This is a new lens to my armoury, purchased around October 2014. I have used wide angles lens but not in my DSLR photography; it was back in my Olympus OM40 film days. The lens was released back in the summer of 2014 so it is still a new product. For a while it was only available at its list price of 300; regardless of whether you are in a £, $ or € region the number was 300! Now on Amazon it is down to £212.99 at the time of writing and that looks a good deal to me. It is a price point that is going to give the aspiring photographer a real Canon lens without breaking the bank too much!
So what about the lens? It is clearly an entry level lens but is not a bad specification for the price point. It has Image Stabilisation (IS) which Canon claim is worth 4 stops. That means that you can close down the by four stops more than you would normally do for the ambient light level with your chosen shutter speed and ISO value. The IS mode can be switched off, typically when you are using a tripod or even a well supported monopod.
The IS and STM (Stepping Motor Technology) motor that drive the focus are very quiet and should be acceptable for anyone using this lens for video as opposed to photographic purposes.
The lens will focus down to a distance of 22mm so macro photography is possible though I am not sure what subjects would lend themselves to this type of lens. The aperture has 7 circular blades so, in the right circumstances, some nice bokeh effects can be realised. You should note that this is an EF-S lens so not compatible with full size sensor models. That said, if you ever get that serious with your photography you can trade this in against an upgrade.
Another nice touch over earlier entry level Canon lenses is that the front does not rotate on zoom and focus. Whilst this is not an issue most of the time the feature comes into play when you have a circular polarising (CPL) filter on the lens; you do not need to be constantly adjusting it as you set up your shot.
I guess the key question that needs to be answered in any review is ‘is the lens fit for purpose?’ The answer is a resounding YES. As stated it is entry level and there are at least two better Canon lens at multiples of the price and they will, of course, deliver better images. But this lens does the job too. It does of course work better with plenty of light and you will see the image quality trade off away from the centre. This can be managed by upping the ISO as required and stopping down the lens. I am pleased with the images I am getting from the lens. I love that I can get architectural images of a whole building without going too far from it though when set to 10mm you get some interesting distortions at the edge. A Canon EW-73C Lens Hood is always going to help when using wide angle but, as the lens is so new, few Chinese copies are available yet and the Canon part is still a bit expensive at around £25. Alternatively you can modify an EW-73B using the approach here.
So my verdict for this product is that it a good lens for the price. If you are not looking to spend a lot of money but want a Canon quality product then look no further.