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Like many other full-frame lenses, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lacks wide-angle potential on an APS-C camera but redeems itself with a very long telephoto reach, equivalent to 168mm.
Unlike the even-pricier EF 24-70mm, this Canon lens has image stabilisation offering a 3-stop benefit in beating camera-shake.
The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is the nearest thing to a fully professional, L-series lens in Canon’s stable, even if Canon never applies the ‘Luxury’ tag to EF-S lenses. The zoom range is quite modest on this Canon lens and image stabilisation is of an older, 3-stop generation, but image quality is sublime.
The build feels particularly rugged and hard-wearing, and the upsized manual focus ring (compared with the EF-S 15-85mm) makes for silky smooth manual override of autofocus. This ability is thanks to its advanced, ring-type autofocus system.
With a class-leading 5.7x zoom range, this lens offers the widest-angle focal length in the group (on an APS-C camera), equivalent to just 24mm. The closest other lenses come is 27mm, and the difference is very noticeable when you want to exaggerate perspective or squeeze more into a shot.
The effective 136mm maximum telephoto setting is equally useful, making the EF-S 15-85mm an incredibly versatile Canon lens.
With its generous zoom range and fairly fast maximum aperture of f/2.8, decreasing to f/4 at 50-70mm focal lengths, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM looks an attractive proposition at its modest price.
Sigma’s answer to the Canon EF-S 17-55mm is more compact and lightweight, and costs £200 less, but it offers many of the same attractions. The Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM zoom range is similar and the fast f/2.8 maximum aperture remains constant throughout the zoom range.