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I've previously mentioned this lens in another review but I only just touched upon it. This lense is really a fantastic piece of equipment and if your just getting the standard lens with your SLR then make sure you either buy this aswell, or look for a package that sells both lens in one!
The lens is pretty heavy, and the extends really quite far. You can hear is alot when you do extend it and I think this may be an issue if you were to use this lens to record videos with as you will probably hear it zomming alot so probably not the best for this!
I tested out this lens before in a shop and I was really quite surprised how much this does zoom it, and the quality of the pictures! I was so surprized because it's a super cheap lens (compared to whats on the market) so my hopes wern't that high!
However, this lens is really amazing, it's able to zoom in and out really quickly and it's just fantastic! I've used this on the runway and throughout the show I was zooming in super quick to get models as they started walking, then id keep zooming in back and forth between models that were close up, and ones which were far away.
This is SO worth the price tag, it's really amazing!
Since my previous review about the 18-55 IS lens was very well received, I decided to sort of iterate on that and review little kit lens' bigger brother, the Canon EF-S 55-250 IS lens, which is in fact another kit lens, a sort of continuation of the previous one that had a focal length of a maximum of 55mm. Before getting into details of the bigger brother, I feel there are still some question marks that have to be straightened out.
How can there be more than one kit lens, and why would you need a second one?
I will not mention other brands, but what I know about Canon (8 years of experience) is that they are genuinely trying to please everyone, in every way.
Yes, I will admit to being a Canon fan, but for a reason: in 8 years no other brand managed to please me as much as Canon did, and I have tried from Olympus to Nikon, and Fujifilm to Kodak pretty much everything. I say photography is passion, and unless you're not passionate about your camera as well, you just won't produce the same level of successful results. As one of the old Apple employees said years ago, before almost going bankrupt "I'm still here because I bleed in 6 colors (referring to the old apple logo)", just the same you have to bleed some brand of photography gear, one that becomes an extension of your limbs, eyes and imagination.
So, as I was saying, Canon is trying to please and manages to do so by introducing more than just one kit lens, while broadening even more the possibilities in which good results can be produced inexpensively. But focal length or in layman's term simply zoom is something that most camera users feel the need for after quite a short time. There's that wee bird on the tree, or that gorgeous blonde (though I prefer brunettes or redheads) living across the street, that a 55mm lens will fail to get you close to. It just doesn't zoom that far. This is when the 55-250mm lens comes in really handy. Getting closer to their subject is every photographer's dream, however, as a general rule to any of you who own an optical zoom enabled camera - be that DSLR, Bridge or Point&Shoot - zoom only when there's no other easy solution to get close to your subject. If it only means walking a few more yards or even a mile, don't be lazy, and walk the extra mile. Any self-respecting photographer will tell you that using zoom instead of taking a few more steps will never produce the same results, and it will most of the time be considered lazy and sloppy. Photography is also a sport, not just art.
Getting back to kit lenses, truth is, there are in fact more than 2 kit lenses for Canon DSLRs. There's also the 18-135mm or the 75-300mm lens, but based on collective experience, both lenses are bigger trade-offs than you can afford, when it comes to quality results and mobility, which is why I own and recommend the 18-55 and the 55-250, both IS (image-stabilisation) enabled.
The EF-S 55-250mm IS lens is a direct and logical continuation of its smaller brother the 18-55mm. Just like any kit lens for that matter, it can be purchased together with the camera or separately. My personal recommendation is to get the 55-250mm separately, since you'll end up buying it a lot cheaper than bundled with the camera. Normally, the lens sells brand new for around £150 on Amazon, but if you're smart and listen to me, you'll get it just as brand new from Ebay from shops that took the lens out of the bundle, and are selling it for about £95. Full warranty will still be provided and will come nicely and very securely packaged in a white box together with its user manual.
The lens itself, while telephoto, it does weigh only 390g and size-wise it's a mere 108mm tall. Just like its smaller brother, the 55-250mm lens, is also all black, featuring the silver circle just under the Canon logo, however this time it's more mid-barrel positioned, because the focus ring on this lens is considerably wider, has better and more natural grip, and seems to run more smoothly as well. All markings are white and well-discernable. Features the EF-S mount, just like its smaller brother, and the IS on/off alongside the auto/manual focus switch. Like every lens, it comes with the lens cap on both sides, and I'd have to say, the 55-250mm lens has a better front lens cap than its smaller brother. However, none of them feature a string to tie it to the camera, which makes lens-caps easy to lose or misplace. The lens also features 58mm threads on the front for various filters or lens protectors, as well mounting possibility for various kinds of lens hoods. The lens allows also for extension tubes for extreme-macro photographers.
Speaking of macro, while this is a zoom lens, it is also great for macro photography, as in taking pictures of small things from extremely short distances, resulting detail much greater than our eyes can normally discern. However a common mistake about the 55-250mm lens when it comes to macro photography is that like with a prime lens or a point&shoot, the tendency is to get the lens very close to the subject. This will not work. The great part of this lens is that it takes macro pictures from over 1.1 metres (the lens is unable to focus unless it has that distance available, no matter the shooting mode), so no more worrying about that wee bug flying away scared to death by your lens or your girlfriend feeling weird while you try and not to poke her eye out with the lens while struggling to take a photo of it. It's sort of a stealth mode macro photography. A huge advantage. If I'd be Sherlock Holmes, this would probably be the lens I'd use the most.
Zooming, while very different on DSLRs than point&shoot cameras, on this lens it will be by 4.5 times, but that's very unrealistic (reality being higher), and to fully grasp what zoom means on a 250mm lens, I wholeheartedly suggest you go inside a camera store, pick up a camera and take a glance through the viewfinder while zooming. It's safe to say though that things get close enough for you to enjoy and even crop the results later on, during post-processing. You will not take a detailed picture of the moon, but landscapes, people, birds in a tree or on a further away rock will be a breeze to photograph while keeping the quality on the higher end of things in every way, especially sharpness.
On the whole, the lens feels more premium than its smaller brother, sturdier and a touch more reliable. It's yet another lens that does not disappoint. Generally the image quality is well above what you'd expect from a rather cheap lens, its only slight but understandable downsides being some pincushion and barrel distortion, slight curvature of focal plane and some colour fringing, but nothing you can't live with given its low price-tag. Fast moving targets are also not its strong-suit, but the lens will still perform rather impressively in most other situations.
Affectionately known as the nifty two fifty, this is Canon's entry level telephoto zoom lens for Canon's crop sensor camera bodies providing the possibility of reaching further into the distance when you are unable to walk closer yourself.
The plain black plastic build is highlighted with silver accents with about half the length taken up by the rubberised zoom ring. This has a smooth rotation and its large size makes it easy to reach for and control the zoom you require. A great addition to this lens is the larger zoom ring which makes manual control extremely easy but make sure that you set the switch on the barrel to manual focus otherwise you may damage the focusing motor.
This is a lightweight and relatively compact lens and is easy to fit into small camera bags and does not cause fatigue or neck strain when carried on your neck with your camera. But whilst it is compact at the shortest, when fully zoomed out and focused, the lens almost doubles in length as the centre section rotates out of the main body. This shouldn't be an issue and won't affect either performance or the handling of the lens. However, when the nifty two fifty is attached on your camera and hung round your neck on a strap, the shape will cause the lens to point downwards and will slowly creep down, extending as you walk along. As a cheaper lens, it does not have a switch to prevent this, so be prepared for the lens to extend when carried on a strap.
A fantastic feature on this lens is the image stabilisation which is always useful for the longer end of the zoom range. This has an on off switch and will help when taking photos without a tripod, stopping blurred images caused by an unsteady hand. The motor for this can be heard quite clearly and as with the autofocus motor, it sounds like something grinding inside.
Picture wise, you simply cannot go wrong with this lens, there is a 4.5 times zoom so you can expect there to be slight image compromise to meet the cost of manufacture. These shortcomings only come to light when you compare the results with expensive lenses or when you start looking at individual pixels. Even then, this is a major step up from what compact or bridge cameras can achieve and you will see the difference when compared to those. The reasonably wide aperture sizes lets you use the lens in slightly dim conditions but it is best used at sunny outdoor settings. The aperture available also lets you better isolate your subjects against the smoothly blurred background.
This is an obvious choice when you want to buy your first telephoto zoom lens, the budget nature of this only makes it better value without depreciating the quality. If you think you want this from the beginning, look for it as a kit with your Canon camera.
I've owned my canon 55-250mm for around 2 years now and its still the first lens I put in my kitbag wherever I go. I purchased my lens from amazon.com for around £180. Which is an absolute bargin. The reason why I looked at this lens was because of a review I had read in digital photographer magazine which rated it a "best buy" award for a budget telephoto lens, which is what I was after because I sold my equivalent sigma 70-300 and this was the replacement I was looking for.
At the time when I first bought the lens I owned a canon 400d and now I own a 7D and because of the lenses EF-S mount it was easily compatable with them both.
The Canon 55-250mm as it states has a lens telephoto range from 55mm through to 250mm but with the crop factor of 1.6 this makes the lens an 88-400mm equivalent to a full frame camera and lens.
The build quality is good despite its plactic looks , it's very light at 390grams and with a filter size of 58mm it wont break the bank if you want to get some filters for it.
It has a lens aperture of f4.0/5.6 trough the range so its not bad for the budget. Obviously this isnt an L-series so you wouldnt expect it to be f2.8 like the other higher end models.
One of the great things about the lens is its IS or Image Stabalisation, which for a telephoto zoom lens is a must to stop camera shake and to iron out those once blurry shots. Granted Canon have IS on the lens itself where other camera makers tend to have the IS built into the body of the camera instead , but as long as you have it thats the main thing.
With the choice of auto or manual focusing as well it really is a nice lens.
The image quality i've found with this lens is fantastic. I've never known such a cheap lens produce such good results before. The colours and performance is brilliant throughout the range that i'm having difficulty finding a flaw with it.
Overall for the price and the performance its hard to fault it or find a reason not to have one in your kitbag.
I bought this lens to accompany my Canon EOS 450d and it really has been a brilliant purchase. Pick one up on Amazon for well under £200 which is an absolute bargain. It has very good build quality and you really will notice the picture quality difference between using this lens and using the standard kit lens (18-55).
I got this lens just before Christmas and so I have only had it for around a month, but I have been really impressed with its capability. It has the USM (Ultra Sonic Motor) which is exclusive to Canon meaning a fast zoom. Is also has Image Stabalizer (IS) which reduces the blur resulting from any "camera shake". I used this taking family photos over Christmas where it performed well....a good zoom really captured people's faces when opening presents! I also used it over in Ireland to take a few landscape shots and the pictures are very sharp even at full extension (250mm).
The build quality feels sturdy, just make sure you whack either a lens hood or UV filter (or both) on the end so you don't do it any accidental damage.
For its price, there really is nothing on the market at the moment for the Canon that can come close. Upgrading from the kit lens was the best decision I ever made!
The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS, to give it its full title, is a relatively new lens designed for Canon's APS-C cameras (e.g. 450D, 500D), so cannot be used on its 'full frame' range (e.g. 5D, 1D).
The lens sits at the budget end of Canon's product range and is available for around £220. It is, however, often sold with the Canon 450D and 40D cameras as a two lens package with the 18-55mm kit lens, giving a superbly capable camera and lens combination.
Canon's APS-C cameras have a 1.6 times 'crop factor' (because of the camera's sensor, smaller than the 35mm film camera, the focal length of a lens attached to it appears to be 1.6 times larger). This means that this lens has a very useful 'effective' focal length range of 88 - 400mm.
The 'IS' designation indicates that this lens has built in image stabilisation. This very useful feature moves the lens internals to compensate for 'camera shake', reducing the chance of a photo being blurred, even with longish exposure times.
Construction and ergonomics
Build quality, for a 'budget' lens, is excellent. The plastic materials of construction do not give a cheap look, but do make the lens relatively light. The tolerances for the moving parts are quite tight and the focal length and focus movements quite smooth, with a nicely knurled grip to aid moving: all in all, this lens looks and feels of a higher quality than its price suggests.
This is a medium sized lens (110mm long when on the camera) which balances on the 450D perfectly. The focus ring sits perfectly placed in my left hand, ready for use, and the IS and auto focus buttons sit just under my thumb.
The image stabilisation works well, photos can be taken (at 55mm focal length) at exposures up to 1/15th of a second without evident camera shake. Without IS, an exposure time of 1/55th of a second would be recommended to avoid image blur.
Auto focus is one of the lens' weak points. Focusing is fast and silent, with the lens getting to the right point very quickly, but accuracy is not great if the light is poor. I find that, in low light, my 450D 'hunts' with this lens, often resulting in an out of focus shot being taken. In bright conditions the lens is a much better performer and, if fitted to a 40D, handles low light much better than when on the 450D.
Chromatic aberration (coloured fringes that appear along areas of different contrast) is almost entirely absent, unlike many zoom lenses. Occasionally, I've detected very slight purple 'fringing' on dark/white edges, but only when examined at the pixel level. This is extremely impressive for such a low priced lens.
Contrast is also pretty good; images appear bright and vibrant, especially with a bit of 'tweaking' in Photoshop. The images produced with this lens will, however, have lower contrast, and look slightly more 'washed out' than those produced with more expensive lenses.
Lens flare is extremely well controlled; I've not detected any flare in any of the images I've taken with this lens, even in conditions where flare could be a problem.
Resolution too, is excellent. Cameras are being released with ever more densely packed sensors, putting huge demands on lenses to resolve all of the detail that the sensor can detect. This lens does a very good job of capturing detail. For a zoom lens, the resolution is higher than expected and users can expect to take images that capture incredibly fine detail when taken with a 400D or above.
The second weakness of this lens is 'vignetting'. At 'large' apertures (f/5, f/6.3), the corners of the image are often noticeably darker than the centre. This effect disappears completely at smaller apertures and may not bother everyone.
Like many zoom lenses, this lens suffers from 'barrel distortion' at the wide angle end of the range (55mm). The effect causes straight lines to be curved inwards at the end, like a barrel. The distortion is not severe, however, and will be unlikely to be noticed on most images.
This lens is then, light, good to hold, fast, and produces sharp, high resolution images with good contrast. If purchased with the 18-55mm 'kit' lens, the Canon APS-C camera user will have an image stabilised, effective focal length range of 28-400mm which may be all most users ever need. The lens is therefore, an excellent performer for its price. Canon should be congratulated for releasing such a high performing lens for such a bargain price.
Affordable telephoto zoom lens - 88-400mm equivalent focal length - 4-stop Image Stabilizer with automatic panning detection - UD element and Super Spectra coatings - Circular diaphram