Nikon 17-55mm f.28 DX lens vs. Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f2.8 IS USM

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by luis_lucero, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. I'm new to forums, and I'm very pleased by the level of the
    discussions I have read here. I have learn already a lot from other members
    questions and answers concerning digital photography.
    Therefore, I'm confident that you guys can help me on an important decision.
    I would like to know how the Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8 DX lens compares to the similar
    focal length Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM, in terms of resolution,
    distortions, and other critical performance parameters, or any other
    considerations that in your opinion I should be aware of.
    I do not have any of those lenses at present time, nor any of the DSLR cameras
    to use those lenses either. After many years of practicing film photography as a
    dedicated advanced amateur in 35mm and various medium formats, mostly black and
    white with high quality equipment, and now closer to retirement, I'm thinking of
    "going digital" beyond the basic level of a "point and shoot". But I haven't
    decided yet between the Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras yet. I believe that
    learning of the differences between these two lenses, meaning the 17-55mm/2.8
    zoom range from the two brands, will significantly add reasons to decide which
    way to go. Let's say, the Nikon D80 or Canon 30D roads. No offenses meant to
    Nikon or Canon enthusiasts, please.
    Thank you very much for any "light" on this matter.
  2. The following two tests might be interesting to read ...

    ... however, note, that the raw MTF numbers cannot be compared
    between the two systems (since two different cameras were used),
    but the general trend can be compared.

    You'll find, that these two lenses are pretty much behaving the
    same ... except two points ... the Nikkor is better built, the Canon has image-stabilisation. The Nikkor is in Nikonland, what the Canon is in Canonland ... the best available standard-zoom for a crop-sensor DSLR.

    Rather than just looking on these two lenses, I would take the D80 and the 30D in my hand and do a bit of playing and testing with them.
  3. Checking Photozone, they are basically the same, the Nikon score 4.1 out of 5 and the Canon scored 4.0 out of 5. Maybe you need to check out the reviews between the two cameras. Look at the whole package from manual control to flash units. Good luck, I am sure either unit would be a great camera/lens combo.
  4. I would buy the camera that feels most comfortable in your hands and has all the features you want/need. And then get the lens. Consider the d200 as well - image quality is the same as the d80 but it has a few nice features that a well advanced photographer may need and appreciate.
  5. For the most part, Canon and Nikon lens quality is a wash. Some Canons are better, some
    NIkons are better. I'd get the camera that you liked the controls better of, OR... I'd look at the
    lenses you want to get down the road, and base your purchase on that.
  6. I agree with the above and have owned both lenses. Optically they're pretty close. The Nikon is much better built, but the Canon has IS. The Nikon is more money. They both focus close. Choose a system that will work for you and both Canon and Nikon offer a good selection of lenses. For what it's worth, right now I prefer Nikon's subframe cameras and lenses.
  7. I haven't used either but my guess is that they are so close in performance that they shouldn't be the basis for your decision - camera feel is more important. Nikon can use the old manual focus lenses which was one of the deciding factors for me.
  8. I read a few people complain the Canon lets dust in. The lenses are about the same size and weight but the Canon is a tiny bit smaller and lighter. IS is a big bonus for shaky hands. For the price of the Nikon lens (about 200 dollars more than Canon) I'd expect to have VR. Although you could argue at this wide angle VR isn't so important. As for the 30D vs D80, they are pretty equal. Although Canon tends to outperform Nikon at higher ISO.
  9. What all these guys have said ^^^^. Go to a camera store, physically handle the body of each you are looking at, then decide at that point. Guarantee you that it would be tough for most of us to tell which image was taken with which lens.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I consider the 17-55mm/f2.8 mainly an event-photography lens, i.e. weddings, parties, etc., although I also use it for landscape and travel. For event photography, your shutter speed is limited by people movement and normally you don't want to be slower than 1/30 sec anyway, and most people should be able to hand hold a 17-55 at 1/30 with reasonable results, especially on the wide end. VR would be a plus but IMO not a major improvement. For something longer such as 70-200, VR is a big help for indoor, low light situations where you cannot use a tripod.

    One important issue to keep in mind is that the Canon is an EF-S lens and cannot be used in any one of the higher-end EOS 1D-family and 5D DSLRs, as the mirror will hit the rear-end of the lens. If you will always stay at the 30D level or below, there is no problem. If you ever plan to upgrade to a full-frame or 1.3x Canon body, any EF-S lens will be useless on those bodies. Whether Nikon will also go full-frame is not completely clear at this point. But any DX lens can be used on all high-end and low-end Nikon DSLR so far, and they can also be used on full-frame with serious vignetting.

    Finally, I would check the build quality yourself. All high-end Nikon zooms have an all-metal barrel and the barrel does not extend much when you zoom. The consumer-grade Nikon zooms such as the 18-200 DX, 18-70 DX have a barrel that extends significantly when you zoom to the long end. The advantage is that the lens can be much smaller, but that extended barrel is vulnerable should you drop you lens. The first time I saw the Canon 17-55 EF-S, I was surprised that it also has that kind of extended barrel design.

    Don't get me wrong, Canon makes excellent DSLRs and is clearly ahead of Nikon on the high end, but Canon has this semi-incompatible pro/consumer divide. Once you start getting EF-S lenses, you are on the consumer track. You certainly can jump later on, but you'll have some incompatible lenses.
  11. I would also say you have to go to a dealer and take the bodys in your hands. But if you have time to read a bit about both cameras there is they realy have a good review on all interesting cameras. I personaly made my desition on there reviews and while I was at a dealer and took both in my hands. afterwards you can think about glas as both systems have realy good lenses.

    have fun joining the digital world of pictures
  12. I tested the EF-S 17-55/2.8 IS against my 17-55mm AF-S DX and the images from the Canon lens were much more detailed.

    Nonetheless I am quite happy with the Nikkor. Makes beautiful images although not so sharp in the corners.
  13. If you already own Nikon lenses as old as 30+ years or intend to pick up real cheap high quality "outdated" manual focus glass that is optically as good or superior to new Canon or Nikon lenses go for Nikon. If you want to mix digital bodies and film bodies and new and old lenses go for Nikon.

    If you intend to start from scratch and spend $$ on pro equipment you are likely to be the limiting factor - not Canon or Nikon. Go for the color of the lens or the body - because technically its a draw :p
  14. Ilkka, Would you happen to have any of the pictures to post for us to see the difference? If so that would be great. I am most intrigued!
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I too am interested in A/B test images between the Canon and Nikon versions of the 17-55mm/f2.8.

    I also wonder how this test was carried out. Unless you use the same DSLR body for both lenses, any camera body difference can play a major factor in the end result. In this situation the 17-55mm/f2.8 AF-S DX Nikkor is a G lens. Even though you get a Nikon F mount to Canon EF apater to mount it on a Canon body, you cannot control the aperture, as you could have with Nikkor lenses with an aperture ring.

    In other words, the testing methodology is just as important as the final result.
  16. Thanks to all of you for the answers. A very educational discussion to me. I shouldn't base my decision on the performance of one lens. True.

    Rainer, thanks for the links. I have consulted the tests, and I took both cameras in my hand and played a little, as you and others wisely said. But then I'm going to consider the D200, as Elliot suggested. Have any of you heard of or experienced any technical malfunctions with the D200, such as "banding", or other calamities that needed to be fixed by the manufacturer? Are things that complicated with the D200?
    I don't want cameras doing unexpected nasty things when I'm trying to tune my "mind's eye" into an image.

    Shun, thanks for your highly instructive elaborations. But what would be the advantage of upgrading to a full-frame body? Would it be perhaps equivalent to upgrading from 35mm film to a medium format 6x6 or 6x7cm negative? And moreover, why not just continue shooting with those great film cameras, say, Leica M6, Rollei SL66, etc, and buy instead a beautiful Nikon film scanner and then "digitalize" the images?
    What would be the difference between a digital image from a scanned fine grain technically "perfect" negative and a digital image from a digital camera such as those we are considering? Do you know of any tests on this matter? I think this would be very interesting to know, because it might open a new door, to enter into the world of digital photography with my beloved Leica M6 under my jacket. A fusion of the two worlds, without loosing anything, and perhaps a lot to gain...

    Gentlemen, I'm looking forward to hear from you again.
    Thanks to all of you.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Luis, there are many reasons that you might want to upgrade to a high-end Canon body, e.g. if you shoot sports/action and need the best AF capability, such as the latest and very hot 1D Mark III (which is not full 35mm frame, it has a 1.3x crop factor), you want a robust camera that can take some beatings, or you need to make very large prints ....

    Essentially, if you grow as a photographer, you may need to upgrade, and your fairly expensive EF-S lens (or other not so expensive EF-S lens) is useless on those bodies.

    If you go Canon, I think it is best to decide up front to go high-end or low end. You can mix them, but there will be some incompatibility inconveniences.
  18. Hi,
    I just signed up on and found this valuable thread.
    I'm searching for information between EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM and Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 DX about optical quality and build quality.
    I thinks these two lens are very close performance in term of image and optical quality. However, the build quality of nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 is better than EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM but I think that is not a big deal. Those are the best available standard zoom lens for APS-C size image sensor camera at this moment. The big deal should be a camera brand which are selected by user.

    If your choice is APS-C Size Nikon brand, Nikkor 17-55 is the best choice for standard zoom lens
    On the other hand, if you select APS-C Size Canon camera, absolutely, EF-S 17-55 will be the best.

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