I have a Canon 7D with the following lenses:

  • EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5
  • EF 50mm f/1.4
  • EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS Macro

I'm planning on buying a zoom lens suitable as a general walkabout, for use on my travels. I find I mostly use my EF-S 10-22mm while travelling, but it's a little short for a general purpose walkabout and I miss out on a lot of shots I'd like to take.

So, I've been looking at the following: - EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS - EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L

I'd envisage bringing both the 10-22mm and whichever new lens I buy on my trips, so the longer range of the 24-70mm and the fact that it doesn't overlap makes it seem ideal, but the IS on the 17-55mm is appealing.

I mostly shoot scenery, from narrow old town cityscapes to wide landscapes. Upcoming trips include Dubai, Hong Kong & The Phillippines.

Is there much difference in picture quality from the output of these two lenses? Which would you recommend, and why? Are there other options I should consider, e.g. is the 24-70mm L II worth the extra money (given that it still doesn't have IS)?

Appreciate the help, thanks.

  • why not the 24-105 L glass with IS? Only f4 though, don't know if that bothers you... Apr 21, 2012 at 17:54
  • Canon crop factor is x1.6 making 24-70 ~ 38-112mm which is enough for general purpose walkabout lens.Plus, if you're taking 10-22mm with you then you have the range covered if you need something wider. 24-70 is a workhorse you will not be disappointed. And if you eventually go full-frame you'll have the lens to go with it.
    – Alen
    Apr 21, 2012 at 19:48
  • 1
    IMO, IS is kinda pointless when it comes to wide-angle lenses. I can understand someone utilizing IS when shooting with 200mm+ lens. Your 7D has great ISO performance use it.
    – Alen
    Apr 21, 2012 at 19:52

3 Answers 3


The 17-55 is a great lens, the biggest downside is that you can only use it on crop sensor cameras. Other than that I find that the picture is very sharp and the autofocus among the fastest I have used so far (Faster than the one in your 50mm 1.4 or 100mm Macro for sure, I also own these two).

On the other hand if you're doing landscapes I don't really see the point of the IS in the first place and the added weather sealing on the 24-70 might be a good plus.

Finally you should be aware that the 17-55 loves dust. And it will not only go behind the front lens but also deeper into the construction. This doesn't show in the frames you take with it (in my case at least) but should be considered if it could make you feel uneasy.

About the new 24-70 I cannot comment, since I haven't used it yet. It seems great but at that price point I personally wouldn't got for it.


I use 24-70 on a full-frame 5D and like it very much, but I think that its zoom range does not much sense on APS-C cameras, as you can't go properly wide with it which is something I personally like when moving around, and I guess you too, since you prefer 10-22 to your 50mm prime. It's true that you can swap lenses, but that's not something I would like to do all the time while travelling. For a walkabout lens on APS-C I'd go with 17-55.


The 17-55IS is a 'hidden L' lens, in that is basically L quality, but Canon has thus far not labeled any EF-S lens as L. However, as pointed out, this lens is limited to crop sensor, but it is one of the best crop sensor lenses.

The 24-70 2.8L is one of the best lenses in the world. But it is a MASSIVE piece of glass. From personal experience, its just not something you really want to lug thru city streets. And in dark churches, alley's or at dusk, IS is really fantastic. The 24-105 f4L is smaller than the 24-70 and lighter. The IS is fantastic, especially in travel as you have little control of conditions. True, the 24-70 at f2.8 is brighter, but IS trumps it IMHO for travel.

I find having an extremely wide lens, like the 10-20 is the most useful travel lens. Then, unless you want to carry your whole bag, the 24-105 is the second lens, due to its versatility. The 17-55 is a fine lens, but for the money I prefer to sport an L on my lenses, and its just not long enough.

  • 1
    I have heard this "17-55 is L quality" bit before. I think it's utter BS. I have rented the 17-55 and currently own about 1/2 dozen L lenses of various vintages. Even the old, beat-up, second-hand Ls that I own are leagues better than the 17-55 in color rendition, build quality, and sharpness. It is not L quality in any of those categories. I'd agree that it's one of the best, if not the best EF-S lenses (though the 60 f/2.8 would give it a run for its money), but it's not an 'L', hidden or otherwise.
    – djangodude
    Apr 22, 2012 at 2:51

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