Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published DEcember 2005

Special thanks to Anthony Harling for providing this lens!


The Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM is one of Canon´s classic consumer standard zooms. It received some rather mediocre reviews during the film era so it didn´t really leave the shadow of the more popular EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM and EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS. On APS-C DSLRs the reported border performance problems should be much less pronounced so let´s have a look how it performs here. The field-of-view is equivalent to 39-136mm, which is certainly more useful than native 28-XXXmm zooms but on APS-C it is still far from being an allround lens.

The optical design is made of 15 elements in 12 groups with one aspherical element. The lens features 6 aperture blades. At 73x70mm and 380g it is a pretty compact and light-weight lens. The minimal focus distance is 0.5m resulting in a max. object magnification of 1:6.25 at 85mm.

Originally the lens was released in two different flavours - a silver colored version for APS SLRs (film) and a black version which is still marketed today. Officially there´s no difference between the two though there´re rumors that the silver version is somewhat better.

The build quality of the lens is pretty good - not quite comparable to Canon L lenses but the platic quality is decent and there´re few wobbling parts despite the duo-cam zoom construction. Both the zoom as well as the focus ring operate reasonably smooth though not overly well damped.

The EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM has a very fast and virtually silent ring-type USM drive featuring full-time manual focusing (FTM) in AF mode. The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem. The lens comes without any special accessory but a dedicated lens hood is available.

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