Best zoom lens upgrade for canon dslrs: 10 tested

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - £610

With a class-leading 5.7x zoom range, this lens offers the widest-angle focal length in the group (on an APS-C camera), equivalent to just 24mm. The closest other lenses come is 27mm, and the difference is very noticeable when you want to exaggerate perspective or squeeze more into a shot.

The effective 136mm maximum telephoto setting is equally useful, making the EF-S 15-85mm the most versatile lens in the group.

The range comes at a price in both purchase cost and a slight compromise in image quality. There's a little colour fringing in the corners of the frame shooting at wide-angle zoom settings, and when you combine the widest 15mm focal length with apertures greater than f/5.6, vignetting is clearly visible.

We've criticised the lens in the past for this but, with peripheral illumination correction available on all current Canon DSLRs, it's less of an issue. Vignetting and colour fringing can also be tuned out if you shoot in raw and process shots with Digital Photo Professional.

Build quality is very sturdy and the lens is reasonably compact. Sharpness proved exceptional in our tests. For a standard zoom lens that goes the extra mile, it's hard to beat.