Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor
(From Nikon lens literature) The Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm is a constant aperture f/2.8 3.2x zoom lens developed for use with Nikon digital SLR cameras. The 3.2x zoom covers from a wide angle of 79 degrees to a narrow angle of 28 degrees, 50 minutes (equivalent to 25.5mm to 85.5mm for 35mm format) and is ideal for architecture, landscape, group shots and portraits. Silent Wave Motor enables high-speed autofocusing with quiet operation.
(Our own comments) Though similar in range to Nikon's two other medium zoom lenses, this lens is unique because it maintains constant aperture across the zoom range. This uniqueness comes at a price, paid in both extra weight and a high price tag. If you're looking for the highest quality lens to mount on that new camera, this is it.
The Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 DX constant-aperture lens shows just what you get when spending money on premium optics: Top-notch performance across the board, with very good sharpness even when shooting wide open. (And at f/2.8, "wide open" on the 17-55 is wide indeed.)
As usual, sharpness improves when you stop down a little, although we found that the improvement was less significant at the intermediate focal length of 28mm. That said though, this lens has a very wide "sweet spot," being very sharp from wide open to about f/8, regardless of focal length. Images are only a little softer at f/11, but sharpness diminishes rapidly beyond that point, and things get quite soft indeed at the minimum aperture of f/22, particularly at wide angle settings.
Worst-case chromatic aberration is a little high at wide and medium focal lengths, at least for a lens in this price range, but the average level is quite low, indicating that CA falls off rapidly as you move away from the corners of the frame. Vignetting is also a little high wide open at 17mm (about 0.8%), but falls rapidly as you stop down, and as you move toward longer focal lengths. (Worst-case light falloff is 1/2 EV at f/4 and 17mm, and less than 0.2 EV at f/4 for focal lengths of 28mm and longer.) Geometric distortion is high at maximum wide angle (a bit less than 1% barrel), but drops rapidly, to about 0.3% pincushion at 28mm, decreasing to about 0.2% pincushion at 55mm.
Bottom line, this is a very sharp lens with excellent characteristics wide open, although chromatic aberration, vignetting, and distortion are all a little high at 17mm. (DxO Optics Pro supports this lens on all current (10/18/2005) Nikon bodies except the D50, so the vignetting, CA, and distortion are easily dealt with.)
Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor
Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF DX AF-S Nikkor User Reviews
9 out of 10 points and recommended by glen (10 reviews)Pro Mechanically and OpticallyHeavy
This lens spends about 90% of my D300S. Excellent lens. Sharp and saturated colors. Good for landscapes at 17mm and for portraiture at 55mm. A bit heavy to carry around all day, but worth the effort.reviewed February 26th, 2018 (purchased for $700)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Mark95841 (1 reviews)Sharp, contrasty, quick focus and amazing.Expensive, heavy
Funny how reviews on this site are much lower than other sites. I don't think it's the lens, there's a way to get the best out of this lens, stabilize, compose, focus and shoot. It's easy to get a blurry shot if you are not careful but I don't think a lot of these bad reviews are warranted. I have had two of these and there both amazingly sharp, contrasty and full of depth.reviewed October 18th, 2012 (purchased for $1,000)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Yucel (15 reviews)Best DX Lens Currently, Widest Pro Wide Angle Zoom Range, Pro Quality, FastHeavy, Big, NO VR
This is a great lens and the Best DX lens Made by Nikon today (10-5-11).reviewed October 6th, 2011
It is also the widest range zoom of any wide angle pro glass Nikon makes, 17-55mm. This covers from wide to medium telephoto in a fast f2.8 lens.
Missing VR is a definite miss... VR would be nice for night time and dark interior shots, especially for weddings and such at 55mm.
Still, the 17-35mm 2.8 has quite a bit less zoom range, and is about same price. And, the 18-55 VR DX is not really able to take shots in any lower light, as it is 5.6 at 55mm and the VR is less needed at the widest zoom ranges... But, the 17-55 2.8 DX is like 10x the price of the 18-55 VR DX...
I would buy a VR version of this lens for sure.
For sample glamour images taken with the lens and use comparison vs other Nikon choices see: http://glamourphotography.co/?p=4179
10 out of 10 points and recommended by J4son (2 reviews)SharpToo expensive
This lens is very sharp on DX Body,reviewed December 23rd, 2010
but is too expensive
9 out of 10 points and recommended by radityopradipto (5 reviews)Sharp wide open! Blazing fast AF speed! Supreme build quality and feels. Definitely best DX lensno VR, period
I got this lens for just a week. Bought it second hand from eBay for about 1100 AUD. The first time I tried this lens, it was awesome! Definitely Nikon Pro's top quality! The seller said he bought it July 2008, so around 2 years old already. Condition is still 90-95%.reviewed June 6th, 2010 (purchased for $900)
The lens was a bit heavy, but feels good in my D90+VG. The lens doesn't feel plasticky at all, definitely build to last long. If you think that heavy lens is a cons, I'm more about putting it in the Pros side. Heavy lens means they're optically superb, made from high quality glasses, not just cheap plastic glasses. Being heavy also means it's good to survive longer than the plastic lens such as 17-50 and 18-55.
Main reason why I got this lens is to fill in the gap between my Tokina 11-16 F/2.8 and Nikon 70-200 VRII. Planning to save up to get a new Nikon 24-70, but I know I won't go FX soon. Then i found this one on eBay for half the price. I decided to have a go on this lens.
Sharpness: Awesome for 2.8 zoom lens. still not as sharp as my new 70-200 VRII, but come on, this is Nikon's 6 years old lens.
Chromatic Aberration: quite low even though you still can see it. For me it's in tolerable level.
Distortion: I'm not a big fan of "perfect distortion-less lenses" since I do not really care about it. If it's there, than just accept it. This lens delivers acceptable distortion for me, but maybe not for some people.
Vignette: again, vignette is like a distortion to me, if you know how to take advantage out of it, there is nothing wrong with your shots. One of my friend even loves his 200 F/2's heavy vignetting because he said he used it to make the shots more alive!
17-55 vs those VRed lenses
Most complaints about having no VR on this lens, while Canon's has. Oh come on, if you think about it, this lens was released around 2004, not 2008 or 2009. Having a VR is nice but VR never helps you stopping down object's motions. And the case that I found out, to get the same sharpness I gain with this lens wide open, you need to stop down into F/5.6 or even F/8. if you're there, than it's already 2-3 stops difference with this lens at F/2.8 (which is the same stop advantage of a VR at this focal length). OK, both got the same sharpness now, but hey! 17-55 got higher shutter speed! I got better chance to stop the motions! VRed might be steadier but you'll get motion blur instead of camera shake.
17-55 vs 3rd party 2.8 zoom
There is a huge debate for the better lens between 17-55 and good 3rd party 2.8 zoom such as Tamron 17-50 2.8. I checked sharpness charts in photozone.de and slrgear.com, they prove that 17-50 is slightly better. Throw away the chart! You shouldn't judge a lens from the chart only. Grab one and shoot, see it yourself. For me, 17-55 edge the 17-50 easily, especially at the corner. And honestly, who looks at the pixel level sharpness level except those pixel peeps? Most of us do not print that big and do not require the sharpness until the pixel level (and if you are at this level, you won't think of getting either of these lenses, you'll go for primes or 24-70 2.8 already). I said 17-55 will edge 17-50 easily, is not only because of the build quality, but also the AF speed. AF speed is just amazing! Slightly slightly slower than 70-200 VRII, I can say as fast if I round it up a little bit. AF is also absolutely silent! Good for those who need it for jobs that require silence and stealth such as shooting in the lectures, church, etc. I shoot with one of my noisy lens before for my job, and I was so embarrassed at that time, even a slight noise will disturb the lecturer and audiences.
In conclusion, I'm really happy with my purchase of this lens. This lens might end up staying on my body most of the time, and accompanied with my 11-16 and 70-200 VRII, my gears seem perfect for the level I'm in right now.
Suggestion: Don't buy new, get a second hand for less than 1000 bucks. You buy it if you need it. This is lens worth if you use it for a long period.
Recommended for: Pros and Enthusiasts who plan to stick with DX format for another 1-2 years
Not recommended for: Those who do not need SILENT and FAST focusing OR do not like heavy-duty lens (i.e. do not care about build quality)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by felipe c (1 reviews)build quality, AF speed, fast constant f/2.8 aperture, extremely usable wide open, sharp with great color rendition, pure Nikon pro qualitynone
I bought this lens used, and it was the best bargain I've purchased for my D300. I was uncertain whether to get it or not because I had a nifty fifty (50mm f/1.8) and a super wide-angle zoom (Tokina 12-24 f/4) and a tele-zoom (Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8.) After hedging for over a year, I searched for a good price on eBay, and took a chance. Wow! All I can say is, why did I wait so long?reviewed April 26th, 2010 (purchased for $709)
The images do justice to the D300, and Nikon pro lenses as a whole. They are sharp, with excellent color and detail. Wide open there is some distortion, and some vignetting but I found that in real life use, it just doesn't really jump out at you. Stop down a couple of clicks and it's basically gone. What does jump out is the excellent bokeh and overall look of the images. This lens is really useful and sharp from wide open up to around f/11. While supposedly not as good a landscape lens as the Nikkor 17-35 f/2.8, I have some landscape shots in difficult light taken at 7,000 ft altitude and 12º F that are absolutely stunning in their tonal quality and clarity... so can it do landscapes? Definitely yes!
I also have used it for portraiture, wide open for a softer background, and stopped down with remote strobes for a more dramatic look outdoors. The lens came through both times with excellent results. It's a basic workhorse.
It probably excels as a photojournalist's lens. If focuses fast and you can count on it. This is a real working lens. There may be nit-picky issues some can point to where one lens or another can beat it in some statistical measurement, or definitely in price, but I bought both of mine used (yep, got a second one) for $709 and $820 repectively.
On the sample variation issue--I can't really speak to that other than I have tested both my copies and they're probably 2 or 3 years apart in manufacture date based on SN. I compared them in the real word and in controlled images tests on a tripod at 5 different focal lengths and every f/setting in 1 stop increments. On the same body locked down. The images at close examination were virtually identical. Stopped down below f/16 one lens showed some dust spots, the other didn't. A couple of specks of dust on the front element became visible much like sensor dust only when stopped down all the way, and simply blowing the dust off and reshooting - the spots were gone.
The zooming action is smooth, but the newer lens zoom ring has more resistance in the zoom action at either end of the spectrum, but it's not problematic at all. On the older lens the zoom action is a bit easier, but it doesn't feel "loose," just easier to turn. From what I've read, these things do loosen up over time, so I wouldn't even worry about it. One thing is, there is absolutely no zoom creep with this lens. The inner barrel does extend slightly on the long end, and a little bit more on the wide end of zooming, but it's not a long extension that you see on some lenses. It's a slight pumping in and out. It actually helps keep the lens more compact, and is absolutely not an issue. With the hood mounted, you wouldn't even know, but it's really a non-issue to a serious shooter.
This lens is a nice match for any other Nikkor pro lenses you might add to a kit if you're shooting DX format. It is heavier than typical consumer-targeted lenses, and bigger. But, that goes with the territory, so it's ridiculous when some folks actually label that a "con." Yes, it's heavier, yes it's bigger--and it's a serious photographic tool. Don't buy it if you don't need that. Nikkor's kit lenses in this range (18-55) are remarkably good, but they're slow, lightweight plactic, slow focusing lenses built very economically.
The Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 is in a different league.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by demosthenes (1 reviews)sharp, great colors, well builtsome copies are bad, short range, big, heavy
I love this lens. I've had it for 2+ years and it has never let me down. The images are sharp and the colors are saturated. It's worth the money if you demand the best possible images and can live with the range. I often wish I had more range on the long end.reviewed April 2nd, 2009 (purchased for $1,100)
I tested 3 copies and they varied greatly. One copy was so bad that I could tell from the 1st shot that something was wrong. Buy from a store that allows returns and test your lens soon after you get it.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by adamleahyphotography (4 reviews)Quality build, super sharp, rich bokah, great manual focus ringNone.
If you are shooting DX Nikon, this is the best normal range zoom, you can get, period. It is superb in every way. It's worth every penny you spend on it. I've had this on my D80 and D300 for about 6 months. I find the picture quality to be on par or slightly better than my primes (I am a big prime lens fan, but the truth must be told) the only time I take this off my cam is when I need telephoto, or I need the addition stop(s) from a prime. I know you have VR on the tip of your tongue, but really, I don't need VR for things that are moving, and things that don't move I use a tripod. VR is really great technology, but I find it more useful on telephoto lenses. One thing to consider though, it is a big chunk of glass. It's impossible to be discrete in a crowd, you always look like a photographer or a guys with too much money. Sometimes I put on my 35mm F2 to walk around with, just to have something less noticeable. Whatever though, if you are thinking about buying this you are probably used to carrying around big cams.reviewed January 2nd, 2009 (purchased for $1,200)
3 out of 10 points and not recommended by Canon-Nikon-user (14 reviews)sharp at f5.6 , good color contrast, fast AF, built well.CACACA, vignetting , not sharp wide open.
The AF-S16-85VR is a better lens with much smaller barrel and VR2.reviewed December 2nd, 2008 (purchased for $1,400)
The VR kills f2.8 any time , unless your subject is not moving fast in low light.
The 17-55f2.8 is clearly over priced , compared to the much sharper Canon EF-S17-55f2.8IS or Tamron 17-50f2.8 , it is clear.
This lens does not even have the Nikon's excellent VR2 at this price , is amazing , what a rip off ?
I did not say this just after trying a copy of this lens , but 4 copies of it compared to the excellent Tamorn 17-50f2.8 and I found the both Tamorn and Canon versions are better optically, the Canon even got very effective IS and AF much faster than this Nikon lens...............
I think this lens will soon be replaced with a new VR version of it, I dont think this is the best Nikon can do.
I also hate the 12-24f4DX, which is a useless lens too , and over priced , it is much more expensive than the much better Canon EF-S10-22USM.
What are you thinking Nikon?
You bodies are great , but LENSES are much more important than bodies cause lenses stay with me longer than any body I use now.
3 out of 10 points and recommended by ddt332 (6 reviews)Nonesample variation is too big!
My copy of this lens was bad, zoom ring is so tight that very difficult move. It is very soft all the range and I quickly figured out it has very bad back focus issue. Got a second copy still not sharp enough. There is no way this DX lens anywhere NEAR 24-70, 17-35, and 14-24. Forget it!reviewed November 4th, 2008 (purchased for $1,200)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by spuelijah (9 reviews)superior build quality, fast auto focuszoom & focus rings are a bit too narrow
The difference between 2.8 and 1.4 is quite substantial, but the convenience of a zoom is really nice. What really stood out to me after I purchased the 17-55mm was that pictures of the 17-55mm don't really do justice for how amazingly well its built. No picture can capture the soft touch but rugged feel of it. It inspires confidence in its durability. I love the finish of the Sigma EX line, but it doesn't quite compare to Nikon's pro lenses.reviewed August 5th, 2008 (purchased for $950)
7 out of 10 points and recommended by SETI (20 reviews)All but picturepicture is dull, price
Too much said about that lens, so I just wanna say that I don't like it's dull picture. It's not a portrait lens for me. But ideal for journalists.reviewed December 30th, 2007 (purchased for $1,650)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by shojin (1 reviews)Sharp at all focal lengths
I've been shooting with this lens for about a month. I am very happy with image quality. This lens also has fantastic light gathering ability.reviewed December 15th, 2007
The previous reviewer complained about softness at the shorter focal end of the lens... Maybe I have a particularly good copy or his is particularly soft, but mine is pretty shart across it's focal range.
My only complaint is when shooting people in casual settings, this lens attracts attention.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by wupeide (2 reviews)Very sharp, 2.8 allows for great AF in low light, solid build, the chicks dig itQuite soft around the edges at 17mm
My main complaint about this lens is that it is soft around the edges when shooting at 17-20mm. It doesn't matter if you stop down to f/8 - the problem still persists. Its does just about everything else very very well - but this is a major weakness. The 18-70mm Nikkor is significantly sharper on the edges at 18mm. I have used two copies, both brand new and had the same problem.reviewed November 6th, 2007 (purchased for $1,200)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by nexus (4 reviews)Exceptional image qualityNone if you know what you are buying in the 1st place!
First of all let me clear some things which people may not understand and feel that is a con with the 17-55mm lens. I will rate this lens the way I feel it deserves to be rated, not according to disadvantages that is simply not applicable to Professional users. Any new amateur user should read this before making the step in buying this lens. I am trying to warn you what this lens is, and what you can expect out of it.reviewed July 10th, 2007 (purchased for $1,190)
This lens weighs 755g, you can say it is heavy compared to the 18-55mm, 18-70mm, and 18-135mm But what exactly is considered heavy? To be honest, I am shocked at people’s comments regarding this factor as a con. As it was stated right from the start under specifications its weight. On websites the weight of this lens is stated. You go to a shop you can physically see the size and weight as well. It is a very lousy excuse to make weight as a con factor or act surprise by it. Besides the way people made this lens sound so heavy is over exaggerated especially to those who own good lenses like 70-300mm VR which is just 10g less!
This lens may be more suited towards the D70/80 and above series as the body and lens balance pretty well. Yes it is heavy, but not as if it can’t be hand held. In fact I would be absolutely disappointed if this lens wasn’t that heavy, it will be like a rip off. People should understand that Nikon put in good optics and which is why we have a good F2.8 lens. This isn’t the first time a Nikon Wide Angle F2.8 lens is heavy you know? People should get a slap on their head to wake up their idea, as we can see lenses such as 17-35mm, 28-70mm F2.8 all in the heavy weight category in Pro Nikon lens range.
This lens is also been blamed for its size, which I find it over board! Anyone especially Pros will know F2.8 zooms is using big 77mm filter size. When Nikon make the quality less, people still complain! This should not be an issue, if it is then don’t buy it as the first two reasons kicks you out of this category.
Its kind of strange to say is expensive and yet we have 16 reviews before me. For those who think “Why so expensive?” What are you thinking! Is a Nikon Pro lens! If the lens is so in the comfort zone, everyone won’t need the kit lens! The lens is about $100-200 more than Canon’s same range and it has always been like this. People in Australia and Asia can really complain as the retail price is way above the mark! Same goes for Ebay, prices have been way over the retail price. When I refer as way above the mark, they are like US$1500->US$1800. I bought my copy from BHP and even when included the tax I paid is less than the local shops where I save about $500.00? I wonder if Nikon price controlled this locally as it is disappointing. Cost of this lens was expected from the start that it will be probably $200 more than the 17-35mm F2.8
Real cons to be considered?
Shadow when using on board flash. This cant be avoided when using range 17-30mm of this lens, anything from 30mm onwards, on board flash works fine! If you think you will get away using 18-135mm using the on board flash at 18mm, you be in for a surprise to see the same result of the shadow. Solution? Use a dedicated Flash like SB400 onwards. Nikon SHOULD consider extendable on board flash to compensate for this, that would be excellent. Again this is a Pro Lens, Nikon has probably assumed that all professionals have at least a SB flashlight which I do and it gives really sharp results.
Flare is not avoidable, I tested this lens against different angles and this is not avoidable, however I felt it was reasonable, especially on the angle that you shoot the object. Solution? Use the lens hood plus try better angles if you can. Use good filters. I honestly do not know how other Nikon lenses do in bright light conditions, but my 18-135mm also flares on the wide end. What I do is to adjust my shooting so that you don’t get the flare, I believe that’s what professional photography is all about. To me, this is a very minor issue.
No VR? Well folks, I think in some ways I am happy and some ways not. If VR was included, I believe the weight would be way more. Then again it would have been great since we already paying premium prices and plus it can compare with the Canon’s lens. This would be a reasonable con for anyone who complains about this lens.
Some have complained about the reverse of the zoom at the lower end and the focus on the upper ring. It doesn’t take a stupid guy to think why they did it. If you have your lens hood reverse, it would be hard for you to zoom on the outer ring. As this is believed to be more AF focused they let the AF ring on the outside instead which I think was a better move if you think about it. I don’t consider this a con. Would you prefer the zoom ring on the outer end? This means your lens hood will be blocking your zooming when you need to zoom in fast. Whereas you only use focus ring when you need to Manual focus or correct the AF a little.
Quality of lens?
Excellent, my first Pro lens and I believe is well built and high quality lens. Is made in Japan! Not Thailand I had problems more on my UV filter trying to get it clean than the lens itself. Lens is clear and crystal sharp and the construction is just well made. I think it is made to be weather resistant to some extend letting professionals to take shots in harsh weather conditions. Like some have mentioned, feels like a tank. Heavy enough and solid feel.
Performance of lens?
This is clean tops guys, Unless you trying so hard to pick faults on it like the distortions at wide 17mm there is nothing to really complain about. Definitely big differences are being able to shoot without flash in low lighting and still get good shots. I can’t see any reason to put this lens down on image quality, is definitely sharp. Seriously it depends on where you buy this lens from, I believe if you are in the States, you should not be paying more than US$1300 for this lens, the lower prices on online shops sells below $1200.00, what else, you get 5 years extended warranty for US copy plus 1 year international warranty. I wished the flare issue was less but seriously is hard to keep a lens that sharp. I will recommend thin glass UV filters which may help in reducing flare and UV rays. The Hoya Super Pro1 series is a good filter line to look at. You may consider getting Super HMC Pro1 UV(o) or The Super Pro DMC UV filter. Personally I will cry if you scratch this lens, and I would rather spend the money to protect this lens with good picture results.
The lens focus very fast and silent thanks to SWM feature. Pictures are 95% of the time outstanding. Some people get irritated by the extending of the lens when wide angle is used. I tend to want to give these people a puzzled look as in what the hell do you expect on a zoom lens? You mean the zoom lens do not extend? Hello? This is a zoom lens? Anyway, Performance wise is tops. Amateurs should not go buying this lens and just try it out on AUTO mode to expect fantastic shots. This is not what real pros do, you take advantage of the fast aperture for this lens and construct your art of a perfect shot. This lens gives you the above average confidence as it really helps to focus in low lighting. I had two shots taken, one with flash in florescent lighting, another was without flash at F2.8, it turns out the one without using flash looks brighter and sharp.
Overall, I believe some people might feel cheated as they do not understand what they are paying for. I on the other hand have always aimed for this range of Nikon’s pro lens and will gladly say is a good purchase and will probably stay on my camera till I find a need to use my longer lenses. It is also not suitable lens for a D40 to use this lens as the weight ratio is far off. I feel comfortable on the D70s as it feels balanced. Try and understand what this lens is before you consider buying it and expect god results. You get god results when you got right equipment and right attitude of composing the shot you want. Otherwise using settings like auto may not justify the need of using this lens. I hope this review will better help potential buyers to know what they are getting for the price you paid, rather than a string of complains like as if you did not expected this lens was going to be this heavy and such.
I will not say that this lens stays on my D70s 95% of the time but it is my primary lens till I need to change to my longer zoom lens. Where you buy this lens could make your experience a good one or a bad one too, especially if you are buying it online. Check your prices before making the purchase. B&H is a great place to buy this lens as it gives US 5 years extended warranty for it. Despite the obvious cons, and because I know what is expected of this lens. 10/10 easily.
I hated Kenrockwell's comments about this lens, trying to discredit this lens where there is so much positive side to it that he failed to look at. His reviews are pretty good to read but he seems to be really bias and against this lens.
Another common arguement is whether to go for this lens or the 17-35mm. Seriously if you are digital, go for this lens.
Weight and size for Nikon's F2.8 zoom has always been expected, likewise for price. If these three main factors were your concern, go for Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 DII where the quality is definately cheaper and affordable.
Highly recommend a good thin UV lens for those who wants to protect the lens. Of course there are those who do not believe in filters. But for the general who uses them, use a good one.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by jmancini (4 reviews)Sharp, fast AFHEAVY, expensive, no VR
Excellent lens, but quite large and heavy for the limited zoom range. Sharp even wide open, exceptionally well built. Extends slightly at both ends of the zoom range; is shortest around 35mm.reviewed April 8th, 2007 (purchased for $1,200)
It's already more expensive than the canon equivalent; couldn't we get VR for this much money?
Look at the Tamron if you don't have the budget; fast AF is less critical for wide lenses than for sports telephotos, and you'll save roughly 50%, and the images are nearly as good. I'd probably go that way if I didn't already own this one, as AF-S isn't worth $600 to me.
If money is no object, this is the best.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by stopdown (3 reviews)
Although I initially had some issues with my copy of this lens, once I had the issue corrected (no big deal... high end products of any type require servicing every now and then), this lens has performed beautifully. I won't go into the issues since they are already known (CA, distortion wide open, IQ suffers stopped down past f/11, tricky landscape photography at times, etc ), but they can easily be managed with DxO or CS2/3, or you just need to learn how to use the lens correctly.reviewed March 28th, 2007 (purchased for $1,200)
I will say this: If you're looking for a sharp, well constructed, dependable everyday lens, this is a great option for your Nikon mount. It can be used for pro photo shoots and a weekend with your family just as well. Please understand that this lens doesn't suit the novice DSLR shooter b/c it takes some knowledge of how to optimally use your DSLR with it.
I agree with most of the positive reviews for this lens thus far, so I won't repeat them. All lenses of weaknesses and this is not an exception, but its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by aviatorbumm (5 reviews)Sharpness, constant f2.8 aperture, build qualityFlare
I have owned this lens for about a month and am really pleased that I made this purchase. It is hands down the best lens I have owned.reviewed March 12th, 2007 (purchased for $1,200)
It is super sharp wide open to mid aperture, with great color and contrast. Focus is fast, and though it is a large lens, it balances very well on my D200.
I have made a relatively thorough comparison between this lens and the Tamron 17-50, Nikon 18-200, and Nikon 50mm F/1.8 prime (all lenses I have owned in the past). My 17-55 copy met or exceeded the performance of these other lenses from an IQ and build standpoint – in some cases by a significant margin. I like it much better than the Tamron from a color and contrast standpoint. Also, the Nikon is noticeably sharper than the Tamron (I tried two copies) from F/2.8 to about F/4. From there on, the two lenses are on par.
There is NO comparison between this lens and the 18-200. It is nearly impossible to tell pictures apart taken with this lens compared to the fabulous 50mm F/1.8.
I love the ability to shoot at wide open to mid-aperture without fear of appreciable softness anywhere in the frame. The 17-55 range (26mm to 83mm film) offers enough flexibility to get solid wide angle “expansive” perspective to slight telephoto “compression”. This short telephoto effect at 55mm works very well with open apertures for DOF subject isolation. For me, it is perfect for most landscape and still-life shots. As well, it makes a great “normal” perspective lens and is well suited to portraits. It is not a wildlife (except maybe road-kill) or sports lens.
Three things I don’t care for – first, the lens will flare very easily in most backlight situations. Second, it is big enough to cause shawdows when using the built in speed light on my D200 at wider focal lengths. Last, there is more distortion than I would have expected at 17mm. This goes away quickly, however.
Bottom line for me - Truly great lens!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by engine1navy (2 reviews)SHARP, TANK
Need to boost the rating up a bit! Just purchased this lens and the images are top notch! Nobody's wallet hurts more than mine with this purchase but I am willing to deal with it with the quality of the pictures/build of this lens! Sure the range is a little short but I find the wide end more useful for what I like to shoot than something like the 28-75 2.8. For $200 cheaper than that lens too, I don't see how the images can get any better than the ones from this! Buy it and you'll love it!reviewed January 11th, 2007 (purchased for $1,150)
The guy who gave this lens a 2 gave an undue black eye to this lens' rating. Sometimes it happens that you get a lemon but mine was perfect from the factory, not to mention it is the first review I've ever seen where someone said their copy was a lemon. Didn't even give a second copy a try, just gave up on it. Shame.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Smackdown1976 (3 reviews)SHARP! Fast AF, Build qualityNone that I know of...
This lens has become my primary walk around lens. Previously I was using the 18-200 VR, and recently decided to upgrade to pro level glass....and boy am I glad I did! I use a D200, and this lens is the first that has truly demonstrated what the D200 can do.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $1,400)
This lens is incredibly sharp throughout the zoom range. I rarely shoot at apertures smaller than f/8, but I have yet to see a shot from my lens that lacks superior sharpness.
Colors are great and it locks into focus QUICK. I am a bit amazed at the speed of this lens when using AF.
Lastly is the build quality. I have not pushed this lens very hard yet in terms of durability, but it seems to be built like a tank. Definitely worthy of its pro-caliber pricing.
All in all I am extremely pleased and would highly recommend this lens to anyone looking to get the most out of their DX body.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Matthew Saville (21 reviews)build quality, image quality, fast apeturesize / weight, cost compared to alternatives...
When it comes to super-wide angle lenses, Nikon sort of has the best thing out there, with the 17-35mm f/2.8 for film and the 12-24 f/4 DX for digital.reviewed December 29th, 2006
But in the mid-range, wide-mid range zoom category, some third parties are coming pretty close to Nikon and at a fraction of the cost, making this lens a pretty hard one to decide upon.
Personally after shooting with the 17-55 DX quite a bunch, I think it's definitely the best out there, but I'd still be tempted by other lenses like the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8.
What the Nikon has going for it, though:
- build quality is definitely a step above any competition. The Tamron is mostly plastic, and the Sigma is definitely not all-metal either. The Nikon is, and it feels burly.
- the AFS motor, which can be taken for granted and very addictive. The AF speed of the competition might be nearly as good, but the silence of the AFS motor is golden, and the ability to focus manually any time without having to flip a switch is a huge plus.
Personally I'm willing to forego the AFS motor, in hopes that the upcoming Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 is a winner. But if the Tokina isn't about as sharp as the Nikon, I'll just break down and buy the Nikon.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by privid (5 reviews)inspiring build, sharp wide open, great colour and contrast,heavy, extending lens barrel, no VR, restricts onboard flash, overpriced.
I have been nothinh but impressed by this lens. My copy, thankfully, has proven excellent. This lens has essentially taken over my camera. If I want wide I can go wide. If I want portrait or to isolate a face in the crowd I can. F/2.8 is also great for in doors, VR would make this so much better in this situation but it is still head and shoulders above the consumer zooms, hand held in doors available light shots that are sharp and controlled are possible. Unless I want telephoto reach this is the lens I use all the time. The extra 5mm of width at f/4 from the 12-24 at the cost of frequent lens changes just doesn't interest me.reviewed December 16th, 2006 (purchased for $1,230)
However, it is darn heavy, and you can't use the onboard flash of the D200 though most contemplating the purchase will probably already own an external flash they use regularly.
It also costs too much. I expect to pay more for Nikkor but for a DX lens it seems a little high.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by zalan (4 reviews)qualityprice and size
In short, it is a pro quality midrange zoom for the DX format. I bought it after selling my 24-85G and it was a significant step up in every way except for flare, where I can see similar results. The lens is optimized for wide open or near wide open use in close or medium distances, so it is best for an event type of work. There are better landscape (stopped down, focus to/near infinity) lenses out there, but it is still very capable in this area. The sharpness, color rendition and contrast are all very good, but you will see some distortion and little chromatic aberration here and there. Generally I'm very happy with this lens, the small problems it has are only important for the pixel-peepers. One note however, there were some quality control issues with this lens along the way, so you might find some negative comments generated due to this.reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $1,500)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by bfischer (15 reviews)stunning wide open performance, AF-S, fast, ergonimics, weather sealslittle susceptible for flare and ghosts
This lens is optimized to be shot wide open at near to mid distances. And it does this impressively well. It's only shortcoming is stopped down performance at infinity. For landscape shots, the 17-35/2.8 at f/8 is visibly sharper.reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $1,770)
Bokeh is neutral, but better than 50/1.4. Color rendition and contrast are excellent. The build quality is very good, but the lens barrel extends while zooming to either end. It is shortest around 35mm.
The 17-55 is simply a lens that does not suck. All focal lengths and f-stop combinations between f/2.8 and f/11 can be used safely without harming image quality. Choose your aperture according to you pictoral needs and not wrt lens quality issues.
I use this lens as often as I can. You have to pry it off my camera.
If you are looking for a large aperture standard zoom and you are not primarily a landscape photographer, this lens is for you.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by nohm (11 reviews)Lives up to pro-line standards if you received good copy of lensInconsistency with quality control of each individual copy of lens
As many have mentioned before, its tricky to get your hands on a good copy of this lens from Nikon. I've tried renting a few copies and taking sample shots with them, and the image quality did vary between them.reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $1,110)
Needless to say though, the ones that were "proper" produced images fit for a pro-line lens among the Nikkor lineup. f2.8 all throughout is a necessity for indoor low light shooting, and this lens delivers on par with similar 17-35 f2.8 Nikkor within their respective ranges. Also, because this lens is light in weight in comparison to the 17-35 f2.8 or the 28-70 f2.8, this lens makes for a great walkaround pro lens. Would recommend if budget fits.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by ultrafast (8 reviews)fantastic range, sharp*, well built, AF-S, f/2.8expensive and heavy
* I said this lens is sharp, and that is what I believe, but be sure to be aware that there is substantial sample variation with this lens. I had to return one before I got one that was really good.reviewed November 23rd, 2006 (purchased for $1,200)
With that aside, it is a nice walk around range, and very convenient for landscapes. I bought it to replace a 17-35mm and 28-70mm f/2.8, because I found that I always had the wrong lens on with that combination. I have not been disappointed with any aspect of the 17-55, which is impressive, given that the 17-35mm and 28-70mm are hard acts to follow. The DX lens is sharp at all apertures, getting better from f/2.8 to f/5.6 then staying about the same and then losing sharpness due to diffraction at around f/13 for my sample. CA is well corrected for and the little there is can be easily removed. Distortion is not as bad as one would expect, but for architecture a lot of correction would be necessary.
Colors are neutral but intense, which is perfect for landscape photography. The build can also take a lot of abuse and I have never felt like I am pushing the bounds of what the lens can take in my treatment of it, which is admittedly not the best.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by mmroden (3 reviews)a great, versatile lens that produces amazing picturesa big on the large side
This lens has had more than its fair share of quality control issues from Nikon, so don't be ashamed to return it for another one. That having been said, I have no problems with my copy of the lens.reviewed September 8th, 2006 (purchased for $1,150)
I use it on a d70 body to great effect. It really is a great walkaround lens, as well as a great wedding lens. It produces very good photos wide open, and is quite sharp when stopped down just a bit.
This lens is on my camera whenever I'm not sure of what shooting opportunities I'm going to have, ie, whenever I'm a tourist or covering an event.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by wei (3 reviews)
great lens use it mostly for weddings photography with my D2X, great performance, great construction.reviewed June 11th, 2006
2 out of 10 points and recommended by Jozef (1 reviews)like 2.8 a nice pro lensnot sharp
My lens is a lemon! What is wrong with Nikon QC?reviewed May 20th, 2006 (purchased for $1,200)
My 18-70 is sharper than 17-55.
After 2 days of testing ( I am not expert on it but but I can see what is sharp) lens is going back to store.
here is S#307527
Just in case if this lens was sold or will be resale one more time!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Das Bosun (7 reviews)Great performance from a mid range zoom. If you're serious about flexibility get this lens.It would be great to have a 15-70mm version of this lens that performs this well, but I doubt this is possible.
AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8Greviewed November 23rd, 2005
All of my lens test/comparisons were performed on a Nikon D2x (reduced frame, 1.5x 12.2MP CMOS sensor). The camera was set to mirror lock-up, mounted on a tripod and fired with the MC-30 cable release. The test exposures were captured as NEF raw files and compared with no image sharpening.
The best results arrive with this lens set to around f/5.6. Even wide open (f/2.8) at the 24mm setting this lens performs better than the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G at 24mm when it’s set to f/4.
However, the 17-55mm DX lens pails in comparative detail when comparing its 28mm zoom setting to the fixed focal length AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D lens. Alternatively, the chromatic aberrations of the DX 17-55mm are better controlled than the full frame 28mm f/1.4D lens.
Even at the 17mm setting with an aperture of f/2.8 the 17-55mm DX lens controls chromatic aberrations slightly better than the 12-24mm DX lens at f/8.
AF-S auto focus is quiet and speedy. The 17-55mm DX is a hard working lens on my camera.
Note: these are subjective results that may not reflect your particular sample OR use of this lens.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by wilfried (5 reviews)very solid, very sharp, constant f/2.8lens hood not secure in reversed position, lens a bit heavy for DX
My first copy was optically excellent. At 17mm it was far better than the Tokina Pro 17mm f/3.5 prime lens.reviewed November 4th, 2005
However. I discovered a serious back-focus problem at 24mm (ok at 17 and 55mm).
Nikon exchanged it for free.
The second copy still has a minor back-focus problem, but I can live with that.
In practical use it is fast, bright and sharp.
A joy to use!
One caution: The lens hood has a nice latch to hold it in place. However, when mounted reversed (for storage or for walking around with less bulk), it is not secure. It fell off already twice.
Also, please note that in all the press pictures the lens is always shown in the 35mm zoom position. In the 17mm position an inner barrel protrudes about 2cm from the main barrel, which looks somewhat less attractive. At 55mm the inner barrel protrudes 0.5cm.
However, with the lens hood mounted none of this shows, as it is attached to the main barrel and doesn't shift during zooming.
Optics and construction get a "10", but overall only "9" because of the back-focus issue.