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

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Reviews Views Date of last review
216 538892 Jun 1, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
87% of reviewers $1,019.18
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.89
7.41
9.1
l217_efs1755

Specifications:
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: 7830' - 2750'
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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wfr2
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Registered: May 14, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1339
Review Date: Oct 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp and fast
Cons:
heavier and bulkier than I expected

I hesitated a long time before buying this lens. I was using a 17-40mm and 24-105mm lens combination on my 50d but did not want to carry 2 lenses while touring the sites on vacation and the 17-40 just lacked the range I needed so I bought this one used on FM. Very impressive sharpness and the extra stop will be nice in those old churches. Build quality is good but not quite in the same class as the 17-40 and 24-105. Seems a bit pricey if buying new.

Oct 5, 2009
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EZarris
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Registered: Oct 1, 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast AF, constant fast f/2.8 aperture, great colors & contrast, SHARP.
Cons:
way overpriced, build quality, vignetting, a little short on the long end, EF-S only.

If this lens had the build quality of an L lens, it would be well worth the price. But it's not an L, although it's priced like one. Fantastic lens all round, but should have been a EF and L lens. That would make it almost perfect.

Oct 1, 2009
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vince
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Registered: Mar 18, 2002
Location: China
Posts: 306
Review Date: Sep 28, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Very sharp at all focal lengths, fast focusing ring USM.
Cons:
Build quality.

$1000 for an all-plastic 17-85 type zoom? For this price I'd expect L build quality even if it doesn't have CaF2 fluorite elements or ED glass. The optics are very good, but I somehow get better micro-contrast and color rendition with the 17-40L.

I'd have bought this if it were a $500 lens, but at over a grand, I personally feel it's a waste of money for a 1.6 crop lens. I kept the 17-40L.


Sep 28, 2009
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headac3e
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Registered: Jan 3, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $960.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp wide open at all focal lengths, very fast (f/2.8 constant), IS works well, focus is fast enough
Cons:
vignettes at wide shots with large aperture, price, build, no included accessories (e.g. hood), crop lens, relatively big and heavy

This is a must have lens for crop sensors. There is no equilivant on a full frame side (well, there's the 24-70 but without IS). It is sharp, fast, and focuses very well. This is mounted on my 40D 99% of the time--my default go-to lens. It covers the most commonly used focal lengths at a fixed aperture. It is not L designated thus no included hood (must fork over $50 for a canon branded one), not weather sealed, etc. For the price, I would expect at least the hood to be included :T.

Sep 5, 2009
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fabianfoo
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Registered: Jul 18, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp even wide-open at f2.8 Image stabilisation very useful Very fast focusing
Cons:
Lens + hood is a little large Expensive for a non-L series lens A little short at the telephoto end

So I recently made the brave decision to take only this one lens (on my 50D) on a vacation to Peru. I was feeling a little lazy and just didn't feel like lugging multiple lenses around and swapping them in the field.

I was very pleased with my decision and the results.

Yes there were occasions I missed the ultra-wide of my 10-22mm and the background defocusing and telephoto capabilities of my 70-200mm, but the convenience and lighter weight were a worthy trade-off.

The f2.8 aperture allows for a fair bit of defocusing for portrait shots and I got into the habit of shooting multiple exposures for ultra-wide panoramas.

It is very fast to focus, the ergonomics are good and the image stabilisation very useful (if a little less effective than my 70-200mm). All in all, a great one lens package for travel/vacations.

I would not hesistate to recommend this as a one-lens solution for people in situation similar to what I was facing prior to my Peru trip.

Photos here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fabian-f/collections/72157621753884989/


Jul 30, 2009
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arovane
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Registered: May 20, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 36
Review Date: Jun 24, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IS , F2.8 Nice Colors, not that heavy
Cons:
Dust Dust Dust and the Buildquality

I love the IS, you can take images in nearly every situation. But the dust inside sucks! its just like a vac :-)

Jun 24, 2009
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Peter 13
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Registered: Feb 24, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 1
Review Date: Apr 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,030.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: color, contrast, sharpness, fast, stabilized, well build
Cons:
Strong vignetting at f/2.8, big, heavy, expensive, no hood, zoom ring not smooth

I have had this lens for about two months and used it on a recent vacation trip. I also own the 18-55 IS, the 70-200 f/4 IS, the EF-S 60, and the 10-22; I owned and have sold a few other ones. I was a bit hesitant to get this lens based on a limited past experience but I finally decided to do it. This lens exceeded all my expectations. The color is outstanding, similar to that of the 10-22 and much better than the 18-55IS. Probably the 70-200 is a bit warmer. Local contrast is great, too. Amazing sharpness, that cannot be just described by numbers. My camera meters better with that lens than with the 18-55IS, the highlights are better defined. AF is more accurate, too. No dust so far (knock on wood) but I screwed a B+W filer on it the moment I took it out of the box and never took it off. CA is so well controlled that I do not bother correcting it.

This lens has a very solid build, made of high quality plastic material (why would plastic bother anybody?) but not very polished. I did not notice glare issues and I did test it with the sun almost in the frame. I use a hood though most of the time.

Cons: It vignettes a lot at f/2.8. Not something surprising for fast zooms, but the Tamron vignettes less. Of course, this can be corrected with little penalty. The zoom ring is not moving smoothly, kinda gets stuck in the middle of the range. I expected the IS to be more effective, maybe spoiled by my 70-200 a few quick experiments showed that the 18-55 IS stabilizes a bit better. Still, there are 2-3 stops gain at 55 mm, that is good enough. Big, and heavy. Noticeable distortions at both end but expected for a normal range zoom, better than the kit. Overpriced.

This lens simply has no alternative. For the price, it should come with a hood and better finish but once you see the photos, you forget about that. The combination of a constant f/2.8 and an IS is unique and a blessing for low light photography.

10 stars for IQ, AF, and features (IS), 9 for build (the zoom ring), and 8 for price (but again, there is no alternative).


Apr 19, 2009
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bblanco
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Registered: Feb 12, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 298
Review Date: Mar 21, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 1 

Pros: None
Cons:
Expensive, no barrel lock, feels like a cheap plastic toy, dust, canot be used on all bodies, cannot manage to focus track ANYTHING under ANY conditions, no hood, constantly searches for focus in low light.

I cannot honestly say a single positive thing about this lens. I've tried 3 of these and they're all very poor examples of Canon workmanship. I'd just buy the 16-35 f/2.8 or a used 17-35 f/2-8 for a fraction of the cost of this lens. I've never given anything a negative review but I wanted to warn anyone interested in buying this lens that there are better alternatives on the market. I'd sooner buy a Soligar, Vivitar or cheapo Quantaray lens then spend money on this thing again.

Mar 21, 2009
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sabatia
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Registered: Apr 12, 2008
Location: N/A
Posts: 1
Review Date: Feb 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: After nearly 40 years of shooting pictures, including now my fourth digital slr, having owned half a dozen L lenses(still own 4), and having owned a beautiful Contax G2 with its superlative Zeiss lenses: this is one of the nicest lenses ever made. I had been using the 17-85 as my walk-around lens for at least three years and found it quite satisfactory, including images I printed larger than 17x24 inches on my wide-format printers. I'd resisted buying this lense because of price, weight, and the proported dust issue. But after getting a "Christmas" bonus in late November and struggling to correct distortion in architectural images when using the 17-85, I made the leap. The image quality with this lens is just superb, the sharpness is nice, but the improvement in color brightness over the 17-85 is just shocking. The fact that the lens is faster at 2.8 is also huge, if unrealized before, plus. This past Saturday I was asked to shoot my boss's 78th birthday, which was held in one of his old but somewhat dimly lit antique houses. Two of his kids were there, one shooting with an XSi like me but with the 17-85 and the other with his new 5D MKII with 17-40L. After every set up, as we shot side by side, we would compare on the LCD. The 18-55 got probably 30% more usable images with its speed. But what really stunned the three of us was the brilliance and apparent accuracy of the colors. What beauty this lens captures and what beautiful images it makes! This lens is now on my camera 90% of the time and my camera is with me 7/24. (My other daily lenses are the efs10-22 and 70-200 f4 L IS, plus 300 f4L IS as needed.) I am out in nasty conditions often and my loaded camera bag is in my truck bumping along some very bad roads all too often, but I have yet to see any dust inside. I don't keep a filter on the front as I don't like anything between the good glass and the subject. In fact, the colors out of this lens are so bright and clear, that I find myself using my high-end circular polarizers far less than before. Highly recommend.
Cons:
Heavy and costly. But that's the price of something that helps to create true beauty. For me, the great image quality and ability to work in low light trump these negatives.



Feb 16, 2009
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GC Montgomery
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Registered: Nov 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 60
Review Date: Feb 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: f/2.8, Image Quality, Image Stabilization
Cons:
Cost, weight, extremely prone to flare and ghosts if there are any bright light sources in the frame

This was my third major lens upgrade since buying my 40D/17-85mm kit in October of 2007. It is intended to replace my 17-85mm IS lens. After roughly three months, I'm generally happy. Occasionally I miss the reach of the 17-85mm as a general photography lens but 90% of the time, 17-55mm is just fine.

I have only two complaints. First, the lens is very prone to flare and ghosts. Second, the hood is a requirement for nearly all shooting but must be purchased separately. Specifically, if there are bright light sources in the frame, you will see significant flare and ghosts. Furthermore, the hood does not help much except in situations where such light sources are just outside the edge of the frame and the asking price for the hood is a fairly steep $54USD.

Anyone shooting night time cityscapes needs to be aware of these issues as you will find it necessary to adjust your shooting or select a different lens if bright light sources cannot be removed from the frame.


Feb 4, 2009
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disegno-s
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Registered: Jun 15, 2008
Location: Belgium
Posts: 54
Review Date: Jan 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very nice range, fixed f/2.8, IS and USM all in one lens
Cons:
A bit expensive and hood is optional

I have owned this lens from the day it became available, sold my EF-S17-85 and EF70-200 f/4 non IS to be able to pay for it ... and never regretted it for a second.

This is a tack sharp lens, a bit heavy perhaps and you have to buy the hood with it to avoid flare (I never experienced flare when taking normal shots)

Been using it for several years now, and still no dust inside, did fit a B+W UV filter from day one to it however, don't really understand where all those horror stories came from.

It has become my standard lens for shooting cars at meetings and events ... I must admit that the AF of my 24-105 is a bit faster, but most cars I shoot at events don't go anywhere...

If it would fail I would have it fixed, and wouldn't hesitate to buy it again if needed.

Johan
www.CarPhotoTutorials.com
Automotive photography made easy


Jan 6, 2009
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Einstein333
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Registered: Jan 3, 2009
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, f2.8, fast AF, new IS, perfect zoom range on a crop camera - what else do you want?
Cons:
price, no weather sealing

I give it a 10 for the optical quality and the features, not for the price. IMO its by far the best walk around lens you can get for a crop camera, probably better optics than any L zoom in this range.

Jan 3, 2009
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oajlu
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Registered: Nov 19, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 170
Review Date: Dec 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $980.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ, USM, IS, speed.
Cons:
pricy, build (not good for this price range),

17-55 delivers a decent IQ, and it has a fixed aperture at f/2.8. It aslo features with ring USM and IS. No doubt, it is the best standard zoom lens for aps-c. However, it's quite expensive for a non-L lens. the build is not bad, but not as good as L lens.

Dec 23, 2008
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avuroski
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Registered: Nov 3, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 252
Review Date: Nov 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharpness, range, IS
Cons:
build, color

I liked this lens well enough. It's very sharp. But it struck me a little bit like a Tamron I tried - sharp, but missing something. I think it was color. I really don't know, but once I tried the 24-105 and then the 24-70 L lenses, I never thought about going back for a second.

Nov 13, 2008
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anotherview
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Registered: Nov 1, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 2287
Review Date: Nov 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superior optics. Image stablization.
Cons:
No zoom lock.

After my having used this fine zoom lens now for almost a year, I can recommend it as a walking around lens, especially on a 1.6 crop factor Canon camera, where the lens equates to 27mm out to 80mm. This focal length range serves most photographers well. From my reading, I see this lens has superior optics, equivalent to or exceeding most L lenses. I collect Canon lenses. I've researched the other zoom lenses that operate in this len's focal range, and none really match its optics. As a result, I feel in a quandary because I want to move up to a full-frame Canon camera, the new 5D Mark II, yet the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens mounts only on the smaller sensor cameras. Fortunately, Canon has introduced the 50D with its multiple enhancements over the 40D, and so I may buy it just so I can continue to use the EF-S 17-55mm lens. But let me say the Canon EOS XSi with its 12 megapixels allows capture of images likely as good as the full frame pro cameras. After careful processing of its RAW images, I can see no difference, at least for enlargements up to 13 by 19 inches. Of course, the superior Canon lenses elevate this little camera to another league. On a related note, I will buy the 5D Mark II when it hits the market anyway, but will likely mount my collection of prime lenses on it. Nothing really beats the EF 35mm f/1.4 L lens or the EF 50mm f/1.2 L lens or the EF 85mm f/1.2 L Mark II lens. I typically keep the 50mm lens always on a body ready to shoot quick portraits in natural light for beautiful images. I digress. The 17-55mm lens with its IS takes stunning photographs in low-light situations like air museum hangers. In AV mode with ISO 200 and f/5.6 (or even f/6.3), IS engaged, the lens captures an image full of light bathing the aircraft, causing it to seem to glow. This effect arises from the shadows showing some detail which grows as a visible tonality across the image to the bright areas. Thus, the shadows do not produce a distinct contrast with the mid-tones. The aircraft images look alive. I would suggest any photographer rent or borrow this lens for an outing. Even inside a house, with ambient indirect lighting, this lens will capture a subject with a tonality peculiar because lacking the typical highlights. When I first received this lens, I pushed it to see where it stopped capturing useful images. Just now I shot one of my inkjet printers with this lens, IS engaged and zoomed to 55mm, in Av mode, at ISO 400, aperture f/5.0, with the shutter at 0.8 seconds, and handheld. A useful image resulted. I will offer one tip for a new user of this lens. Watch in the viewfinder for a slow tracking effect, indicating IS at work. The IS gyro takes a moment to engage. During this moment, pressing the shutter button will often produce a blurred image. As well, a blurred image may occur from a quick movement of the hand when pushing the shutter button. Evidently, the IS cannot compensate for gross motion during shutter release. Press the shutter deliberately. This lens has much to offer the photographer looking for a short zoom lens. Coupled with an external flash attachment, this lens can do the lion's share of photography for most photographers.


Nov 1, 2008
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twistedlim
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Registered: Oct 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3127
Review Date: Oct 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast accurate focus. Good center sharpness and contrast at 2.8. Solid enough build.
Cons:
Edges don't really get good until F8. Not to beat a dead horse but this lens should come with a stupid hood!

The lens performs as reviewed by most. Sharp at 2.8 in the center and good contrast. It is somewhat weak compared to the tamron 17-50 on the edges until f8 where they equal out. IS works well. Build is solid enough. Not quite "L" quality but close. I think if they added a rubber gasket in the zoom mechanism they could get rid of any dust complaints. It is large but their is no free ride when you want an image stabilized lens.

Oct 9, 2008
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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
216 538892 Jun 1, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
87% of reviewers $1,019.18
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.89
7.41
9.1
l217_efs1755


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