You're right...size is not everything. It's just that it was HUGE!! But, bigger is not always better, right. For a 17-55 I was just surprised how much glass there was. 77mm across the front. But it is a pro level lens.
After some research, the best Minolta lens I found is the 28-70 2.8 G series. Of course I'll pay $800-1000, but it is the HIGHEST rated lens on Dyxum. 28mm isn't as wide as my kit, but at 70mm it's much more useful than his 55.
It occurred to me that with the added use of my legs, I could've used my 50mm 1.7 and had even better shots than his.
I am curious how the G Series lens compares to the KM 28-75 2.8 which sells for less than half. I am VERY happy with mine.
And you are definitely right. The 50 1.7 certaingly beats any of them in low light if the focal length is right.