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

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 :-(