* Prices may differ from that shown
The 18mm of this lens lets you take wide shots which is great if you want to take an image of something thats huge. The other side, the 55mm lets you take slightly closer shots which is great if you want to take multiple images of something and make them all look different!
I also have a longer lens for this which I have previously reviewed and Im saying this because this lens is super small, which is great if you do want to switch up your lenses!
The downside is that the 55mm isn't really a 'zoom'. It barely zooms in much so you will be limited to what you want to shoot, (which is why i suggest buying a longer lens).
If you just want to use your camera to take photos of friends and family, and on holiday so you remember it all then this lens is great! If you do however, lets say you want to take a photo of a castle on the hill - then great! It will be a little small though, and you will find yourself wanting a longer zoom!
Overall it's a fantastic lens and I would ONLY suggest buying this lens with your first slr as it doesn't limit you the way other lens do!
There are dozens of myths in photography. Like zoom or megapixels. Or "you need a DSLR to take good photographs" and finally "kit lenses are generally not very good lenses". Every myth is built around some sort of reality, and I am not here to say it's all a lie, but it certainly isn't all true either. A good example of this is the Canon EF-S 18-55 mm IS kit lens.
(It is difficult to write about something very technical and professional in a very non-professional way, avoiding tech jargon and confusing phrases, which is why the review itself will be sandwiched into a lesson about kit lenses.)
Well, first of all, what on Earth is a kit lens?
A kit lens in called a kit lens, first of all because it generally comes bundled with a camera body. It's in the actual box of the camera, rather than being sold in a completely separate box. Secondly, it's an all-purpose lens. That means it's not a prime lens which is specifically designed for more or less one type of shooting, but it's like I mentioned before, designed for all purposes, aka you'll be able to use it in most situations. They're also generally rather cheap lenses, as in under £100, compared to prime lenses which are pretty much always over £100. This particular one I am reviewing costs around £99, if you buy it separately. Yes, they are sold separately if for some reasons you need one, and very often you'll find these at reduced prices taken out of kit bundles.
Why do Canon and many others sell kit lenses?
Being a multi-purpose lens ensures that every new customer will have the opportunity to spend less on gear, especially given the fact that most people who buy cameras with kit lenses, are keen amateurs who either don't see the point of spending literally thousands of pounds on lenses for every shooting situation, or they just don't have the financial resources to do so. A kit lens takes care of all that, turning DSLRs into affordable photography gear for most folks, and also a good jumping-board into learning more serious photography. It's good business for Canon in this case, and an attractive option for the customers.
Why do I need a prime lens if the kit lens does it all, and does it well?
Well, that's a good question, and this is where the myth about kit lenses not being good, starts. Yes, there is a trade-off, and it's mostly seen in quality. Quality of build and images. That's more or less true about the EF-S 18-55 IS too. But it's more on the less side than the more. You see, first of all, it is very difficult if not impossible to build an extremely high-end all-purpose lens and also keep the price under a certain level. Nikon, Olympus and all the others really know that very well and have been using it as an excuse for less than good kit lenses, and this way sort of pushing their customers to turn to prime lenses which cost more. Just to illustrate, the Olympus Pen series comes with a kit lens that's more of a joke than a lens. Same can be said about Nikon's kit lens. All left their customer's wanting a bit more, if not downright disappointed. The same was true about Canon as well. It just wasn't quite there. Until they went for the redesigned version of the lens which also includes IS, aka image stabilisation. IS is something you want in a lens, in any lens for that matter, but even more so in a kit lens, so it's mighty nice of Canon to finally build it into their 18-55 lens.
The lens usually comes bundled with camera models like the 1100D or the 600D, so it's packaging is usually just a transparent soft pouch. It obviously comes with a lens-cap (all lenses do), both on the front and the rear side (where the EF-S mount is). After all, it's a lot of glass in there, so it's important not to let too much dust get inside while being stored. It is not a heavy lens and that's due to the fact that it's mainly plastic, weighing a total of 200 grams. It's all black, except the for the silver circle at the front end, just under the Canon logo. All marking and info is painted with white onto the lens barrel. It features 2 switches on the side of the barrel, one for turning on or off the image stabilisation feature, while the other one is for setting the focus from manual to automatic and viceversa. It does not feel like the sturdiest of lenses, nor is the manual focusing (focus-ring is designed to accept 58mm filters) and the zooming the smoothest ever, but boy does it take some fantastic shots.
Speaking about those shots, they really come out better than expected from a kit lens. And it does perform rather well in all situations, including night-time photography, which is always an issue for most lenses and cameras. While in DSLR lenses the actual zoom is not defined, this one can be translated into a 3x zoom, so at the telephoto end - your highest zoom - you'll have things appear about 3 times closer. By the way, those pictures taken at 3x zoom will still be impressively sharp, except the edges which might be a bit softer than the middle area. Now I could bore you with specs like aperture, focal distance, chromatic aberrations and many others, but it wouldn't tell you much. What's more important is this: with this lens you can take pretty much any type of photo you want. Here's a few examples: portraits with nicely blurred out background, landscapes, food, group photos, action photos like your wee man scoring at cricket, close-ups of your cat's whiskers or the comatose mouse it is playing with, night and dim-light situations like the Tower Bridge at night which is a splendour to photograph. This little and hardly expensive lens will do all that, and while it is not guaranteed that all your shots will be spot on, enough of them will be to fall in love with it and never want to take it off again. However, when you decide to take it off, the EF-S mount is simple to handle and very easy to unmount and mount again, just make sure you store it with the lens hoods (caps) on.
All in all, it's a great upgrade from Canon to their kit lens. Definitely a great stepping-stone for keen amateurs or those who want to step into professional photography. There are stepping stones and stepping stones. In Olympus' case it's one that makes you trip and give up on DSLR's or mirrorless cameras altogether, but Canon's kit lens actually takes you a few steps ahead in photography and in videography for that matter, since it's great for both. It will not reveal the true potential of the camera, but it will reveal a whole lot more than many other cheap lenses will and it will be literally unable to leave you with a sense of disappointment.
If you choose to buy an affordable Canon DSLR, more likely than not, the camera body will come with this kit lens, the not very succinct Canon EF-S 18-55mm f 3.5-5.6 IS. This lens can often be found in camera shops unused but sold at used prices because some buyers already have a set a lenses and do not need this one and so trade it in brand new.
This lens is only usable on Canon's crop sensor cameras due to the lens fitment, these are cameras that have APS-C sensors. The lens is a short, black coloured plastic build with silver detailing . Most of the lens barrel is taken up by the zoom ring, the rubbery texture makes it easy to grip and is sufficiently smooth in in action. At the very front of the lens is a small ridged ring for focussing, but the placement and thin width make it difficult to manually focus your photos. The compact lens has two two small switches, these activate the auto focus and the image stabilization. The latter is a very useful feature to have on a lens, as it says, it allows you to take sharp photos if you have wobbly arms and is not always a feature present on lenses.
With this lens attached to your camera, you can expect to get great images in comparison to a compact camera. The larger apertures lets you create smooth blurred backgrounds whilst keeping the subject in sharp focus. The zoom covers a useful range of distance as a do-it-all lens, you should be happily able to use this for landscapes to good portraits.
This lens does not come with a lens hood so if you want to protect the front part, you will need to buy a protective filter of 58mm, this smaller size will does mean a cheaper filter though. I mentioned it was a plastic constructed lens, this only feels cheap compared to professional lenses. In isolation, it feels secure and durable and will easily survive everyday knocks and bumps.
In conclusion, the Canon 18-55 is a great starter lens and when buying a beginner Canon DSLR, you should definitely get this lens as part of your kit. You should find it allows more creative freedom for you to express your photos and will last until you want to step up to professional setups.
a review in one paragraph: it has a good range and is a good lens for lots of situations, but get rid of it as soon as possible if you want to take really good photos or make large prints.
a slightly longer review: Now a days probably 90% of digital images are never printed, and stay on websites like flickr or facebook- if you don't look too closely (people call this pixel peeping) even a cheap lens can produce ok images when viewed on a screen, even a modest sized print (A4) will expose the flaws of a lens, and that's where a cheap lens like this can start to let you down.
If you pay a load of money to go on a photo expedition, say you go to the arctic circle, or the grand canyon, once in a lifetime opportunities- this lens will let you down. If you're a casual photographer who's images are let down by their abilities rather than their gear, this lens will be ok for you to learn with, until you stumble across a fantastic photo opportunity and the lens then decides to let you down.
The AF isn't driven by an ultra sonic motor (USM) so it's noisy, much slower and to manual focus you have to switch from AF to MF mode. Given the typical use of this lens it's not inappropriate.
It also has some of the worst chromatic aberation I have ever seen, you'll want to avoid shooting against high contrast edges such as trees and buildings back lit by the sun.
Yes I have seen great photos taken by this lens, and yes I have taken great photos myself with this lens- but when I am comparing it to better lenses with faster apertures and better glass, you get what you pay for, and with the better lenses you don't have to be so limited as to what you can shoot. With an f5.6 lens you're relegated to shooting with flash or shooting in good light only, IS is useful for shooting in lower light, but if your subject moves then IS isn't going to help as it only lets you shoot at a slower shutter speed- so if you're shooting a children's party and the kids are moving around the kids will be blurry but the background will be sharp- I think a wider aperture is always more useful than an IS lens.
Perhaps I am a lens snob, I am a professional photographer and I must have about 15k worth of lenses and cameras, my main lens cost £1600 and weighs about 30x as much as this lens- so of course it's not going to impress me.
It's difficult to say what you should get, as this lens only costs around £50 on ebay, so there is no real competition in this price bracket, it is also one of the lightest and smallest zoom lenses you can buy, but if IQ is your priority then you'll want to step up to the 17-55 2.8 IS, or even the tamron 17-50 (with or without vibration control), both lenses are a cut above in terms of IQ, handling, build quality, and with both lenses being 2.8 then let in a lot more light and you can start to blur the background, making them great for portraits.
But if you're a casual photographer, and think you can live within the constraints set by this lens, then go for it- it's so cheap that you really can't loose.
Must make this clear that it is the older version of 18-55mm before they upgraded it to fit the 450D and above. So 400D and below.
When starting out in photography; most people get entry level camera body like 400D Canon EOS, this lens comes with the body to form the basic kit lens. As far as I know, you cannot purchase this lens officially with its boxes and such, you can buy one off Ebay for a reduced price of £50 or so without its boxes.
Before purchasing the entire kit, you will have to realise that the lens will have to be replaced very soon as it does not perform as well as its counterparts such as Canon 24-105mm for example. So do not expect high quality photographs from this lens.
The build quality is quite plastic-y and rather light, which made me uncomfortable with its seemingly fragility. The entire lens is made out of plastic, except for the lens itself. The slot where you insert it into the body is made out of metal so I was slightly assured that it wasn't going to fall off. There are two rotational bands; one for the small zoom provided and one for focussing. You can have it in two ways; automatic focus or you can control the focussing yourself. The manual focussing I felt, was incredibly difficult to do on the 18-55mm lens. I cannot explain why. But for most people, they will find it a lot easier to do manual than automatic, as it is a lot quicker. However, beware of unsharp results. The automatic focus is quite fast and accurate but if it focusses on the wrong area of the frame, you will have to turn to manual to rectify this.
The optical zoom on this was predictably disappointing; the focal length was short. I liked the 18mm as it was good for wide-angled photographs for example of landscape photographs.
Detail in the photos I have produced using this has been fairly average; the sharpness could have been improved; to use this, I would have to consider the lightning very carefully, adjusting the ISO speed, F/stops and the shutter speed just to ensure a sharp picture. I know that the IS range lens, the quality is so much better and you don't have to adjust it as much as you do with this lens.
The front element of the lens rotates when it focusses so it is rather unprofessional that it should rotate; what about the filters that clips onto the front? Canon obviously thought that people who uses filters will have upgraded from this lens before it became a problem. Obviously they were wrong.
This lens suffers massive flares when approached by certain sunlight, it shows up in my photos and effectively ruins them. Also, it exhibits the purple fringing; it is visible at all focal lengths and apertures. Nothing anyone can do to prevent this, it is to do with the chromatic aberration from the lens. It is much more obvious when shooting a dark object against a white background. It is only noticeable if you crop a small section of the photo, it will become quite obvious. But if you do not crop at all, it may not be noticeable.
This lens doesn't even have an image stabiliser which is pretty important to gain a sharp image, it corrects any blurry images for you. This lens would have improved so much if it had IS.
Overall, it is good for any new photographers starting out, to learn all the features this camera body has. But they will sorely be limited by the functionalities of the lens and will be looking to upgrade to better quality/wider range focal lens. It produces not the best quality photos but then again, it is cheap.
I bought this lens with my new Canon 450D, the difference between buying the camera as a body only, and with the lens was only £50 so I effective paid only this much for this lens. The price for the lens on its own is £145, so buying it with the camera was an incredible bargain.
This is a new lens, designed to be the 'kit' lens for Canon's current range of entry level cameras (e.g. 450D). It is an update of the old 'kit' lens supplied with the cheaper Canons since the 300D but has several significant improvements.
The lens covers the range 18-55mm which, when fitted to the Canon 450D, which has a 'crop factor' of 1.6, gives a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 29-88mm. This is wide angle to medium telephoto so covers lengths suitable from landscape to portrait.
Build quality is significantly improved on the older model. It's extremely compact and lightweight, but does not feel flimsy at all. It's constructed of plastic, but has a nice textured finish that definitely does not look cheap.
The headline update for the 18-55mm is the addition of image stabilisation. This effectively compensates for shake when not on a tripod and ensures that sharp photos can be achieved even when hand holding. Technically, this is reported to give 'four stops' advantage to a none IS lens.
In use, I find this to work brilliantly. With a non-IS lens, the photographer has to carefully consider the lighting and aperture chosen to get an exposure of greater than 1/focal length to ensure a sharp photo. With this lens, this is not something I have to worry about too much. Exposures of up to 1/3 of a second still result in acceptable photos most of the time.
Auto focus works extremely well, too. Most of my other lenses are Tamron, Tokina, or cheap Canon's so I cannot compare this to the latest ring USM models, but the auto focus is fast and accurate in good lighting. There's little noise when it's operating, so the lens appears to focus quickly with no fuss whatsoever.
In low light conditions, it does appear to hunt slightly and take longer to achieve focus, but this is not a problem.
The biggest improvement over the old 'kit' lens is in image quality. The old one was a bit poor, to be honest. This new lens is extremely sharp. I've taken pictures with this lens that, in the centre of the images at least, are as sharp as lenses costing three times as much.
Contrast is also extremely good, but here comparisons with much more expensive lenses shows that, as expected, the kit lens loses out a bit. Chromatic aberration is well controlled in the centre of the image, but is noticeable at the corners. This mainly shows up with high contrast edges (such as tree branches against the sky, showing 'purple fringes'). This can be reduced significantly using software such as Photoshop, however.
The lens' weak point is distortion at the wide angle end. This is the Achilles heel of many wide angle zooms, and shows up as barrel distortion, which, as the name suggests makes straight lines look curved. With a landscape photograph, it's unlikely that it will be noticeable, but take a photo with buildings in and it may look a little strange. Again this can be corrected in software to a large extent.
Overall, the image quality is extremely good, and when the price is taken into consideration, it's excellent. Many people who buy this lens may never buy another one, unless they need longer focal lengths.
In summary then, this is an inexpensive, but high quality lens, with built in image stabilisation. If you're in the market for a lens of this zoom range, you should seriously consider this. Price wise, it's very good value for money. If you're looking to buy a camera body too, get the two together for a real bargain.
I recently purchased a sweet Canon 400D/XTi Rebel from Amazon.co.uk (£45 cashback!) and this standard zoom lens (Canon EF-S 18-55mm) came with it.
As far as I know, you cannot purchase the Canon EF-S 18-5mm on it's own, as it's designed specifically to be sold with the 400D/XTi Rebel package. I'm sure you can pick up a cheap one on eBay though (probably removed from a kit package, or being sold due to an upgrade from kit package). I've seen the EF-S 18-55mm sell for around £25-£35 at undamaged/rarely used condition on eBay, which is quite cheap!
I obviously chose the kit lens package with my 400D/XTi Rebel as it only adds about £40 in the price difference, and I couldn't afford a new lens at that time.
Before I start reviewing the actual lens, I'd like to say that is is a kit lens. It doesn't have a great built quality, and doesn't perform very well obviously. You WILL need to upgrade eventually, as it'll degrade/break or you'll find the zoom limit restricting. I did, anyway.
The EF-S 18-55mm is black, with two silver tripes around the bottom of the manual focusing ring and the zoom ring. The writing declaring that the lens is an EF-S 18-55mm and other places on the lens is also in silver.
The zoom ring is quite stiff when you first use it, but it softens up eventually. It can be quite difficult to zoom in exactly where you want.
Manual focus ring
The manual focus ring is a joy to use, as I personally find it quicker and easier to focus on objects than with autofocus. It's also very easy to turn.
Picture quality is average when cropped and resized, but is quite grainy when zoomed in. The lens is also very small and light, which is great.
I think the entire thing is made out of plastic (well the girl at Jessops said it was..) except the glass, although it's pretty sturdy. Saying that, I dropped mine onto a carpet and the zoom/extender tube broke.
All in all, the EF-S 18-55mm is quite a decent kit lens. It's good for begginers who want to get used to the SLR features. I reccomend upgrading soon after though, as you will find the zoom restricting and the picture quality grainy. Saying that, I'm going to purchase another one of these lens from eBay as they're really cheap and light to carry around on holiday.
(Sorry if I don't use 'SLR' terminolgy correctly.. I'm quite new to photography and SLRs in general)