Top positive review
39 people found this helpful
Surprisingly sharp for a kit lens
on 6 March 2014
I tested the lens on my 70d which will show up any questionable optics quite easily with it's 20mp sensor.
Having picked up the 18-135mm STM lens I was quite happy with that, but this lens was quite a lot better than I expected it to be.
The previous "kit lens" was quite decent too, but this is improved in a number of ways over that version.
My quick fire pros and cons list:
+ Improved build over the previous version. Better quality plastics used (feels better put together too) This isn't a classy feeling lens but it doesn't feel as hollow as many 18-55mm's do. Zoom action is smoother too
+ AF is fast and very quiet, new stepper motor is useful for video (you can't hear the AF at all on my 70d)
+ Very sharp, at all focal lenghts and apertures very usable, at the 18mm mark you only need to stop down slightly to tighten up the extreme edges. Very decent at the 55mm mark too
+ Excellent close up ability of 1:2.8 max mag, ok it's not a true macro but that's very good for an 18-55mm and might be enough for semi macro shooters
+ CA is mostly well controlled (better than the older version by far) but I did see more CA at the wider end
+ IS works very well around 3 to 3.5 stops from field use
+ 58mm filter is the normal common size, does not rotate with filters either
+ Full time MF with the new STM motor (unlike the older version)
+ 7 blade aperture ring quite decently smooth out of focus areas, but at 55mm f5.6 this isn't the lens for "bokeh" shots
- Still has a plastic mount. Par for the course on 18-55mm lenses, but would be nice to have metal as the build is better v the older version
- Vignetting is present at the wider end from 18mm up to around 30mm worse at the 18mm end wide open. Take it down a stop or so to make it a non issue for most shooting
- STM motor is great for video, but as it's focus by wire (not mechanical focus) you don't get the feedback of a true mechanical manual focus lens. Not a huge deal but worth a mention. I have the same on my 18-135mm STM too
- Some distortion at the wide end fairly notable at the 18mm mark, this again is pretty much common for any of the 18-55mm lenses I've tried, once you move up the focal range it's no issue at all and can be corrected easily
I found the lens to work very well with the 70d I have with quick and quiet/accurate focus using both the viewfinder and the new phase detect AF off the sensor.
I do like the 18-135mm for it's very useful range, but was taken aback a bit just how sharp this lens is. It is a touch bigger than the older 18-55mm it replaces (maybe the new STM motor) but in every other way it's a better lens all around, optically sharper, improved build, though it does cost more than the older kit lens.
Compared to the Tamron 17-50 this lens isn't as well built, but holds up pretty well. I would say the Tamron does seem to have a bit more bite to the images, but it lacks IS...though the constant f2.8 is very useful to have. Personally I would look at this as a really good deal as a kit bundle (well worth getting), do think about your options though the 18-135mm costs more but covers a very nice range (135mm top end v 55mm is a big difference handy for portrait/candid shooting the longer focal length) the Sigma/Tamron offerings are also worth a look.
To date this is the best 18-55mm I've tried (used the Sony, Pentax, Nikon and previous Canon kit lenses), and by some margin too
If you're on a budget and this range covers your needs (ie landscapes/general shooting) really you will be very happy with the lens and you'll get some very sharp images from it.