Every Canon EF Lens: Read the Reviews, See the Specification & Check the Price
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Overview

This f/2.8 IS standard zoom is the only EF-S lens that approches the standards of Canon's 'L' EF lenses, although its equivalent 28-88mm focal length is rather a restricted range for the price, if you want to go wide. At its release, it was widely hoped that it signified a comittment by Canon to bring higher quality lenses to the EF-S mount, however, all subsequent top-notch lenses have been the ful EF mount.

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Lens specifications

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture 17-55mm 1:2.8
Lens Construction 19 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal Angle of View 78°30' - 27°50'
Focus Adjustment AF with full-time manual
Closest Focusing Distance 1.15 ft. / 0.35m
Zoom System 5-group helical zoom (front group moves: 27mm)
Filter Size 77mm
Hood EW-83J (bayonet, petal form, two-claw removable hood; attachable in reverse)
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight 3.3 in. x 4.4 in., 22.8 oz. / 83.5mm x 110.6mm, 645g (lens only)

EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM standard zoom lens block diagram

EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM standard zoom lens wide mtf chart EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM standard zoom lens tele mtf chart

A quick guide to MTF charts (which only measure contrast and resolution. Canon's guide to their MTF charts)

Black lines reflect lens performance at widest aperture.
Blue lines show the performance at f/8

Thick lines indicate lens contrast
Thin lines indicate lens resolution

Dashed lines: Lens performance with meridional lines.
Solid lines: Lens performance with sagittal lines

Closer sagittal and meridional chart lines indicate more 'natural' out of focus areas.

Remember that MTF charts are good for comparing similar lenses, so comparing ones from the 14mm f2.8L and 300mm 2.8L won't tell you much at all, whilst comparing the EF14 2.8L with the EF14 2.8L II will show meaningful differences. Note that other manufacturers may have different ways of displaying such information that may or may not match up with the Canon figures.

EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM reviews and articles

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Sample images

None available at present.

Product launch

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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Every Canon EF Lens: Read the Reviews, See the Specification & Check the Price
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