Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 USM - Good for BEGINNERS
Dec 16, 2007 (Updated Oct 20, 2013)
Review by soupcraze
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Cheap; Light-Weight; Decent Focal Length Rang
Cons:Poorer Image Quality; Durability?
The Bottom Line: The lens is good for beginners, but not for semi-professionals. If you spend a little more money, you can get a much better lens, by giving up the wide end.
I purchased my first SLR camera fairly recently, a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. It came with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm kit lens. I sold the lens after using it for a couple of weeks for a Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 USM lens (The GOOD one, not the junk toy lens available today), and then eventually sold that for my current lens, the Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM lens, which I use for most of my photos. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm is considered to be the "kit lens," which comes standard with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel cameras granted that you purchase the camera with the lens kit. It is a lens intended for beginners. This is not an L-series lens, nor will it ever be comparable to them. The lens is definitely a step-up from those who just stepped up from a "Point-and-Shoot" camera to an SLR. However, if you purchased a "Body-Only" camera, is this lens worth it, how does it stack up?
Recommend this product?
*You can easily find this lens on eBay in the $60ish price range. The lens is just over $100 on online retailers. This is a cheap lens. It covers a lower focal length range. What can you really expect?
When I first used the lens, it was a big step up for me from the Canon Power Shot SD500 I was using before as my primary camera. Therefore, for people that are purchasing their first entry-level consumer dSLR cameras, they would probably find good use in this inexpensive lens. The lens covers a decent focal length range, since it gets as wide as 18mm, and then goes up to 55mm. What I liked best about the lens was the fact that it went down to 18mm, which is quite wide. So unless the entry-level consumer is willing to spend around $500 on a nice ultra-wide fish eye lens, this lens will be satisfactory for doing group shots with friends or just about anything else.
I really do miss the wide end that this lens used to give me. Right now the widest I can go with my primary lens is 28mm (Until I buy the Tokina AT-X 107). I was even considering keeping it before selling it for the 28-105mm just for the wide angle photos.
The lens does not really have any competitors, especially at this price range. Within the similar focal lengths, I actually used to the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens. The lenses, however, can not be compared since the Tamron is over $300, and is considerably better quality, in both build and images. You can of course opt for other cheaper lenses from Canon. For example, these other sub-$100 lenses (eBay) are quite popular, which include the 35-80mm, 28-80mm, and 28-90mm. The only reason I would recommend the Canon EF-S 18-55mm over those lenses is because of the wideness. I am curious to see how the image quality compares between the Canon EF-S 18-55mm and those lenses. At this point, if you are considering a low-end lens, you should determine what is more important to you, having the 18mm wide end, or having potentially better image quality with a lens that does not go as wide? Based on what I used to use my "Point and Shoot" camera for, I think many people would enjoy taking group photos of their friends, and thus would benefit more greatly from this lens.
In terms of other competitors, you can not compare the lens to competitors such as the Tamron 17-50mm that I used, since that is a more expensive lens. I am not going to even talk about how the Canon EF-S 18-55mm compares to any comparable focal range L-series, since that is a joke.
*The lens is a cheaper plastic piece of equipment. It feels more flimsy than other lenses that I have used. For instance, the Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 USM is metal and feels much more solid. The 28-105mm is not that much more expensive. On the plus side, the lens is very light. This makes carrying the camera around more manageable, especially for those who just made the switch from a "point and shoot" to an SLR. Since I owned the lens for two weeks, I am unable to determine how long the lens would last. If you take care of it, I am sure that it will be okay. But for an extra $100-150, you can have a much better quality lens by stepping up to the metal 28-105mm.
*I owned the Canon EF-S 18-55mm without the Image Stabilization. Yes, I can't believe that there is one with Image Stabilization. Well, it has a pretty quick auto focus so that's nice. I also do not think that this lens will fit 35mm cameras because it is an EF-S lens, therefore it will not work on cameras that can only accept EF lenses.
*This is where it gets interesting... Without a doubt, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm was a very big step up from my "Point and Shoot" camera. The image quality was considerably better. But when comparing the lens to the Canon EF 28-105 f3.5-4.5 USM, the quality is worse. I noticed that the images looked software, and the coloration simply did not appear to be too vivid. Therefore, there are two types of people that would have two different reactions with the lenses...
-Amateur - For someone that just stepped up to an entry-level Canon EOS Digital Rebel camera, they would find this lens to be great. The quality that you get with the camera is much better than a "Point and Shoot" because of the bigger sensor. Therefore, someone not entirely concerned about quality will enjoy the lens, primarily because of the focal range offered. 18mm is great for group shots, and this is missing when stepping up to a lens such as the Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 USM. I know people that are amateurs and are very satisfied with it as their current primary lense.
-Semi-Professional - This lens would not be appropriate. The quality is worse than that of lenses that are a step-up. Once again, it is sad to part with the wide end of the lense. But this can be made up by either purchasing an ultra-wide angle lens or buy purchasing a lens such as the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 that has considerably better image quality.
This sums up the lens. It would fit for those just getting started, but by no means is this a lens that any semi-professional will be carrying around. If you want a lense in the similar focal range, yet still want the wide end, I would recommend the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. It is a bit more expensive since it is over $300. If you are able to give up the wide end, I would highly recommend finding the older Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 lens, a very fine lens!
*The Canon EF-S 18-55mm makes a fine lens for beginners that are just making their step up from a "Point and Shoot." I really like the fact that the lense's focal range goes down to 18mm, which is good for group photos. But as for those that are semi-professional, or simply looking for a better lens, I would look elsewhere. I would highly recommend the Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 USM lens. Unfortunately, when you go to these lenses, you lose the wide end. If you can live with that, get it. If you received this lens through a lens kit when purchasing a Digital Rebel, you might even want to hold this lens if you go below 28mm.
Overall, the lens does what it's supposed to. It is intended for beginners. That it does well... It is no L-series, nor does it compare to similar focal range lenses such as the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. But for a sub-$100, what can you really expect?
**CHECK OUT MORE LENSES**
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