The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is a standard zoom lens that provides an effective focal range of 29 mm to 88 mm. It's small and lightweight and Canon ship it with many of their DSLRs. It's inexpensive but rarely ever purchased seperately so if you are interested in this lens I assume it's either because you intend on buying a DSLR and decide what "kit" lens to come with it or because you already own this lens and would like to compare its performance to another lens you consider purchasing. Either way - you've come to the right place.
A lens in this focal range is good for a variety of purposes from groups of people to individual portraits, landscapes, plants, buildings, general travel etc.. If you are on a trip and don't know exactly what you are going to photograph take a general purporse lens like the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II with you to make sure you have plenty of options. Of course the 29 mm effective focal length will not allow you to make dramatic wide angle images but will be wide enough for say a casual landscape. Bear in mind that for landscape photography image quality towards the corners of the image is particularly important so make sure to check out the image quality tests provided a little later. At 88 mm effective focal length this lens is not long enough to be a good companion for wildlife photography but an occasional animal that's big and trusting enough to let you close (think horse rather than deer) will be OK to shoot as well. The aperture range of the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is good enough for all those purposes. If you are more used to compact camera specifications than mm of focal length think of this lens as a moderate 3x zoom.
Weight and Dimensionstop
At just 7 oz the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is one of the lightest Canon lenses available. You will almost not notice it's there.
|Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II||7|
Compare with the weight of other lenses:
Handling and Build Qualitytop
As you can see the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is lightweight and small and it doesn't extend much when zooming or focusing. It's made of plastics but doesn't have the cheap and unreliable looks some other lenses have. In fact the material has a nice feel to it but the lens mount will wear out faster than those that are made of metal. The buttons feel rugged and the zoom ring is firm. The focus ring is tiny (0.2 ") and therefore not comfortable to use. Also you'll have to manually switch over to MF mode before you can intervene with the autofocus operation. Better lenses allow full time manual override of the autofocus. Canon do not ship any accessories with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II (except for the lens cap and dust cap) but a hood and pouch are available for purchase.
Like most lower cost lenses the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is not sealed against dust or moisture. The minimum focusing distance is 9.8 " which results in a nice maximum magnification of 0.34 x - good enough for a little close-up work.
The autofocus is average in speed and doesn't make a lot of noise (though it's not silent). It's not ultra precise meaning that you can get slightly different results for the exact same distance to a subject if you focus several times. But with the aperture and focal range features of this lens you are generally having a pretty big in-focus range so precision in focusing is not crucial. The image stabilizer prevents motion blur for shutter speeds up to 4 times slower than usual so theoretically you could expose for 1/2 s at 18 mm focal length (29 mm effective). But unless you are shooting buildings or still lifes the movement of your subject will certainly introduce blur at a shutter speed like this. Nevertheless the image stabilizer does what it's there for and even if you might not need it much at the wide end it certainly comes in handy at longer focal lengths. Please note that the IS version used in this lens does not detect a tripod and should therefore be switched off when used with a tripod. It can however detect and compensate for a panning shot (e.g. following a race car).
The EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II has a 58 mm filter thread which is great because filters in this size are common and not expensive. If you team this lens e.g. with an EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II you can share the same filters. Please note that the use of circular pole filters or graduated filters with this lens is possible but a little tricky. Theses types of filters need to be rotated according to the effect you are trying to achieve and since the lens's front element rotates while focusing you'll have to focus first before you can rotate your filters. At least the relatively small hood that's available as an accessory will not obstruct when rotating filters.