Unlike most other EF-S lenses, the 17-55mm does not have a direct equivalent in the range of traditional EF lenses. As a general purpose EF-S zoom lens, the alternatives to the 17-55mm are the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, which is a cheaper kit lens; the EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, which is midway between the 18-55mm and 17-55mm in some respects—depending on which version of the 18–55 one is comparing—and boasts a longer telephoto end; and the newer EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, which has similar build quality to the 17-55mm and the largest focal length range of the group.
The 17–55 is at times compared to the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, which has similar image quality (despite the latter being L series and the 17–55 not being so designated), though the 17-55's faster aperture and IS make it more suited (by one stop) for hand-holding and available light photography. Also, it can be compared to the three Canon EF 24–70 mm L lenses. Two of the 24–70 lenses have the same f/2.8 maximum aperture as the 17–55, but no image stabilization; the newest 24–70 has a maximum f/4 aperture but adds stabilization. When mounted on their equivalent cameras (full-frame for the 24–70, and crop for the 17–55), the two lenses have similar focal lengths. The IS system of the 17–55 gives that lens an advantage over the 24–70 f/2.8 in lower light by reducing the amount of camera shake. The 17–55 and the 24–70 f/4 are both stabilized, but the 17–55 has a one-stop advantage over that version of the 24–70.
The EF 28-90mm, though having corresponding full-frame equivalent focal length, is an inexpensive kit lens and is not comparable to the 17-55mm, having slower aperture, a variable maximum aperture, lower image quality, and no image stabilization.
Read more about this topic: Canon EF-S 17–55mm Lens
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