Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Review

efs-18-55mm-isIntroduce around Jan. 2008, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens is a low-cost kit lens for Canon EOS APS-C(Crop Sensor) DSLRs. It is the successorr to the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II which didn’t get much attention.

Compared to its older siblings, and even to other Canon consumer zooms, the IS lens is sharper wide open. Also, compared to its older siblings, the IS lens displays less chromatic aberration. However, barrel distortion has not been improved. As for place of manufacture there are two versions, the made in Japan version does not have “lens made in Japan” in the front, however “made in Japan” is written near the lens mount, the second assembled in Taiwan version has “lens made in Japan” written in the front. Build quality overall is somewhat better than the non-IS versions. (From WikiPedia the free encyclopedia.)

Notable Features :

  • 29-88mm equivalent focal length range
  • Optical image stabilisation – 4 stops
  • EF-S mount for Canon APS-C dSLRS only


Focal Length & Maximum Aperture 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Lens Construction 11 elements in 9 groups
Diagonal Angle of View
74° 20′ – 27° 50′
Focus Adjustment AF (DC motor), with manual focus option
Closest Focusing Distance 9.8 in./0.25m
Filter Size 58mm, P=0.75mm/1 filter
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight 2.7 in. x 3.33 in./68.5mm x 84.5mm (maximum lens length), 7.1 oz. (200g)

My Opinion :
I love this lens, used to be my primary lens before getting the EF 28-135mm, now it’s my secondary lens and I use it mostly when shooting wide landscape shots. As you browse my site, you’ll notice that there are lots of photos taken using this Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens. Click here to see some of them.
Yes it feels cheap but the quality of the image is cretainly great in my opinion. I think the trick is knowing how to use it and when to use it.

Why I love this lens:

  • The IS – The Image Stabilizer  really works, especially in low light situations.
  • The Range : On a crop sensor you can cover a lot in the 18-55mm range, it is equivalent to a 28.8-88mm range in full frame sensor camera. On most situations the 18-55mm range is enough. If I want to go really wide I will buy the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM.
  • The Sharpness of the image. I’m no expert, but I can sure tell that photos taken with this len is sharp compared to those shot with a EF 28-90mm F/4-5.6 III .

What others think about this lens:

  • DPReview.Com – In summary, this lens is a very welcome addition to Canon’s range, and gives new dSLR owners a level of optical quality in the basic kit lens which was previously lacking; the addition of IS also goes a long way to increasing its flexibility. It makes an ideal lightweight general purpose-starter lens, and as such can only be recommended.
  • The Digital Picture – If you need a general purpose lens, and the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens reaches the limits of your budget, it is a good choice. I think this lens is going to help sell more Canon Digital SLR cameras. It is certainly a great upgrade over the 18-55 II for the money. It is a nice addition to Canon’s lineup.
  • Ken Rockwell – All said and done, the 18-55mm IS is a light, easy-to use lens that can make great photos. I’d buy something else given the choice, but if I got one of these included with my camera, I’d use it.
  • PhotoZone.De – There were a few moments when I considered not to publish the results due to “political correctness” because to date it was a quite absurd thought that such a cheap, or better “affordable”, lens can perform this good and I’m sure that some will not believe the findings even though they’re supported by the published field images. Anyway, the resolution capabilities of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is nothing short of amazing. This is also surprising regarding the rather small changes in the optical design compared to the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II..
  • FredMiranda.ComThis is a very strange lens. I was quite happy with a 17-85 IS USM for everyday shooting, till I tried a friend’s “cheap dog-toy all-plastic” 18-55. I very much expected this lens to be as dodgy as the 28-90 film counterpart.
    Nothing could have prepared me for the surprise (shock?) I got when looking at the pics shot with this lens. Not only was it way sharper than the 17-85 USM, the resolving power was noticeably better and the micro contrast was really nice. I was even more surprised when it matched my 20/2.8 and 24/2.8 primes in image quality, even wide open.

So if you need a budget lens in the 18-55mm range on a crop sensor canon camera, this is the one you need.

Here are some of the photos I shot with my EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens.

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