Lens review

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

23 September 2007
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

The first thing that catches the eye is the size of the lens. As an upgrade for a kit lens, this lens is huge. The picture below shows that the lens is almost as tall as the Canon 100-300 mm and is notably thicker and heavier. While the big size of the lens may be a detriment, some might consider that the big size might mean we are getting optically great equipment. You cannot really make a lens of a fixed aperture of f/2.8, image stabilization and small vignetting, yet still be small at the same time.

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

Although the lens is not as sturdy as an L-grade lens, one cannot really criticize its build quality. On the other hand there are a few L-grade lenses that are significantly cheaper than the EF-S 17-55 mm. And because of the use of some die-cast magnesium alloy in it's build, it is much sturdier.

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

As far as the inside of the lens is concerned, it's pretty impressive. The lens, despite a zoom no bigger than 3x, contains 19 elements arranged in 13 groups. It's worth mentioning that some elements were made of low dispersion UD glass and there are aspheric lenses used in the system. The seven blade lens hood was a nice addition as well.

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

There is no doubt about the fact that usage of a 3 degree image stabilization (IS) had an influence on the lens size. The question about the validity of this operation in the lens, which has a focal range of 17-55 mm and a very good aperture of f/2.8, makes perfect sense. There is no doubt that the presence of IS has a big influence on the size and price of the lens. We have to honestly say that IS comes in handy sometimes and this tested model works perfectly well, as can be observed in the picture below.

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

Although the lens doubles its size while increasing the focal length, the front lens doesn't rotate. It maintains its position while focusing and this should make all filter users very content.