Why Stock Photos?
The short answer is that we use stock photos on some listings to save us time and to save you money. The longer answer is that we love to take photos of each and every lens, camera, and accessory, but doing so takes a lot of time and makes it difficult to get everything listed. So, we decided to compromise: take gorgeous photos of some things and charge a little more for them, and use stock photos for other items and charge a little less for those, all else equal.
The items listed here were tested thoroughly by our trained technicians. If they observed any significant flaws, you’ll see them detailed above. If the items listed here are exceptionally awesome, you’ll see that noted above too. Regardless, please remember this is a used item and it’s bound to have at least a microscopic imperfection.
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Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
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The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
This lens provides a very wide f/2.8 aperture, three-stop, third-generation image stabilizer, and a zoom range that makes it an ideal walkaround or everyday lens. It’s received universally excellent reviews for sharpness and usability; it is an L-quality lens, both in build and sharpness.
There are several choices in the 17-50mm range for crop-sensor cameras, and rather than doing separate takes for each, I thought a bit of comparison would be better. The summary, though, is that they're all pretty good. Whichever you choose, you’ll probably be happy with it. An important generalization first: all of the 17-50 lenses are sharper at the wide end than at the long end. If you think you’ll be shooting mostly at 50mm or so, you might want to consider a lens in the 24-70 range.
Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS. The most expensive of the bunch. It has good image stabilization but no better than the others. It will definitely autofocus more accurately, particularly on older cameras and in lower light. It also has the smallest barrel distortion at the wide end (although it’s still significant at 2%). Probably the best of the group, definitely the most expensive.
Sigma 17-50 HSM OS. As sharp as the Canon in the center, and at f/4 it's as sharp in the corners too. Maybe even sharper than the Canon at f/4. It has more barrel distortion at the wide end at 2.9%. That's easy to correct in photoshop, but correcting distortion also decreases resolution, particularly in the corners. Probably as good as the Canon except for the autofocus.
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC. This lens has excellent vibration control, as do the Sigma and Canon. It’s not quite as sharp as either, although it’s in the same ballpark, and it is less expensive. It has even more barrel distortion than the Sigma though, at 3.3% at the wide end. Has had some autofocus problems with some Canon cameras, where only the center AF point is active.
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. This is the older, non-vibration-controlled version of the Tamron lens. It is optically different and actually sharper than the Tamron VC--as sharp as the Canon and Sigma versions. It doesn’t give you image stabilization, but if you’re shooting in good light where that doesn’t matter, it’s a great bargain, being less expensive than any of the others.
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