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Advice for blurry Canon EF-S 15-85mm


I would like to ask for advice. Short background story:
In June 2010 I bought Canon 7D and Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS. I used the lens for about half a year and found out that right side of the photos was becoming more and more blurry. In March 2011 I sent the lens for repair and got it fixed. One year passed after repair and I noticed the same thing - the right side was becoming more blurry. There is no difference between phase AF (regular mode) and live view mode. Both of them produce the same result. The blurriness is mor noticeable at f/4-f/5.6 aperture. I have no complain regarding the left side and the central parts of the images.
There are several variants:
1. My lens is defective from the beginning and the repair service just temporarly fixed the issue.
2. Something wrong with the design of the lens
3. It's just an minor accident and my lens can be fully repaired for the rest of the life

The lens is out of warranty and, as I understood, the fix at Canon service will cost me at least $350-400 (repair service, shipping, insurance, etc).

Guys, does it make sense to send the lens for repair or throw it into trash can and forget about this ill-fated Canon lens? And look at Canon EF 17-40/4 or smth like this for everyday zoom?


PS. Question to Canon staff: have ever heard about any design or quality issues with EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6?



Any lens can be a dud, unfortunately.  It’s possible that’s the case.  I haven’t heard any common problems with that lens, and given the internet’s affinity for complaint I’m assuming it’d be well known if it was a design issue.   But I wouldn't pay $400 to fix it unless I loved the lens.  I'd put it towards something else, or buy a refurbished copy for probably less.


How did you like the lens?  Complaints (other than the blurriness)?  If you’re looking for an alternate what is important to you: image quality, aperture, range?  I don’t know that’d I’d recommend the 17-40.  If you don’t need the huge range of the 15-85 then I’d look at the 17-55 f/2.8 for a possible replacement.

It's really nice lens. It provides a very good balance between optical quality and zoom range. I used it as everyday zoom with my Canon 7D.

The lens costs $700 and I don't think that wasting $350 (at least) for repair is a good choice. I'm looking toward 2 lenses right now:


16-35 f/2.8

+ fast lens, good wide angle, L lens

- quite short, expensive


17-40 f/4

+ constant aperture, good optical quality, not expensive, L lens

- quite short too


17-55 f/2.8

+fast lens, constant aperture, good zoom range

- cropped (not so good investment for "possible" full frame upgrade), not sure about build quality, 


And I've not looked at Tamrons and Sigmas yet 🙂 Tough choice, I hate it 🙂

@Trasher wrote:
Tough choice, I hate it 🙂

Heh, join the crowd.


Personally, I wouldn’t get either of the L lenses – unless I had serious plans to upgrade to full frame in the near future.  I think people put too much weight into EF lenses because they might possibly maybe purchase a full frame sometime in the next decade.  Lenses keep their value quite well if you take care of it.  And if you use a lens for 2-3 years and sell it off at a reasonable price I’d say it was a reasonable rental fee.  Or just keep it for your crop sensor camera.


I haven’t loved either of those two lenses, on full frame (where they are considered ultrawides).  I think they’re too big on a crop for what you get out of them.  If you’re ok with a bigger L lens and ok with something as slow as f/4, maybe you should look at the 24-105.  Relatively cheap because it’s a kit lens, fantastic range, great build.  The only issue is that it doesn’t get you very wide on a crop.


I’m not sure what Sigma’s latest offerings are.  I used to have a 17-70 as my go to on my crop and I loved it…  until I got into primes.    But it may be worth looking at.  I know that the Canon 17-55 has a lot of fans, but I too would have some difficulties dropping $1000 on that lens when a $100 18-55 can do almost the same thing.  If you liked the 15-85 so much perhaps you could get a refurb on that.  Or, get a cheap 18-55 and use the money to go wide (10-22) or get some primes?   Sorry, I know this isn’t helping, just thinking out loud.


I have the same issue, not vignetting or cropping - simply all edges of the photo are blurry.

Once I reviewed a few photos at my friends wedding (thinking WTF), swapped to my prime lens to troubleshoot the problem and everything was fine.

I bought mine in 2009 (along with my 7d) and its been just fine up until recently.  Thought about taking it for a service, but wondering what they can do and as you said 350-400 for maybe a throw-away by the looks....


I decided to send my lens to the repair service. In my particular case the repair costed about $220. I paid less with CPS Gold discount. Got the lens back and so far I'm happy with the quality of the repair and performance of the lens.

Thanks for the feedback and price range on the repair - I will do the same - wish me luck!
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