Canon EF-S 7-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

It's amazing the difference a few hundred pounds can make

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Our Verdict

If it was a stop faster, then the EF-S 17-85mm could be the perfect standard zoom lens. It performs well when wide-open, but you're paying a high premium for the image quality and image stabilisation


  • Excellent images
  • Strong features


  • Expensive

The standard zoom kit lens for the Canon EOS is notoriously second-rate but the EF-S 17-85mm is worlds apart, offering stellar image quality and handling.

Even wide-open images were razor-sharp all the way down to 0.35 metres, with macro facilities at short range. Colour and contrast impress too.

The USM autofocus system is quiet, fast and accurate, and there's manual override in AF mode. Switches on the side of the lens barrel enable AF or manual focus selection and turn on or off the lens's other claim to fame - image stabilisation.

In our tests, this didn't work as consistently as on Nikon's latest lenses, but it was good nonetheless. The only drawback is the high price for a lens that has a maximum aperture of f/4-5.6.