Good buy—worth the money
I upgraded from kit 18-55mm IS lens to the 17-55mm IS 2.8f because of it's 2.8f rating and focus range.
This is not an L series lens, but it can hold its own. Optically sharp with some softening at edges at extreme ends of it's range (but you'll find that in most non-L series lenses).
What you gain in weight you gain in image quality (glass) and a fast lens (low light capabilities). This lens will be my general use lens until I upgrade to full frame sensor. I use it on Xsi with battery grip and it balances out well. If you have a rebel xsi or xti without a battery grip you may find this lens making your setup unbalanced and heavy fronted.
The only CON is that the IS motors that engage when you press the shutter button half-way down is a bit noisy. You can actually hear the motors going. It's a whisper, but not what I'm used to with the 18-55mm IS I just sold (although it could be that the IS on that did not work?) That said, I sent back the 1st 17-55mm I ordered new thinking something was wrong. The 2nd one I got made the same noise—I figure it's just a noisy lens. Which doesn't really matter because I don't use it in situations where I need total silence.
I say if you're in need of a good general use, fast, great quality lens and you own a REBEL, this is the one. I had others steer me towards a 17-40mm f4.0 L - but I wanted a faster lens (2.8 with IS makes is a nearly a 1.2!) for the weight and wanted a truer wide angle on a APS-C sized sensor. The 17-40 would actually shoot like a 25mm-60mm on a REBEL so it wouldn't be 'ultra' wide angle. You would save nearly 500 dollars if you bought the 17-40, but you'd lose wide angle and the optics are not that different between the two.
There are comparable Sigma and Tamron lenses, I can't vouch for them...
Great all around. Next step would be L.
If you want just one lens for all around shooting and can't afford an L series, then get this lens. I upgraded from the kit 18-55mm IS that came with the Xsi and am so glad I did. I have access to 85mm f1.2L, 24-105mm f/4L other L series prime lenses (I work with photographers everyday, I'm an art director). All of them pointed me to this lens as a great upgrade. They all agreed the next step would be an L series. But since no L series lenses exist that are anything close to a wide angle for a 1.6x frame like the Xsi, this was the one to get. The closest option was the 24-105mm, but at a 1.6x conversion on the Xsi that lens would have been more like a 35-160mm (not wide enough). It's fast, the weight was a bit heavy for the Xsi alone, but I added the battery grip and the whole setup is now well balanced.
The IS motor is a bit noisy. I sent the first one back and the replacement was just as noisy. I learned to get over it.
I took the lens to Kauai (see photos). It was the only lens I brought. I did consider the 10-22 EFS, but that is junk at f3.5-5.6. Not something you take to Kauai when you spend thousands on the trip.
All in all, it's the only lens I use everyday. I do have a 100mm f2.8 macro I use for special occasions. I am now saving for an 85mm 1.2L and then a long prime. Eventually I will upgrade the body to a Mark, at which time the Xsi and this 17-5mm will make a great resale.
Happy shooting with the lens. Get one!
Ton of money and worth it
I purchased this as an upgrade for the kit lens that came with my 30D. I also use it on my 40D, which has quickly become my primary camera.
Reputable reviewers elsewhere say that this is as sharp as L glass but not rated as an L because of the EF-S limitation. I think the L's tend to be a little beefier as well. This lens is certainly well built, but it's not quite the same as the L's I've owned/handled.
There is no doubt about the image quality of this lens -- it's spectacular. It takes a lot for me to really get excited about a lens, and this one really did the job. It was well worth the investment.
EF-S lenses can only be used on Canon DSLR's with APS-size sensors. They do not create a large enough image circle to cover a full frame sensor. That was my only hesitation in buying this. Although I am way out of the price range for a full frame body, this lens is a big investment and I want it to last a while. Even if I do move to a full-frame body, I seriously doubt that I'll be putting away my APS cameras.
One of the best...
This is better then an L series zoom lens, it might not be constructed in the same casing with a red stripe but it kicks the hell out of them when it comes to taking pictures. I returned 3 copies of the 24-70L before giving up on it and buying this, that lens has huge problems and you cannot get a sharp picture with it. Those who say their's are tack sharp probably don't know what tack sharp means. Also sharper then the 17-40 and the 16-35 which are great lenses but this is just sharper. This lens straight out of the box took pictures that you could never have achieved with the garbage the 24-70 was spitting out.... Great purchase, worth the money, for an all around lens for photos and video you cant beat it for the price.... low light f2.8 and IS, stop reading reviews and just buy the thing already, you wont regret it...
I just recently purchased this lens with the T2i in store. I am a complete novice having only used point and shoots prior to this. I could immediately see a difference with the kit lens, but this lens took my pictures to another level. Most of my shots are at home, inside of the baby. Compared to the kit lens, I see faster focus and do not get as many blurry shots given the low lighting in our condo.
The more I am learning about exposure and the creative usages, I am see what a great lens this is for me. I have not tried any L series, but then again I have only been doing this for less than a month.
If you can afford it, I say get it and skip the stuff in between. Other than its size/weight on the Rebel body, I am very happy
L Lens Wannabe for sure
After shooting with this lens a bit, it's obvious not all "L" image quality lenses come with the red ring. This is a fantastic lens, capable of image quality to match Canon's fine L series. Build quality is better than typical consumer zooms, but not quite up to L standards. For the price, Canon should have included a lens hood. Get one if you're going to buy this lens.
AF is fast and IS let's me get another couple of stops. Only slightly soft wide open, but even one stop (f3.2) produces sharp, sharp images. Color is excellent, only marginally not as warm as my L lenses. Nothing that can't be addressed quickly in post processing.
This lens is not for point and clickers, but if you're serious about photography, it won't hold you back.
I mostly do sports photography and I love using a 7D because of the extra reach. I needed to do some portrait work of some players so I did the pros/cons of various lenses and decided on this one because it's 2.8 and it has good image stabilizations. I couldn't decide between the weather sealing of the 24-70L vs. the image stabilization of the 17-55. In the end I chose the latter because wider on the short end was more important than the long end for this lens, and because I wanted to do some hand-held shots in low light. I dread that fact that if I buy a 5dm3 when it comes out I won't be able to use it, but I'm not sorry. Love the lens.
Great lens, pro-quality!
I bought the lens mainly for low-light indoor shots and night work outdoors. However, it has quickly become the lens I use most often on my 50-D, which came with a Canon 18-200 mm lens (which I also felt was a great lens)
This lens is rugged (survived a drop with no damage) and is super sharp, even at 2.8. Love the constant 2.8 aperture. Very professional quality, might as well be an "L" series.
My main gripe is that Canon refuses to include a hood, which cost me an additional $60. When is Canon going to compete with Tamron, Sigma, etc. in this area. Including the hood would definitely improve my impressions of Canon's marketing. policies.
Great all-purpose lens
I took this lens on our latest vacation to the mountains and I never took it off my camera. I shoot mostly people with some scenery shots. It's a great all-purpose lens for indoors and outdoors. It is significantly larger and heavier than the 18-55 kit lens, but it was worth it. I used it on my 60D and love the resulting pictures. We climbed a 14,300 foot mountain and my friend took his identical lens and 60D with him and had no problem packing it up the mountain. He had it out most of the time shooting. I was too afraid of the weight and left mine in the cabin. Wish now I'd taken it.
Great Everyday Lens
I bought this lens to take pictures of kids in natural lighting conditions and have been very pleased with the results. It is really a fantastic lens and gives me results on par with my "L" lenses. The IS allows me to shoot hand held at 1/8 seconds at the 55mm zoom ratio and I get better than 60% quality results. Some Light fall off at the corners at the extreme wide angle zoom is the only noticable problem I have seen in any of my pictures.
Great lens but I agree with every one else that for this kind of money Canon should give a lens shade and pouch as part of the package.