Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Sample Images

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Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 50D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 135.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/800s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 50D
ISO Speed 400
Focal Length 27.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/1000s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 50D
ISO Speed 400
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 50D
ISO Speed 400
Focal Length 135.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/80s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 50D
ISO Speed 400
Focal Length 135.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 50D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 18.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 50D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 135.0mm
Aperture: f/6.3
Exposure 1/640s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 50D
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 104.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/1250s

Verdict

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS is a pretty obvious choice for those users seeking for a long universal range while keeping a very decent image quality. The new optical design with a large diameter UD element in the front lens group obviously makes a difference compared to its predecessor. The lens is generally capable of keeping a very high center to corner resolution. There's only a slight drop in quality at 135mm at max. aperture. The contrast level is relatively decent but you stop down a bit for a better "punch" at longer focal lengths. The subjective quality perception is somewhat affected by relatively high lateral CAs in the lower zoom range so for best results you should consider to switch to RAW files and correct the issue via a RAW converter (such as Adobe LightRoom). The amount of vignetting is a bit of a problem at max. aperture but stopping down a bit helps to control the issue. Typical for such zoom lenses, there's quite an amount of barrel distortion at 18mm but that's an acceptable compromise in this class.

The mechanical quality is pretty good thanks to a tightly assembled combination of decent quality plastic parts based on a metal mount. Watch out for centering problems though. A major improvement is the new STM AF motor. It's both very fast, virtually silent and it operates smoother than Canon's conventional USM drive. As such it is more suited for shooting movies - more so if you got an EOS camera which has been optimized for STM lenses, of course. Canon's dynamic IS comes handy if you need some more potential for handheld photography.

Given the highly competitive pricing of the lens we are certainly impressed by the capabilities of this new Canon lens. APS-C users interested in an upgrade from the basic "kit" lens (Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS) have now two obvious choices for an (affordable) upgrade - the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS with its more pronounced wide-angle capabilities and the long range EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS.

Optical Quality:    
Mechanical Quality:
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