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Canon EF 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 USM lens review

canon 24-85 3.5-4.5 usmCanon EF 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 USM - the lens is old and little known (albeit in vain). It was produced from 1996 to 2009 and was supplied mainly with film cameras. but this does not prevent you from using it today on modern digital SLRs. Moreover, as will be seen below, the lens demonstrated good results.

I will briefly summarize its advantages:

  • low cost
  • versatile focal length range
  • good sharpness
  • fast and accurate autofocus
  • compact sizes

canon 24-85 vs canon 85 1.8Outwardly, it is compact (identical in size Canon 85 f1.8) and lightweight (380 grams) lens with a very convenient focal length range. In terms of focal lengths, it can be recommended as a standard full frame. On the crop, the wide angle will be a little missing.

Image quality

Let's take a closer look at how this lens behaves at full frame in terms of sharpness and other parameters. By this link you can view photos in full resolution at various apertures and focal lengths.

In short, I will say that sharpness in the center is always acceptable. The extreme corners do not become perfectly sharp even at f11. But this is noticeable if you shoot at 22 megapixels and then zoom those angles 100-200%. If you shoot at a lower resolution or resize for the Internet, some drop in sharpness is not critical. And you don't need more to report. In my video review, you can further examine these nuances in more detail.

The lens is good, but not perfect. Do not forget that we are considering a very budget model. Let's compare it with more expensive optics - Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L. What advantages does the L-zoom have over such a good Canon lens?

Canon 24-85vs24-70

Below you can see that the L lens is sharper, but the 24-85 is not bad either. With the diaphragm closing, 24-85 is even closer in sharpness to 24-70.

comparison 2.8vs3.5

Next, I aimed both lenses directly at the sun behind the building. It is clearly seen that the 24-70 f2.8L handles this situation much better.

sun test

A little bokeh test at home. The picture comes out pretty similar, but the 24-70 2.8L certainly gives the best bokeh.
Source file at 24-70
Source file at 24-85

bokeh test


L-ki advantages:

  • the best sharpness across the entire field of the frame at all apertures
  • large aperture + bokeh
  • more contrasting image
  • no chromatic aberration
  • better backlight tolerance
  • less vignetting
  • even faster autofocus (instant feel)

This is a list of benefits that will cost you about 6x more than the Canon 24-85. Is it worth it in the reportage zoom? It's up to everyone to decide for themselves.

Video review

I recommend watching my video review of this model. It turned out to be quite laudatory, but there are reasons for that.

Video test:

Summing up

The Canon EF 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 USM lens is definitely worth its little money in my opinion. It can be found used for around $ 200. It shows excellent results for its class. This purchase is a good choice for a full frame start or as a complement to prime lenses. It's good to use it for reportage. Small size and weight allow you to be unobtrusive with it and be on your feet for a long time (for example, in travel). Of course, it is not suitable for artistic photography, primarily because of the luminosity, but the purpose of such a zoom is completely different.

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