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

It’s the nearest thing to a pro-grade Canon EF-S standard zoom

(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS gives APS-C shooters a taste of the premium lifestyle, with a smooth constant f/2.8 aperture and a generously wide zoom range for a standard lens. It’s getting a little old in the tooth and does show its age in a few ways, most notably in its unexceptional three-stop image stabiliser, but overall this is a really strong lens that any Canon APS-C user could potentially find a home for.


  • +

    Fast, consistent, accurate autofocus

  • +

    Generous f/2.8 maximum aperture


  • -

    Big for an APS-C lens

  • -

    No weather seals

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Dating back to 2006, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is the most up-market standard zoom that Canon has ever made for its APS-C format cameras. As such, it has a relatively fast f/2.8 aperture rating, which remains constant throughout the entire zoom range. The zoom range itself is equivalent to 27-88mm in full-frame terms, beating out many competing lenses at the long end.

This lens is big and heavy, but it doesn’t feel unbalanced even on the smallest of Canon’s SLRs, tipping the scales at 645g. With its focal length markings on a silver band, and the gold ‘ultrasonic’ ring around the front, the lens has a more dated look than some newer, sleeker Canon lenses, and its older-generation image stabiliser is only worth three stops rather than four.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.