Canon EF-S 17-55 mm F/2.8 IS USM Lens

Last updated (08 July’13):
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Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is a standard zoom lens features 17-55mm at focal lenght with maximum aperture of f/2.8. The lens construction has 19 elements in 12 groups and has diagonal angle of view at 78 degrees (at 30 feet) to 27 degrees (at 50 feet). Focus adjustment: AF with full-time manual, Closest focusing distance at 1.15 feet with zoom system of 5-group helical zoom (front group moves 27mm) and has a filter size of 77mm. The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens weighs 22.8 ounces and it measures 3.3 inches in diameter, 4.4 inches long.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Expert Reviews

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Reviews reviews the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and writes;
“If you’re seriously into portraits or low light work though, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm will delight. The more you see what it’s optics are capable of, the more you find yourself taking shots under conditions you’d previously walk away from. “

Rating: ★★★★☆ reviews the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and writes;
“You get what you pay for with respect to image quality with this lens. The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS had 50% MTF and resolution scores closest to L-lenses or primes across the focal lengths tested. There was significantly less distortion at wide angles with the EF-S 17-55 than with all of the other lenses tested. Edge and corner sharpness delivered by this lens in large prints was noticeably the best of the lenses tested. “
rating: N/A reviews the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and writes;
“If all of your photography is on bright high-contrast sunny days, you might not need this lens. If you like to take natural-looking photos indoors or near sunset, the 17-55/2.8 IS is a great investment. “
rating: N/A reviews the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and writes;
“this lens is really ideal for anyone doing available-light photography with a Canon sub-frame camera. It’s very sharp, has a nice wide f/2.8 maximum aperture, and offers Canon’s excellent Image Stabilization as well. “
Rating: ★★★☆☆ reviews the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and writes;
“The resolution figures are among the very best seen so far for an APS-C standard zoom lens. The center resolution is nothing short of outstanding and the even borders can keep a very good to even excellent quality level. The distortion characteristic is quite typical for a zoom lens in this range (pronounced barrel distortions @ 17mm, moderate pincushion distortions @ 55mm) whereas CAs are unusually moderate.”
Rating: ★★★☆☆ reviews the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and writes;
“The lens is a high quality optic that is not quite up to L standard but takes close scrutiny to find the differences. Priced at the upper end of the spectrum for lenses that cannot be used on Canon’s professional camera models it would seem to have a limited place in the market….it is an ideal lens for anyone who does much low light photography.”
rating: N/A reviews the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and writes;
“With the huge base of Canon EF-S Digital SLR users, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens, with its excellent features, specs and image quality, will find a home in many professional and amateur photographers’ kits. This is the lens I keep mounted on my 1.6x body (currently a 50D) – I highly recommend it. “
rating: N/A

Photographyblog reviews the Canon EF-S 17-55 mm F/2.8 IS USM Lens and writes;
“Auto-focusing is quick, accurate and quiet thanks to the USM motor, although not as silent as lenses equipped with the newer STM motor. The ability to instantly manually override the AF system via the focus ring if required is a nice touch. Image quality is good rather than outstanding.”
Rating: ★★★★☆


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

– Download Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM User Manual (PDF – 1.4Mb)


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

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 21 February, 2006: Canon today strengthens its EF-S lens series with the Image Stabilized wide angle EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. With image quality and construction approaching that of Canon’s renowned professional lenses, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM becomes the fastest standard focal length zoom for EF–S mount cameras such as the new EOS 30D. Combining constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range with Canon’s latest 3-stop Image Stabilizer, it delivers outstanding wide angle performance and framing flexibility in low light conditions. Specialist optics such as UD glass and aspherical elements help deliver exceptional clarity, sharpness, contrast and colour accuracy.

EF-S mount

The lens fits exclusively on those EOS cameras with an EF–S lens mount – the new EOS 30D, EOS 350D, and earlier EOS 20D and 300D models. (see appendix ‘Technologies Explained for further information on the EF–S mount). The 1.6x multiplication effect of these cameras’ APS-C size sensor gives the lens an effective focal length of approximately 27-88mm.

Image quality

To improve image clarity over the total image area, two Ultra-Low Dispersion glass (UD) elements are employed to eliminate secondary chromatic aberrations that otherwise reduce sharpness and introduce colour fringing. To ensure crisp, high contrast from one corner of the frame to the other, two aspherical lens elements have been introduced to avoid spherical aberrations that can soften images, especially at wider apertures. In combination with digital EOS CMOS sensor and DIGIC II image processor technologies, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM delivers image quality surpassing that required for many commercial applications.

Fixed f/2.8 from 17 – 55mm

Superb optical quality with no change in aperture over the full focal length range allows photographers to set exposure at the widest aperture and concentrate on framing, without concern for adjusting shutter speed at longer focal lengths. The lens employs an almost perfectly circular barrel aperture, helping create attractive, even background blur.

Image Stabilizer

The lens features Canon’s latest 3-stop Image Stabilizer (IS) for dramatically reduced image blur caused by camera shake. IS significantly extends scope for shooting in low light conditions without flash, or for gaining depth of field. The 3-stop advantage allows a photographer shooting in low light to use a shutter speed of just 1/15 sec instead of 1/125, with no perceptible increase in image blur.

IS automatically detects when the camera is mounted on a tripod, thus preventing feedback loops between the IS sensor and stabilizer motor vibrations.

(See more information on Image Stabilizer, see appendix ‘Technologies Explained’).

Fast, silent auto-focus

The lens’ USM motor employs ultrasonic frequency vibrations to drive auto focus with speed and near-silent operation. The constant torque motor moves the focus group at high speed, stopping with precision, accuracy and without overshoot the instant the lens arrives at the correct focus point. Photographers can switch to manual focus instantly and at any time simply by moving the manual focus ring without first having to switch out of auto focus mode.

Harmful reflections eliminated

By optimising Super Spectra lens coatings and lens element shaping, Canon’s engineers have been effective in suppressing flare and ghosting – more prone to occur with digital cameras due to reflection off the image sensor. By increasing light absorption, coatings reduce reflections off lens element surfaces to deliver crisp, undistorted images with natural colour balance.

EOS system integration

When used in conjunction with Canon’s range of EX Speedlite flash units and the internal flash of the EOS 350D, EOS 20D and new EOS 30D, the lens passes distance information to the E-TTL II flash algorithm to improve flash exposure metering.

An optional lens hood, made exclusively for the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, and pouch are available.

In keeping with Canon’s Kyosei philosophy of living in harmony with the environment, the lens features only lead-free glass.
Technologies Explained

EF-S lens mount

The compact APS-C size sensor of select EOS cameras such as the EOS 30D, EOS 20D, EOS 350D and EOS 300D has paved the way for a range of relatively compact and lightweight EF-S mount lenses. These lenses project a smaller image circle than would otherwise be necessary to cover a full frame sensor or a frame of 35mm film. The ‘S’ in the EF‑S nomenclature stands for the term ‘short back focus’. This describes the system that allows for both a smaller image circle and positioning of the rear lens element closer than normal to the camera’s sensor.

Cameras with an EF-S lens mount can accept both EF lenses and EF-S lenses, while EF-S lenses can only fit to cameras with an EF-S lens mount. A white lens mount index differentiates the lens from other EF lenses, which retain their traditional red marking. A rear rubber ring prevents any damage in the event that an inadvertent attempt is made to mount an EF-S lens to a camera with an EF mount.

Image Stabilizer

IS works by using gyro sensors and circuitry to detect and measure unwanted vibrations. Tiny servo motors then create corresponding movement of a correcting lens group perpendicular to the optical axis. This alters the light path, returning the image to its correct position on the sensor or film plane. Unwanted movement is corrected fast enough to suppress effectively the vibrations of moving vehicles and aircraft such as helicopters.


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One Response to “Canon EF-S 17-55 mm F/2.8 IS USM Lens”

  1. Simply an exceptional lens …
    I used to own a Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 and enjoyed the 2.8 aperture at 17 but missed it at other focal lengths …
    The Canon 17-55 IS is great for low light and it’s incredibly sharp, even at 2.8 !
    Stabilization is always nice to have and the USM focusing is fast and silent.
    Were it not for being EF-S, I think it would be a L lens in the Canon catalog, it’s that good.
    For that price I wish it came with a hood though …

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