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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Style Name: EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II|Change
Price:£129.27 - £348.30
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 1 September 2011
I have had my eye on the old model of this lens for a while. When I decided to take the plunge, I was dismayed to find this new one had just come out, at a much higher price. After reading what little I could find about it, I came to the conclusion there isn't much difference (I couldn't find any technical difference), and ordered the old one. But I then was informed that no stock could be obtained, and my order was cancelled. I couldn't be bothered to try and find another seller who still had some, so I ended up buying this new model instead.

The first review here said the results were disappointing. Well, I can't explain that - maybe a lens/camera combination oddity, or maybe the lens was faulty. We've only played with it for a day so far, but on our Canon 60D the results are very good. No problems with soft focus. At full zoom, you can see the IS working through the view finder when you press and hold to focus, and you can just about hear the lens as it works to steady the image - it is very impressive. Focus seems fast and accurate.

One very important point which may be of interest to astronomers and the like - holding the camera pointing vertically up or down, there is NO ZOOM CREEP at any setting, the lens stays zoomed exactly where you put it. Maybe this is a feature of the new model, or maybe I got lucky and mine is just tighter than usual, or maybe it is just because the lens is new and will ease up with use. It is not stiff to turn, it seems to operate very smoothly and is very easy to adjust. But there is definitely no creep at all on our lens at the moment.

We bought the camera with the 18-55 kit lens, and are now adding to the collection. We also just bought the 50mm f1.8 which is very cheap, but the results are stunning. We are equally pleased with this new zoom. Ours is certainly not going back!

UPDATE: People with Canon cameras that support Peripheral Illumination Correction (in other words, compensating for vignetting, or darkening of the images toward the corners), such as the 60D which we have, should make sure that they download the latest update to the EOS Utility software, and then use it to upload the correction parameters for this new lens to the camera. The cameras ship with data for many of the popular lenses pre-loaded, but for the more uncommon ones, or just new ones such as this, you will need to use the utility to update the camera. The difference it makes when you have done it is really very impressive. Consult the manual if you are not sure how to do this, it is very easy - but you do need the latest update to the software, as this includes the data for this new lens. When you have it loaded, test it by taking a picture of an evenly lit blank wall without flash, first with then without this option turned on. The difference is clearly visible. If you shoot in RAW, you can apply the correction easily afterwards in the DPP software, and apparently with even more control and therefore success. But if you shoot in JPG, then this option will make a very good job of correcting it in-camera.

If you select the option in the camera menus, it tells you what the lens that is currently attached is, and whether it has the data for it or not. If it doesn't have the data, it won't do anything, even if enabled.
2121 comments| 384 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Due to the fact that I already own the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens, which is a great performer, I was initially hesitant to buy this new lens, yet eventually succumbed to the temptation.

Having used both lenses, I hope that this review can help you decide whether this lens fits your needs.

With the non STM version at around half the price, is it a worthwhile upgrade?

If you do video then I would definitely say yes. This is thanks to the super silent motor, better jitter free focusing and non rotating lens barrel. A perfect companion for the 70D.
This also proves beneficial for taking pictures. It was so annoying having to adjust the polariser filter every time the lens focuses.

So I will sum up the pros of the STM version vs previous version :
• Swift and more precise focusing
• Manual focus override available even when auto-focus engaged with the shutter half way pressed. On the older model MF needs to be selected
• Silent Stepper motor does a great job in providing smooth and silent operation. No lens noise is picked up during video
• Incredibly sharp throughout the zoom range (marginally better)
• Very good image stabilisation
• Lens barrel does not rotate when acquiring focus. Crucial when using polariser or graduated filters
• Construction feels a tad better. However, as on the previous version, the plastic mount is an eyesore!
I have not really noticed any difference in barrel distortion and pincushion effect, which, as on the previous model, is barely noticeable.

A minor point which is worth noting is that finally Canon has changed the lens cap design. It is now a pinch (snap on) lens cap, which is so useful when you have a lens hood attached.
Again Canon does not include a lens hood with this lens. Not a deal breaker. After all Canon only includes hoods on their L lenses as far as I'm aware.

Considering that this lens houses 15 elements in 12 groups when compared to the 12 elements in 10 groups, it is incredible how Canon managed to reduce the weight, albeit by 15 grams. The STM version weighs only 375 grams. Probably the increase in elements plays a role in the marginally superior image quality over the non STM version.

○ An EF-S lens mount is limited to crop sensor cameras, so they will not work on full frame ones should you decide to upgrade. Only EF mounts are compatible with full frame cameras.
○ The lens is actually an 88-400mm zoom. Being only compatible with crop sensor cameras, I wonder why they call this lens 55-600mm.
○ Lens body is all plastic, which makes it light, yet even the lens mount and filter tread are plastic. So if you change filters often this should be taken into consideration. I would have loved to see a metal camera mount on this superb lens.
○ I feel that the price difference between the STM version and the older non STM does not really justify the improved performance unless your primary use is for video.

Taking all into account, I do think that this lens is still expensive given the all plastic body. I have tested other offerings by other manufactures and whilst they held the edge in build quality, the Canon delivered better results. Hopefully the price will drop once sales pick up.

As far as image quality is concerned I really cannot fault this lens. It just takes amazing photos which are on par with far more expensive lenses that I have used, meriting a 5 star "Highly recommended" rating.
22 comments| 110 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 January 2012
I purchased this lens to complement the 18-55mm lens that came with my Canon 600D. I also purchased the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens.
I am a keen amateur photographer who enjoys photographing a wide range of subject; wildlife, landscapes, architecture and also my cat, dog, daughter and wife!

This lens is perfect for most of the above. It provides the reach needed to photograph birds and other wildlife without disturbing them.

Some reviewers report that this lens is soft, I have not seen this myself. Having been using the lens every day for the past 2 weeks all the images I have are sharp with great colours.
The autofocus works quickly and quietly, although like most sub £500 lenses it will hunt for focus in low light conditions.
The image stabilisation is as good as the 18-55mm and enables the lens to be used handheld in less than ideal conditions.

For the price, this lens is a no brainer for beginners/amateurs that need a zoom lens.
Sure, you won't get the performance of something like the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Lens but if you are just starting out or even if you've been snapping away for a while and need more reach then for the price it's perfect for what it does.
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on 12 October 2011
After buying my Canon 600D recently (which came with the standard 18-55 lens), and after a lot of research, I decided to purchase this lens, and I can honestly say that I have not been disappointed in the slightest!

I am only a beginner enthusiast/hobbyist but it's user friendly enough for me to use and the results are very pleasing. I would definitely recommend this lens to any beginner/budget minded photographer.
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on 25 August 2015
I had this for a gift at Christmas, my son already had one and it was inconvenient to keep borrowing his. I have a Canon EOS 1100D and this is a great addition for an amateur photographer like me. It is easy to fit and doesn't weigh a ton. I'm thrilled with the results, but still learning the limitations of close-up pictures and my camera refuses to photograph when I get it wrong.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 March 2014
I was curious to try this lens, having used a few STM lenses from Canon with my 70d
The lens is an update to the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens. After a week of field shooting I've come to conclude the lens is good, but better matched for video users (thanks to the STM update), it is better than the older version but at a fairly hefty price hike

+ Build is somewhat improved over the IS II version (better quality plastics feels somwhat better in the hand) but it still has a plastic mount
+ STM motor is very quiet/silent and won't be heard during video recording, AF speeds are a bit quicker with less micro adjustements over the older version, at the 200/250mm mark AF speeds are a bit slower than at other focal lengths (still ok though)
+ 58mm filter (common size) and non rotating front element
+ Full time manual focus (note that you have to half press the shutter to overide focus, you can't just grab the focus ring)
+ Somewhat improved sharpness over the IS II version, sharp in the centre at all focal lengths, 100mm shows some improvement stopping down (seems to be the weakest focal length across the range) Edges and corners improve stopping down a little
+ Vignetting is better at the 200-250mm focal range (was more of an issue on the older version)
+ Compact and lightweight
+ Quite good close up ability 1:3.4 (0.29x). at the 250mm end

- Has a plastic lens mount, not really acceptable for the price point
- No lens hood supplied (add on purchase)
- Bokeh isn't amazing, some outlining in areas, it's by no means bad, just average would likely benefit from more than 7 diaphragm blades

For video shooters as your primary interest I would say yes go ahead and get this (for example using the 70d's excellent on sensor phase detect AF)
If you have the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens, and shoot stills mostly then it's not really worth the upgrade (it's improved optically but not so much you are likely to notice), or if you're on a budget get the older version, and they're available very cheaply second hand too.

Other alternatives include the Tamron 70-300 Di VC, it's a heavier lens by some margin and a bit more expensive, but has much much better build quality, a metal mount, comes with a hood, has quiet (but not 100% silent) USD AF, and you have a long warranty period as well as potential to use it on full frame. For not much more of an outlay. Tricky choice if you do stills mostly I'd look at the Tamron as your best option. Both lenses are good optically overall. If you can get a bundle kit deal with this lens that's the best way to pick one up.
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on 9 September 2011
I'll write my review in bullet points to save you time reading.

#I use this lens with my 550d along with 15-85mm & the nifty fifty.

# The IQ is on par with the 18-55 is kit lens. AF is very good for a lens at this price.

# build quality and design is great for my use - I don't use it in wet days or dusty Deserts, I value the light weight compact design & reasonable price. I don't want to walk around with a 1000+ £ lens that is heavier than my son.
Hope you find this review helpful.
11 comment| 123 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
For the money this lens is a great buy. It isn't - and isn't meant to be - a professional quality item but for the beginner or someone on a budget it's hard to beat and it's entirely possible - easy, even - to get good photos with it. Its lightness and small size make it almost uniquely useful as a non-intrusive telephoto walkaround lens.

This is the second time Canon have updated their EF-S 55-250mm offering. This third iteration, while barely distinguishable from its predecessors in image quality terms, has two major advantages over them. The first of these is the stepping motor. This is so quiet that it can be slightly disconcerting to point the lens at a subject, half press the shutter button to autofocus and hear - and feel - nothing! Did it focus...?! I'm getting used to it now. The image stabiliser is also almost silent, which it wasn't in earlier versions. This is great for shooting video, which seems to have been Canon's main motive for developing such a quiet motor, but also to some degree for wildlife shooting, not that it'll quieten the shutter ...

The second major improvement is that the front element no longer rotates when focussing, so you can now use polarising or graduated filters on it.

Other good things about it include:
Extremely light so you can carry it around all day.
Surprisingly small for such a long lens so it won't take up a lot of your bag (although it does nearly double in length when zoomed out to 250mm).
Pretty sharp through most of its focal length range.
Good image stabilisation means you can get good results handheld right up to 250mm in good light.

Of course a lens doesn't get to be this cheap without some corners being cut. These are the main shortcomings, in no particular order:
Non-constant maximum aperture (this varies from f4 at 55mm to f5.6 above 200mm).
Slow maximum aperture (see above) means it's not great in low light.
A bit soft above 200mm - although in my experience this isn't nearly as bad as some reviews have claimed and I've certainly got good shots right up to 250mm.
Quite severe vignetting on wider apertures, especially at longer focal lengths (worst wide open at 250mm).
The bokeh isn't great and colours can be a bit flat - Canon have clearly gone for maximum sharpness with the glass at the expense of colours, contrast and bokeh - if you want those too you will need to pay a lot more. But colours and contrast are a lot more improvable after the fact than sharpness.
There's noticeable red/green chromatic aberration in areas of high contrast, especially in the corners, but I've seen far worse.
Autofocus hunts sometimes when trying to lock on to a smallish moving subject such as a bird in flight.
It's entirely made out of plastic, including the mount, and doesn't feel terribly robust. So treat it gently!

But all of these shortcomings are a result of corners being cut to fit the price - there isn't anything about this lens that makes it less than excellent value at the price I paid for it (£135 and it sometimes goes lower than that here). Better alternatives to this lens cost a lot more money. If it cost 3 or 4 times as much, it would be a 3 star item. But it doesn't, and it isn't!
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on 13 November 2011
I've had zoom lens before and knew that they "gobble light" making photos in poor light difficult. The image stabilising works very well but my Cannon 1000D still struggles in overcast conditions or where bright sunshine is interrupted by clouds. This is the reason why f2.8 versions cost so much more. However, for the price you can get some great results. It's a little stiff when rotating the barrel and of course it weighs quite a bit more than the standard 18-50mm but I would recommend it.
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on 21 April 2014
I recently purchased the Canon EOS 1100D with the 18-55 lens, and was looking to add a new zoom lens, so I decided to purchase this one. I have just used it, and had very good results, I cannot understand why some are having their photos soft, all of mine have come out lovely and sharp, the colours are great too, I find this lens to be quiet in operation, and it's zoom is excellent. Some complain about being plastic, well, it's good quality, I would not want a metal one, as this to me, would add a lot more weight, and believe me, it's heavy enough. So I give this lens 5 stars for both the excellent picture quality, sharp, and excellent colours, and very good zoom, and also 5 stars for the quality of build. Amazon's price and delivery were excellent too. Thanks for reading.
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