8 out of 10 points and recommendedgreat range, IS, fast focusing, reasonable size and weightprice
I purchased this lens for a vacation trip to Europe this past summer. I wanted something better than the 17-55 kit that came with my Rebel XT, something with a little more range, and something I could expect to use indoors without flash in museums and the like. I was budget constrained to something less than $600 or so, so many of the L quality lenses were out. I purchased the 17-85 IS. After 3 weeks of shooting (~1700 shots overall) on my trip in every type of light, I was very pleased with the results. I also had my 50 1.8 with me, but almost exclusively used this lens, except in nighttime shooting and a few indoor shots. It was easy to handle, its range made composing and framing much easier than the fixed lens, and the IS was simply the difference between getting a bunch of 'keeper' shots with good sharpness as opposed to a bunch of blurry shots, whenever we were indoors. The color and saturation were maybe not quite up to what I was expecting, although that might be due to the fact of not having a lens hood on. Since my trip I have continued to use this lens with good results - it is on my camera probably 80% of the time. I simply never use the kit lens anymore, and only use the 50 1.8 for low light or indoor sports shots (which this lens is a tad too slow for...)reviewed December 26th, 2006 (purchased for $520)
My primary interest in photography is scenic, and I think this lens excels in that area. There are better zooms out there, but they cost significantly more. This lens has a unique focal range especially when used on a cropped image sensor camera like the Rebel XT, and also has a price that, while maybe higher than I would like, is still significantly cheaper than most of the alternatives. A great scenic lens for the money, a great walk around lens for the Rebel XT.
7 out of 10 points and recommendedPrice, image quality, small sizefocus can be 'iffy', and also is loud and slow, seems a bit fragile
This is the lens everyone recommends to get when you buy a Canon DSLR (unless you are buying one of the pro bodies and have money to burn). Why? It is super inexpensive, but has very decent image quality, and is really the cheapest way to get something that will work in low light. After using it for a year, I agree with the consensus. The only caveat is (mentioned also by other users I am sure) that in low light conditions sometimes the lens has trouble focusing. This can usually be overcome, but sometimes that fleeting shot is alreay gone. The focus is also slow and loud compared to USM, but that is certainly to be expected in a lens in this price class. If money is no object, you might consider the 50 1.4, but otherwise, this lens is hard to beat at the price.reviewed December 26th, 2006 (purchased for $80)