Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Rob (NL)!

Introduction

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is the next generation budget "kit" lens for Canon EOS APS-C DSLRs. It is a long awaited and, frankly, urgently needed successor for the rather mediocre EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II which was not able to convince anymore ever since the release of EOS 20D. However, Canon did not only improve the optical design - they also added an image stabilizer, changed the finish and introduced circular aperture blades for a better bokeh (out-of-focus blur). The field-of-view of the lens is equivalent to 29-88mm on full format cameras so it's a quite typical standard zoom lens.

Canon may have changed the finish for a better look but the principal build quality of the lens remains in line to its price class - reads: the plastic quality is still not overly impressive although it's slightly better compared to its non-IS cousin. The worst aspect is the inner lens tube which wobbles significantly. The fluted front portion of this inner tube is meant for manual focusing - really more a theoretical idea because accurate manual focusing is a nightmare. The lens extends slightly towards the extreme ends of the zoom range - its shortest physical length is reach around the 24mm settings. The front element rotates so using a polarizer is difficult at best. The optional hood is tiny and not overly efficient but still better than nothing.

The AF speed and accuracy is actually pretty good and the noise level during operations remains on a very low level. According to Canon the newly developed Image Stabilization system is good enough for a "gain" equivalent to up to 4 f-stops. That's a little bold in my opinion - during the field tests it gave me a more or less reliable gain of about 3 f-stops but that's already impressive enough. Unlike earlier IS implementations the new variant is capable to detect object panning so there's no need anymore to switch between a mode 1 and mode 2 in order to select the IS strategy (static scene or panning).

Specifications
Equiv. focal length29-88 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.6-f/9 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction11 elements in 9 groups inc. 1x aspherical element
Number of aperture blades6 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.25 m (max. magnification ratio ~1:3)
Dimensions69 x 70 mm
Weight200 g
Filter size58 mm (rotating)
Hoodoptional, barrel-shaped, snap-on type
Other featuresIS (Optical Stabilizer)




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