Why am I reviewing the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens? It is, after all, the standard kit lens on most current entry and intermediate level Canon DSLR cameras. The reason is simple; I just bought one to replace the earlier MKI version that came with my Canon 500D in 2011. The original served me well and is still going strong after at least 10,000 shots but is getting a bit stiff in the zoom mode. As I don’t have massive amounts of money to splash out on the better lenses I have gone for this MKIII version of the original one supplied nearly four years ago.
There are some improvements on the earlier versions:
- Quieter and smoother STM drive motor
- 4 stop Image Stabilisation which is on the MK II but not on my MKI
- Non rotating front element making the use of Circular Polarising Filters much easier
An added bonus is that the front element remains at 58mm so I have been able to carry on using the same filters. The lens does have a fair amount of plastic in it but, these days, modern plastics are almost as good as metal and can weigh a little less. Also they are less likely to dent!
There is a good reason for Canon to supply this as the kit lens; quite simply it is the ‘go to’ lens for those starting out in digital photography. It’ll do landscapes to portraits with ease and even a bit of macro – well at least close-up shooting as it will focus as close as 0.25m, just under a UK foot. It is fast enough for action shots so long as the light is good and this is boosted by the IS up to four stops.
It is a nice looking lens and does not look out of place on the entry and mid range bodies. Being black it is discreet unlike the much better but light grey or red-striped ranges. As with all lenses you’ll need to protect the front element with a standard filter. Be ready to spend a little money on these, not the £2.00 jobs you can get on Amazon; whilst these will provide some protection they will detract from the image quality.
Note that as it is an EF-S lens it won’t be suitable if and when you make the move up to one of the Canon full frame cameras but, as with the other EF-S lenses reviewed you can trade in for the EF equivalent should you ever need to. As an EF-S lens on the smaller sensor it equates to a 29 – 88 mm 35mm lens, 85mm being considered by many to be optimum for portraiture.
My verdict on this lens is that lens is a great lens at the price. If you have more money to spend go higher up the range but you will not be disappointed with the everyday workhorse of a lens.