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Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

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218 554382 Nov 6, 2015
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86% of reviewers $1,017.51
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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.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 17-55mm 1:2.8
Lens Construction: 19 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 78°30' - 27°50'
Focus Adjustment: AF with full-time manual
Closest Focusing Distance: 1.15 ft. / 0.35m
Zoom System: 5-group helical zoom (front group moves: 27mm)
Filter Size: 77mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.3 in. x 4.4 in., 22.8 oz. / 83.5mm x 110.6mm, 645g (lens only)


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Registered: Oct 7, 2005
Location: Serbia & Montenegro
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 14, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: ...

...greetings fredmiranda...
...( could not find the link to contact u. )

kind request:
-comment by 'musicjohn' in his review of Canon EF-S 17-55 f.2.8 IS USM concerning and involving myself I do find personal and insulting and in the breach with the ' forum rules '.
kindly asking for deletion or correction of the review involved.

Feb 14, 2007
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Registered: Jun 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $949.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: A great all in one lens. Fantastic image quality throughout its entire zoom range and the fast and accurate autofocus combine to give you a superb all in one lens. Add an extension tube and you have a good close up lens as well.
Does not include a lens hood

A wonderful lens. I was looking for a lens that I could use in "no flash" environments and the 17-55 fit the requirement perfectly.

The match up with my 30D is perfect.

The combination of the large aperture along with the 3 stop IS give you a great low light lens.

It also preforms in normal and bright light equally well.

The dust myth seems to be never ending here. I have had no dust problems with this lens.

For a great technical overview of the lens go to:


Feb 7, 2007
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Registered: Jul 30, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 520
Review Date: Jan 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, f/2.8, sharpness, size/weight (compared to full frame option).
Some flare visible with light sources in the picture (eg street lights). It's a con because I would have expected a little better performance in this area for the price. This lens is stopping me buying the 5D because there's no equivalent performance FF lens!

A very good, almost indispensible lens for me. I have owned the 28-70 f/2.8 L on a 20D and loved that lens for its sharpness, out of focus (OOF) qualities and colour. The 17-55 lens, compared, seems a little less glamorous - the shots just don't seem to have the same OOF impact and flare resistance that the 28-70 did. I will never go back to the 28-70L though because of the IS and wider angle the 17-55 offers.

I do wish for a little more length on the long end - even if it was 70mm - because at times I find I need a tighter shot and have to walk in to the subject or crop later on. To change lenses to a longer focal length would defeat the purpose of this being a walkaround lens.

I have loved using this lens where its utility is best - in low light, static situations like museums and church events, where I use the IS and f/2.8. I have never had any worries using the lens wide open for any shots as far as IQ goes. With flash and f/2.8 I can get great and natural looking shots indoors, definieley better than having only f/4.

The focus is fast, and I don't believe after thousands of shots on my 20D that it has misfocussed once without human error.

Compared to holding an L zoom, this lens is lighter and the focussing/zoom is not as well damped, but the lens still does the job.

There is some flare when I take shots with the light source in the frame - more than I would have expected from the price, however those moments aren't common for me. If the situation didn't require f/2.8 or IS, I would use the 10-22 in overlapping focal lengths for shots with the sun/lights in frame.

If there is some CA or purple fringing then I have not noticed it with my everyday shooting.

This lens is my workhorse. It isn't glamorous, but it is sharp and provides better shooting opportunities at normal focal lengths than anything else Canon offers on an APS-C camera.

I am confident that, barring flare issues (which really are minor and can be somewhat managed by your shooting technique), this lens gives me the best quality and utility a zoom in this range can give.

Jan 31, 2007
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Fred Relaix
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Registered: Jan 9, 2007
Location: France
Posts: 1032
Review Date: Jan 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great low light performer (f/2.8 + IS), very very sharp, good size and weight, excellent contrast, FTM.
Average built quality, no hood

This lense is great (for me I should add). For those like me who need a good low light performer, it is just the best choice for now among all the Canon lenses available today. It is just a so perfect walk-around lense, fast, sharp, IS very efficient, contrast and bokeh are just excellent. I also have other L lenses like the 24-105 /4 L IS, but I still think the 17-55 f2.8 IS is a better lense for demanding situations. Before bying it I compared to the 17-40 f/4 L (which is also a very good piece of glass), but decided for the EF-S lense.

Of course built quality is not to the level of most L lenses (like my 70-200 f/4 L IS), and the hood is not provided in the box (a shame considering the price - but luckily the hood from my 24-105 just fits perfectly!). But honestly it is not bad either (very similar to the EFS 10-22), it still feels like a very solid lense, and I have been carrying it everyday.

There have been peoples complaining about dust. I got mine last june, and took a LOT of shots with it (probably over 20 000), and I have no dust issue. I spent 3 weeks in Indonesia doing backpack travelling, hiking sulfur-filled volcanos http://www.pbase.com/frelaix/kawah_ijen), etc, and still no dust problem.

In fact I think so highly of this lense that I have not upgraded to the 5D yet, waiting for the next Canon xxD model to be released to make my choice.

If you live in a country where sun is available all the time, if you never need to do indoor shots without flash (like museums where often you cannot use the flash), or never take pictures at night, then you probably you do not need it.

Finally you can find a few pictures taken with this lense here (and many more on my pbase galleries) : http://www.pbase.com/frelaix/canon_efs_1755_f28

Fred Relaix
Canon EOS 350D (Rebel XT)•EF 50mm f/1.4• EF 100mm f/2.8 macro•EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS•EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS•EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS•EF 1.4x II•Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6

Jan 28, 2007
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Registered: Jun 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 433
Review Date: Jan 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, accurate silent USM focusing. Great IS system. Extremely sharp zoom lens. A real pleasure to shoot with
stops at 55mm - if that qualifies as "negative."

I've owned this lens for a little over a month and I absolutely love this lens. This has been by far my best lens purchase. No problems with dust with my copy. IQ is outstanding and IS is extremely useful. The build quality is satisfying. A pure joy to use. I can't think of another lens that is as useful on a 1.6 crop body. 0 regrets.

Jan 19, 2007
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Registered: Sep 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Jan 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Razor sharp, IS, 2.8, not too heavy
None so far

I needed a low light lens that could be hand-held indoors under less than ideal lighting situations. So far, I’ve not been disappointed. Yesterday was a rainy, overcast day, so I decided to test it indoors against my 24-70 and 24-105, both of which are sharp wide open. I selected 20 objects throughout the house in different rooms under different lighting situations. All shots were taken wide open and hand-held with the 20D at ISO 800. The 17-55 nailed every shot razor sharp while the 24-70 and 24-105 each missed three to four of the shots.

In fairness to the 24-70 and 24-105, the 17-55 was up against them outdoors on Saturday, which was a beautiful day here, and I could not tell any difference in quality. All 3 are superb lenses, imo; however, for indoor low light photography, the 17-55 will be my choice.

Jan 7, 2007
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Registered: Sep 14, 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, contrast, IS, FTM focus... did I mention sharpness?
Only EF-S fitting

@ mlade10

You want your head checked out by a doctor? Giving it a rating 1 !!! Man, you are sick.

I have ownes this lens now for two months. I also have a 70-200 f/2.8 "L" and a 24-105 f/4 "L" and previously owned the 200mm f/2.8 "L" prime and 17-40 f/4 "L"

This new lil' beauty optically outperformes ANY lens, "L' or not "L", prime or zoom.

The new generation image stabiliser has made it possible for me to shoot at 1/13 of a second without a tripod and still have razor-sharp images. With any "non-IS" lens I need at least 1/80 sec. for a sharp image.

Only negative point is the EF-S fitting. Sometime in the future I will want to go full-frame (maybe the new 1D mk III in february?) and this lens will not fit. Sad, because for full-frame there is NO equivelant lens as yet. The 17-40 f/4 "L" just isn't a match for this new 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM. Good thing is... I'll keep my current 30D as a 2nd body, so this lens is a stayer.

I can HIGHLY recommend this lens to anyone seeking "L" optical quality (and beyond).

In my view this alone justifies it's relatively high price.

Jan 4, 2007
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Registered: Jul 6, 2006
Location: France
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 3, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Excellent lens (!!!) - very sharp - Image Stabilizer - Build
Dust (!!!) - heavy

I have to change a little bit my review of this product (see below) because it is now back to Canon repairing after six months of use.

Ok, I still love it. It's the lens I use 99% of the time and the IS is really a life saver.

But there are definitely dust problems. I mean, some people don't have any dust problem. But, bad luck for me, I'm part of the people who have it and it just breaks my neck to have paid so much money for a lens, which sucks dust like crazy.
Of course, you can't see the dust on the pictures. So, no harm... But even though, when you want to sell your lens, you'll have to send it first to clean the dust otherwise noone would buy it. So, this is quite annoying...

So, now, if I had the choice, I would surely buy some L lens and not this one because you never know if you'll be part of the lucky "no dust" people or the unlucky ones...

In the meantime, I'll get it back from the repairing and it's probably going to stay my favorite lens for a while (until the dust is back Smile

Looks like people liked to have some shots samples. Here are more below. Night pictures were taken without tripod only with IS. It shows how powerful it is !! You can go as for as 0.5" handheld !

http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=1304 (at 2.8)
http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=1365 (with IS)
http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=1350 (with IS)
http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=1287 (with IS)
http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=1368 (really sharp, even though it's taken handheld with IS)

Jan 3, 2007
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Registered: Feb 16, 2006
Location: South Africa
Posts: 56
Review Date: Dec 31, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

Price, Build, Hood

This lens is great. My friend used it on his 20D to shoot my wedding. It's really sharp. There are very few of the images where we had to apply ANY sharpening, because sharpening would just cause the skin to look hard.
Pitty about the price. The build quality is not bad, but for the price one would think Canon would include a hood and a little L quality construction.

In summary... If you want to do portrait work, GET THIS LENS.

Dec 31, 2006
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Registered: Jan 2, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Awesome image quality, sharpness, low light performances, IS
Poor dust sealing, stupid marketing (see my "L" series beef below)

This is an absolutely amazing lens. I used it for 1000+ pictures on a recent trip to Egypt. It never came off my 20d. The low light performance is stellar as is the sharpness. The weight of the lens has been described as a detracting factor but I found it nicely balanced. The build quality has also been questioned by some but other than a slight problem with dust intrustion, this has built well (not like a tank mind you, but well).

This lens does suck in some dust. I went to Egypt with one little teeny fleck of dust (provided by Canon...). To be fair I used it in some of the dustiest conditions I have EVER experienced (I needed to wipe the lens barrel several times to get rid of talcum like dust in Luxor) and it came back with a few more flecks inside. These flecks have not affected image quality so far but do affect customer perception (remember photography is also about "gear" ;-). I think Canon does need to address this topic aggressively, if only as a cosmetic issue. One pays Canon $1000+ for this kind of lens to get customer service after all. If I were Canon, I'd issue a recall and get this sorted out via a proper dust seal and cleaning to maintain my leading brand image.

The only other small beef I have have is also directed at Canon: they need to stop doing silly things like charging $50 for the hood and "pretending" that L series are only for full frame lenses. There are going to be tons of 1.6x cameras out there, Canon needs to wake up and admit that they need 1.6x L grade lenses. I can imagine that some MBA told them that they could maintain "price differentiation" and "value addition" by their decision to keep L targeted only at full frame but this is a very myopic strategy.

I was and still am a Canon fan. With this lens, they have come close to sweet perfection but too bad that they let a dust seal steal away a perfect 10 score :-(

Dec 27, 2006
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Nick Nishizaka
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Registered: Nov 14, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1800
Review Date: Dec 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $975.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great IQ. Quiet and fast AF. Has some "L" optics inside. Build not as bad as some would indicate. Constant f/2.8 with I.S. Only lens out there with these features for 1.6x crop DSLR.

It's been a few months now and I don't yet have a dust problem. I do have a UV filter always on the lens.

The constain 2.8 and 3 stop IS makes this lens extremely flexible, especially in indoors and low-light situations. The lens is very sharp and in many ways, this is an "L" lens except the build/housing.

There are some who would balk at the price just because this lens is labeled "EF-S" and doesn't have the red ring.

Personally, I think if Canon did in fact made this as an "L" lens, it would have been $1500-$1600. The 16-35 is $1300+ so just imagine adding IS to it.

Keeping that in mind it is actually a pretty good price, if you look beyond the fact that ALL Canon lenses (L or not) are probably overpriced for profit.

If you need something in this range, constant 2.8 and IS, there is simply no other alternative, PERIOD!

As for the future of 1.6x body, I don't worry about it. I worry about getting the best lens for the job. The 17-55 fits the bill.

Dec 26, 2006
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stephen china
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Registered: Dec 23, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb image quality,excellent handling,no other lens has the same all round capability.

I initially used a 17-85 IS lens with my 30D but was never happy with the image quality (soft,heavy barreling,vignetting,overall a very average performer) so I decided to try the 17-55 IS,I was stunned by the difference.This lens produces better images when used on my 30D than my Leica M7/Nikon Coolscan combination does,I am now happy to sell all my film equipment.What else can I say? I do not think the price is high when the obvious quality of the glass and mechanisms is considered and a composite case is preferable in my opinion (does not show marks or wear).I have had no problems with the ingress of dust but eventually any lens will accumulate some (all my Leitz lenses have) but it is has no effect on image quality.This is also the most usable lens I have ever owned,f2.8 and a 3 stop IS that really works makes previously impossible shots a reality. Anyone with a Canon 1.6 crop camera should buy this lens as it releases the full potential of the body which the 17-85 certainly does not.The combination of this lens and a 30D body at a cost of less than £1500 is unbeatable.

Dec 23, 2006
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Registered: Aug 6, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 232
Review Date: Dec 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,050.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp, great color and contrast, extremely effective IS, good size, f/2.8
Build (who hasn't said this...) is sub-par for the price. Unbelievable that Canon doesn't include a lens hood. Inexusable, in fact.

Bought this lens to replace my 17-40L, as I had a wedding coming up and I wanted something with more range and better low-light versatility. Well, the wedding fell through, but I haven't been able to tear myself away from this lens. Superb IQ--really gorgeous in every way; visibly superior to my 17-40. And I love the IS, even if lens shake is less of an issue with a wide angle. Being able to shoot at 55mm indoors in low light is great.

Clearly, the build is not L-quality, which was my main hesitation in buying the lens. But in all honesty, I don't beat up my lenses, much less bring them into bad weather very often, so having a weather-sealed, all metal body is not essential. I do wish the focus ring was wider, and that both zoom and focus rings were damped. But they are smooth and function perfectly well.

The bottom line is that this is the finest standard lens for a Canon 1.6 crop body in terms of your end result. If you can afford it (and even if, like me, you can only sorta afford it Smile , then you should buy it.

Dec 23, 2006
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Registered: Jan 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 404
Review Date: Dec 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, contrast, sharpness, IS, covers the general purpose focal length on a 1.6x body.
No lens hood included, focus ring too loose, slight vignetting at 17mm f/2.8. Should have been an L and built like it at this price. Dust.

This is the highest quality general purpose lens I have used on a 1.6x body.

At overlapping focal lengths, my 17-55mm f/2.8 is sharper than the 16-35mm f/2.8L, the 24-70 mm f/2.8L and the 24-105 f/4L lenses I used to own.

I can shoot at a shutter speed of focal-length/5 with IS on this lens. So at 17mm, I can get sharp pics at 1/3sec. For me IS is very important, it lets me (1) captures more ambient light in low light indoors, and (2) get more depth of field with slower f-stops without using a tripod.

At this price, I'm a little disappointed with the non-L built quality and no lens hood included. But once you see the photos, you will forget these quickly.

Dust is an issue, I noticed some, but they also seems to go away.

Dec 21, 2006
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Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 20
Review Date: Dec 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Contrast is amazing, sharp wide open and throughout zoom range.
Canon charges extra for lens hood.

Only sharper lens I own is my 300/4 non-IS. My 17-55 outperforms my 135L and 200/2.8L -- believe it or not. Contrast level is freaky. My old 17-40 was soft by comparison and has since been sold.

I'll have to keep a 1.6x camera just for this lens once I buy a FF, no question.

Dec 15, 2006
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Registered: Dec 18, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 368
Review Date: Dec 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp. built well for a non-L, good color. IS of course.
Some will have a constant worry about dust.

To get the bad out of the way, I always worry about the resale value of a lens but a little more so with this one. You tend to get over it after the first download or two of your photos.

The good is that I am more impressed with this lens than I have beem with any lens below 85mm except for two macros I have. The macros hold their own but so does the 17-55mm.

I have a Tamron 28-75mm that is very sharp. I ordered a 24-70mm L lens and it could not compete with it. Very bad copy I had so I returned and had another sent to me. The new one wound up being a very good copy of the 24-70mm Canon and I was happy until putting it against my Tamron.

I keep my testing simple. I took 12 photos of my wife with the Canon L lens and 12 with the Tamron for a total of 24. I put T and C on the back of the best 12 photos (6 of each) and mixed them up. My wife put them in the order of most to least happy with the overall look, color, etc. The Tamron bettered the Canon and it was sent back the next day. I don't usually send a lens back but hopefully that was understandable.

Long story short, I did the same with the 17-55mm. I tested my Tamron and the Canon from 28mm-55mm. From the 12 photos, her first six photos picked were from the Canon, the last six from the Tamron. They were all close in my eye but there was a real world difference, enough for me to call the lens a keeper.

Hope you have the samr experience. All I can say is give it a go. It would not make it to page 3 on the B&S forum.

Dec 9, 2006
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Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
218 554382 Nov 6, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
86% of reviewers $1,017.51
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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