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Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Review
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM Lens is unarguably one to the best mid-range “walk-around” zoom lenses one can get for their non-full frame EF line of Canon cameras. With an image quality at par with some of Canon’s full frame L lenses and a three-stop image stabilization feature unheard of in its line, there isn’t a lens in its class that could possibly rival its versatility and range of features in terms of professional shooting standards.
The crop-optimized Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens is well tailored to fit smaller image sensors on APS-C cameras. This is clearly perfect for the EOS line with 1.6x crop sensors (like the 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 7D, etc.), the Rebel XT and Rebel XTi model cameras. This S series lens is the key to making your APS sensor bodies capable of taking excellent professional level images.
Canon’s 17-55mm S lens, however, will not suit full frame and 1.3x digital cameras nor 35mm film cameras. This lens will only fit Canon cameras with EF-S lens mounts. Seeing a possible problem with this, Canon has thoughtfully provided a rubber ring in the rear that prevents inadvertent damage in case someone tries to jam the lens onto an EF mount.
Canon’s 17-55mm price is no joke but it does live up to the its reputation as the best kit upgrade or even perhaps, as the only lens you may ever need for your non-full frame camera. Here is why:
Fantastic Image Quality and Wide Aperture:
Images are brilliantly crisp and absolutely sharp. The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM serves up higher contrast pictures with vivid colors. It takes far better photos than the Canon EF-S 18-135, one of those lenses in the same line it is so often compared with. Images are also comparable to some full-frame L lenses like those of the 24-105/4L and the 35/1.4L as the EF-S 17-55 incorporates similar components as these high-end full frame lenses.
The aperture, f/2.8, is generously wide all the way through and makes for faster, extremely well taken shots in low light conditions. Indoor shots are more natural looking as this lens eliminates much need for the flash feature. Wide angle shots in the daytime are likewise superb with the lens’ Super Spectra coating which minimizes flare and ghosting. Canon’s exclusive coating technology allows the sensor to absorb more light while reducing reflections to produce sharp, undistorted images with very good color balance. Outstanding picture quality in many situations just proves that the EF-S 17-55 may be the only lens you may actually need in many situations. Its acceptable weight is a plus as well over the heavier L lenses.
The wide aperture also allows you the versatility of creating beautiful bokeh, an aesthetically pleasing background blur that draws attention to the sharply detailed subject up front. This produces wonderful portrait shots, with the best qualities you can squeeze from a midrange digital zoom lens.
The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM Lens with its Image Stabilization feature, makes handheld photography a cinch. No other lens in the EF-S line has been endowed with the three-stop IS feature, another advancement that makes the EF-S 17-55 a stand-out in its class.
Image Stabilization makes for an effectively faster lens, enabling you to shoot great pictures in dim light at low shutter speeds, provided the subject is still.
The IS feature basically corrects blurring caused by camera shake. It compensates for vibrations and camera movements by maintaining a steady image plane, ensuring clear, intense images even under low light. This does not rectify blurs, however, from fast moving subjects.
Full Time Manual Focus:
The Full Time Manual (FTM) focusing feature of the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens gives full control to the shooter. You may move from auto-focus to manual focus instantly by simply rotating the manual focus ring. You don’t need to switch auto-focus off or restart it after a manual override. This is a nice feature that saves time and lets you progress from shoot to shoot without stopping for this adjustment.
The Ultrasonic Motor feature (USM) uses ultrasonic frequency vibrations to drive a super quiet, fast auto-focus motor. In fact, USM is known as the fastest and most quiet auto-focus technology. This is another edge this Canon lens has over other brands in its category.
Not too heavy and not a feather weight either, Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM is somewhere in the middle at 645 grams or 22.8 ounces. It is however, the largest EF-S lens in the market now at 3.3” x 4.4” or 83.5 mm x 110.6mm; but it balances well on camera bodies it was made for.
With a top-notch build quality, this lens is not much to worry about it. Users who have continually used this lens over time attest to its durability in some weather conditions. The solidly constructed plastic body makes this a much lighter choice over the heavier metal-bodied L lenses which could weigh as much as 940 grams.
A lot of shooters from the huge fan base of Canon EF-S DSLRs have already taken to the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM Lens. It’s a stellar lens that combines very good zoom range, low light capability, fantastic image quality, wide aperture for control on field depth, fast and whisper quiet auto-focus, a trove of features which sets it apart from all lenses in its class.
Known for its versatility, the EF-S 17-55 is a keeper. There is hardly any lens out there in its category that can truly rival its features; so, as a sure high resale value lens, the EF-S 17-55 would be a wise investment should you see a full frame camera upgrade in your future.
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