Summary

Canon's EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 is the general-purpose zoom for anyone who loves to shoot portraits or work in low light; note as an EF-S model, it's not compatible with full-frame cameras. The constant f2.8 aperture doesn't come cheap, but it allows the lens to gather plenty of light and deliver nice blurred backgrounds. There's also quick and quiet USM focusing, along with Image Stabilisation. An ideal wedding and portrait lens for cropped bodies. It's also interesting to note the equivalent lens for full-framers, the 24-70mm f2.8, remains an unstabilised model, so this is one range where cropped-frame owners enjoy an advantage.

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

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM purple fringing comparison

We tested each lens at its widest and longest focal lengths with the aperture wide open. The crops are taken from the upper left corner of the chart and presented here at 100%.To measure and compare the Canon 17-55mm’s purple fringing caused by lens chromatic aberrations and sensor blooming, we photographed a test chart with areas of very high contrast using it and a number of rival lenses.

The Canon EF-S 17-55mm exhibits a little purple fringing at its widest position in line with the others. Fringing is virtually absent at the long end, again in line with the other three.

 

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 EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM
Canon 17-55mm EF-S at 17mm f2.8
Canon 17-85mm EF-S at 17mm f4
Canon 18-55mm EF-S at 18mm f3.5
Canon 17-40mm EF L at 17mm f4
17-55mm EF-S at 17mm f2.8
17-85mm EF-S at 17mm f4.0
18-55mm EF-S at 18mm f3.5
17-40mm EF L at 17mm f4
Canon 17-55mm EF-S at 55mm f2.8
Canon 17-85mm EF-S at 85mm f5.6
Canon 18-55mm EF-S at 55mm f5.6
Canon 17-40mm EF L at 40mm f4
17-55mm EF-S at 55mm f2.8
17-85mm EF-S at 85mm f5.6
18-55mm EF-S at 55mm f5.6
17-40mm EF L at 40mm f4

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM macro comparison

Canon 17-55mm EF-S macro test
17-55mm EF-S at 55mm f8
Max area of 124x82mm

The dark lines are 10mm apart and the result is not cropped. Smaller areas are preferred in this test.To measure and compare the Canon 17-55mm’s macro performance we photographed a chart using it and a number of rival lenses at a focal length and distance which delivered the maximum possible reproduction.

The image left was taken with the Canon 17-55mm zoomed-into 55mm where it captured an area measuring 124x82mm. This is a larger area than the other three lenses on test, and proves there’s better choices if macro’s your thing.

 

 

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM
Canon 17-85mm EF-S macro test
Canon 18-55mm EF-S macro test
Canon 17-40mm EF L macro test
17-85mm EF-S at 85mm f8
Max area of 104x70mm
18-55mm EF-S at 55mm f8
Max area of 66x44mm
17-40mm EF L at 40mm f8
Max area of 92x62mm
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Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS

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