The second one I consider purchasing is Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM.
What I was wondering about is if there are any zooms within this price range that might be a better option than this Sigma?
Thank you for the input!
The Sigma is not stellar in IQ but with limited budget a good lens. You may want to avoid f/2.8 at 17mm. It is very soft (could be my lens specific)
I used this lens and its predecessor for years.
Check the reviews on Photozone, SLRgear - but you may already done that
If you have the budget then the Canon 15-85mm is a better lens though slower (aperture 3.5 to 5.6)
You may want to check the 17-50 non-VC of Tamron. People say it is also very good and not expensive - may be in your budget