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Canon EFS 18-55 f3.5-5.6 II

When Canon released the 300D / Digital Rebel and this lens the photographic world was stunned. At a stroke they halved the entry price into the Digital SLR market. The lens part of that package was the  EFS 18- 55  f 3.5 - Canon 18_55 EFS__DSC535515.6. This test is on the mk2 version of the lens. Canon made some interesting decisions when they designed this lens. It had to be cheap to make - it adds only $ 80 /  £ 50 to the cost of the body - so it’s very light, very plastic - including the mount - and doesn’t come with the vital lenshood. That’s an optional extra. So it was built to a price - and feels like it - If you look at the rear of the lens and zoom it out you can see right inside the lens barrel. Most lenses are more or less sealed at the rear to prevent dust getting inside. Obviously Canon doesn’t expect this lens to leave the camera very often.  Anyway -  how does it perform? Actually it’s surprisingly OK. Not stunningly good but competent... OK. At this sort of price believe me there are some awful lenses out there, but, as a cheap starting point for most people it will be fine. Results at full aperture are reasonably sharp in the center but around the edges things get a little wooly. There is also a lot of purple fringing around backlit edges. Stopped down a bit, performance improves, but even at f 5.6 edges still lag behind. This a reasonable lens. Better than I expected given the price. Most people - especially if print sizes are A4 or smaller,  rather than A3, will be quite happy with their results, but if you ask is the Nikon 18-70 lens better made and does it perform better? - that’s yes and yes. To be fair it costs quite a lot more but it’s a  lens that you’ll be happy with long term. This Canon lens is fine to get you started, but I think most people will soon want something better. What you buy next is, to me, one of the Canon system’s biggest weaknesses. Next step up is the Canon 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS which sells for over £ 400 in the UK - a pretty big step for most people.

    Test Images                         Canon v Nikon

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© David Gold
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