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

This is the widest standard zoom on the market for APS-C Canon DSLRs

(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

A useful zoom for APS-C users, the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM provides a generous range in a surprisingly light body. You do have to be aware of a few trade-offs – the narrow maximum aperture is perhaps most obvious, though there are also a few sharpness problems that are alleviated by stopping down, further reducing the lens’s low-light capabilities. Still, extra features like a useful four-stop stabiliser and a focus distance scale mean this is definitely a lens for APS-C users to consider.


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    Wide zoom range

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    Four-stop stabiliser

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    Relatively lightweight


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    Narrow maximum aperture

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Considering that a starting point of 24mm is pretty ubiquitous in standard zooms for full-frame cameras, it’s surprising that this is the only zoom lens for Canon APS-C format bodies on the market that gives the same effective maximum viewing angle. The outright zoom range is also exceptionally generous for a lens of this type, equating to 24-136mm in full-frame terms.

Originally launched back in 2009, this lens is similar to many other mid-range lenses in the Canon stable. It isn’t weather-sealed and its hood is sold separately, in this case costing £38/$30 for the EW-78E hood. It also sports ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, in which the focus ring remains stationary during autofocus and enables full-time manual override. Also, unlike most kit zooms, it has a focus distance scale.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.