Customer Review

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good "upgrade" over a kit lens, great day trip lens, 2 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens (Accessory)
I picked up one of these with a 70d body so will convey my thoughts on the lens. I've used the 18-135mm's from Sony and Pentax too and this stacks up quite well v other makers.

I'll fire off with my pros and cons list for quick reference

Pros:
+ Decent build quality, plastics used are of good quality, metal mount with good tight fitting. Certainly very respectable for a lens in this price range
+ Handy 29-216mm equivalent focal range, though I wish it were a touch wider at times
+ Optics are sharp in the central area of the frame across the focal range
+ AF is smooth with video shots, ie focus adjustments are not jittery at all, one of the main selling points of STM lenses
+ AF motor is "silent" and will not be hard during video recording, AF is fast too
+ Zoom lock at the 18mm position though there are no signs of zoom creep so far
+ Filter ring does not rotate on focus
+ IS works well and is also silent, I'd say 3 stops possibly a bit more.

Cons:

- Fairly hefty distortion at the 18mm end, quite common for a lens of this type, some pincushion at the tele end (though fairly minor)
- CA is visible at the 18mm end esp at the edges, but this improves stopping the lens down
- Tele end there is some drop off in the extreme edges and corners (from around 85mm and up) this again is quite common, and they do pick up a bit stopping down (though they don't clear up entirely)
- Vignetting wide open, most obvious at the 18mm mark but present across the range. Not a show stopper, clears up stopping down a bit
- Whilst the STM is great for video AF, it's not ideal for manual focus. The focus ring drives the motor to focus the lens (ie focus by wire) A mechanical manual focus is better, not a deal breaker but something to look out for.
- No hood supplied

Just a note about the fall off and distortion/CA. All par for the course with lenses like this but with corrections on in jpeg you won't notice problems. In raw they will show up but usually don't cause problems with a few quick adjustments. The barrel distortion is strong at 18mm, but it is on the other lenses from other makers and day to day shooting it's not really a problem for most shots.

I was quite impressed with the sharpness from the lens, which is very good across the range and in the middle of the image. The corners are a bit softer tele end, stopping down does help here for longer distance shots (ie landscapes) I think it's acceptable considering the good range the lens covers. Certainly a much better performer than the Pentax 18-135mm I tried, the Sony is also good and runs the Canon close in many ways, non silent AF though but it's a bit better with CA and a bit more contrast v the Canon. So very respectable performance from the Canon lens.

The quality of the "bokeh" or blur isn't bad in my view, lenses in this focal range are not ideal for super creamy backgrounds, but the 18-135mm is decent enough at the tele end for this (you won't have any problems knocking the background out of focus at 135mm) There are obviously better lenses out there for this.

For reference the lens speed at various focal lengths are approx as follows:
18mm f3.5
24mm f4
35mm f4.5
50mm f5
And f5.6 above that for the rest of the range

This isn't a fast lens so it won't replace your 50mm prime (which you will still want for low light shooting)
But for video it's quite impressive (smooth to track focus and won't be audible in video recordings even using the on-board microphone)
And for a take one lens trip out this covers a good focal range and will be a lens you will use frequently. Not that the 18-55mm is a bad lens it's one of the better kit lenses out there, it's hard to go back to an 18-55mm after using this for a while though. And I think the compromises on this 18-135mm are a lot less than the bigger range super-zooms such as 18-250/270mm, which have some fairly weak focal ranges optics wise.

Good lens to get in a bundle with a body, well worth looking at for video users too.
As with all lenses check for de-centering or other issues (AF too) when you buy one. No obvious issues on my copy though.
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Review Details

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4.6 out of 5 stars (34 customer reviews)
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Mr Baz
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