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Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

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47 153812 Mar 21, 2012
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85% of reviewers $149.77
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n response to demands of photographers, this standard zoom lens is designed with Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer technology while retaining the compactness and lightness of previous models. Its stabilization allows sharp hand-held shots at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than otherwise possible. It consists of 11 elements in 9 groups and uses an Aspherical lens element to correct aberration for excellent image quality throughout the zoom range and a circular aperture for exquisite rendering of out-of-focus backgrounds. Without a lot of size, weight or cost, this lens expands picture-taking possibilities any time slow shutter speeds are needed.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 74° 20' - 27° 50'
Focus Adjustment: AF (DC motor), with manual focus option
Closest Focusing Distance: 9.8 in./0.25m
Filter Size: 58mm, P=0.75mm/1 filter
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 2.7 in. x 3.33 in./68.5mm x 84.5mm (maximum lens length)


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Registered: Jan 24, 2012
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 21, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp(very good resolution with moderate contrast), inexpensive, light, good colours after some post processing, stabilizator very useful, useful focal length
Contrast and colours a little bit moderate (can fix in post processing). Autofocus sometimes hunts in bad lighting or at white surface, in bright sunlight can have flare problems.

Very good quality compare to the price, I have the Mk I version. Not perfect, but very good.

I have a review with pictures about the lens at

Mar 21, 2012
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Registered: May 14, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 452
Review Date: Aug 19, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Decent sharpness and color reproduction. IS very valuable.
Not really useful for low-light and portrait photography.

Purchased as part of T2i/550D kit. This lens is really good for the price with decent sharpness and color reproduction. The IS is also really useful. I have since upgraded to the 17-55mm f/2.8 as I wanted a faster lens with good bokeh (the other lenses I own are 200mm f/2.8L II, 100mm f/2.8L and 10-22mm).
I would definitely recommend this lens and the 50mm f/1.8 II (for low-light and portrait photography) to beginner dSLR users.

Aug 19, 2011
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Registered: Jan 13, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 26
Review Date: May 11, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, light, sharp
CA, plastic

This lens came as part of a T3i purchase. The lens is amazingly sharp. (Note I have the 18-55 is version II) The sharpness rivals my 50 mm prime and quite surprised me. I have many L lenses and don't think it is quite up to that level, but think it rivals many of my non L primes in sharpness. It does have CA which is easily corrected, otherwise I would have rated it a 10.

May 11, 2011
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Registered: Apr 29, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 230
Review Date: May 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Inexpensive, sharp, IS
It's not an "L" lens (duh)

I bought this lens for a friend on a limited photography budget. A few test shots showed it to be more than acceptably sharp, in fact I was surprised at how good it is. I own the Tamron 17-50 and while I didn't do any side-by-side testing the Canon seems to be pretty close in IQ. The IS is a big plus, and the light weight can be a benefit for some people. Overall this lens is a bargain.

May 24, 2010
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Registered: Jan 26, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 1443
Review Date: May 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp even wide open at any focal length, effective IS.
Cheaply built, front element rotates when focusing.

This lens is as sharp as any of my other lenses, including L lenses in the corresponding focal length range even wide open. As a matter of fact it is even sharper wide open from corner to corner than my 24-105L IS lens on the full size sensor.
It is an ideal travel lens for any of the cropped field Canon cameras. You get a very sharp lens for a very low price, can't beat that deal. I highly recommend it to get one if you have an extra crop field camera body and keep it on the camera. You will be surprised how often you will be using it.
Very sharp lens and an outstanding value.

May 20, 2010
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Registered: Jun 24, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1655
Review Date: Apr 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $140.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, Optical Image Stabilizer technology, Compact, Lightness (as in not heavy), Damn Sharp for a Kit lens. Fast AF (better, but not USM)
only 55mm, not USM (but fast AF)

I've had this little gem for about 7 months now. I was looking for a wider lens than my current Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 EX DG. Yes it only has a F3.5 at its widest but has the "IS" to compensate. Yes there is barrel distortion, but this is correctable within Photoshop. Also would like to mention that if you create a workflow like I did. using bridge I meta tag my images with 18mm as a tag, i can quickly filter these images and run an Action that I've already set up to correct the distortion. I've been doing this for 3 days, but it has worked so far.
Sorry back to my review.
The Image Stabilization really does work. Everyone has some form of hand shake, but if you practice shooting at night (late evening) and u use lets say your back of the house light fixture like I do, you can figure out "how low can you go" before your images become unusable. Practice is key. This is my first lens with "IS" and being 18mm on a 20D, I'm having fun producing images i did not think was possible.
I can only image what "L" glass and "IS" can do for my images.
Good job Canon, you scored with this lens.

Apr 7, 2010
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Registered: Mar 18, 2002
Location: China
Posts: 306
Review Date: Oct 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very light, IS really works, very sharp, unusually so, focus speed is not bad, small filter size, cheap cheap cheap.
Sub-average construction, front element rotates while focusing.

This is a very strange lens. I was quite happy with a 17-85 IS USM for everyday shooting, till I tried a friend's "cheap dog-toy all-plastic" 18-55. I very much expected this lens to be as dodgy as the 28-90 film counterpart.

Nothing could have prepared me for the surprise (shock?) I got when looking at the pics shot with this lens. Not only was it way sharper than the 17-85 USM, the resolving power was noticeably better and the micro contrast was really nice. I was even more surprised when it matched my 20/2.8 and 24/2.8 primes in image quality, even wide open.

I could not believe this, so I tested and re-tested these lenses last weekend, and it's true, the 18-55 IS really produces more detailed and sharper images than I could have imagined.

I liked this lens so much I dumped the 17-85 which costs 4x as much. What's Canon trying to do? What's going on here?

Oct 23, 2009
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Registered: Jul 21, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: +light weight +cheap +unusually SHARP (even wide-opened) for its price, especially on wide-mid range +very short minimum focusing distance +effective IS, 3-stop guaranteed with correct pose +decent focusing performance, even in low light
-rotating front barrel when focusing -"not-low" chromatic aberration in some cases @ mid-range -cheap build, which I would rather sacrifice in return of image quality, good call Canon! -aperture gets "slow" quickly approaching tele-end... but again... for the price, seriously all these could easily be ignored

another F-ing great-bang-for-buck lens! (along with the 55-250 IS) gosh it's such an amazingly sharp little lens for its price! it's one among those few but finally, it is from Canon! thumbs up!
IMO it's just, really, a must-have in every Canon DSLR user's line-up

Oct 8, 2009
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Dustin Gent
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Registered: Apr 3, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 8094
Review Date: Jul 17, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality, IS.
Build, plastic mount

This is way better than the original 18-55. Why didn't Canon include THIS version to begin with. Sure it is not of the best build quality, but it is SUCH an IMPROVEMENT over the original! I am really impressed by the image quality this lens produces.

Jul 17, 2009
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Peter 13
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Registered: Feb 24, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $170.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: sharp, cheap, light
colors slightly off, contrast OK but not great, slightly overexposes, my copy backfocuses

This lens is a way better than the old 18-55. It is very sharp at 18 mm an up and loses some sharpness close to 55 mm. It is cheaply build but that can be expected for the price. I run some tests again the 17-55; and in good light, it is very close but not as good – the colors of the 17-55 are warmer and more pleasant, better contrast , and, of course, there is 1 to 2 stop advantage. Also, the 18-55 tends to overexpose slightly and does not have very good definition in the highlights. The AF accuracy is OK for this class but not as good as with more expensive lenses.

My copy severely back focuses close to 55 mm that cannot be even masked by the relatively small aperture there: f/5.6. I noticed it too late to return the lens and I am not using it anymore. Based on that, I give it only 4 stars. I cannot rate a lens based on other people experience, and my copy deserves only that. I good copy of that lens would be a great value and I would recommend it to anybody on a budget. Do not mistake it for a substitute for the 17-55 even at the same f-stops however – it is not.

Jun 19, 2009
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Registered: Feb 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1986
Review Date: Jun 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $160.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Price to performance ratio is as good as it gets. Lens even took a hard fall, its sometimes amazing how well plastic will hold up.
Distortion is high, light CA.

There really is no comparison in terms of price to performance ratio. I have had mine for a year now and still have it mounted on my 2nd body (40D) all the time. Its really quite amazing that this lens can deliver at its price point. IS is quiet and effective, although it seems to miss a few rare times, as does my much more expensive 24-105. But the miss rate is low 2%. Its a very light lens, which is also great.

My lens also took a hard fall while I was hiking around, large amounts of dust/dirt was in the mechanisms. I wiped off what I could and it seemed to grind for a couple of weeks after the incident. But to this day 9 months later, it still performs like a champ.

I am taking off a couple of points on the rating for the distortion. It is high and I like to shoot architecture, even on my "lightweight kit" with the 40D. No question, the distortion is the highest on any lens I have owned. It is correctable.

Just a real incredible value for the dollar. I keep toying with getting a 17-55, but that lens is 7-8 times the price and the 18-55 IS is right up there on the price to performance curve, it is hard to justify spending that kind of money.

Jun 5, 2009
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Registered: May 29, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small. Lightweight. Quiet. Cheap. Fast autofocus. Accurate autofocus. Good quality optics. Image Stabilised.
None really, considering the price. Only possible one is the plastics used to build it, but at this price those criticisms are both churlish and missing the point.

some of you are thinking - this is a cheap kit lens, it has to be garbage. Well, you couldn't be more wrong.

The bottom line :

* This lens produces very good images at a very low price. *

Forget the Canon kit lenses that came before. This lens produces clear, crisp images that are entirely acceptable for most purposes. They may not have the zippy colours that you see in L glass or primes, but for a zoom lens of this price, this optic can produce results that are a huge leap forward from its predecessors.

As a beginners lens or a lens to go roughing it with, where you don't want to take expensive or heavy glass, then this lens is *highly recommended*.

May 29, 2009
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Registered: May 21, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 


This little ”kit” zoom came to me autumn 2008 as a bundle with EOS450D. First I thought I'll start with it and upgrade a bit later to something more classier. To my great suprise and delight 18-55mm IS started to make really good work.

My primary photographing subjects are museums, churches and other low light situations (for I live in northern Scandinavia, where sufficient light is often very limited asset). So it was my strongest interest to have an objective with sensible chances to survive in low light. Ok, f/3.4 – 5.6 isn't too great to start with, but with fourth generation IS things turned rosier. 18 – 55mm IS has a panning feature, but better still, it really compensates objective's slow aperture. Yes, surely you can't stop the motion with these values in low light, but it is not the case for instance inside a museum.

Image quality has really stunned me. Just two weeks ago I shoot at the Parola Tank museum some indoors pics with excellent border to border sharpness. After some of the pics were made 20 x 30 cm papers, it was easy to testify what I already had figured out from the computer screen: tack sharp results!

Don't forget the weight of the 18 – 55mm IS, just about 200g. I also tested 600g heavy 24 – 105 f/4 L, which, although very impressive lens, made EOS450D (with a battery grip installed) somehow unbalanced. I see that low weight means longer shakeless shooting sessions.

To make the lens even better, Canon should upgrade it with a decent manual focusing ring and a metal mount. No USM present hasn't been any issue at all, but sometimes I really miss FTM (specially inside museums). Plastic build is nothing serious to complain about, since tolerances are quite tight and zooming operation is pleasantly smooth. After all I'm really pleased to have this tiny little wonder and am not planning to change lens.

May 21, 2009
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Registered: Mar 6, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 13683
Review Date: May 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, IS, Small, Light weight.
Cheap build quality, Rotating front, No manual focus ring, No full time manual focus, No USM.

I got this lens with my 500D to use as a light weight camera kit and so far I have been impressed with this lens! Picture quality is really good, sharp and contrasty and good colours. The IS is silent and works well.

The build quality isn't that great, but is better then the original 18-55 kit lens which I also own when I bought my 300D. It would have been nice if Canon put a manual focus ring on the lens too.

The front element rotates, so using a Polarising filter means you have to reset the filter after focusing.

The autofocus is ok, not as fast as a USM lens, and the lens does hunt in low lighting conditions.

It would be great if Canon put the optics from this lens into a better body (Like the 17-85 IS) or even made a USM version.

The lens is good if your on a budget, or just looking for something small and isn't going to draw allot of attention to you and has good picture quality.

May 10, 2009
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Corpse Keeper
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Registered: Apr 9, 2009
Location: Mexico
Posts: 14
Review Date: Apr 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $185.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: El Precio/The Price, El Peso/The Weight
Los Colores/The Colors, El Contraste/The Contrast, La Distorsión de Imagen a los 18mm/The Image Distortion at 18mmm

El lente Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS es un lente de calidad regular ideal para alguien que se esta aprendiendo a tomar fotografías. Sin embargo si estas buscando mejores resultados para tus fotografías y ya has practicado lo suficiente como para escalar un nivel más te sugeriría un lente de mejor calidad (quizás un Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM)

Compré una Canon Xti, y busque un lente a buen precio que me permitiera aprender a tomar buenas fotografías y que sobretodo no me diera muchos dolores de cabeza, y me refiero a las fotografías borrosas debido al temblor natural de la mano. Entonces me hice de este lente hace unos 8 meses ya, y me ha funcionado como lo que es, un lente de principiante.

El problema con este lente no es su construcción de plástico, sino su calidad y contraste, los colores que recolecta este lente son un poco pobres y el contraste deja algo que desear. No puedo negar que el IS funciona de maravilla, por lo menos no tengo queja de las fotografías borrosas, pero si vas a utilizar este lente como tu lente primario te sugiero que vayas aprendiendo a usar el Photoshop si es que no quieres conformarte con fotografías de un color muy pobre.

Lo que si no me agrado para nada es esa distorsión tan marcada que tiene el lente cuando enfocas a unos 18mm. Y te estarás preguntando "¿distorsión?", si, así es. si tienes este lente en tus manos haz la prueba y enfoca a 18mm un objeto vertical, digamos un poste de luz asegurandote de que quede en alguno de los extremos del enfoque y veras como el poste se ondula, o se dobla como si estuvieses usando un lente eyefish (ojo de pescado). Es lo único que hace que me den ganas de deshacerme de este lente.

En conclusión, si aun estas en una etapa de aprendiz en esto de la fotografía este lente es una muy buena opción que te permitirá recolectar un poco de experiencia para cuando decidas que es tiempo de dar el siguiente paso.

/*-----------------------------Here in English-----------------------------*/

The lens Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is a regular quality lens ideal for someone who is learning to take photographs. But if you're looking for best results and you've practiced enough to climb one more level i suggest you a better quality lens (perhaps a Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM)

I bought a Canon XTi, and look for a lens at a good price that would allow me to learn to take good pictures and I especially do not give a lot of headaches, and I mean blurred pictures due to the natural hand tremor. Then I got this lens for about 8 months now and I have worked for what it is, a beginner lens.

The problem with this lens is not the plastic build, but it's quality and contrast, the color than this lens collects are a bit poor and the contrast leaves something to be desired. I can not deny that the IS works wonderfull, at least I am not complaining about the fuzzy pictures, but if you use this lens as your primary lens that I suggest you learn to use Photoshop if you do not want to settle for photos with a very poor color.

What if I am not pleased at all, is the distortion so marked when the lens is focused at about 18mm. And you are wondering "distortion", yes distortion. if you have this lens in your hands then do the test focuses on a 18mm vertical object, say a light pole that is sure one of the ends of the approach and the post is really undulating, or bending as if you were using a eyefish lens (fish eye). It is the only thing that makes me want to be rid of this lens.

In conclusion, even if such a novice at this stage of photography this lens is a very good option that will allow you to collect some experience to decide when it is time to take the next step.

Sorry if my english is poor. I'm not very good with it.

Apr 9, 2009
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Registered: Jan 18, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 395
Review Date: Feb 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $70.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp; Effective image stabilization; costs only $70 when included in a kit; Small and lightweight; Handles perfectly on a Rebel sized body;
Plastic mount; Mediocre color and contrast;

I'm spoiled by "L" series primes and zoom lenses. And so when this little EF-S kit lens came packaged with my Rebel XSi, my expectations were understandably low. The cheap plastic mount didn't exactly inspire confidence in me. But after playing around with it for a few weeks, boy was I surprised. This lens is without a doubt the best lens for the money in Canon mount.

Image Stabilization works flawlessly. The lens is surprisingly sharp when stopped down to f5.6 or f8.0. It can be edge-to-edge sharp across much of the zoom range, from 18mm to about 45mm. It tapers off at the telephoto end. I won't call it soft at 55mm, but I can't exactly describe it as sharp either. It's somewhere in between, and certainly more than acceptable.

The lens exposes brighter than my EF lenses. By my estimate, the EF-S 18-55 IS lens looks about 1/6 stop brighter than my 35L & 85 f1.8 at the same exposure settings. Contrast is mediocre, and colors are nothing to write home about.

But this lens only adds $70 to the cost of a camera. Frankly, it's downright stupid for anyone *not* to include it in a kit with a Rebel camera. It's a sharp lens with a useful zoom range, and with effective image stabilization too. It's small and weighs only 190 grams. A perfect lens to pair with the XSi for casual shooting.

I tend to rate lenses in a price-performance ratio. And even with all its imperfections, the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.4-5.6 IS easily proves itself to be the most lens for the money.

Feb 20, 2009
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Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
47 153812 Mar 21, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
85% of reviewers $149.77
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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