Using interchangeable lens with a DSLR camera expands the range of photographic expressions possible. In this series, I will review Canon’s EF-S lenses using the popular mid-range model, the EOS 80D. This time, we will take a look at the one and only standard zoom lens which can achieve a focal length of 15mm at the wide angle end in the EF-S lens series, the EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. (Reported by: Ryosuke Takahashi)
- Excellent versatility—has 24mm equivalent wide angle end
- Shines in the telephoto range—is equipped with an image stabilization mechanism
EOS 80D/ EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 15mm (24mm equivalent)/ Aperture-Priority AE (f/8, 1/250sec, EV+1.0)/ISO 100/WB: Auto
With the AI Servo AF, the AF reactivity is so good it even allows you to easily track seagulls flying above the sea. Since the lens is 24mm equivalent at the wide angle end, I managed to capture the expansive sight in front of me sharply. (Photo by: Kazuo Nakahara)
EOS 80D/ EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 85mm (136mm equivalent)/ Aperture-Priority AE (f/5.6, 1/500sec, EV+0.7)/ISO 250/WB: Auto
With a maximum aperture of f/5.6 and a 136mm equivalent focal length at the telephoto end, you can also have fun creating expressions that make use of bokeh. Although the scene was backlit, a clear shot could be taken without any visible flaring. (Photo by: Kazuo Nakahara)
Covers a wide range of daily scenes with its easy-to-use 5.7x zoom
The EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is the one and only standard zoom lens in the EF-S Series that can achieve a focal length of 15mm at the wide angle end. Images taken with a 24 – 136mm equivalent focal length allows you to enjoy shooting at a truly wide sense that you cannot find in an 18mm class lens. Since the 136mm equivalent focal length is also fairly long at the telephoto end, not only is it useful when capturing a magnified shot of a subject in the distance but you can also expect to achieve a perspective compression effect.
The optical system is unique because of the aspherical lens element used to correct various aberrations at the wide angle end and the UD lens element that is effective against chromatic aberrations at the telephoto end. Focusing using the ring USM is fast, allowing you to quickly focus even when the picture is very much out of focus.
Furthermore, the slightly thicker zoom ring creates a sense of stability when you are holding it. Since the zoom is released in 3 stops and it employs a floating design for the lens groups, the lens will not fall on its own weight even if you face it downwards.
Although the EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM was developed specifically for the EOS 7D, it also works very well together with the more advanced EOS 80D. You will probably be able to feel its high quality as you grow accustomed to using it. The direct sense of operation of the full-time MF using the ring USM demonstrates its true value when you want to achieve fine control of the focus in Live View or the viewfinder. With this one lens fitted to your camera, you’ll be more than prepared on your next trip.
Tip: Display the grid lines in the viewfinder to check the perspective distortion effect
When making use of the perspective distortion effect in your shot at the wide angle end, you may wish to display the grid in the viewfinder to properly check the camera tilt and blank space in the composition. Since the perspective distortion effect is even more intense than that on an 18mm class lens at the wide angle end, you can ensure smooth shooting by displaying the visual guide lines in the viewfinder.
To display the grid in the viewfinder, select it from [Viewfinder display] in the functional setting menu 2.
EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
(24 - 136mm equivalent when fitted to the EOS 80D)
Lens composition: 17 elements in 12 groups
Minimum shooting distance: 0.35m
Maximum shooting factor: 0.21x
Filter diameter: φ72mm
Maximum diameter x length: Approx. φ81.6×87.5mm
Weight: Approx. 575g
Lens configuration diagram
A: Aspherical lens element
B: UD lens element
C: Image stabilizing unit
Lens hood: EW-78E (sold separately)
Born in Aichi in 1960, Takahashi started his freelance career in 1987 after working with an advertising photo studio and a publishing house. Photographing for major magazines, he has travelled to many parts of the world from his bases in Japan and China. Takahashi is a member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS).
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