Image stabilization or 'IS' is what Canon calls it, Vibration Compensation or 'VC' is a Tamron term, and Anti Shake 'OS' a.k.a Optical Stabilization is Sigma's phrase. Yeah that last one didn't match up very well, but it's an all important feature for today's run and gun hand held DSLR video renegades. It's also going to provide you with sharper images in low light situations when you can't use flash. When photographing with an Image Stabilized lens, you can also keep some of that ISO noise down. Sure a fast F/2.8 or better will help get that light through, but Image Stabilization is equally as important. Which lens is right for you? In today's economy, that question often comes down to 'What price is right for you'. So what's the options for Wide lenses between 16-55mm with a fast F/2.8? Here's the top three for Canon DSLR's (not full frame).
First is of course Canon's 17-55mm with IS. Some say it's super sharp, and built with such quality it should be labeled with other 'L' class lenses, but Canon doesn't seem to stamp L on any of their EF-S mount. Of course, it's also priced close to other L lenses so it's above what some young shooters want to invest.
Canon EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 IS Zoom
I'm going to throw off the order of things and skip down straight to most inexpensive. If you're looking for the cheapest price, Tamron has been doing well with today's market and offers a 17-50mm F/2.8 with VC (Vibration Control) that has worked very effectively for me on my 18-270mm. Some may argue it's not better than Canon, but I find that the VC with Tamron is super quiet compared to the IS on some Canon lenses (especially the 24-105mm).
Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II VC
Here's the middle ground in the top three list of fast wide lenses offering Image Stabilization. Although i'm talking about Canon options, keep in mind that both the Tamron and Sigma are available in other makes such as Nikon and Sony. The Sigma 17-50mm F/2.8 is still incredibly cheaper than the Canon 17-55mm and just slightly more than the Tamron 17-50mm. This is one of Sigma's recent lenses offering a 17-50mm F/2.8 with OS. Sigma's been getting great reviews as of late, and their designs keep getting better. Normally Sigma's are way over priced compared to the Tamron brand, but in this range of lens it's not a huge difference. Personally I think Sigma has an edge in quality of glass and build so if you could afford to, this Sigma is a great option for a fast wide with optical stabilization.
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Zoom Lens