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Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Review


  • Fantastic value for money


  • Poor manual-focusing experience

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £160

Canon’s new 18-55mm zoom is an attractive proposition thanks to its relatively cheap price and the inclusion of image stabilisation.

The lens is a lightweight, easy-to-use design that has a folded zoom action where the front element moves out, then in, then out again as the focal length is increased. This results in a very compact design.

The tiny manual-focus ring is located right at the front of the lens and twists the front element as it turns: this is not ideal as it also changes the position of the fitted lens hood (sold separately) and any filters, such as a polariser, that might have previously been aligned to produce the optimum effect. There is also some lateral movement of the image, which is worrying.

More positively, integral image stabilisation could be of significant benefit when working under low-light conditions. This is especially important given the zoom’s modest maximum aperture, which ranges from f/3.5 to f/5.6. Even so, IS cannot solve every problem and photographers who regularly shoot in low light might be better served by Canon’s 35mm f/2 prime standard lens.

Performance wise, the folded-zoom action incurs both barrel and pincushion distortion, although the extent of these effects is small. While not being in any way remarkable, the zoom’s resolution is generally good – except when using the shortest focal lengths in combination with the widest aperture settings

Image Quality
Excluding its wide-aperture, short-focal-length results this lens turns in a very reasonable set of resolution figures. Given the low price of this zoom its results are very impressive indeed.


In short, the need to achieve a low price-point has compromised performance slightly but for users who want an affordable, yet versatile, point-and-shoot lens the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is worthy of consideration.

Trusted Score

Score in detail

  • Value 8
  • Design 8
  • Image Quality 9
  • Features 9

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