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

4.0
June 28, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is the new kit lens for the EOS 700D / Rebel T5i. Is it just a throw-away lens that you should upgrade as soon as possible, or is it actually worth using? We've tested the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM on the EOS 700D / Rebel T5i to find out...

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is a new standard kit lens for Canon’s APS-C DSLR cameras. Featuring an equivalent focal length of 29-88mm, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm features a newly developed stepping motor for smooth and quiet continuous AF while capturing video and in live view mode, 4-stop optical image stabilisation, a short minimum focusing distance of only 25cm, Super Spectra coatings that minimize ghosting and flare, a circular seven-blade aperture, and a non-rotating front element. The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is available either as kit lens or seperately for £239.99 / €299.99 / $249.99.

Ease of Use

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

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

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

Weighing a mere 205g and measuring 75cm in length, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is one of the smallest and lightest standard zoom lenses that Canon offers. Being an EF-S lens, you can only use it on a Canon EOS APS-C body like the 700D that we tested it with, for a 29-88mm equivalent angle of view.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMTop of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

As you would expect from such an inexpensive lens, build quality is adequate rather than outstanding. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM feels fairly solid in your hand, despite the all-plastic construction, although the plastic mount is disappointing. The focusing ring is very narrow but has a ridged, rubberised grip band that assists with the finger-tip operation.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMFront of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMFront of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM boasts Image Stabilisation which Canon claims offers an advantage of up to 4 f-stops over lenses without a stabilizer. This is activated via the On/Off switch on the side of the lens. If the camera body supports it, Canon's IS technology is also able to detect intentional panning movement and automatically switch from the Normal IS mode to the Panning IS mode.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMFront of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMRear of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

The final control on the lens barrel is a focus mode switch with the usual AF/MF settings. Note that this lens offers full-time manual focusing even when AF is selected.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMThe Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens in-hand

The lens doesn't ship with either a lens hood or a protective bag. It accepts 58mm filters.

Focal Range

At the 18mm focal length the angle of view is 74º 20'.

 Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMField of view at 18mm

At the 55mm focal length the angle of view is 27º 50'.

 Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMField of view at 55mm

Focusing

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens has a very narrow focusing ring that doesn't really encourage you to use it - perhaps Canon thinks that most users of this lens will never manually focus. There are no hard stops at either ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity. Manual override of the autofocusing system is available at any time. Polariser users should be pleased that the 58mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM zoom is a quick performer, only taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS 700D that we tested it with. We didn't experience too much "hunting" though, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It's also a virtually silent performer too, thanks to the built-in STM (Stepping Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording and more candid photography.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not particularly well controlled with this lens, appearing in quite a lot of our test shots. The examples below show the worst-case scenario.

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

Light Fall-off

With the lens wide open at f/3.5 at 18mm, you can see some light fall-off in the corners, although Canon's latest APS-C bodies can automatically correct for it when shooting JPEGs. There's also some obvious barrel distortion that disappears by 35mm.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMVignetting at 17mm

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

Macro

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is not really a macro lens, but the close-focus point is a useful 25cm from the film/sensor plane, and Canon quotes a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.36x for the lens at the 55mm focal length. The following example illustrates how close you can get to the subject, in this case a CompactFlash card.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Close-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM has an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades for a pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Below you'll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

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

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

wide-angle, lens, canon, zoom, standard, telephoto, image stabilisation, f3.5, f5.6, normal, OIS, 18-55mm, image stabilised, ef-s, stm, stepping, stepper, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM, 29-88mm, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Review, 18-55 mm

Tracker Pixel for Entry