on 21 February 2011
I bought this for one reason. When travelling, I was forever missing shots whilst fumbling to change from the wide angle kit lens to my Sigma telephoto. This lens gives you the complete range of the two so you don't have to miss a shot without the risk of dust getting into the camera body while exposed.
Purists will argue that there are lens aberrations at the extremes of wide-angle and zoom. This may be true, but for the majority of users this will not be an issue and is more than compensated by the ability to do it all out of one lens. After all if you miss a shot because of changing lenses, lens aberrations are irrelevant. I cannot see any defects in the shots I have taken.
Others have spoken about the lens extending under its own weight, and this is true. However, you quickly learn to carry the camera by the lens or flick the zoom lock switch on /off with your middle / third finger so this really is not an issue.
In addition, the image stabilisation built into the lens can also sharpen images, reducing the need for a tripod - although that's still a necessity for extreme zoom and low light. Finally your camera bag will be a lot lighter, because you can leave the separate wide angle and zoom lenses behind. This lens is now permanently on my camera (Canon EOS) 450D.
on 14 November 2008
I'm only writing this to correct any mis-representation in previous reviews. Some people only write to complain...and aren't using the product correctly. This is a compromise lens, designed to cover a wide and commonly used focal range. As such it can't be optically 'perfect' but for the majority of peoples needs I believe it does the job superbly. I'm more than impressed with its optical performance. What it does provide is convenience and speed, great for taking those opportunist pictures that all too often seem to vanish whilst fiddling to change to other lenses of different focal length. It will be great for traveling and holidays as a 'one only' lens.
The image stabilisation is impressive and also works well with panning. Autofocus is fast although it lacks USM...which would have cost more. The build quality is much better than I expected...it is surprisingly chunky and weighty...and there are no untoward rattles! As stated, the image quality is good.
If I had one criticism it's a general Canon one...they never supply a lens hood for the price (unlike Nikon), and the lens specific hoods are always ridiculously over-priced for bits of plastic. Canon take note!
'Zoom creep' as described by another reviwer isn't really an issue, any more than with any other weighty zoom lens...even of 'L' quality. A zoom lock is built into the lens if required. I must say I haven't had to use it.
I have already had a photograph on local television with this lens within a couple of days of owning it. I think it's great...and no regrets.
on 18 May 2012
I got myself the Canon 18-200mm lens as a replacement for the 18-135mm lens that was part of the EOS 550D kit I bought a few months ago. I wanted to expand the range of the zoom because sometimes I would get a bit frustrated when trying to zoom in on details or far objects and the 135mm just wasn't enough to satisfy my eye.
First impressions: tough built, heavier than the 135mm but somehow feels less bulky, fills the hand (is a wider 72mm).
The first time you try to zoom in you have to remember that it has a lock in place that you need to unlock (lower right side of the lens), which I find great for stopping the lens extending itself when I put it in the bag or take it out of it. That used to happen to me all the time with the 135.
Also for the first few days zooming in and out will require a bit more of a forceful action, until the zoom gets more "used to it" and the movement will get quicker.
The zooming, even then, is always perfectly fluid though.
The images I got so far are of daylight photography, I haven't tested it at night yet.
The results are stunning for a lens with this price tag: crisp images, handles the light perfectly, I have noticed no chromatic aberrations at any focal length or aperture. The bokeh is very pleasant to the eye.
The Image Stabiliser works wonders at the 200mm end of the zoom, taking sharp photos of faraway objects or details of closer ones.
The focusing is fast and not as loud as I expected it to be due to the lack of USM. In fact it is easily drowned by the buzz of the average day out in the city.
So far I am properly impressed by the quality that went into this lens, and since it covers such a great range, it's definitely not coming off my 550D any time soon. You would be forced to search quite a while to find a better lens for the 18-200mm zoom range. I am recommending it without a doubt.
on 7 March 2010
I was looking for a lens that could be left on-camera pretty much full-time; one that covered the full range of focal lengths I felt I needed. The 18~200 EF-S is just such a lens, and given its wide zoom range it still manages to be reasonably 'fast' too. The disappointment of it not being a USM ring motor design faded quickly once I discovered how fast focusing is with this lens. Subjects instantly snap into focus. I haven't had the opportunity to try it with other camera bodies, but I doubt it would be sluggish on any other model.
The image stabilization is very impressive. It's so cool when you press the shutter-release half way and the jittery viewfinder image solidifies, or at least becomes more treacle-like. It won't make your tripod redundant, but it does improve handheld shooting considerably, especially at the 200mm end.
The lens does extend under its own weight, but why would this be a problem to anyone? Adding this lens to your camera does make it a heavy combination, so you'll likely be holding it by the lens as well as the camera anyway.
I haven't held the lens up to the rigeur of scientific scrutiny as far as optical performance goes. That's not really my thing. Life's too short. A very slight barrel distortion in my pics of Torremolinos wouldn't cause me any sleepless nights. I've taken lots of pictures with this lens and I'm more than happy with it.
on 19 March 2009
I recenltly purchased the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS as a replacment for the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens that came with my Canon EOS 450D. The build quality is very good especially compared to kit lens which feels a lot cheaper by comparison. The auto focus speed is reasonable, IS is excellent and the wide focal length zoom range very useful.
I see that a lot of people are compaining about the lens self-extending under its own weight. It personally doesn't bother me too much. Holding the zoom ring in place does the job. Plus the zoom lock is handy when the camera isn't being used.
All in all, a great general purpose lens for the money considering the wide zoom range available and reasonable optical quality.
on 21 March 2016
Firstly, a short story. This lens and I have a chequered history: since it first went on sale in 2008 I've owned 4 of them! I sold the first one to get the Tamron 18-270, wasn't happy with it, so re-bought the Canon (2nd lens). Some time later Sigma released the 18-250, so I sold the Canon again. I kept the Sigma for a year or so, but then tried the Canon again when the 7D DSLR came out, and bought it again (3rd lens). Then Tamron released the 16-300 which offered a substantial range increase over the Canon, so I had that for a year. And in January 2016, I tried the Canon again, and bought it gain (4th lens).
Let's get this out of the way: any superzoom is going to be a lens of compromises. At 11x zoom range, this lens is no exception - it's not going to compete for image quality with the high-end Canon 'L' zooms, many of which are no more than 3x or 4x zoom range. Superzooms are perfect lenses to carry around on a small DSLR when travelling and space is at a premium, or for those short trips where photography isn't the primary goal, but you don't want to be without a decent camera.
Now that we've dealt with that, this is still the best superzoom available for the Canon format - and as you've read above, I've tested a lot of them. There are a lot of options to choose from in this market: Sigma have an 18-200, 18-250 and an 18-300; Tamron have an 18-270 and a 16-300; and of course Canon have this 18-200.
Looking at image quality in a little more detail, this is probably the only superzoom I'd willingly use wide open. As with other superzooms, sharpness does improve down to f/8 and the extremes of the zoom range do suffer edge softness to some extent. There is some chromatic aberration, particularly at the wide end, but that's not difficult to correct in Lightroom.
Compared to all 3 Sigma superzooms, the Canon is better in every respect, and at all focal lengths I tested. Compared to the Tamrons, the Canon is better than the 18-270, and on par with the 16-300. The Tamron is better at the telephoto end; the Canon better at the wide angle end. So if your use is mostly 150mm or greater, then go with the Tamron, but if your use is mostly wide angle, the Canon probably performs better. It's close though.
There's no escaping the mechanics of this lens are old: there's no ultrasonic motor, so the focus ring rotates rather annoyingly when focusing, and it's far from silent, so would be a poor choice for a video lens. For £350 you'd think Canon would have included a lens hood, but no, that's a £30 extra, which is really quite offensive at this price point.
In summary, yes, a lens of compromises, somewhat out of date, but with no replacement on the horizon, it's still the best balance of compromises I've seen in a superzoom to date.
on 20 October 2013
This is a good all round lens, but after a couple of years I have found that the image stabilisation is problematic, which leaves me with the alternative of shelling out around half the price I paid for it to get it fixed by Canon, or to buy a replacement. For an item that cost just under £400, I would have expected better than a 1 year warranty, particularly when competitors such as Tamron are offering 6 times that. Food for thought, and I will certainly think twice before buying Canon again.