Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
List Price: $1700.00

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Product Description

Designed to meet consumer demands for a fast EF-S zoom lens, the EF-S 17-55mm offers image quality on par with Canon's highly regarded L-series lenses. The lens features a large circular aperture that produces a shallow depth of field, creating background blur that draws special attention to the photographic subject. The lens construction, meanwhile, includes UD and aspherical elements that deliver impressive image quality throughout the entire zoom range. And thanks to the Image Stabilizer lens groups--which shift to compensate for camera shake--the image appears crisp and clear on the image plane, eve in dim light. Finally, the lens offers a ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM), inner focusing, and new AF algorithms to help achieve autofocus quickly and quietly, along with full-time mechanical manual focusing that makes it possible to manually adjust the focus even in AF mode. As with all Canon lenses, this lens carries a one-year warranty.

  • Focal length: 17-55mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Lens construction: 19 elements in 12 groups
  • Diagonal angle of view: 78 degrees (at 30 feet) to 27 degrees (at 50 feet)
  • Focus adjustment: AF with full-time manual
  • Closest focusing distance: 1.15 feet
  • Zoom system: 5-group helical zoom (front group moves 27mm)
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Dimensions: 3.3 inches in diameter, 4.4 inches long
  • Weight: 22.8 ounces

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.
  • 17-55mm wide-angle zoom lens with f/2.8 maximum aperture for Canon DSLR cameras
  • AD and aspherical elements deliver impressive image quality through entire zoom range
  • Image Stabilizer lens groups shift to compensate for image shake even in dim lighting
  • Large circular aperture produces shallow depth of field; ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM)
  • Measures 3.3 inches in diameter and 4.4 inches long; weighs 22.8 ounces; 1-year warranty

Customer Reviews:

  • Nice lens

    Only had the lens a short time but so far, picture quality is awesome!!!
    So far LOVING it!!!!!

    My only complaint and one which I wrote to Amazon about is their lack of proper packaging. This is my second lens purchase with Amazon, both costing close to $1,000 each and both items came in a box twice the size of the item with 1 small balloon packing that did absolutely nothing to protect the item. Based on this I will consider buying items such as this else where unless Amazon responds to my letter stating they will change this practice!
    ...more info
  • Fantastic Low Light Lens
    11-3-2008 Update:

    I now have a single spec of dust inside the corner of this lens under the front element. Hope this is not a trend. I am now using this lens mainly in dust free in-door environments and my Canon 24-70 F/2.8 which is sealed for outdoor dusty areas.

    I just got this fantastic low light lens last week. Will be adding more comments as time permits.

    This lens has quickly become one of my most used lens. It's the lens I would choose if I could just choose one to shoot a wedding with and I'm free to approach the bride and groom during any part of the ceremony. It's also THE one lens I would choose to take on a vacation, it's that versatile. I love the part where I can walk into a dark cathedral and hand hold a shot at 1 second and it's razor sharp. What a lens!!!


    Sharp even at F/2.8
    No internal dust so far
    Great zoom ring location and size
    Very pleasing shots with nice Bokah
    Auto focus perfect! Silent quick lock even in dim conditions
    Image Stabilization let's you get those shots you couldn't get otherwise.
    Auto Lens Vignetting correction using peripheral Illumination control see Auto Vignetting comments below:


    Cheap plastic construction
    No dust yet but I am concerned
    Some Chromatic Aberration (CA) at 17mm
    No included lens hood? Give me a break Canon!
    Really poor zoom feel grabs between 23 and 35mm
    Front of lens extends inward and outward when zooming in and out

    I bought this lens to take low light portraits during weddings. My initial impression is that this lens will be perfect. I even managed to pull off a 2 second exposure that was pretty sharp hand held which I would never be able to do otherwise. I will use it at the extreme in 55mm for nice bokah and a softer shot then keep it between 20mm to 48mm for the sharper shots.

    What a disappointment to pay over $1,000 for a lens and have such a poor feeling zoom. It grabs at each end and just plain feels cheap. Makes my Canon 17-40 F4 L lens zoom feel like it's perfect as it is silky smooth. But, the 17-55 F/2.8 IS does something I could not do with the 17-40. I was at a bar the other night shooting a benefit auction using just available bar light and already at 1600 ISO and the Canon 17-40 wide open just could not get the shot. With the 17-55 F/2.8 IS not only do you have the faster aperture F/2.8 but I can get shot after hand held shot at a half a second something I could not come close to with the 17-40.

    All in all though except for the zoom and construction this lens really does rock when you look at the photos. Between 20mm and 40mm it is sharper then the 17-40 at any comparable F stop. So don't let my cons keep you from getting this lens. If you need low light shots in the 17-55 range this is your only option in a zoom. It's a shame that Canon does not offer an L lens that's 17-55 F/2.8 with IS. I would have gladly paid $1500 for an L lens. In the long lens range there are tons of choices from Canon that are L lens. It's true what they say Canon owns the long lens but come up a little short with the wide angles

    I do my first wedding next Saturday with this lens, time will tell if it's a keeper. Will post updates in the coming weeks.

    3-25-2008 Update

    What a great lens, after reviewing wedding photos yesterday with my clients I have to agree the photos just pop in color and the sharpness is crazy with this lens between 20 and 50mm even wide open which is what I shot most of the time. The bokeh though not as good as my Canon 85mm F/1.2 and Canon 135mm F2 is still pleasing and unlike the two primes I can stand in one place during the wedding and zoom in and out for different points of view.

    What ever you do don't even confuse this F/2.8 IS lens with the basic kit lens. It is truly except for the lack of weather sealing and poor zoom feel an L lens in photo quality!

    4-8-2008 Update

    Still no dust thank God! I am taking it to a local park to photograph our company party this weekend and it's very dusty there. Should be a good chance to see if the lens is going to be a dust hog or not. The zoom even seems to breaking in a little and is now just a little smoother, nothing like my L lens zooms but better then when new. Still loving this lens and in fact if I had to choose just one lens to do a wedding this would of course be it, it's the most versatile and easiest to use by far!

    5-21-2008 Update

    Still NOT one single spec of dust in this lens. I have been using outdoor at the park and on outdoor weddings the last 5 weekends in a row and not a single spec of dust despite being in extremely dusty Mesa Arizona. I am constantly amazed at what this lens can get away with in low light. We were shooting the reception to an outdoor wedding well after sundown and I was hanging in there with my Canon 40D and a 85mm F/1.2 L II at 3200 ISO shooting close ups. My daughter was shooting at the same time covering the wide angle photo ops with this Canon 17-55 F/2.8 IS and was getting shots here and there at 1600 ISO with her Rebel of the crowd as long as people were still even up to the point of a full second exposure. This was well after it was too dark to be taking photos without flash but we were still getting photos (we hate flash too unflattering and flat) Simply AMAZING!

    6-30-2008 Update

    This lens still has not a spec of dust! And it has become one of my most used lens. It's the lens I would choose if I could just choose one to shoot a wedding with and I'm free to approach the bride and groom during any part of the ceremony. It's also THE one lens I would choose to take on a vacation, it's that versatile. I love the part where I can walk into a dark cathedral and hand hold a shot at 1 second and it's razor sharp. What a lens!!!

    9-5-2008 Update

    This is by far and away my most used lens now. It's the lens that stays on my Canon 40D 90% of the time. I just went with my wife to the Arizona Museum of Natural History and wanted to take photos inside without using flash. I love that natural look and hate the flatness of flash. I shot almost the entire museum at F/2.8 and ISO 800 sometimes ISO 400 without a monopod or tripod. That's something I could not have done with my Canon 24-70 F/2.8. As a plus the 17-55 EF-S IS F/2.8 lens is much lighter then my 24-70. If it feels like I am gushing over this lens it's because I am. And it's a dead spot in Canon's lineup. As of this writing they don't have a single wide angle L lens with Image Stabilization and that's a crying shame. Also I tried shooting some fireworks this weekend WITHOUT a tripod!! I managed up to 3 seconds exposure by leaning against a light pole and got some decent shots. Again without the IS there is no way you could get such shots. My only regret is that I didn't get this lens earlier Oh and it would be nice if it was sealed, but I still have not a single spec of dust on the inside!!

    9-12-2008 Update Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS vs Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L:

    I am taking photos tonight of a stage special and again will need to use both my Canon 17-55 F/2.8 IS lens and my Canon 24-70 F/2.8 L lens since my daughter and I will be shooting at the same time. I can't help comparing the two again. The 17-55 feels much lighter but at the same time feels so much cheaper in the hand between the cheap plastic feel the grabbing in the center of the zoom and the plastic build. The 24-70 feels like a heavy quality jewel that will last two life times or more and it's weather sealed. Still if you have to carry the 24-70 around for a few hours you wish for the lighter weight of the 17-55. The 17-55 has a wider view but the 24-70 has more reach. The 17-55 seems sharper throughout the range but seems to have just a little less contrast and slightly cooler colors then the 24-70. The zoom on my 24-70 is now almost broken in and feels smooth as silk and totally professional the 17-55 zoom feels like a cheap plastic toy. The 17-55 has image stabilization and the 24-70 does not so I end up using a monopod for most dark shots with the 24-70. The 17-55 is an EF-S and will not fit a full frame camera, the 24-70 will. I'm thinking forward to the future when I will be adding a full frame Canon camera body to my collection and I think the 24-70 will be perfect on that camera.

    9-16-2008 Update:

    I've noticed this lens has some Chromatic Aberration (CA) at 17mm. When in a clean room taking photos of semi-conductor manufacturing equipment you have to zoom wide to get everything in the photo and that's when I noticed this lens especially under fluorescent lighting taking photos of highly reflect surfaces has a problem. So much so that I retook the photos with my Canon 17-40 F/4 L lens and was astounded at how much better the photos looked. Normally my 17-55 F/2.8 IS looks better then the 17-40 but in this case with macro and up close mechanical photos zoomed out to 17 the 17-40 really looked much better. When out shooting landscapes in daylight this has never been a problem with the 17-55 IS F/2.8. So take note if you take macro shots at 17mm under fluorescent lights you may want a different lens. Otherwise the 17-55 F/2.8 IS is an absolute stunner!!!

    11-3-2008 Update:

    I now have a single spec of dust inside the corner of this lens under the front element.

    Auto Vignetting peripheral illumination control:

    Canon has this super sweet Auto Lens Vignetting correction that works with this lens both in camera with JPEG's and in RAW using peripheral Illumination control in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) when using newer Canon digital EOS cameras (Canon Rebel XSi, 40D, 5D Mark II etc.) . No more vignetting when shooting wide open!!! When shooting Raw open the file(s) in DPP and click on NR/Lens Lens Aberration Correction / Tune and click on Peripheral illumination. The cameras listed above have already picked up the amount of vignetting based on focusing distance, zoom setting and F stop from the lens and the camera has saved the information with the Raw file. You can then adjust the amount under Peripheral Illumination if you don't like the amount automatically suggested. If you shot JPEG then you get the auto amount. SWEET!!!

    Conclusion: In the end I will just have to keep both of them.

    Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS Ultra sharp, great colors, great low light, poor zoom action
    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Rebel XTi Kit lens Muddy, slow, pile of junk
    Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L Fantastic colors, sharp zoomed 17 to 24mm, ultra smooth zoom action, light weight
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Fantastic colors and contrast, sharp zoomed 40 to 70mm, zoom a little stiff at first, heavy, repair prone!
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Good budget portrait lens, light weight, disposable, sharp from F/2.5
    Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L II The best portrait lens for female and children clients, buttery smooth Bokeh, heavy and expensive it shares sharpness with 135mm
    Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L The best portrait lens for males and tied with Canon 85mm F 1/.2 for sharpest lens I own, buttery smooth Bokeh
    Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L fantastic colors, sharp for a zoom, very versatile ego boosting and attention getting and heavy! My favorite zoom lens!!!
    Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L great IS, super colors, sharp for a zoom, extremely versatile, variable Bokeh, even more ego boosting and attention getting when extended and 400mm reach!!

    My next lens purchase I'm saving for right now: _Canon EF 300mm F/2.8 IS L the finest lens ever...more info
  • Excellent walkaround lens
    I recently went to Europe this past winter and took this lens + Xsi + Lowepro Fastpack 100. It was an excellent performer in all light conditions -- day and night. I suppose shoppers for this lens are looking for a fast walkaround lens with the right focal lengths (zoom, instead of prime). Other than the normal shots, I use a handgrip and sometimes shoot it around like a cleric in the movie Equilibrium. A bit colorful description but really -- I felt that confident with this lens. I even keep 75% of night photos that were shot on a fast vibrating tour bus. Usually during the day and outdoors I shoot in (P) mode, and when evening sets in or when indoors I just use (Av) and f/2.8. I'm done buying lens -- this fits all my needs as regular ordinary shooter....more info
  • Almost, but not L quality images
    The best part of this lens is that it is stabilized and f/2.8. I can take had held shots at weddings regardless of the lighting.

    The downside is that it is not nearly as sharp or high quality as a L lens. It sucks a lot of dust inside which doesn't affect the pictures but could eventually be a mechanical issue. It is not sharp until around f/8 and does not handle contrast or vivid colors as well as L glass.

    I would recommend buying this if you need to take hand held shots with a zoom, in low light. Otherwise buy a L or a couple primes....more info
  • Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
    The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens is the top-end Canon EF-S "walk around" lens for the Canon 40D and matches the camera perfectly in terms of quality and performance. My copy appears to have the image quality of Canon's L series lenses, missing only the advanced weather sealing of the pro L lenses. I have seen reports that this lens can gather dust behind the front element, in some cases, but my lens has not suffered this problem to date. I would probably have made the mistake of getting the new image stabilized version of the kit lens, had it been available at the time, instead of this one. That would have been a mistake (except for the large price difference!)- I really love this lens with its constant f/2.8 speed! ...more info
  • Best overall lens for the 1.6 crop factor body
    This is THE best overall lens made for the Canon 1.6 crop factor bodies like the 20d, 30d, 40d, 50d!

    When I first received my lens and camera body, nothing was in focus. I sent it all back to Canon and within a week I had it back with the ability to take amazing pictures! The lens is great in low light because of the large aperture and the image stabilizer. No other lens in the Canon line has these two aspects in one lens, that includes the pro lenses.

    I've used this lens and the 24-70mm, because of the stabilizer, this lens is sharper. It's expensive but you will not get better results with any other lens.

    I've now upgraded to the 5dmark2 and I really, really miss this lens....more info
  • Quality Glass
    My first reason for looking for a lens in this focal range was to shoot my daughter's cheerleading in the school gym. On the Canon 1.6x FOVCF (Field of View Crop Factor) cameras which use the EF-S series lenses, the 17-55mm focal length range equates to a 27.2-88mm lens mounted on a full-frame DSLR or film 35mm camera. This turns out to be a great range for the tight shooting I do frequently. The optics of the lens are outstanding. It blows away the EF-S 18-55mm kit lens - as it should given the price difference. The auto focus is quick and quiet. The vignetting is very minimal, really only in the corners and the lens is sharp through the whole focal length, even in the corners. It is flare-prone in bright light and sunlight; see my comment regarding the EW-83J lens hood below.

    I have seen some reviews mention dust as an issue with this lens, but I have not experienced any problems in that regard so far. I do, however, keep the lens in a LowePro 1 case when I am not using it, just the lens not with the lens hood. If you want to store it with the hood you need the LowePro 1W case (I do not have any ties to LowePro, I just know from experience that this lens will fit those cases, there are other lens cases out there). That leads to my one complaint I, like many, am disappointed that for @$1000 you do not get the EW-83J lens hood. You really do want to purchase one keep the stray light out that plagues DSLRs more than film SLRs. It does help with the flare, and should be included.
    ...more info
  • I want my red ring...
    This is an excellent lens, it should have a couple things...

    1. A red ring, it is a "L" lens no matter what people say...
    2. A lens hood
    3. A camera pouch

    Canon should just get over themselves and include these things to a excellent lens.
    ...more info
  • Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
    I am very pleased with this lens. Last week I took approx. 700 pictures on a trip to Iran, mainly using this lense. The IS, together with the f/2.8 makes it a very good indoor lens. I some of the museums you are not allowed to use flash; this lens is solving that problem.

    I believa that the softness I expire in the photos is because of my D40 camerahouse, not the lens.

    What I am missing:
    - the weather-proofing you get on the L-series
    - the Lens Hood should be a part of the (expensive) lens
    - A pouch should be a part of the (expensive) lens

    ...more info
  • I would give this lens 5-star if price is a tad lower... more below
    To do this lens justification, images produce by this lens are EXCELLENT. I have a Canon 40D camera, and I also have Canon 10-22mm, 27-70mm f/2.8L, this lens, and 70-200mm f/4 IS.

    After I got this lens, the first thing I did was to immediately compare it with my 24-70mm lens. This lens clearly beat my 24-70mm in resolution. With its excellent IS, I was also able to take images in very dark environment. So far, all the test pictures I took are all crisp and clear. It is also a LOT lighter than the 24-70mm lens. I really like this lens and I can see myself using this lens more than my 24-70mm.

    I don't like the following:

    1. Pricey. At almost $900, it doesn't come with a lens hood. WHAT?
    2. It does get dusty. I try very hard to avoid having dust get into this lens by blowing air against the barrel occasionally. I still see tiny specs of dust getting into it. I can see this situation getting worse.

    One thing I also like to mention is that pictures produce by my 24-70mm lens tend to be slightly warmer (saturated) in color than those produce by my 17-55mm lens. The difference is very minor and may not be noticeable until you pay very close attention.

    The 1 star it lost has to do with its price (I would feel better if it comes with a lens hood) and susceptibility to allow dust in. But overall, I like this lens a lot....more info
  • Best crop lens on the market
    This is lens is very sharp! The range is excellent and the IS is awesome! There is no better lens in this range for a canon's crop cameras. I use this lens for events and it never disappoints. ...more info
  • Clear and Bright
    I bought this lens as a replacement for the kit lens (28-135 3.5-5.6) whereas the kit lens was very soft at the edges, this lens is crystal clear. I use it as my walk-around lens. With it's good wide angle and fast f2.8 low light capability this lens is one I can count on for most situatuions....more info
  • So far works as advertized
    Like so many people, I bought this to replace my kit lens. In my case that's the 18-55mm IS associated with the XSI. The main issue I had with that lens was the variable (and small) aperature. I wanted constant 2.8 without sacrificing zoom or IS. That's what you get here.

    1. Optical quality. So far, it seems unambiguously better than the 18-55. No surprises there. I don't see any issues with aberrations, though I seldom take photos fully wide open and that's where people tend to see them.

    2. Performance. It zooms quickly and quietly and it has full time manual, so you can tweak the zoom after it has zoomed. It's really nice that the focus ring doesn't twist when it focuses. You can keep your hand on it without worrying about interfering with the focusing. It's an excellent design.

    3. Weight. It's heavy. There's a huge difference between this and the kit lens. If I were to go on a long walk with my camera, I'd take the kit lens for weight reasons. Besides, outdoors the advantages of this lens are much less. Also this is an expensive lens so I'd never take it somewhere where it might get hurt.

    4. Design. The front lens is really close to the front, so watch out for fingerprints. I use a lens hood and it keeps stuff away from the glass. It also cuts down on the ghosting, which apparently this lens is prone to although I haven't experienced it. Like I mentioned, I really just use this lens indoors. The construction has been critisized, but it feels pretty solid to me. It's not metal, but it's heavy, hard plastic. I have used L lenses before and unless you are coming under gun fire I see no need for the metal construction. People have complained of dust inside the lens. I have been using mine frequently for a month or so and I don't have any dust in there at all. That's not much time, so we'll see. The zoom ring is very large. It practically begs you to use the zoom instead of walking back and forth. And the constant F2.8 helps encourage that. Why physically move when you can zoom without losing aperature?

    5. Aperature. I think 2.8 is a great aperature for indoors. It's not so wide that the field of view is so narrow that people's noses are out of focus if their eyes are in. It's wide enough that you get a pleasant bokeh and take pictures in pretty low light. It's an excellent width for indoor shots of your kids and stuff. That's what I use it for. When I want crazy bokeh I use my F1.8 prime, which works well for that. That doesn't happen much, though. The difference between F2.8 and what you'd be using in the kit lens is very noticeable. Totally a good thing.

    6. Accessories. I don't use any filters, but this lens really deserves a hood. I can't abide the prices canon charges for their hood here, but on ebay you can get a knockoff shipped from Hong Kong for like 1/6 the price. I did, and it's a really sturdy, well-fitting, excellent hood.

    7. Image stabilization. I'm in the camp that thinks IS is really important. Shaky hands and all that. The IS doesn't make any noise and it doesn't noticeably drain the battery, so I have it on almost all the time. I haven't really tested it thoroughly to see how well it works, but I assume it works about as well as other lens based IS systems. If so, it works well.

    So far this lens has lived up to my expectations. The USM is nicer than I expected and everything else is pretty much what people say. It's a great lens. Overpriced, yes, but it's a real winner. As long as you remember it's just a lens and it can't change the quality of your composition and lighting, you won't be disappointed. I wasn't.

    By the way, if you want something that will magically make your photos way better, get the Canon 430ex II or 580ex II external flash and bounce it, along with a DIY or Fong diffuser. That makes a huge difference. By the way the external flash is kind of necessary with this lens because it sticks out farther, so if you use the onboard lens you will get a shadow in the picture from it, especially if you are using the lens hood. Not a problem with the bounced external flash. If I had to give up this lens or my flash, I'd give up the lens.

    Get both, though. You won't be disappointed....more info
  • Upgrading your lens for Rebel XTi? 17-85 USM IS vs 28-135 USM IS vs 17-55 2.8f USM IS vs 24-105 4.0f USM IS
    Folks, I know you want it short. But I am covering quite a bit of information and condensed it so that you can get good information and are able to digest it in less than 5 min.

    It is quite surprising how many people are being "tortured" with the question on which lens is the right lens when it comes to finding the perfect lens to upgrade the Canon XTi Rebel kit lens (18-55) or even for the Canon 40D (which is often sold with the 28-135 USM IS lens).
    I read about 500+ reviews and many of them I found very interesting but really did not answer my question on what a good lens is for the Rebel XTi... and with good reasons because YOU have to know what you want or need and then make a call. Here were the criteria I used and I hope you can leverage from these:

    1. I wanted a lens which has a great picture quality to have a true upgrade feeling from the Canon 18-55 kit lens (during day light that lens is actually very good and with its light weight is a great carry around lens - however in low light or for really nice portrait shots this lens has limitations not to mention its built quality)

    2. I wanted a versatile "Walk Around" lens with good zoom range to cover most of the picture I take (landscape and portraits) in addition to my telephoto lens (70-300mm)

    3. If possible a low weight lens - however image quality was a higher priority for me

    4. I wanted a Canon lens (though there are very good alternatives from Tamron and Sigma - however they have some disadvantages but given the lower price worth considering)

    5. I wanted an Image Stabilizer (IS) and a low noise focus motor, i.e. Canon's USM

    Many people are looking for a great "Walk Around" lens to avoid changing lenses all the time yet at the same time want great picture qualities. So, your criteria may be different and therefore your choice certainly a good one may differ from mine.
    As one disclaimer upfront - I am not going into the professional details, i.e. vignetting differeneces at different aperture values or zoom ranges - to make it simple for many readers in this field who just want to make a good decision to buy a great lens without going through the trouble of returning lenses.

    You will find many reviews on the cropped camera lenses (EF-S) and still people often don't get it right. So, if you have a cropped camera like the Canon Rebel XTi or Canon 40D then the cropped factor is 1.6. In other words no matter what lens you put on these cameras you will get the following zoom ranges which are different from the product names for the lenses:
    Canon Lens Min Zoom Max Zoom
    17-85: 27.2 - 136
    28-135: 44.8 - 216
    17-55 f2.8: 27.2 - 88
    24-105 f4.0 L: 38.4 - 168
    Source: Canon's website

    I went through the extra burden of testing all the lenses myself and not just rely on reviews. So, I went ahead and rented them for 1-2 days and then made up my own verdict so to speak. I also took pictures in similar conditions, looked at them on the computer and printed them out to compare the lenses:

    1) The first upgrade lens from Canon which comes to mind is the EF-S 17-85 USM IS f3.5-5.6 lens. This lens would have been a great kit lens but did not meet my requirements for an upgrade lens. It has a very good zoom range and it is still light weight. But the image quality is not as sharp as I would like it to be. And if you commit to spend more money (like $500 for this lens) then you don't want to waste it by just getting a bit more zoom range and an Image Stabilizer.

    2) The first lens I actually tried was the EF 24-105 f4.0 USM IS L (luxurious) lens from Canon and I was really happy about the image quality. I was very close to buy this lens but wanted to check out other lenses first. Following drawbacks for me: it is not a wide-angle lens which is useful for landscape shots or even travels shots when you can't afford walking back 5-10 feet. Plus a wide angel lens can give you a nice effect on the picture itself. Another drawback is the aperture value of f4.0 in low light. An aperture factor of f2.8 is faster in low light (the lower the value the larger the aperture - think the Iris of your eye is getting larger and therefore you can see better in low light) and with a running kid or pet at home that is a true advantage. However, with the Image Stabilizer this would not be a big issue. (For more advanced people you can stop down one step to get enough light into the lens in low light conditions but if the object is in motion that may be tricky.)
    A big plus however is the option to use this lens for any non-cropped canon camera. However, I am ok with using the Rebel XTi and if I want to upgrade to another body later then the 40D would be a great way to go. So, I don't mind to buy EF-S lenses. The EF-S lenses have the advantage that they are generally lighter weight than the full frame lenses.

    3) The EF 28-135 USM IS f3.5-5.6 lens has a great zoom range (44-216) but does not have a wide angle (basically anything less than 35mm). However, if zoom range is your top criteria then I'd get the 24-105 L lens without a doubt over this 28-135 lens. For example when you are in full zoom and you are not in bright daylight your pictures will not be as sharp. I tried this lens and the image quality is simply not as good as the 24-105 L lens or the 17-55 f2.8 lens. The 24-105 is also more solidly built. It is a lot of metal built with this lens and it is sealed against dust and water. However, if budget is a constrain to you then the Canon 28-135 lens is a better option for you and according to many folks out there considered to be a better choice than even the EF-S 17-85 USM IS lens.

    4) The EF-S 17-55 f2.8 USM IS lens was the last lens I tested and chose over the other three lenses. First, my expectations toward a great image quality (like the 24-105 L lens) were fully met. This lens is using similar components like the L lenses (but it is not fully sealed like the 24-105 L lens is) and shoots extremely well in low light conditions. Plus for a f2.8 (main advantage is large aperture which is very useful for taking great shots in dim lights and faster than f4.0 lenses). Also this lens has less weight (640g) in comparison to the Canon 24-70 EF L f2.8 lens (950g). So, you get a great lens with an acceptable weight. Even the zoom range is fully acceptable to me on my Rebel XTi which comes to 27-88mm. I can take very good portraits shots (without hitting someone's nose with the lens if you will) and it has very nice blur as well (meaning a sharp face in the front and with a blurry background). The only drawback is a flare on some pictures at the bottom of the image when you take pictures using its built-in flash due to the larger lens diameter. However you can either put a better (external) flash light or use Photoshop to correct this issue. I am not a professional photographer and for me this is ok. If you are a professional photographer then you are most likely not as interested in this article anyways.

    The bottom line is that for a true upgrade lens to your kit lens for the Rebel XTi I would recommend the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS USM lens. It is worth the investment. This type of lens along with any other L lenses from Canon will always keep its value and you can certainly sell this lens a lot easier if that is the final information you were looking for... ;)

    I hope this article helps you in directing your decision on which lens to buy. If you are still not sure about what to do then I can only recommend testing the lenses of your choice in a store or ideally rent them or ask your buddies to lend you a lens for a few days.

    Good luck and enjoy taking great pictures to treasure your memories!

    ...more info
  • Worth Every Penny
    I'll keep this short and sweet: this lens is superb.

    Lens clarity and sharpness is spectacular at all lengths. The wide aperture is great for low light shots. Colors are captured wonderfully, as are tones and highlights/shadows. The 7 blade barrel yields wonderfully smooth blurring. The IS is dead-on and solid. Focus is really fast and quiet.

    All in all, this lens is the one I keep on most of time when I'm just doing walk-around shooting. I recommend this lens to anyone, and I can assure it's well worth every penny....more info
  • Review of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens
    This lens did not zoom smoothly when I got it. It may have been damaged from the extremely poor packaging that Amazon used to ship it. The IS is also a bit noisy, but not too bad. The lens is very front-heavy on a Rebel XSi; it should be better on a larger camera body. This lens is significantly faster than the kit lens, but early testing with indoor shots showed no sharpness advantage....more info
  • Great lense for Canon XTi
    I bought this lens instead of the kit lens for the Canon XTi camera. The lens is great to cover normal day to day photography needs. With ISO 800 and 1600 and this fast image stabilize lens I can do available light photography even at night or faintly lit rooms. The weight distribution with the camera is very nice.

    I have been using this lens for 3 months now and it is my workhorse lens (my other lens is a Canon 50mm f1.8). This lens is an excellent piece of glass. The pictures are sharp throughout the range and with a f2.8 aperture in combination with image stabilization you can shoot in extremely low light. Great lens for street photography as it has a super fast auto focus. I also use it as my main lens for portraits, I use the 50mm f1.8 when I want a extra short depth of field....more info
  • Great lens, but needs dust proofing
    I love this lens as an all around, walkabout lens. Unfortunately, the lack of weatherproofing/dust proofing makes the lens less desirable, especially for the price. On a recent trip, although I got very nice photos, the lens acquired a significant amount of dust inside. On the same trip, my L glass lens came through unscathed....more info
  • Great Lens
    I have only had this lens for 2 days. My initial impression is very favorable as demonstrated by my rateing. The weight is good and the image quality is amazing, this is very good glass.

    Although the price is high for a non-L lens this is a good investment. The image stabilization is very good and is not offered on any comparable L lens.

    I wish this was a EF and not an EF-S but I have no intention at this point of upgrading to a full frame sensor. Also, it would be very nice to have an included lens hood for this price range.

    I would highly recommend this lens based on initial impression....more info
  • wow! next best thing to L lens
    Before this lens I had been using a Sigma 17-70/f2.8 Macro DC Lens for over a year. My other lens, a Canon 50mm/f1.8 always produced a much sharper, richer image than the Sigma. If that was the type of quality I could expect from a Canon lens, I wanted more! After some research, I decided to get the 17-55 because 1) budget, 2) image quality & sharpness, 3) fixed 2.8 aperture at all focal lengths, 4) image stabilization. I highly recommend this lens, it's well worth it. I can't wait until I have enough to buy an L lens!...more info
  • Too dusty
    I purchased this lens along with a 40D a few weeks ago. Let me be clear: Image quality is as good as it gets, and the combination of a very useful focal range (with small sensor cameras such as the xxxD and xxD), a wide aperture, and image stabilization makes this lens one of the most interesting in Canon's lineup, including the L lenses. I actually bought it over the slightly more expensive 24-70 L because of the added benefit of IS in low-light situations.

    However, the bad construction of the lens is a huge deal-breaker considering the dust issues I have with it. Dust keeps coming and coming and coming from who knows where. At this point I have over 50 dust specs on at least the first 3 front elements. And again, I've had it for a few weeks only. I'm sure Canon would probably tell me that I got a bad unit and I should have it replaced, but from my readings online, there are huge holes behind the little plastic ring that covers the edge of the front element with no sealing whatsoever, and all units are impacted. And I'm guessing that since I have a filter in place from the start and the dust keeps coming anyway, there must be other gaps elsewhere.

    I suggest you just buy the 24-70 L and be done with it.

    UPDATE: I ended up returning the lens to Amazon and got a full unconditional refund. I have to say, the customer support is top-notch! I've never seen anything like that including B&H. Thank you Amazon!

    UPDATE 2: I mentioned in my review that there are huge gaps behind the little protective ring and that there must be other cracks. Well now I understand why dust keeps coming in: the back element of the lens (closest to camera) moves along with the zoom. And actually this movement uncovers HUGE holes near the back element!!! So obviously dust is coming from there. I noticed this before but I dismissed it as "too crazy" to be true, but I got a better lens and the back element doesn't move at all......more info
  • So far, so good
    I've only shot one job with this lens after receiving it. It was a business function with Steve Forbes and mostly "grip and grins" with flash. It performed very well. Most of the files looked very sharp and comparable to my 24-70 L zoom which I also have. I rarely use any lens wide open and I was usually at 5.6 or 4. Limited tests at wide open (2.8) suggest it is above average at that f stop though not exceptional. I borrowed one of these lenses a few months ago to shoot a wedding reception and also got very good results then. It seems to focus very fast and accurately. As I get older I don't hold a camera as steady as I used to. That's why I bought this lens. My impression at slower shutter speeds is the IS works well. I'm using this lens and my 40D this afternoon on another job and I feel it will perform as well as my Mk II 1Ds with 24-70 L lens so I guess I've decided it is a serious tool. It better be at the price. Anyway - that's an early report....more info
  • Perfect Lens for a 1.6 crop.
    I purchased the 17-55mm about a month ago, and was very happy with the quality of images the lens produced. I like night photography and the f/2.8 helped alot, even when shooting without using a tripod.
    There are alot of good things to say about this lens, i know alot of people are in love with it, maybe because it's one of few lenses that Canon produce for the 1.6 crop cameras?
    Well on day 2 of having the lens, i was shooting outdoor and noticed a few dust particals behind the front glass. It was not fun to see dust from the 2nd day of getting the lens, specially after paying that amount of cash. I kept using the lens for almost 3 weeks, and everytime i shoot outdoor i noticed more and more DUST particals in my lens. So i decided to return the lens for a full refund. Amazon did the refund very fast, it just took like 2-3 days to get the money back. Thanks Amazon for a great and honest support. Well after getting the money back, i placed an order for 2 other lenses from Amazon. EF 17-40mm f/4L USM and EF 50mm f1.4 USM. I just could not stand the dust issue, and i have read that they won't effect the image quality or the foucs. I also have friends that have been using this lens for a while now, without having the DUST issue. I guess i was not lucky.

    Regards, ...more info
  • Very good lens
    Nice lens, superlative picture quality and easy to use thanks to the image stabilizer and the large aperture.
    But the absence of a lens hood is a shame given the price tag.
    Nothing's perfect......more info
  • Great for shooting my kid indoors and warranty against dust
    This review is from the point of view of a beginner.. you can read the many other reviews for the technical aspects of the lens.

    I decided on this lens because I wanted to take pictures of my child in an indoor setting without having to buy an external flash to bounce off the ceiling. In other words, I wanted a fast lens for low light situations. In the fully automatic mode, my Rebel XTi selects an F-stop of 4.0 and uses the flash on every occasion (granted, I'm using this indoors in the wintertime so the lighting is especially poor). The flash caused a nasty harshness to all the pictures. By setting the aperture at 2.8, I was able to avoid the flash (and save on battery life as well) even at the highest zoom setting. As a novice, the IS was also appealing and I have been able to take pictures that would have otherwise been blurry.

    Even though I had to pay for shipping, I decided to buy this from B&H photo for 2 reasons. First, if you've done your homework, you've no doubt heard about the dust issue. From all my reading, the best advice I could find was to buy the newest lens I could, as Canon may have made some subtle improvements given all the dust-related complaints it has received since the lens debuted. Unlike the L lenses, there is no code on the lens to tell you when it was built. So I figured a busy place like B&H had a much newer stock of lenses as compared to a merchant who sold this lens only occasionally. Second, B&H offers the Sagemax warranty. Unlike the Mack warranty, this one covers accidental damage as well as dust: "covers parts and labor costs resulting from a breakdown, normal wear and tear, failure due to dust, heat, humidity...." Since my credit card doubled the standard warranty, I opted for the 5-year plan. I figure if I'm going to spend a grand, I want protection in case my kid spills milk on it.

    Overall, I love the lens and think it takes great pictures, though again, I'm a beginner and have nothing to compare with aside from my point and shoot. Although it seemed big out of the box, I quickly got used to it. The only downside is the limited zoom range. I'm considering buying another lens with greater zoom, though I get nervous about introducing dust by changing lenses
    ...more info