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

Review Date: Jun 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,099.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Awesome resolving power, good color and saturation, near precognative autofocus.
Price...Crop only compatability, nice build but not metal, weight (for a composite body) wide distortion of 2% may be on par with everything else but for 1100 dollars you expect more than everything else.

I'm a social photographer and this was an upgrade from the EF-S 17-85 IS USM. I was first on the list at my local shop for this lens.
With the 17-85 shooting large family groups I had to stop down to f8 to feel comfortable with edge sharpness, with the 17-55 I'm more than sharp enough at f4. I expected a lot from this lens at purchase after reading the European bench reviews. For 1100 dollars I expected 24-70 L sharpness, saturation, and color. I am not disappointed. Bokeh wise I don't feel like this lens is on par with the 24-70 L which exhibits nice smooth bokeh through the range. Bokeh with the 17-55 is nice at all fstops at 55mm but it gets a little "crunchy" stopped down from 17-35. I never thought I'd miss the 30mm at the long end of the 17-85 but in fact I have longed for it a few times over the last few weeks, but not enough to even consider going back. CA and flare I found to be minimal with the former only rearing its head in severely over exposed white shirts next to black tuxes in test exposures. At this pricepoint and lacking the red ring I'm not sure this is going to be a barn burner for Canon in sales. But for those who need a fast sharp standard zoom and have made a commitment to the crop body the lens is a must have and the IS just icing on the cake. I highly recommend it.