Support Cameralabs by shopping at our partner stores or donating via Paypal
 






Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
 
  Latest camera reviews

Sony Cyber-shot H400
Canon ELPH 340 IXUS 265
Canon G7X
Nikon P530
Canon SX520 HS
Canon G1 X Mark II
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic TZ60 / ZS40
Sony RX100 III review
Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Nikon COOLPIX A
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
 
 
   
 
  Best Buys: our top models
   
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories
   
 



Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
   
 
  DSLR Tips



 
lens rental
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Gordon Laing, August 2006 / updated July 2007
 
Canon 17-55mm coverage, wide angle

To compare actual coverage we shot the same scene with the 17-55mm, 17-85mm and 18-55mm lenses within a few moments of each other using an EOS 400D / Rebel XTi; the camera was mounted on a tripod to ensure a consistent position. Here the lenses were set to their widest focal lengths.

With all three images opened alongside each other in Photoshop, the 17-55mm captures a fractionally wider field than the 18-55mm as expected, although interestingly the 17-85mm squeezes noticeably more still; this is apparent even on our shrunken examples below, where the 17-85mm sample is pictured in the middle. Our Canon 17-85mm review also showed it capturing a slightly wider field than the 17-40mm L model.



 
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Canon 17-55mm lens at 17mm
Canon 17-85mm lens at 17mm
Canon 18-55mm lens at 18mm
17-55mm at 17mm
(27mm equivalent)
17-85mm at 17mm
(27mm equivalent)
18-55mm at 18mm
(29mm equivalent)


Canon 17-55mm coverage, telephoto

Next up came the telephoto-end of each lens. Again to compare actual coverage we shot the same scene with the 17-55mm, 17-85mm and 18-55mm lenses within a few moments of each other using an EOS 400D / Rebel XTi; the camera was mounted on a tripod to ensure a consistent position. Here the lenses were set to their longest focal lengths.

Here the longer reach of the 17-85mm is clear, and gives it greater compositional versatility than the pair which top-out at 55mm. As for them, the 17-55mm delivered a fractionally tighter field than the 18-55mm when zoomed-into 55mm, although it was extremely close.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Canon 17-55mm lens at 55mm
Canon 17-85mm lens at 85mm
Canon 18-55mm lens at 55mm
17-55mm at 55mm
(88mm equivalent)
17-85mm at 85mm
(136mm equivalent)
18-55mm at 55mm
(88mm equivalent)



Canon 17-55mm Image Stabilisation


After the bright constant f2.8 aperture, the big selling point of the new 17-55mm lens is its Image Stabilisation facilities. Like the 17-85mm before it, Canon claims up to three stops of compensation, which should allow you to use shutter speeds up to eight times slower than before. For example, if the slowest exposure you could confidently handhold at a certain focal length was, say, 1/60 of a second, three stops of compensation should enable you to enjoy the same result at 1/8 (or more accurately, 1/7.5).

This clearly allows you to shoot under much lower light conditions without needing a tripod, or increasing the sensitivity and compromising noise levels as a result. The 17-55mm’s bright f2.8 aperture helps even more in this regard, making it an excellent lens for anyone who works in low light.

Like other Canon wide zooms with IS, there’s only one mode available with a switch on the side of the lens to switch it on or off. The system kicks in with a faint click when you depress the shutter halfway and stays on for a few seconds before deactivating to save power.

To test its effectiveness we shot the same macro scene zoomed-into 55mm with and without IS enabled; this was working at an effective focal length of 88mm.

Below are two examples of a handheld macro composition taken with and without IS, using a very slow shutter speed of half a second. We've cropped the original images to 1728x1152, thereby showing around one quarter of the original, then reduced them to 282x188 pixels for reproduction here. Viewed at 100%, the shot with IS is perfectly sharp.



Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM without IS
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM with IS
Canon 17-55mm lens - IS disabled
Canon 17-55mm lens - IS enabled
Canon EF-S 17-55mm at 55mm (88mm equivalent). IS disabled. 100 ISO, 0.5 second, f14
  Canon EF-S 17-55mm at 55mm (88mm equivalent). IS enabled. 100 ISO, 0.5 second, f14

As with all anti-shake systems, the effectiveness of IS varies between photographers and the particular shooting conditions, but its benefits are still clear. And coupled with the 17-55mm’s f2.8 aperture you can now shoot under conditions you’d previously consider impossible. For example with the lens at 17mm and the 350D / Rebel XT set to 1600 ISO we managed to shoot sharp portraits at f2.8 in a very dark bar environment using exposures as long as one second. This was only possible with the image stabilisation and f2.8 aperture of the lens – along with subjects who kept very still of course!


Canon 17-55mm with built-in popup flash

Canon EF-S 17-55mm popup flash coverage  

A quick note to anyone intending to use the 17-55mm lens with their camera's built-in flash.

Like other larger-barrelled lenses, the EF-S 17-55mm will cast a shadow from the popup flash of the 400D or 350D / Rebel XTi or XT when zoomed-out to 17mm. This shadow can be seen as the small arch at the bottom of the image on the left.

This can be avoided by zooming-in slightly, or of course by using an external Speedlite flashgun.

It should be noted though, the slightly smaller barrel of the EF-S 17-85mm lens avoids this problem.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm at 17mm (27mm equivalent). 100 ISO, 1/60 second, f2.8, popup flash
 
   

If you found this review useful, please support us by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs