Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
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(From Canon lens literature) To meet user demands for a fast EF-S zoom lens, Canon has specially designed a new lens with a large aperture of f/2.8 for select Canon Digital SLR cameras.* The large circular aperture produces a shallow depth-of-field, creating background blur that draws attention to the photographic subject. The lens construction includes UD and aspherical elements, which deliver impressive image quality throughout the entire zoom range. Image Stabilizer lens groups shift to compensate for camera movement so that the image appears steady on the image plane, ensuring clear, crisp images, even in dim light. With a Ring-type USM, inner focusing and new AF algorithms, this lens achieves autofocus quickly and quietly, and with full-time mechanical manual focusing, manually adjusting the focus is possible even in AF mode.
* EOS 30D, 20D, 20Da, Digital Rebel XTi, XT and Digital Rebel only.
It's great to see the camera manufacturers making more and more lenses optimized for their sub-frame DSLRs. A great example of this trend is the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, a really excellent wide-to-medium range zoom with image stabilization. This would be the lens for a shooter interested in top-notch optical quality and low-light shooting.
This lens is decently sharp wide open, and wonderfully sharp at f/4, across its entire focal length range. It could be sharper at f/2.8 (some of the third-party options beat it), but it's well-behaved, with none of the super-soft corners found in bargain models.
CA is a bit of a weak point for this lens, at least at its widest focal lengths. At 17mm, maximum CA is quite high, although average CA is much lower, indicating that the worst CA is limited to the edges and corners of the frame. CA decreases as you zoom to longer focal lengths, reaching a reasonable level (but still higher than we'd like) at 28mm. CA from 35-55mm is acceptably low.
Another weaker point for this lens, one that's common with superwides designed for the sub-frame cameras. Rather than being able to use the "sweet spot" in the center of a full-frame image circle, the image circles from sub-frame lenses are tight against the corners of the frame. Vignetting is high in the EF-S 17-55 wide open at all focal lengths, reaching a high of 0.85 EV at 17mm and f/2.8. The good news though, is that the light falloff drops by almost half at f/4, and quite a bit again at f/5.6. Still, if you're dealing with a subject where vignetting would be obvious, you may have to tweak the 17-55's images in Photoshop or use DxO Optics Pro. (This is one of the lenses supported by Optics Pro on most recent sub-frame Canon cameras.)
The good news distortion-wise is that this lens shows only modest barrel distortion at 17mm. The bad news though, is that pincushion is uniformly high from 20mm onward. (Once again, a good reason to use DxO Optics Pro with this lens.)
Thanks to its USM motor, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 is pretty quick off the mark when autofocusing. And virtually silent, too. Like other USM lenses from Canon, you can also grab the manual focus ring and adjust the AF-selected focus setting any time, except when the AF is actually working.
Image Stabilization We don't have any way to really measure IS performance in any sort of scientific way, but Canon's IS has always worked very well for us, and that on the 17-55 appeared to follow suit. I'm not a very steady-handed shooter, but felt that the shots I took with the 17-55mm image-stabilized at 1/4 second were about as sharp as those I shot at 1/30 under similar conditions. That's about a 3-stop difference, enough to make a huge difference in the shots you can get under limited lighting.
Build Quality and Handling This is a reasonably solid-feeling, quality lens, but by the same token clearly isn't up to the standards of Canon's "L" glass. It zooms smoothly enough (external zoom, the barrel extends as you zoom toward telephoto), but is a little stiff, and doesn't have the buttery smoothness of the 17-40mm f/4L. As you hit either end of the zoom range, there's a hollow "thock" that contributes to an impression of lower-grade construction. Under normal circumstances, it just manages to avoid zoom creep when held pointing down, but towards the telephoto end, it will creep over time, particularly if it's subjected to any vibration or jostling.
Having come to think of EF-S lenses as being small and lightweight, the bulk and mass of this one came as a distinct surprise. It's smaller and lighter than the 17-40mm f/4L, but is still a very substantial mass when attached to the front of your camera.
There are a number of other lenses that compete with this model. Of course, the EF-S 17-55's trump card is image stabilization: None of the competing lenses listed below have that feature. We really don't have time to pick all the nits between competing models, but here's a quick rundown of how we think the Canon EF-S 17-55 stacks up:
Canon 17-40mm f/4L
This is perhaps the most obvious competitor, one of Canon's own (excellent) L-series. Slightly shorter on the long end, noticeably larger and heavier, and a full f-stop slower, but delivering really excellent images on sub-frame cameras, and being usable on full-frame ones as well.
The 17-40mm loses slightly on sharpness to the 17-55, but beats it on CA up to about 30mm, while the 17-55 shows less CA from that point on. The 17-40mm also wins big time on vignetting and has lower distortion at focal lengths of 24mm and longer. The 17-40mm also wins decisively on build quality. Given the significantly lower price of the 17-40mm, it will be the better choice for landscape shooters and other primarily daytime photographers, but the 17-55mm's wider aperture and IS make it the hands-down winner for available light photography. The 17-40mm f/4L is currently selling for about 70% of the price of the EF-S 17-55.
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC
This lens has a bit more on the tele end, and is equally fast at 17mm, but loses a full stop at 55mm, and a stop and a half at 70mm. Wide open, its image blur isn't as well-behaved as that of the Canon optic, but its chromatic aberration ranges from somewhat better to much better than that of the Canon 17-55. Vignetting is better across most of the range, but slightly higher at f/5.6 and smaller at 17mm. The Sigma lens has more barrel distortion at the wide-angle end, but lower distortion over most of the focal length range. Build quality and handling are roughly equivalent (I'd give the edge to Canon), but the Sigma's AF motor is noticeably louder. The Sigma sells for well under half the price of the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8.
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC
(No comment, we haven't tested this lens yet.)
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II
As noted in its own review, the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II is a really nice little lens. Compared to the Canon lens, it's a bit less well-behaved wide open, with more softness in the corners, and softer overall at 50mm. One stop down, it's very comparable to the Canon lens, but still shows a bit more corner softness. The Tamron has better CA (sometimes much better) across the focal length range, as well as lower vignetting in all cases except 17mm above f/5.6, where the two lenses are close to equal. Distortion is similar, a bit more barrel, a bit less pincushion from wide through tele settings. Build quality is similar, although I'd again give the nod to Canon on that front. The Tamron's AF system is quite loud, compared to that of the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8. Overall, a surprisingly close contest in terms of optical quality, the Canon's strongest advantage being IS and faster/quieter AF, but the Tamron selling for well under half the price of the Canon.
The Bottom Line
Phew, that was a lot of comparing and writing: We probably can't do this for every lens, but please let us know if you think it's valuable enough for us to try to manage. (I figure you're going to want to look at the test results of the competing lenses anyway, so all the comparison above may just be redundant.)
As we said at the outset, this lens is really ideal for anyone doing available-light photography with a Canon sub-frame camera. It's very sharp, has a nice wide f/2.8 maximum aperture, and offers Canon's excellent Image Stabilization as well. If you do a lot of available-light work, this lens would justify its rather high price in a heartbeat. If you're more interested in landscapes and tripod-based available light shooting, you can save a fair bit of money with any of several good alternatives.
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
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Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM User Reviews
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Capeachy33 (1 reviews)Sharp, really sharp. Great colours & contrast, almost no CA, light(er) weight, good bokeh, versatile.Cheaper build, Crop only.
Uses: Street, landscape, indoor lowlight, candids, children, portraits, group shots.reviewed November 6th, 2015 (purchased for $800)
If you want a fast zoom lens and don't need anything longer or wider, and you don't want to upgrade to FF, this is the last lens you'll ever need to buy. This zoom range covers basically 90%+ of what I take. Take this into consideration when considering how much to spend. If you are planning on going FF, then skip this and go 24-70L or wait for the rumoured V2. Compared to the 24-70L though, I don't think I could live without the extra 7mm or the IS for what I take.
IQ: Why didn't I buy this before? Oh right, the price, and the wife. The IQ on this is really really good. It is super sharp wide open, no more stepping down like a some of the primes or cheaper zooms. Colour and contrast makes all of my photos pop. Forget a better camera, this will make your current one look good. Honey, I can make you look GOOD with this one! Promise!
Bokeh: Bokeh is good and acceptable. But after using my friend's 70-200 f2.8 IS II, I've been corrupted. If you want better bokeh for portrait work and for cheaper, then go for something like 100L macro. Although secretly, we all know the 85L is really what we want for the ultimate bokehliciousness.
Colors & Contrast: Not sure how to describe it, but they just look eye popping. Reminds me why I went Canon in the first place.
AF & IS: Both are what we expect as with other Canon USM and IS lenses. Fast, accurate, quiet and extra few stops of stability. Moving children are no problem, but then again I only have a XTi, I would only imagine what this thing could really do on a 7D.
Weight: Well it's not the lightest thing around, but it's no 24-70L. Feels a little off balance on the lighter Rebel cameras but it's acceptable. The zoom ring has just enough tension to make it feel right.
Build Quality: It's no 24-70L, but hey, it doesn't weigh as much either. It is made out of plastic but it doesn't feel as cheap, it's still quite solid on the hands. Lack of weather sealing isn't a problem: Let's face it, there's only one Canon cropper with weather sealing anyways. If you're always in rough environments, then look elsewhere.
Price: Well, I hope I've convinced you that it's worth its high price.
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8 out of 10 points and recommended by elsonfung (1 reviews)F/2.8, very usable focal range, IS, lightplastic, jerky focus, LENS CREEP
I don't want to sound overly critical or that this lens is not good enough for me, cause it has served me well. I have actually banged this thing around during some serious travel outings and has not failed me at all. It just is not something to write home about.reviewed November 1st, 2015 (purchased for $950)
It is a great focal length if you are walking around wanting photos of the day and dinner. I include dinner as the F2.8 with IS, you can get some clear shots handheld late in the evening. So it can help keep you packing light, meaning the lens is not a tank and you don't need a tripod to get a shot at a night market, etc., although you will not be stopping any motion.
If you are shooting with APS-C this thing should be in your bag IF you know you are not going to move up to FF. If you have any interest in FF, don't make the same mistake and buy it. It is pricey if you move to FF. Then again, nothing in the FF focal length like this has IS (if you are looking at Canon lenses). The EF-S 10-22 should also be in there, as your ultra wide option... and if that is the case, forget the 17-55 and go for the 24-70L ii or the 24-105.
Is it sharp... mostly. Colors are good. I really like my 'bokeh' that I get with this lens. I really use it more than I like because it is functional, not because I love it.
In conclusion, I would not be using it on an important shoot, or something that I really want good results with.
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9 out of 10 points and recommended by hansdampf (5 reviews)Weight - Sharpness - VersatilityPrice - Size
I highly recommend this lens in combination with an EOS 7D without hesitation.reviewed March 10th, 2014 (purchased for $800)
The autofocus is very fast focus and the focal length of the crop sensor is completely sufficient for most images.
Since then I have bought it, I've shot several 1000s of pictures with it and all of them are keepers.
My recommendation: Save a little longer for this lens instead of an EF-S 18-200 or even 18-135. The build quality of the 17-55 is easy worlds above those of the cheaper EF-S or Tamron lenses (speaking here from personal experience).
I shot a number of weddings with this lens (blonde woman):
9 out of 10 points and recommended by acmeman (3 reviews)Good images, IS, mid range zoomLittle Soft wide @2.8
A quality modern mid range zoom for 1.6x crop with all the bells and whistles, constant F2.8, IS & USM. A bit soft at wide end at 2.8 which becomes sharper at f4. Like to see this lens upgraded to L quality for around the same price. Shoots good images but so does the 17-85 at f4. Still glad I own it.reviewed March 24th, 2012 (purchased for $880)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by steveygti (7 reviews)Sharp, IS, 2.8 fixed aperture, wide anglevery expensive for ef-s lens
The image quality is par excellence! I am using this on my Canon T2i and it produces stupendous results. This lens is perfect for indoor low-light, portraits and even outdoor photography. I do notice that the IS makes a low humming sound while it is 'working'. The sound isnt very audible and can only be heard if there is utter silence surrounding you. Other people complain about 'zoom creep'. After 4 months of daily usage, I have no 'zoom creep' occuring with my lens.reviewed March 11th, 2011 (purchased for $980)
The build quality is pretty good, but it doesnt feel as solid in the hand as an 'L' lens does. however, the build is definitely better than all other ef-s lenses i have used.
The zoom ring is smooth; the manual focus ring is also smooth. The auto focus is super fast and super silent thanks to USM. People also mentioned that there is some chromatic abberation wide open at 2.8, however, it is very minute and not noticeable at regular size print photos (i.e. 4x3, 5x7, 8x10).
The negatives for me: the price is a wee bit high for a non-L lens. I'd expect the body to be weather-sealed and/or feel more solid for the price.
The positives for me: Image quality immediately compensated for the high price. The Constant 2.8 aperture, and the IS and the wide angle of 17mm are all great features.
If you take care of your lens, dont let the price scare you. This lens is a 'must have' for every Canon APS-C (cropped sensor) owner.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by JPMuller (9 reviews)SHARP! - even wide open.Zoom creep. Plastic. An EF-s Lens.
It is too bad this lens is only for cropped sensors. I have tried the Canon 16-35 2.8 II on my 40d, along with various other Canon and non-Canon wide angle zooms... nothing compares to this lens. I just wish Canon would make an "L" version (throw some metal around it and let it fit on full body camera's).reviewed November 16th, 2010 (purchased for $1,000)
It does collect more dust than any other lens I own, but at the same time, the dust does not have ANY impact on the image quality (dust particles will not show in the image).
Major negatives for me are;
Only for cropped camera's.
Sharp across the whole frame, even wide open.
Is it worth a $1,000?
yes - if you want the best wide angle zoom for Canon cropped sensor camera's.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by nwardrip (2 reviews)Very sharp, high contrast, excellent IS, good AFNot weather sealed, some zoom creep, expensive for the construction quality you get
I use this lens most and I love it fast, constant aperture. The IS also works great. It would be much better if they made this L-quality construction for the price. It would also be nice to have a higher magnification ratio.reviewed April 8th, 2010 (purchased for $990)
4 out of 10 points and not recommended by Nikoboyd (12 reviews)Decent optics, fast focusing speedFlare, sloppy construction, dust sucker, zoom creep, overpriced
I think this thing is overpriced.reviewed March 11th, 2010 (purchased for $735)
It produce sharp image all over the zoom range. But, that's it.
According to the very high price, it's construction should be better. I have a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 which is better construction than the sloppy 17-55 2.8 IS. Now, my copy suffers from zoom creeping and it sucks a lot of dust inside.
I recommend this thing just because of it's decent optics.
(update May 1st,2011)
The lens was dead, electronic problem (err01). Used many lenses, his one was my first Canon lens that was broken. Sold it and bought a 17-40 F4 L instead.
Overpriced lens. Not durable.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Canon-Nikon-user (14 reviews)sharp, fast AF, ok IS efficiency , good distortion control, good build.CA at wide end, the Tamorn is actually sharper.
I 've got 3 copies of this lens and 4 copies of Tamorn 17-50f2.8 and I think the Tamorn is a better lens optically , lesser amount of CA , lesser amount of vignetting seen at wide end but the Canon has better AF and IS so in real life, the Canon produces more boring but more reliable results.reviewed December 1st, 2008 (purchased for $800)
Usually when light gets really low , I use this lens since this lens AF super accurately and its IS is effective not as effective as the IS in the 24-105f4L or 70-200f4LIS though.
In day light I prefer my EF17-40f4L or the Tamorn since I think the 17-40F4L has better color rendition and tonality than this expensive EF-S and the Tamorn is actually the sharpest of all 3 , in fact the Tamorn beats the Nikon AF-S17-55f2.8G DX too , I had a couple of copies of the Nikon AF-S17-55f2.8DX and I returned both.
I have a couple of AF-S16-85VR too and it is a bit sharper than the AF-S17-55 f2.8DX but the Canon EF-S17-55f2.8ISUSM is a bit sharper than the 2 Nikon DX lenses, with better distortion control, but the 16-85VR has more effective VR than the IS in this particular Canon lens.
In general though, the Nikon VR is less effective than Canon IS , the most effective IS I can think of is the IS in the new EF-S18-200IS and now , I mostly use the 18-200IS with the excellent Canon EF-S10-22USM on my 50D and 40D.
All in all , this EF-S17-55f2.8IS is an excellent lens if you do not mind its short reach and CA at the wide end of it , but if you do think you will go for a full frame soon or you prefer a smaller and lighter lens than this bulky lens , there is always the Tamorn and EF17-40f4L both of them are optically excellent too, though the Canon has the faster AF, all of them are better and much cheaper than the Nikon AF-S17-55f2.8DX any way.
I highly recommend it for people like low light stuff and event work or street photography at dusk.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Srod (2 reviews)Excellent All Around Street LensProne to Excessive Lens Flare when shooting into a strong light source
Has become my most used lens, among the followingreviewed November 23rd, 2008 (purchased for $900)
24 - 105mm L IS
100-300mm IS II
18-55mm Kit lens
70 - 200mm L 2.8 IS
50mm 1.4 L
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tdotduffman (10 reviews)All manner of optical criterea (see cons); balance on xxD, even xxxD; aperture combined with ISMore prone to flare than Ls, but really not that noticable except shooting into the sun.
I essentially agree with tukaway, but wanted to add a few things.reviewed September 1st, 2008 (purchased for $950)
Most importantly is that I haven't had any dust problems so far, despite using it every day in an outdoor, albeit fairly clean i.e. park-like environment for five months, interior construction sites, and several excursions in major cities.
Granted, the build quality isn't up to L levels, but as such it hasn't impeded my shooting style in both the slower landscape/architecture, or faster street/close action. The focus ring is noticeably smoother than the Canon 17-85mm's, but is finicky, sometimes feeling as well damped as an L's, and sometimes grainier.
The relatively large max. aperture combined with a 3-stop image stabilizer is simply super. Handheld nightscapes in cities are no problem. But if this didn't have IS, like Nikon's 17-55mm, I would pass up this lens for the price.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Rover (13 reviews)versatility, large max. aperture, stabilizationbuild quality, price
This was a dream lens on my 30D and for over a year, I was making do without any other lenses. Despite that, I was able to shoot pretty much everything in any environment - except sport (which I rarely do) or concerts due to its focal length. The only notable shortcoming is the fact that it's not sealed and therefore vulnerable to dust.reviewed July 28th, 2008 (purchased for $1,350)
I had to sold it to get a 70-200/2.8 and a couple more lenses but I still miss it a lot. It would do me no good once I upgrade to 1D anyways but for 30D (and of course 40D/400D/450D) this is the ultimate companion lens.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by marshaa (6 reviews)great image quality, very sharp, f2.8, ISno hood included; flare occasionally occurs
I have had this lens for quite some time and overall it is a high quality lens which is fast enough for low light photos indoors ...I have a high quality filter on it and have had no dust issues. After taking photos without the hood, it became apparent that a hood is a necessity under backlight conditions; I never use it without one. Still get an occasional photo with flare issues but less than 1% and I can live with that given the high quality of this lens. It's glass really is L quality. Much better on the 30D and 40D than the 17-40L in my opinion. It gets a lot of use in my householdreviewed June 7th, 2008 (purchased for $950)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tukaway (6 reviews)Excellent IQ, very fast AFZoom action could be better damped, can flare w/o hood in place
This is the ultimate available-light zoom for EF-S bodies. It is very responsive, impressively sharp even wide open. It's color and contrast produce delightful results. It is a moderate weight lens, and mounted on the 20D it balances very nicely.reviewed March 12th, 2008 (purchased for $910)
It is absurd that Canon doesn't include the lens hood with an optic this expensive, the more so because when used outdoors you do need the hood if you want to have some protection from flare. With the hood in place, it's business as usual.
This lens is ALMOST an L - about the only change would be the metal barrel and smoother damping of the zoom and focus action (mine clunks a bit when zooming and the resistance is uneven when zooming). On its optical attributes, it easily equals the performance of my L glass (24-105, 70-200 2.8 IS).
I still have and use the 17-85mm IS because of the additional focal length (my wife loves the flexibility of that one, plus it is definitely smaller - lighter weight), but there is a noticeable difference in IQ. Indoors though it's no contest - I stick with the 17-55.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Alex2008 (2 reviews)
I bought this lens instead of the kit lense for the Canon XTi camera. The lense is great to cover normal day to day fotography needs. With ISO 800 and 1600 and this fast image stabilize lense I can do available light fotography even at night or faintly lit rooms. The weight distribution with the camera is very nice.reviewed January 31st, 2008
9 out of 10 points and recommended by JayceOoi (4 reviews)f/2.8, fast, silent, IS, sharp...Price? :P
It is a great lens. Much better than the kit lens 18-55 II. You have f/2.8 for all the range from 17mm to 55mm. Addition with IS, you can get a sharp photo even in low light condition. This makes it a great general lens. It stays on my 400D most of the time. Only change it when prime lens or longer focal length is needed.reviewed January 5th, 2008 (purchased for $854)
I still did not see any dust after 3 months usage. Canon must have done something on new release. :D
Here are some samples with 400D, 580 EX II, WhaleTail Flash Diffuser (clone)
Lantern Festival 2007 at Auto-City (night)
Christmas Caroling (night)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by zoomfreak (9 reviews)outstanding resolution, outstanding AF speed, excellent build qualitynone.
perfect as it gets , better than all primes .reviewed December 8th, 2007 (purchased for $980)
this and the 70-200f4LIS kill all primes.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by dougydoug (1 reviews)Extremely sharp, fast, and with great IS.Collects dust on internal elements.
I'm a pro who has shot tens of thousands of frames with this lens and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. This is a fabulous general purpose zoom lens capable of top-quality professional grade results.reviewed October 22nd, 2007 (purchased for $999)
It performs especially well from f/4 through f/8. I usually have mine set at f/5.6 or f/8. Check the sharpness test here on SLRGear.com:
In fact, if you compare it to SLRGear's sharpness test of the EF-S 60mm Macro, at 55mm this zoom actually outperforms the macro.
However, it definitely DOES gather dust on the back surface of the front lens element group and the front surface of the second lens element group because the lens is not well-sealed. The good news is that it only takes a few minutes to remove the front lens group and clean the dust out.
By the way, the EF-S 17-85mm is prone to the same problem, and the fix is exactly the same for both lenses. Here is the abbreviated version of the cleaning process:
1) With the lens facing upward, carefully pry up and pop off the trim ring on the front of the lens. It's just a thin plastic ring held on by a permanently tacky adhesive.
2) Remove the three Phillips 00 screws that you find under the trim ring. Be sure to use a Phillips 00 size screwdriver or you may damage the screw heads.
3) Holding your hand over the front element, turn the lens over and the front element group will fall out in your palm.
4) Clean all exposed glass surfaces.
5) Reassemble in reverse order.
When I get a few minutes, I'll post a photo tutorial on my website, http://www.ashcreekimages.com,
showing how to do this very simple service.
I don't have a definitive comment on the flare issue that others have raised. I shoot primarily outdoors. I use the annoyingly overpriced lens hood or otherwise shade the lens to keep sunlight from falling directly on the front element, and I haven't experienced a flare problem.
However, if excessive dust accumulates on internal lens element surfaces, that COULD lead to flare.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by uwalover (6 reviews)shapest std zoom available in all mounts, super fast AF.none.
DO NOT BELIEVe morons , there is no dust issue and no flare issue with it.reviewed October 12th, 2007 (purchased for $1,000)
the AF is fast and accurate even on the primitive camera like 350D and it is super sharp and its build quality is almost L level.
just use the food and buy the real food , then you won't have any flare issue.............
Read a good review on this amazing lens like MR. Castleman wrote..................
this is sharper than all other zooms in this focal range or similar......................
just do not compare it to the 60 macro or EF70-200f4L IS , they beat it hands down but they are super exceptional lenses, indeed.
PS. I do use it for my wedding work and my travel photography for some companies that I 've been working for but I never had any dust issue in 7 months , I do not baby it , abusing it .........
8 out of 10 points and recommended by touristguy87 (33 reviews)Speed, good focus, good wide-anglejust too short,
This is a good lens but a little too fast and too short, really, the IS is just ok on it but like any lens on the 400D the limit is the focus accuracy, not the lens sharpness.reviewed August 6th, 2007 (purchased for $920)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by EF-S10-22 (19 reviews)very sharp, very well designed, very fast and accurate AF, actually tough.lack of punchy color , flare , toy-ish feeling
This is a true flare machine , I gotta get rid of it to get the Tamorn because of the flare.reviewed July 31st, 2007 (purchased for $860)
I think most of guys here living in North America , so they may never see the problem and just rave about how sharp it is.
But I now work in Bangkok and so think it differently .
I think I know why this lens is rated so low in the UK and Japan clearly :FLARE and weak construction.
I used it for my work in Laos or Cambodia, where the living environment is harsh and filthy , the lens got alot of dust coming in and I sent it to Canon.
The Canon people clean it up very carefully , though they recommended me to use my 17-40L instead for my work because it's sealed.
It's so bad since this is the sharpest zoom in this plannet , and even sharper than most of primes , why is it so fragile and prone to flare?
Also , it is hard to use it in indoor like a department or a mall due to the internal light reflection , which causes alot of flare and ghosts on my pictures .
So what is the real use of the f2.8 combined with the IS if you can not use it indoor due to the flare problem?
I now use the Tamorn(no flare issues) , well, I am sad , I wanted to love it but could not.
This lens is sharp but the color is not deep and vibrant like that of Ls.
I think if I 'd lived in a different city(not polluted or dusty), I might have loved it ...............it is sad , though since I like its resolving power and respect it.
UP DATE:Now , I got my second copy from my mom's store in Osaka and now , I am testing it carefully in BKK ...........
Well, I just have to say the second copy is prickly sharp , maybe sharper than my EF50 f1.4 at F4 , I dont care about F2.8 sharpness since I dont need F2.8, but the IS is something I really need since it allows me to use narrow AV to get more DOF in low light.
I am hoping this lens can replace my Tmaorn and EF-S17-85IS , if it can , it is great and I think the hefty price I paid for it is like nothing.
The flare and poor build are only two big problems with it , I am trying to like it more but I dont know if I can like it as much as other reviewers here.
HAve a good one to all.
UP date 2: I dropped it last night while driving through a small local road in East Thailand called Soi , well , that was not a hard concrete ground but dropped seriously and the shock should have been a big deal , though the lens got no damge , no scratch on its surface ,I was shocked to find out how tough it actually is.
This is a well constructed lens ,indeed.
Also , my flare problem with this lens has been solved by ditching my B and W filter .
Now , I use the Hoya pro1 Digital and no vignetting , no flare issue any more .
All my problems and bad feeling for this lens were actually associated with its look and build but now, I am very happy to know it was actually my prejudice against these EF-S lenses.
The real problem is probably the B and W filter , not this lens itself.
Now , my 17-55Is takes an extremely sharp and flare-free pictures ..........................so I re-rate it.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Ulan (3 reviews)constant 2.8 aperture, IS, sharp, accurate and fast AFexpensive, distorsion, insufficient build quality for the price
Canon 17-55reviewed June 30th, 2007 (purchased for $1,500)
When you look at the build quality of that rather expensive lens, you cannot avoid comparing with the amazing construction offered by Sigma EX lenses for a lower price. This 17-55 mm looks desperately frail especially when it is full extended at its maximum focal length. Even the Canon 17-85 seems to be stronger (and I tested this one in harsh environments in the coastal desert of Peru, in the Peruvian sierra and jungle. And when you add a hood (after buying it as a supplement!), the device is not very handsome visually speaking.
Apart from this negative initial remark, the lens performs quite well and lives to expectation. The USM autofocus is fast, silent and very accurate. Image stabilizer is a damned fantastic asset which combined with a 2.8 aperture crowns it as a fantastic fast lens.
No complaints about the sharpness or the contrast. I don't know what a L-lens quality means (I also have a Canon 100-400), apart from high build quality, but this 17-55 delivers ver
6 out of 10 points and not recommended by dog snaps (1 reviews)Constant f/2.8 aperture plus image stabilization. Useful range for APS-C.Autofocus was erratic, especially at wider angles. Expensive for EF-S lens.
This lens seemed to have ideal specs. Reviews were almost uniformly good. I thought this would be a great compliment to my 70-200 f/4 IS L, especially for travel and low-light shooting.reviewed February 17th, 2007 (purchased for $1,000)
Build quality was very good for a non-L lens - at least as good as my Canon 100/2.8 USM Macro. However, AF was very inconsistent on my Rebel XT - maybe 30-40% acceptable at f/4 at 17-24mm, in good light and with contrasty subjects. AF accuracy improved to about 60-70% at 35-55mm under similar conditions. I would consider an AF accuracy rate below 90% to be unacceptable in normal situations, even for the kit lens or the 50/1.8.
Even though I have not had AF problems with the XT, using lenses such as the 70-200/4, the 100/2, the 50/1.4, and the Tamron 28-75/2.8, I thought I might get better results with my Rebel XTi, since it is supposed to have the more precise focusing system of the Canon 30D with lenses f/2.8 or faster. Unfortunately, my results showed no improvement at all.
I was horribly disappointed, especially considering the price of the lens. Fortunately, the folks at B&H Photo were very helpful in arranging a return for refund.
I thought of asking for an exchange until I read a review of this lens at kenrockwell.com. He complained of his lens having significant AF problems, too. Maybe he and I bought the only two bad copies in North America! I don't think I should have to use some manual focus work-around (focus at longest focal length, then zoom out and recompose) on a $1000 AF lens specifically designed for Rebel 300D/350D/400D, and Canon 20D and 30D, AF bodies.
I have several very good Canon and Tamron lenses, but I have never had to return one that cost more than $500. The last I returned was a $200 lens, well over 4 years ago, so I'm not disposed to look for problems, nor am I a "pixel-peeper." I also use BreezeBrowser, Photoshop CS with PTLens, and DxO Optics Pro 4.1, so I'm not using 3rd-rate editing tools. However, I do have expectations from a $1000 lens. They were exceeded with Canon's 70-200 f/4 IS L, but not met with the 17-55 f/2.8. No matter how well-built a lens is, or how well it performs in the lab, it isn't much good if you cannot focus it accurately and quickly.
If this is a calibration problem, then I would wonder about a factory that would ship out thousand dollar EF-S lenses that did not meet specs.
I avoided the impulse to award a very low rating, based upon only one sample, so as not to unfairly skew the average.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by fergusonjr (15 reviews)Big Aperture (f/2.8), Image Stabilization, Relatively lightBarrel Distortions, Flares, No Macro
My overall impression of this lens is rather mixed. Perhaps my expectations for this lens were too high. It does very well at some things, but not so well at other things. Despite its positive aspects, I'm having a hard time really liking it, because its limitations do bother me. The truth is that there is no better standard zoom lens for indoor and other low-light conditions. It's hard to complain too much about a lens that will let you take handheld pictures at 1/6sec.reviewed February 9th, 2007
First the Positives:
-- This is one of only two of Canon's standard zooms that has a constant f/2.8 aperture, and the only one of the two that has image stablization. This is a big deal. Its ability to take keepable, handheld photos in low-light conditions is unmatched among the standard zooms.
-- Compared to the metal bodied L-lenses, this is a slightly lighter lens, but it's still fairly hefty.
-- The lens is pretty darn sharp, but frankly I've had a hard time noticing this so much because edge detail isn't something you're as likely to be looking for on wide angle photos, and this lens doesn't focus especially well on very near subjects where you might be able to more clearly notice detail.
-- Although the lens features a classic zoom range on the 1.6FOVcrop cameras with an equivalent of 27-88mm, it's tighter than I prefer and constantly leaves me wanting more zoom. Having more width than the 24-70 and 24-105 is nice, particularly for indoor shots, but I sure wish there was more zoom!
-- This is a pricey lens not to have an L-body. It doesn't feel cheap, but it just doesn't have that reassuring solid feel of the metal-bodied lenses.
-- Barrel Distortions! I like to shoot buildings, and this is definitely not the lens for architecture! The barrel distortions at 17mm are not quite as bad as on some lenses, but still noticeable . . . but what's somewhat surprising is how quickly the lens moves to pincushion distortion as you zoom out. Having to correct every architecture photo I take can get a little annoying.
-- No Macro! This lens does no Macro focusing at all. I find this especially disappointing, consdering that the 24-70 and 24-105 both do some Macro. Even short of doing Macro, the lens is also just not that great at focusing sharply on relatively close subjects. To me, this really limits the versatility of this lens.
-- Lens Flares. This isn't an uncommon trait amongst wide-angle lenses, but it's certainly an issue on this lens. The lens hood is essential, and considering the cost of the lens, it seems strange to charge another $45+ for the hood, rather than just providing it up front.
-- The zoom tension on this lens isn't quite as tight as on the L-lenses, and I've found that the zoom barrel wants to self-extend when I'm carrying my camera off the shoulder. I tend to carry the camera with the lens pointing downward and resting along my body, so it may be more prone to extend in this configuration than with it around your neck . . . but this tendency still bothers and worries me because it leaves the plastic barrel exposed and able to bang into something.
So, the upshot is that this is a really great lens for indoor photography because it handles low-light conditions so much better than anything else in it's focal-length range. It also makes a fine enough wide-angle landscape lens, but I think its limited zoom makes it much less versatile than the 24-105 or even the 24-70 for outdoor use.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by noksukau (4 reviews)Superb look and feel, f/2.8 and IS are photographic life-saversFlare
I could write a load about my angst in deciding which lens to replace the 17-85mm on my 30D but I shant because everyone has their own stories to tell and reasons for looking at this lens. So, I'm just going to say why I like it, what I may dislike about it, and if any lens comparisons prove useful in doing that, so be it. After all, performance is relative, not absolute.reviewed January 15th, 2007
Firstly, I didn't always think I would love this lens as much as I do now. I didn't think I could live with myself for choosing the uglier, more plasticky, more expensive option than the reknowned and beautifully made 17-40mm f/4 L. This lens has had to work to impress me, and has done because it does, work, in almost any situation I have put it in.
What's in a stop? A lot more than I imagined certainly. I mainly bought this lens for its reputed sharpness, with the f/2.8 bundled in as a bonus. After all, I've got a 50mm f/1.4 for low-light work. Those who cry that you can always just boost the ISO setting to compensate clearly don't live on the sensitivity edge; when you're at 3200 there's nowhere else to go. Shooting at an 1/8th of a second, ISO 3200 and still getting sharp keepers, you know you're in a different place and smile to yourself about just how long ago the 17-40mm you were thinking of buying would have given up!
What about committing to EF-S crop sensor bodies? The 5D is of course a very tempting camera but after buying this lens and reading other reviews on slrgear about lens performance on full-frame bodies, the APS-C sensor actually looks like a better photographic option, depending on your goals of course. As an overall solution for 'getting the shot', I don't think it's possible to beat this lens for flexibility and performance. What lens would you put on your 5D after all? The 24-105mm has IS but is a stop slower, the 24-70 matches the f/2.8 but has no IS and a shorter zoom range. Sure, there is some vignetting wide-open on this lens, more than the 17-40mm f/4, but take a look at what those 24-105 and 24-70 lenses look like on a full-frame and you'll see that vignetting is pretty similar. Honestly, check the reviews, I was surprised.
So, what I'm saying is that once you buy this lens, there's no going back, until Canon make a 24-80 f/2.8 IS there isn't going to be a lens that can take pictures in dark places like this one can and still give you the flexibility of a wide-angle walk-around zoom lens. If you're tempted to go full-frame, ask yourself hard questions about why you want to go there. More megapixels are nice, yes, as is a large viewfinder, but the image quality of the 30D really does allow me to do everything I want. Were people complaining 5 years ago that the Pro cameras 'only' had 8MP?
I have to agree with the previous reviewer; buy the hood! Shop around and get it cheap rather than balking at the 'recommended' price that only fools and desperados pay. It's not 'just a bit of plastic', it has a lovely furry lining to keep light at bay, plus it makes this lens look cool as ****. Without it, I felt the camera looked a little chunky and bloated, with it, I feel like a pro shooter. Ridiculous, yes, but it does make the lens feel and look more expensive (and be more expensive, but you get the point). It also lets you know that if there is any flare in your images then you did all you could to stop it under those conditions. It's no miracle worker, folks are right, this lens does flare, but I'd still prefer to have a slightly flare-prone lens that shoots fast and sharp than one that is blemish-free but a little soft and slow.
Any other criticisms? I don't like the telescoping barrel on zooming, but even some 'L' lenses have that so it's hard to complain to much. It would be nice if it telescoped inside the hood like the 24-70mm f/2.8 L but that's only hiding the truth, and surely making the hood less effective too. I can live with it. The lens is heavy, but physics is inescapable here, you want small and light, buy an Ixus. IS is slightly noisier than it was on my 17-85mm but by no means obstrusive, it's actually quite nice to know it's working. I wish it was a bit sharper at f/2.8, but f/4 is pretty much perfect and improvements are small upto about f/6. Like with any lens, you have trade-offs, speed for sharpness is the oldest around.
Photography is an art of juggling compromises and with this lens there's a lot less to compromise than with almost any other. It may not be the lens for you, but it certainly deserves your consideration, and in my opinion your money. If you just want to shoot landscapes and still life, get the 17-40mm f/4. If you want your camera to come alive, then buy this!
P.S. I've had the lens over 3 months and no dust in sight, just lots of lovely pictures on my walls!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jkrupnik (2 reviews)It'a "all that"None, for the price.
This is the lens that crop sensor owners have been dreaming about. It is sharp. It is contrasty. It has a very effective IS. It isn't too heavy, despite it's full 72mm front end. Given it's image quality and speed, it IS the L lens of the crop sensor range.reviewed January 4th, 2007 (purchased for $980)
It has become my walkaround lens of choice, and delivers under any condition that doesn't cry for a faster lens to be mounted. It is the best of the best within it's very useful zoom range.
I own a raft of Canon glass, so I'm not raving about this lens because it is the only zoom I own. One advantage of being a middle aged photographer who happens to be single again is that I can buy any lens that tickles my fancy as soon as the budget allows. This is the first lens that a new Canon crop sensor body owner should buy. It is a winner by any standard.
All over the net, I hear three wrote complaints about this lens. First, some people are offended that it does not sport a red ring. Get over it, as S lenses simply don't do red. The glass is L all the way though.
The second complaint is that the lens body isn't metal. That tickles me, as the same people tend to wish that the lens was lighter... Go figure. The reality is that the lens is very well constructed, very smooth in operation, and that despite people crying for a metal lens at the same price, I have yet to read a disaster story where the polycarbonate shell failed under less abuse than would have sent a metal body L lens to the repair shop.
Bottom line; This lens looks good, feels good, and can hang with the best. I'm glad that it is plastic, as it is still light enough to carry around all day, and an extra ounce would be an ounce with no benefit.
Third, many people complain that the factory hood is too expensive, and should be included in the kit. What can I say? Canon only includes hoods with L lenses. Some people don't use a hood. I bought the lens first, and then bought the hood. I think it's a fair deal.
The hood is very well built, and is not expensive at all. I think I paid about $56 for it, and it is worth every dime. Of course, I prefer plastic hoods, as they protect the lens from impact better than a metal hood, but that is a personal choice. No matter plastic or metal though, the Canon hood reeks of quality.
That's it. The 17-55 f/2.8 lens is a winner, and will compliment any crop sensor body as a favorite walkaround lens. Canon did their homework before building this lens, and the consumer wins.
0 out of 10 points and recommended by kyrrian (1 reviews)
I just wanted to weigh in on the additional time spent reviewing and comparing the lens. This information is very valuable to me and I appreciate the extra time and effort, as I'm sure others do. I need to know all that when considering this piece because $1000 is no small expense for a amateur shutterbug like me, and I need to make sure I can't just get by with the Tamron or Sigma offerings at a fraction of the price. Thanks!reviewed December 2nd, 2006
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Muiderburght (13 reviews)Sharp; useful range; fast (f/2.8); fast (AF!)Bulky, pricy; heavy
I bought this lens as my walkaround lens with a Canon 350D. It istoo heavy for the Rebel series though and I upgraded to a Canon 30D (without any regrets). I don't see any point in starting with SLR and not buy the best image quality lenses.It's a good lens but for a walkaround lens, they should make it real L-lens quality (for the same price too!).reviewed December 1st, 2006 (purchased for $1,100)
I knew I wanted a fast walkaround lens to photograph my kids and needed the f/2.8 for that. Inside, even with this lens you need to pump up the ISO. f/4 would be even worse for that. the 17-40 was just too short a range, the 16-35 dito and on the wrong side (too wide) and 24 and higher is not wide enough for a good walkaround on a 1.6x FOVCF body. So, you don't have that much choice with Canon digitals if you ask me. This one IS my walkaround lens though and I am quite happy with it.
I've had some bad luck with it: the first had error 99's, the second had dust and blueish plastic inside the lens (after a month or 3). That one got repaired. Although not dust free, what I have in there now does not show on any pictures.
addition, 12/6/08 (now on 40D):
After much more experience, I felt compelled to add some more info about this lens. Much of what I said before still stands, but I want to emphasize how well this lens is performing. One of the things I like best about it is its amazing auto-focus speed. You dont really notice it, until you start using other lenses. It is hardly mentioned in lens reviews but to me, it is one of the more important factors that make a lens perform nicely. And that's what this lens does. AF is fast and accurate. Not just at F2.8, but other F-ranges as well.
I increased overall performance from 8 to 9.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jeeb (3 reviews)Super sharp, wonderful colour and contrast, IS, fastFor the price, I'd like better build quality; prone to flare; hood costs too much
I continue to be blown away from the pictures I get with this lens. IQ is truly superb, sharp wide open at all focal lenghts. And if you stop down a little, it is super-sharp everywhere, corner to corner, edge to edge. It's a great walkaround lens (there's none better for a Canon crop camera); and the combination of fast f/2.8 aperture and image stabilization makes it unbeatable for low-light shooting. Some people have complained that this lens sucks dust, but I haven't experienced that problem. It is prone to flare with backlit subjects, so it's worth using the hood, even though it's crazily overpriced.reviewed November 22nd, 2006 (purchased for $1,173)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by PGROSSER (1 reviews)LOVE THIS LENSIF YOU ARE TRYING TO TAKE PICTURES IN A DARKER PLACE IT DOES NOT DO AS WELL
I REALLY LIKE THIS LENS IT DOES A GREAT JOB, ESPECIALLY DURING THE DAY OUTSIDE!!!reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $200)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by PsiBurn (8 reviews)sharp images, excellent AF system and speed, IS, FTMmissing fundamental accessories, vignetting, some flare issues (like in indoor lighting, as TomK pointed out), verrrryyyyy expensive (but worth it however)
I didn't get any of the 30D kits (18-55 looked just like the 35-80 I had and the 17-85 had too many issues to ignore, despite its versatility) for this reason: the 17-55.reviewed November 14th, 2006
First, the bad. Why doesn't Canon include a lens hood? And why is it so expensive as well? But at least it adds structure to the lens when it's put on.
Another thing, and I think it's well documented, is vignetting. It's not as prevelant as I thought though: really at the wide end at wide open, but when it shows up, it shows up. I even noticed some minor shading in the viewfinder at 17mm.
And finally, the price, which really isn't a huge negative. Yes, it is close to a $1000, but then again, for what you are getting, I think it is definitely worth paying for
sharp images (what unsharp mask :-)?)
excellent focusing speeds (I miss less pictures now)
the IS system (my hit rate in low light has shot up significantly; f/2.8 @ 1/8 sec handheld is becoming more common)
full time MF
an optic that will truly bring the best out of an APS-C sensor
Got the money? Go for it.
Something else that is worth mentioning is the dust issue: I noticed on my copy, when i first opened it up, THERE WAS A SPECK OF DUST ON THE FRONT ELEMENT!!! I'm hoping this was an anomaly though, as I have shot nearly 1000 images and yet to see any dust build-up inside the lens. BTW, I immediately put a UV filter onto the lens when I [permanently] mounted it on my 30D. I think that capping the front with a filter will solve a good portion of the dust problem [and also save your lens in case it falls by accident].
Nevertheless, I must agree with gadgetguy. Did a party handheld @ f/2.8 at 1/8-1/30 sec. Majority of the shots came out insanely sharp (I was tired that day...); very impressed with this lens. Well done Canon!
This lens is prone to being a flare machine...
Also noticed some dust inside the lens, though it ain't much and it isn't in the center (certainly not as bad as my beloved Sony P150)...
Nevertheless, the benefits still outweigh the negatives significantly; had a week of constant shooting, and the IS and f/2.8 along w/ RAW literally saved my butt; this lens is surprisingly quite well behaved wide-open.
I'm hesitant to recommend now, as the IS mechanism crapped out on me a month ago and is in for repair. Hmmmm, second IS lens to die on me...
8 out of 10 points and recommended by TomK (7 reviews)Very Sharp Images, Great Focal Range, Fast & Reliable Focus, ISDisappointing Build, Wicked Flair Issues
If you're doing event work with an EFS body, you need this lens. We got one to be a wedding mid-zoom and have been pleased. Once you get over the initial sting of poor build & a stiff zoom ring, the quality of the images will win you over. Sharp details & snappy contrast are the hallmarks of this lens ... enlarged details are as sharp as primes in this focal range. The focus is very accurate and very good in low light.reviewed July 17th, 2006 (purchased for $1,179)
Optically, the only concerning thing is a flair issue, particularly with indoor spot-type lights (which we encounter at weddings). This prevents me from giving the lens a 10 on image quality.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by gadgetguy (62 reviews)wide aperture, IS, sharp opticsweight
I bought this lens to replace my 17-85/4-5.6 IS. I figured the constant 2.8 aperture would make up for the lack in reach. I have no regrets.reviewed May 14th, 2006 (purchased for $1,170)
This lens seems sharper than a 17-40 I had over the weekend (although I don't take enough picture of brick walls and newspapers to decide this conclusively). At least on my copy, colors are bright and do have 'punch'. Contrast is excellent - about the same as my 50/1.4 from f2.8-5.6, didn't really test other settings. Color renditioning is also very good. Vignetting is present when wide-open, but it doesn't bother me too much. Hardly there when 2 stops down.
Construction is probably the best among the EF-S lenses (it feels solid because of it's weight), although I would have liked a little more dampening on the AF ring. In your hand, it feels solidly built - I'd say almost 85-90%the way to an "L" zoom like the 24-70/2.8L.
This lens is a little on the heavy side, though. Without the battery grip on, balance is gone on my 20D. Front heavy. Having the grip on compensates for the lens's weight.
For the price, it would have been nice for this lens to have weather-sealing, in case Canon releases a weather-sealed EF-S camera in the future. Right now, I gues it doesn't really matter though, since no current EF-S camera is.
Overall, I'm very happy with this lens. I haven't done any intensive testing (I hardly do with any of my lenses), but checking my photos and A4 prints so far, the quality is definitely there. If you have an EF-S camera, and the price doesn't bother you, then I highly recommend this lens.
(Update: Did some portraits at 2.8 and they came out deadly sharp. Not bad for being handheld at 55mm for 1/15s!)