Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
 

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II

This review covers


PAGE 2

» Image Quality «


PAGE 3

» Sample Pictures «

» Conclusion «

» Further Information «


Table of contents

Image Qualityhide all test shotsshow all test shots

Note: the test shots for each of the image quality tests can be compared directly amongst all tested lenses. Within the test box click on "Choose lens to compare with..." to add a lens to the comparison. Then use your mouse to hover over the lens thumbnails. If all those test shots are a little too overwhelming consider clicking on "hide all test shots" above this paragraph.

Sharpness / Resolution

The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II is a sharp lens even wide open and from center to corner. Of course there are lenses that have a higher resolution (especially L series lenses) but for the price tag and package size of this lens the sharpness is impressive. The resolution is best at the wide end but still good at the long end of the focal range. In comparison with the predecessor lens EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS the sharpness is very similar (in fact the predecessor is a little sharper).

-Test shots

APS-C    tested with 7D
Sharpness / Resolution

Distortion

At the wide focal lengths the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II shows some barrel distortion. The longer focal lengths instead show pincushion distortion. Both are not very pronounced but quite visible - the lens's performance is somewhat mediocre. The predecessor to this lens performs exactly the same.

-Test shots

APS-C    tested with 7D
Distortion
Aperture:
Irrelevant

Crop from top of image (downsized)

Crop from bottom of image (downsized)

Best case: the line between the black and white boxes is completely straight in both test shot crops

Color Errors Transverse Chromatic Aberrations

Color fringes are a problem with the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II. They are less pronounced at the wide end than the tele end but they are visible throughout the focal range. While they cannot be removed by using higher f-stops they at least can be reduced in post fairly easy. The predecessor lens EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS shows similar color fringes. If you compare the two don't just look at the f/4 performance (where they differ a lot) but also at higher f-stops like f/8 and compare several different focal lengths.

-Test shots

APS-C    tested with 7D
Color Errors

Crop from lower image border
(in landscape orientation)

Color errors in focused parts of the image (upscaled)

 

Best case: no color fringes

Crop from left image border
(in landscape orientation)

Beauty of blurred image parts Bokeh and Axial CA

Though the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II uses circular aperture blades to help create a circular aperture shape it is still pretty angled. Check out the test shot at f/8 to see the edges. They are neither very good nor very bad but if you own the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II you are used to an even more angled aperture shape. The color fringes in out-of-focus areas of the image are pronounced for all focal lengths at all but the highest f-stops. The predecessor lens EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS has a slightly more circular aperture but shows the same color fringes.

-Test shots

The way blurred parts of the image look depends on several things such as focal length, aperture setting, aperture shape, distance to the background, distance between foreground and background as well as the texture and dynamic range of the background. With so many things to consider it's very difficult to compare different lenses. Moreover the beauty of blurred image parts is also a matter of personal taste.

In general blurred image parts should be as uniformly blurred as possible and ideally not show any artifacts. Out of the above mentioned criteria only the shape of the aperture cannot be influenced by the photographer and thus this test will show you the shape you are dealing with (left test image). To minimize artifacts there should be no bright line around the edge of the aperture shape. To get uniform blur the aperture should be as circular as possible (which depends on the number of aperture blades used and their individual shape). Furthermore there should be no color fringes in out-of-focus areas of the image (middle and right test shots).

Aperture Shape

Number of aperture blades:  7
Type: circular
Best case: circular and evenly bright

Color errors in out-of-focus areas of the image (upscaled)

before focal plane

behind focal plane

Crops from the center of the image
Best case: no color fringes in out-of-focus areas

Curvature of the focal plane Field Curvature

When using the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II at 200 mm or 300 mm (effective) you will have to cope with a bit of curvature of the focal plane. That means that the ideal focus setting differs for objects that are in the center and for those that are in the corner of the image. Either of the two can be in perfect focus but not both at the same time. You can help it by choosing higher f-stops. The predecessor lens EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS has a slightly better (less) curvature of the focal plane but shows its weaknesses at the same focal lengths.

-Test shots

Crop from the corner of the image
focused at the image corner

 

Best case:
no difference

Crop from the corner of the image
focused at the image center

Corner Shadow Vignetting

The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II shows only little corner shadow with the middle focal lengths performing the best. If you don't like it stop down a little or remove it with software. The predecessor to this lens performs exactly the same.

-Test shots

APS-C    tested with 7D
Corner Shadow

Crops (100%)

Corner

Center

Best case: no difference in brightness

Test shot (downsized)

Corner

Center

Best case: perfectly even brightness

Result-Chart

Best case: no color gradient

EV

0

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-2

-3

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-5

PAGE 1

Handling

PAGE 2

Image Quality

PAGE 3

Conclusion

 

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