I decided to order the new Canon EF-S 15-85 IS lens after reading about it, and seeing some great results from this lens, especially when used with the 7D.
I was originally planning on getting this lens with my 7D, but I couldn’t find anyone selling the kit at the time, so I bought the 18-135 IS kit instead. While I did like the 18-135 IS lens, I miss the faster and silent Ultrasonic Autofocus motor (USM) and I also wanted something wider then 18mm (29mm equivalent). I was thinking about getting a 10-22, but I didn’t think I would really shoot that wide, and I liked the focal range of the 24-105 IS when I had my 5DMkII, I also looked at the 17-55 IS, but wasn’t that impressed with the build quality, and since I mainly shoot landscapes, I don’t really need f/2.8. I will be adding either a 70-200 f/4 IS or a 100-400 IS to complement this lens.
The build quality of this lens is better then the 18-135 IS, and would have to be one of Canon’s best non L series lens. The zoom and manual focusing rings are both tight, and have a nice feel to them when turning them, they have a fluid feel to them which adds to the quality of the lens. The lens is not to big, but may feel that way to someone that is moving up from the 18-55 IS kit lens which is smaller and lighter. It is smaller then the 18-135 IS lens, but feels a bit heavier. The lens feels well matched to the 7D, and makes a nice combo (The lens is also available as a part of a kit with the 7D). The lens extends when zooming, and this lens uses a Duo cam system (2 zoom rings) while the 18-135 IS just used a single tube which I kind of preferred, but my copy of the 18-135 IS did show some zoom creeping after only a month of use.
The autofocus is smooth and silent, this lens uses a ring type Ultrasonic focusing motor, and it is very quick to focus. This lens has full time manual focusing (you don’t need to switch the lens into manual focus mode to manually focus) but I find the manual focus ring to be a bit smaller then I would like (or that I have been use to) it’s similar to the focus ring on the EF-S 10-22. This lens also has a distance scale window, but no Infrared scale.
The Image Stabiliser is very quiet and you can barely hear it when it engages. Canon says it will give you up to 4 f/stops of extra handholdability, but I will have to test the lens out in some low light conditions to confirm how effective it really is when I write my mini review after using the lens for a while.
Overall, the lens seems pretty good (though a tad bit expensive) but it seems pretty sharp, and the colours and contrast seems good from the few test shots I’ve taken with the new lens. I am still waiting for the lens hood to arrive, and I will write about the new hood when I write my review. In the meantime, keep a lookout at my folio as I add photos taken with the new lens.
Here is the lens on my 7D:
The lens hood arrived today, I had to source one from the US because nobody seems to have them. This would have to be the best built lens hood (for standard lenses anyway) Canon have designed this hood with a textured finish which should be more resistant to scratches then the other lens hoods with the “Smooth finish” The new 100mm Macro IS L Lens hood also features the new textured finish to it’s lens hood, so it looks like this will be the standard for all new lens hoods.