently, they have a new lens (15-85 usm)

have you heard of that lens before?

me either!

anyway, it looks like a good consumer lens - apparently it was released with the 7D

some quick thoughts:

Performance:
no major complaint - lens was sharp, worked as it should have.

pros
good build quality, solid, IS, USM for focus (FTM I think)
15mm is nice
15-85 translates to 24-135? or something like that, I think - which is (IMO) a good range… so someone buying a camera can buy this lens and be OK with it, probably wouldn’t need anything else initially..
distance scale (I think that is what it is called, at least!)

cons
high price ($799 + vat, etc)

a cheaper option would be (18-55 + 55-250)

Verdict

a bit expensive, but a convenient for someone who wants a single lens. if this drops to about $350 or $400 it would be well worth it

for the moment, for someone with $800 to blow, I recommend a 50mm 1.4 (or 85 1.8) and a 55-250

Alternatively, even better - a 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8 and 55-250
all should be possible under $800

Quick sample image at 15mm

I will post more samples later, but I can generally summarize by saying that, to my untrained eye, this lens seems OK - it functions well, is solidly built, has cool ‘pro’ features like ring USM and full time manual focus / distance scale - in short, it is an excellent lens, only a bit expensive

distortion
distortion at 15mm was neither good, nor bad, somewhere in the middle. Obviously a bit more than the 18mm but still in the OK range.

if you wanted to, you could fix distortion using software (DXO Labs, photoshop or something?)

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