In my quest to buy a new camera, My local store has three bundles, that each comes with one of the three lenses mentioned in the title. I'm having a hard time deciding between the three as they all have relatively the same pros and cons. So I'm going to deligate this decision making to you based on the following information:

  • The frame will either be a 60D or T4i (650D)
  • Price isn't an issue when comparing the bundles
  • My other lenses are 50mm 1.8, sigma 10-20, and canon 100mm 2.8 macro. I also have the kit 18-55 and 75-300
  • I've shot with the 17-85 and 18-200 before and I like them both
  • 80% of my shots are Landscapes, 10% macro, and 10% everything else.
  • I'm primarily looking for a lens I can walk with while on travel, and/or put as a secondary lens on my second frame.
  • My criteria in order: Image Quality (opened wide, sharpness, distortion, and aberration, AF speed at low light, and versatility (Do panoramas, portraits, street shots, etc, as the situation requires).

Thanks in advance :)

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Disregard all options laid out, purchase the 17-55mm f/2.8 or 17-40mm f/4 L. Pickup a 70-200 for the long end, or even a 100-400 or similar depending on your preferences. You want image quality above all else, I wouldn't get any of the three lenses you noted in that case. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Oct 5, 2012 at 19:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt any interest in posting your comment as an answer so I can perhaps accept it. I think I'mgoing to purchase the 70-200 4L and the 17-85 \$\endgroup\$
    – dassouki
    Oct 11, 2012 at 17:10

3 Answers 3


For a general purpose, high IQ, fast AF, low light lens the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is the obvious choice. It's not cheap, but its a step up from any of those on offer.

If you must choose one of those on offer, I'd probably get the 18-135mm STM for general walk-around but I don't think any will be as sharp or as good in low light as the 17-55mm f/2.8. I think the 18-135mm is a little sharper and faster to focus than the others, and it sounds like you're not too fussed about the long end (so 135mm is an OK compromise).

The 18-200 will probably outperform your 75-300 in the range where they overlap, so if you're wanting to replace the 18-55 and 75-300 in one go, that might be a better choice. Or if you want higher IQ, and are happy carrying more weight, you're better off with the 17-55mm f/2.8 and one of Canon's excellent 70-200L or 70-300L lenses.

I have a personal dislike for the 17-85mm because its similar length to the 17-55 but nowhere near the image quality. The 15-85mm is much better than the 17-85mm (and I thought that was Canon's replacement in the kits for the 17-85), as its quite sharp and extends your 'standard' 18-55mm range a little into the ultra-wide and a little into the telephoto ranges (for when you might need either of the 10-20 or 75-300 but aren't sure and can't be bothered carrying all three).


I've owned both the 18-135 STM and the 18-200 IS. The 18-135 STM is a far better lens for image quality and auto focus. My 18-200 hardly ever got out of my camera bag, so I sold it. I have since upgraded all my lenses to the canon "L" lenes, but if I were to look for a great walk around lens or a lens to take on vacation, where you will be carrying it around all day, I would definitly go with the 18-135 STM. No question.


I have had a problem with two of the 18-135 stms - both not sharp, almost a compact camera image - to be honest the kits 18-55 and 55-250 are much better imo - along with a couple of primes- say the 40mm stm or 50 1.8 and the 85 1.8. I would like the 15-85 but I hear distortion is pretty rough on it, but the 15-85 is a very useful length.


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