Best zoom lens upgrade for canon dslrs: 10 tested

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM - £570

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 zoom range is similar and the fast f/2.8 maximum aperture remains constant throughout the zoom range.

There's also Sigma's proprietary optical image stabiliser, which beats the Canon with a 4-stop benefit. It'll also focus a little closer, giving a higher 0.2x maximum magnification factor.

Autofocus is ultrasonic but not as fast or near-silent as the ring-type system on the Canon lens. The Sigma also lacks full-time manual focus override, and the focus ring rotates during autofocus, which is a bit of a letdown when it comes to handling.

Vignetting is only really noticeable when combining the widest-angle zoom setting with the maximum f/2.8 aperture but, unlike Canon lenses, this can't be tuned out in DPP.

At f/2.8, sharpness is very good at the centre of the frame but drops off near the edges. That's usually not a problem; you'll most often use this aperture setting when you want to blur the background anyway. At f/4 and smaller apertures, sharpness is excellent across the whole frame. Overall, a cracking lens for the money.