Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens – Review

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens – Product Review:

Equipped with Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm standard zoom lens is ideal for just about any application. IS technology compensates for camera shake by providing the equivalent effect of a shutter speed up to four stops faster. This allows you to take sharp handheld shots even in low-light conditions–a must for sports and nature photography. The lens also offers an aspherical lens element that corrects for aberration, thus producing a topnotch image throughout the zoom range, and a circular aperture that exquisitely renders out-of-focus backgrounds. Despite its minimal size, weight, and cost, the lens expands the picture-taking possibilities any time slow shutter speeds are needed.

Specifications

  • Focal length: 18 to 55mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/3.5 to f/5.6
  • Lens construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
  • Angle of view: 74 degrees @ 20 feet to 27 degrees @ 50 feet
  • Focus adjustment: Autofocus (DC motor) with manual focus option
  • Closest focusing distance: 9.8 inches
  • Filter size: 58mm
  • Dimensions: 2.7 inches in diameter and 3.33 inches long
  • Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Warranty: 1 year

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens – Product Description:

Equipped with Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm standard zoom lens is ideal for just about any application. IS technology compensates for camera shake by providing the equivalent effect of a shutter speed up to four stops faster. This allows you to take sharp handheld shots even in low-light conditions–a must for sports and nature photography. The lens also offers an aspherical lens element that corrects for aberration, thus producing a topnotch image throughout the zoom range, and a circular aperture that exquisitely renders out-of-focus backgrounds. Despite its minimal size, weight, and cost, the lens expands the picture-taking possibilities any time slow shutter speeds are needed.

 

Product Features :

  • Focal Length & Maximum Aperture – 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
  • Lens Construction – 16 elements in 12 groups, including UD-glass and aspherical lenses
  • Diagonal Angle of View – 74 20′ – 7 50′ (with APS-C image sensors)
  • Focus Adjustment – Gear-driven
  • Closest Focusing Distance – 1.48 ft./0.45m (maximum close-up magnification 0.24x)

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens – Review:

GREAT LENS, ESPECIALLY FOR THE VERY LOW PRICE!

PROS
* Very sharp across the image, even wide open.
* Low Chroma. I read a test ([…]) that found higher than normal amounts of CA in this lens at some apertures, but I don’t see it. My standard test is to shoot bare tree limbs on bright sunny days & look for purple fringing, especially at the edges. I’m not seeing anywhere near the level of fringing shown in some of their test shots.If anything, I’d call it “low” I read elsewhere that one of Canon’s goals in adding the aspherical element to this lens was to reduce CA, so I’m thinking maybe the lens tested in photozon.de was just a bad apple.
* Image Shake control works. I can’t attest to how often it provides a full 4 stops worth of shake reduction, but I can see a very clear result when using it.
* Fast accurate focusing. One of the reasons I purchased this lens was because I was dissatisfied with the performance of my (more expensive) Sigma 17-35 EX (the newer model), which while sharp, is just too slow and inaccurate a focuser for close work in action sports. The new Canon solved that problem.
* Compact, light weight & unobtrusive. Not much bigger than a normal lens.
CONS
* Barrel Distortion at 18mm (28mm) While not exsessive for an inexpensive lens, this is one area where you will see benefit from spending hundreds of dollars for a much more expensive Canon “IS” or “L,” or buying a fixed focal length lens. In most real world situations, it wasn’t all that noticeable. I could usually correct for it in Photoshop, but this is not a lens for critical architectural work etc. I have taken hundreds of photos with this lens and barrel distortion has only called attention to itself a few times. I suspect this is one price paid for the very compact design.
* Not very fast. Another area where an “L” has an edge. At F3.5 28mm equivalent and F5.6 85mm this lens is relatively slow compared to a pro lens. This effects stopping the action in low light. OTH, you will have to spend hundreds more to get a usable top speed of F 2.8 and that is *only* one stop faster at 28mm equiv. I think both this lens’ sharpness and the IS system mitigate this “Con.” It took me a while to learn that I could shoot wide open at all focal lengths without having the outer third of the image turn to mush.That’s pretty amazing for a zoom at this price. You don’t have a stop or two you almost never use because it is too soft. And the IS system works well in low light, though that doesn’t figure in in stopping the action.
* Does not have that red stripe. Sad to say, some will never buy this sharp, handy little lens because in is not an “L” and/or doesn’t cost $[…]. Yes, it does does look a little “plasticy,” probably doesn’t have the build quality for heavy, everyday use by a real working pro, and does not look massive mounted on your camera body, like a “fast” pro lens that’s squeezing out that last F stop. But IMO, it looks very similar to Canon’s newer IS lenses, so there is no scarlet letter immediately identifying you as “cheap.” In other words, “Get over it.”

So, why did Canon produce such a good lens at such a bargain price? I’d say that it’s because Nikon announced their intention to do the same a little while ago. Also, Canon’s old non IS 18-55mm lens had the rep of being something of a dog. Finally, several competing cameras now have IS built into the body. Canon had to respond with a sharp IS lens that they could put on the Rebels & the 40D. In terms of sales, the low end of the DSLR market is both hot and very competitive. We’re the beneficiaries.

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