REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
CanonEF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
 
4.7

(based on 655 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (481)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (153)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

97%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (598)
  • Consistent output (414)
  • Easily interchangeable (252)
  • Strong construction (219)
  • Durable (214)

Cons

  • Heavy (196)
  • Weak casing (31)
  • Lens creep (21)
  • Difficult to clean (19)
  • Pricey / poor value (17)

Best Uses

  • Low light (324)
  • Landscape/scenery (297)
  • Night photography (268)
  • Weddings (242)
  • General purpose (152)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (215), Semi-pro photographer (115), Enthusiast (99), Casual photographer (64), Semi-professional (36)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (325), Yes (16)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

My Favorite Lens

I have owned this lens for around two years now, and it was my primary lens for a 10 month trip across Africa, so I've gotten to know it quite well. In my...Read complete review

I have owned this lens for around two years now, and it was my primary lens for a 10 month trip across Africa, so I've gotten to know it quite well. In my opinion, it is the best general purpose lens for Canon APS-C DSLR's, and it is easily the lens I use most frequently.

What makes this lens great is the combination of the image quality, focal length, and f/2.8 aperture. Image quality is fantastic; I was blown away when I first bought this lens, and two years later I am still impressed. It is extremely sharp, and color and contrast are really excellent (though perhaps just shy of the best L lenses).

But it's the f/2.8 aperture and focal range that really make this lens. It's great for low light situations, of course, but the wide aperture is also excellent for isolating your subject. For me, this often makes the difference in non-studio situations, as all of those background distractions can be blended away into a beautiful soft bokeh. It's very difficult to do this with an f/4 or f/5.6 lens.

As for the focal range, it's the range that most people use most frequently for general photography. At 55mm (88mm equivalent), it's right in the sweet spot for portrait photography. And while not a wide-angle lens, at 17mm it does provide considerable versatility.

Two other positives are worthy of mention. First, the auto focus is nearly instantaneous and very accurate. Second, the build quality is very good, and I have had zero problems with dust affecting my photographs (and Africa is a very dusty place). My personal experience leads me to believe that dust is not a meaningful problem for this lens.

No lens is perfect, however, and this one has a few drawbacks. First, it is rather large and heavy compared to other lenses of similar focal length. This can be a turnoff for some users, who find that it becomes cumbersome to carry, and the large size can occasionally be a bit intimidating for some subjects as well. Second, it is rather expensive, but then again it is a really fine lens in the focal length that I (and many others) use the most. Finally, as many others have mentioned, it really should come with a lens hood. I'm a huge fan of Canon, but unless the corporate bottom line depends on selling large quantities of plastic lens hoods, they really should include them with their premium lenses (including this one, even if it is not branded as an "L").

I love this lens. And with great image quality, the most used focal range, excellent low light capability, and bokeh so velvety you'll be tempted to reach out and rub your monitor, there's a lot to love. If the high price won't force you to sell an organ or eat ramen noodles for the next year, you'll probably love it too.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Too expensive for what you get

The addition of image stabilization to a lens in this focal length range, coupled with a constant f2.8 aperture, is a nice concept. I bought this lens because I wanted something that would...Read complete review

The addition of image stabilization to a lens in this focal length range, coupled with a constant f2.8 aperture, is a nice concept. I bought this lens because I wanted something that would enable me to shoot indoors without a flash, and also enable me to get some nice wide angle landscape shots as well. I found that it did both reasonably well, but the sharpness at the edges was disappointing for a lens this expensive (at least with my copy on the 50D), especially using it wide open indoors. Flare was also quite noticeable, even with the use of the lens hood (which did not come with the lens, despite the price). Finally, for a lens this expensive, the build was not as robust as I would have liked (although not bad either). The fact that this lens will not be useable for a full frame DSLR (which might limit its resale value), coupled with the dust issues that others have mentioned, and also given the flare issues, make this lens an expensive compromise. Will be nice for some, but others might be better off waiting for the price to come way down, or waiting for something better to come along in a more useable focal length range like 17-85mm (Canon does have a lens in the 17-85mm range, but it has had mixed reviews). I'm not so convinced that the image stabilizaton feature of this lens by itself is worth paying close to [$] for it, given the other issues that I've mentioned. Other people really like this lens and state that it's the best lens that they've ever owned, so it clearly can be good for some. It's not the best for me, but I think that my review is pretty balanced regarding the pros and cons....

Reviewed by 655 customers

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5.0

Awesome Lens

By RG

from South Carolina

Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

I was looking for a good overall video lens. This lens is definitely what I needed. The quality is amazing. You can definitely see it in the photos/video.

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5.0

Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 lens

By Blue Jay

from New York, NY

About Me Photography Student

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Durable
  • Easily Interchangeable
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Strong Construction

Cons

  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Indoors/Low Light
  • Landscape/Scenery
  • Macro Photography
  • Video
  • Wildlife Photos

Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

I am using this lens on my canon 100D camera.
It stays mounted over 90% of the time I go out shooting.
Very good quality image. I must say it is almost as good as L lenses. Possibly the best lens for my camera that I could buy at this price.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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4.0

Great Lens

By Geno

from Concord, CA

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Nice Bokeh

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Indoors/Low Light
    • Night Photography
    • Weddings/Events

    Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

    Fantastic lens, a bit pricey. A lot of distortion at Wide Angle

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    5.0

    Great alternative to L lenses

    By Chris B.

    from Chicago, IL

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Fast
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Lightweight
    • Nice Bokeh
    • Rugged

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Fast On Crop Sensors
      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Sports/Action
      • Video
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

      Had to have this lens when I discovered Canon made it. So when I ordered a Canon 70D for both stills and video for my publishing company, I got this to go with it. I love it! The fast speed gives me nice bokeh even in wider angle settings. Autofocus is fast and quiet and the whole lens feels as solid as an L lens for a whole lot less money.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      4.0

      Great lense for on the field.

      By albyrd

      from Fairfax, VA

      Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

      I use this lense the most with my blackmagic cinema camera. If you need a lense where you are out and about and you are not sure what you plan to capture this one is very versatile.

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      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      The undercover "L" lens!

      By DSLR Mike

      from Los Angeles, CA

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Easily Interchangeable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Nice Bokeh

      Cons

      • Heavy
      • No hood included

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Long Exposures
      • Macro Photography
      • Night Photography
      • Sports/Action
      • Video
      • Weddings/Events

      Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

      This lens may not have the "red ring" or water resistant build quality, but optically, this IS an "L" lens. For those of you who have an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and are wondering how much better could this 17-55mm f/2.8 lens, that cost more than my camera be, the answer is NIGHT & DAY!!! My pics went from meh to WOW. The quality of the optics creates virtually no vignetting (slight darkness in the corners) and the focus is consistent and razor sharp across the entire image. Speaking of focus, this could be the quickest focusing lens that Canon has ever made. Doesn't matter if it's stills or video, the AF on this lens continues to blow me away. The constant f/2.8 amazes me. You can get some very impressive shallow depth of field shots and it also delivers beautiful Bokeh (background blur). The ability to zoom with a constant aperture makes it great for those videographers out there. Could this lens be a smidgen cheaper? Could it be a little less heavy? In my opinion you have two choices. You can get hung up on those two questions and end up doing nothing, or you can step up, buy this lens, and have the same wonderful experience I've had. If you are a Canon owner and, like me, a fan of the APS-C format, this is the BEST APS-C lens on the market today!

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      An Amazing Value Wide Angle Zoom

      By Byron Flagg

      from Millbury, MA

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

            This lens is wide, fast and sharp, with Canon's amazing image stabilization. Along with a relatively low price, why would you keep looking elsewhere?

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            5.0

            fast and sharp

            By Sheila

            from Buckeye Arizona

            Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

            I have been using this lens on my 60D for the past year. It is fast and sharp. I have used it in a few weddings. I love the wide angle and the ability to also get nice and close. 1.2 feet!!!! Love it! I have had some chromatic aberration when shooting into harsh light but nothing a little Lightroom cant fix. I keep this lens on my body 90% of the time. Also use it for families, children, portraits and action shots of my kids and horses. Always nice color and clearity! Even at a farther distance and even at 2.8. Its a bit heavy but you get used it. Also takes nice video. I am very happy with this purchase! Best lens out there for a crop frame body.

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            (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Great lens for the price

            By coinsrus

            from Richmond, VA

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Consistent Output
            • Excellent in low light
            • Fast / accurate auto-focus

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Night Photography

              Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

              Used in lowlight and urban photo shoots. The f 2.8 allows great shots at higher shutter speeds in low light.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              AWESOME LENS

              By Seb Young

              from New York City

              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easily Interchangeable
              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Video

                Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                I bought this lens for my t5i and i love it. the quality in this glass beats out the 18-55 kit lens by a long shot. i was surprised on how clear this leans is. i now i have better photos and much better videos. quality is awesome. it does a great job in low lighting and with the 2.8 aperture the zoom is also great… I LOVE IT…

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this review

                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Fast sharp lens with one major defect

                By M in AZ

                from Phoenix, AZ

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Nice Bokeh

                Cons

                • Heavy

                Best Uses

                • Weddings/Events

                Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                This is an excellent lens, very sharp, very fast, and of solid construction (although, as others have pointed out, not up to L caliber). It is a great lens especially for the price but there is one caveat - it suffers from marked lens flare.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                sturdy lens, great pics

                By outdoors dave

                from Knoxville, TN

                About Me Casual Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                • Rugged
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Sports/Action
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                  nice lens for my crop sensor EF-S 20D. Feels much more solid and well built than the EF-S lens that came with the camera. Not quite L-quality but close enough! Image Stabilization is a nice plus.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great lens for my Canon 70D!

                  By Alanivox

                  from Montclair, New Jersey

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Crytal Clear Image
                  • Durable
                  • Easily Interchangeable
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Rugged
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                  • Heavy

                  Best Uses

                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Video
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                  I purchased the Canon 70D primarily to film students of mine in performance and recording sessions. The 18-135mm kits lens was pretty good but I wanted to step it up to get a more professional look. The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 really took the video image to the next level. I just shot a tutotial video for YouTube called "How to use the straw technique for singers and speakers" with the new lens and have received rave reviews for the image quality from my clients. The image it produces is crytal clear with beautiful shallow depth of field! So happy I purchased this lens.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Perfect lens!

                  By BL

                  from Los Angeles

                  Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                  I have always wanted to get my hands on this lens for video because of the aperture and the IS. I used a full frame DLSR so I was unable to use this lens but I recently upgraded to the Sony FS100 which has a super 35 sensor with a crop factor of 1.5x so I bought this lens. I couldn't be happier with it. The wider aperture helps tramendously in run and gun areas where I don't have time to do huge setups and the IS helps in all situations by smoothing out the motion. It's a little heavy but I prefer this when shooting video. It's sharp and the focus and zoom rings are smooth. I have not been able to find anything wrong with the lens yet and I strongly recommend it.

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                  (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great Lenses

                  By Ice Skater

                  from San Jose, CA

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                  • Heavy

                  Best Uses

                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Night Photography
                  • Sports/Action

                  Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                  I only used them for ten days: indoor, night time Christmas lights, winter landscapes, some outdoor ice skating pictures... All were quite sharp!
                  Everything makes me think I will enjoy a lot these lenses.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Quality Lens

                  By ag25

                  from Toronto

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Quality
                  • Reliable

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Indoors/Low Light
                    • Night Photography
                    • Weddings/Events

                    Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                    I'm a very casual shooter, and only occasionally take photos that are paid jobs. I got the lens since I value a large constant aperture over longer range like Canon's 15-85.I upgraded from the standard 18-55, and find I have more photos now that are out of focus, or mis-focus; however I don't know if this is due to the narrower depth of field at f/2.8, combined with personal bad judgement through the viewfinder, OR if the autofocus with this lens has a problem. The images that have been out of focus aren't simply focused on the wrong part of the frame, they are out of focus throughout the entire image.Other than that the lens is much more quiet than my non-canon telephoto lenses which can have loud IS motors; however, the sound of the IS and AF motors will get picked up by built-in camera microphones if video is your intention. I assume most people looking at video would be using an off-camera mic to remedy this problem.Lens creep is not an issue as demonstrated in some older online review videos. The zoom and focus rings are also not as tight as I would have expected for a lens of this size.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (1 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    3.0

                    Probably decentered

                    By Msuplantdoc

                    from San Francisco

                    Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                    When this lens finally became available at a more affordable price, I decided to acquire a sharp, fast lens. Unfortunately, my copy tested as soft along the left side while the rest of the frame was sharp. Tested with 3 different cameras with real life subjects. Returned.

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                    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Canon 17-55 EF-S f2.8IS

                    By Nick

                    from Rochester, mn

                    Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                    I researched a lot and tried to figure out which lense would fit my needs without breaking the bank. So far so good, no creeping like others have stated, build not the same as my 24-105L but this is solid. This lense will be on my 60D 90% of the time! excited to do some portraits with it. Worth the money if you have a crop sensor camera.

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                    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Excellent product.

                    By Primogenia

                    from Buenos Aires, Argentina

                    About Me Photography Student

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Durable
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Indoors/Low Light
                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Night Photography

                      Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                      Excellent lens for night shots or low light

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      3.0

                      Great optics, chintzy build quality

                      By Chaz Newman

                      from Milwaukee, WI

                      About Me Pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                        Cons

                        • Plastic build Quality
                        • Weak Casing

                        Best Uses

                        • Video

                        Comments about Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens:

                        Using mainly for video work on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, the optics are nice and the IS is a must for hand-held video work. However, the build quality feels very cheap and plastic. I originally owned the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM. $100 less and the build is outstanding (plus it's a little faster), but I traded up for the IS on the Canon.

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