The first step up Canon's ladder of standard zoom lenses, at least from the kit lens supplied with the 550D and 600D, is the EF-S 17-85mm. It's better built, with a much sturdier feel than the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens for those cameras.
Street price : around £350
Read the full Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM review
Centre frame sharpness is good throughout the focal range of the lens, but the edge sharpness at 17mm is soft.
While there's little sign of fringing at the centre of the frame, towards the middle and edge, there's a slight visible blue and red influence.
At the widest focal length distortion is very apparent. At 24mm distortion is minimal, increasing to a mild pinch at 85mm.
Image test verdict
Performance from the Canon lens is average. Its good performance is marred by soft edges and visible fringing at the widest focal length.