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

Sample Images

Here're a couple of quick'n dirty sample images taken with the EOS 350D and RAW-converted via RSP 2006.

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window). Please note that the originals are FULL SIZE samples (=several megabytes) thus requiring a significant amount of bandwidth so please take care of the limited resources here.

Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Exposure Data: f/8.0 @ 1/320s
Size 2311x3471
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Exposure Data: f/5.6 @ 1/160s
Size 2311x3471
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 40.0mm
Exposure Data: f/9.0 @ 1/200s
Size 2311x3471
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Exposure Data: f/5.6 @ 1/125s
Size 3471x2311
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Exposure Data: f/5.6 @ 1/160s
Size 2311x3471
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 49.0mm
Exposure Data: f/5.6 @ 1/100s
Size 2311x3471
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 40.0mm
Exposure Data: f/9.0 @ 1/320s
Size 3471x2311
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 47.0mm
Exposure Data: f/5.6 @ 1/500s
Size 2311x3471

Verdict

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There were a few moments when I considered not to publish the results due to "political correctness" because to date it was a quite absurd thought that such a cheap, or better "affordable", lens can perform this good and I'm sure that some will not believe the findings even though they're supported by the published field images. Anyway, the resolution capabilities of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is nothing short of amazing. This is also surprising regarding the rather small changes in the optical design compared to the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II. Still - the center resolution is excellent throughout the range even at wide-open aperture. Unlike most dedicated APS-C standard zoom lenses it is capable to keep a very good level even at the extreme corners of the image field. Its resolution characteristic is similar to the (much higher priced) EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS at comparable aperture settings, quite a bit better than the EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 USM IS and naturally vastly improved over its non-IS predecessor! Field curvature is not an issue. So is it a perfect lens then ? No, naturally not. It has its weaknesses - notably strong barrel distortions at 18mm and very high vignetting at 18mm @ f/3.5. Chromatic aberrations are well controlled at the extreme ends of the zoom range but quite pronounced around 28mm. In the field the lens struggles in contra light situations whereas the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is pretty good within the limits of its depth-of-field capabilities. All-in-all the optical aspects are impressive and that's not only regarding the low price tag. The image stabilizer is quite efficient with a real world "gain" equivalent to about 3 f-stops. On the mechanical side things aren't so rosy. Canon changed the cosmetics of the lens and it certainly "looks" better now but the actual implementation has only been marginally improved compared to the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II. The plastic quality (down to the lens mount) spoils the subjective quality perception quite a bit. The inner lens tube does still wobble significantly and accurate manual focusing remains next to impossible. However, the AF speed and accuracy is very decent and that's probably good enough for most users anyway. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is certainly a value king, priced below 200€/US$, which is a good match for the resolution potential of the current generation of Canon's APS-C DSLRs.

Optical Quality:
Mechanical Quality:
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