EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Samples (M6 II) and 2nd day

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RLight Senior Member • Posts: 1,589
EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Samples (M6 II) and 2nd day

After shooting with the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM adapted on the M6 Mark II, some thoughts (and samples) to offer...

1. Image quality

Just as the benchmarks online indicated, it's sharper than all but the newer STM motor equipped EF-S glass out there, but, falls short of all but the EF-M 15-45mm in terms of sharpness. All to say it's neither good, nor bad in this realm. Good is obviously a 32mm or 11-22, which this is not. However, a slacker, is a Sony stock lens that barely hits 1000 lines in the corners... It's a strong performer if you are on the EF-S mount, in fact if you own a 90D, I'd argue this is a lens you must have. But, that's because the 90D lacks access to the more modern EF-M glass that's mirrorless optimized.

Bokeh is good.

Flare resistance is good, courtesy of the SSC coating I assume.

2. Autofocus

Better the second day. Getting lots of eye-AF locks, face locks, etc. Needed a bit of time and using it to figure that out. However, it does fall behind native EF-M glass, or, the 70-300 IS II USM (nano-USM). My guess? The newer STM and Nano-USM motors, which I've written about before, handle DPAF better. Now that said, I'll say you need an M50 or M6 Mark II, to handle this lens. At f/2.8, and the fast-action nature of what this lens is designed to shoot, you need DIGIC8 or better EOS M to handle this bad boy.

AI-Servo for action unfortunately is hit and miss. I don't get the glorious 80%+ hit rate on this, probably closer to 40%. Yeah. That stinks. But, on the plus side on the M6 Mark II, at 14FPS, you usually get the hits you want at that speed. I assume this is due to the archaic USM motor, again. That's a guess. You can see my samples, it's not like I was throwing my fist in the air because I didn't get the shot/s I wanted, but on an M50, I might be careful. And prior to that? No, you won't. You might shake your fist if so.

3. Handling

It handles much better on the M6 Mark II as I already mentioned on my first impressions. However, as I mentioned before, there are things you can figure out from an armchair, the bulk of this lens is very-anti-M. Works good around the house, but take it anywhere like the park? That's where a lens this big works on a 90D, but not so much on any EOS M. Just odd-handling with the extra adapter sticking out and frankly you need a bigger grip to support the weight vs the 70-300 IS II USM, handles better. Not bad, but not good.

4. Video

This is a huge bright spot for this lens. f/2.8, IS and USM? Marry it to an M6 Mark II or 90D? Sings wonderfully. The IS motor is audible on the built-in mic, I do recommend an external mic. But I can see why videographers flock to this guy between the constant f/2.8, and just having f/2.8 and IS, at the cost and color, bokeh rendition. If you do video, you probably already know all this and own one. I'm not a big video guy (obviously) but this could change my mind.

5. Battery life

This deserves a mention, right now I don't have a spare battery for my EOS M6 Mark II, this would change that. That older IS motor with older USM motor, driving f/2.8 glass, means this thing is a power pig. For that reason alone, I actually hesitate recommending this to M50 owners.

Other thoughts; closing thoughts

This lens answers a couple questions for me. Bulk and acceptability of an f/4 zoom on an RF mount (same size or weight as roughly as a RP + 24-105L or 24-240; cost for that matter), which is to say even an RP + f/4 zoom of some kind just doesn't get you compact or light enough for take it anywhere. The RF 35mm may, but not a zoom. This is where an M, or a PowerShot G excel is in take it everywhere. This lens is not that, nor is it's RF f/4 lens brethren.

This screams that Canon needs something to plug this hole that's native EF-M format (smaller, lighter, updated) in the fast zoom range, and, they should do it with something that starts faster than f/2.8, like both of their patents . The EF-M 22mm on an M50 or M6 Mark II especially cross that acceptable for indoor use with FF results boundary. This falls short at f/2.8, even with IS, indoors. An RP or R with an f/4 zoom will beat it. As I said, another you could've figured out from an armchair, no testing required. Where this lens gets interesting is if you're a big videographer, this is a pretty slam dunk, especially for the present price. Or if you're a 90D owner, another no thinking required. But for M owners? Faster zooms I hate to say it, are EOS R territory based off existing prices and bulk.

Should Canon do a PowerShot G with an APS-C with one of those EF-M 15-45 f/1.8-3.5 or EF-M 15-75 f/2-5.6 patents, I can say for me, I'd buy it so fast. Or if Canon did it in an EF-M option, likewise.

This also puts to bed both Fuji X and Sony E mounts f/2.8 zooms; they can't touch FF f/4 RF zooms, either. I had mentally played with both, but the Sony has hiccups I can't accept and the Fuji in low-light doesn't do as well as Canon or Sony (loss of color, see DPR studio test scene and set to low-light, crank the ISO and watch the colors disappear on the Fuji).

Will I keep the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM this round? Dunno. That's not a yes, that's not a no. I'm leaning no between the bulk and I could've done an RF solution for the bulk. If I felt that way, I could do my existing R with an RF 24-240, or even an RP. I'll pickup an IS zoom for indoor video and better all around IQ plus a fast-er zoom for indoor other than "Goliath" aka my RF 28-70 f/2L. But, as before, the R, can't touch the M in portability. An RP + RF f/4 zoom can't fit where my M does in my car, and is too heavy/bulky for chasing kids at the park.

Overall I'm going to say if you have an M50 or M6 II, this might make sense for video. But for stills? You're probably better lens swapping a 22 and 32 for indoor stuff. Honestly. The EF-S is 16 years old, it shows. It's not bad for the price, especially if you have an EF-S DSLR. But an EOS M? I'm going to vote no. Sadly. Some things are best left in the past...

The great irony and dichotomy of Canon: The M6 Mark II is perhaps their most advanced body but it's bound by a lack of fast zoom. The EOS RF mount? It's some of the best glass in the business, tied to old sensor tech that's been intentionally neutered to not compete against the 5D IV and 6D Mark II (lower FPS anyone?).

 RLight's gear list:RLight's gear list
Canon EOS R Canon EOS M6 II Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Samyang 21mm F1.4 +3 more
Canon 6D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS M50 (EOS Kiss M) Canon EOS M6
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