9 out of 10 points and recommendedFocal Range, Does not draw attention, EF-S Power Savings, Focus Ring, Build Qual.18mm, Vignetting, Barrel Slip
Where do I start... This lens gets the most action/time on my camera. Images are clear and color accurate and the zoom range makes it hard to take off. I am a 1:1 ratio person that hates photos that only look good from far. I try for that pixel to pixel perfection that makes my hobby harder, but so much more enjoyable when done right. I don't use or run photos thru photoshop, because a part of me thinks it is cheating (leads me to retake photos often). I suppose someday I will change, but until then, I want a simple and clean photo.reviewed August 24th, 2009 (purchased for $595)
The 18-200mm has surprised me over and over. I have compared it to my L lenses and it keeps up. If you go to Canon's website check out the lens diagram info, the guts of this lens is very, very, very close to the L 24-105mm. I had to check because it was surprising me too often. In real life, I have taken the same shots between the two and find myself checking DPP (Canon's Digital Photo Professional software) to see which lens took which photo. When I test new lenses during an event, the 18-200 goes back on for the rest of the event because it produces GREAT shots and saves time in lens changes and looking like a wannabe pro. The only comparible L lenses I have in this range are the 24-105mm and the 70-200mm, both f4 and with IS. This lens STILL trumps them when it comes to function.
===L Lens Info for new folks:===
Don't get me wrong, there are reasons to own an L lens. Tack sharp clarity may not always be the case. The 24-105 and 70-200 are similar to the other L series lenses, they help take the guesswork out of the shot. If anyone make a lens with well coated glass, low aperture, and supreme motors, the lens no longer part of the challenge with taking photo. The joy of photography is to enjoy it, and if you are in it to make money, then L is the way to make your life easier. For the rest, it is the challenge of getting that perfect shot. The advantage between Pro and Enthusiast is that Pros will come to learn which setting will or will not photograph well. Enthusiasts will be able to see each scene in a mechanical way, a way that they will know which Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO will get the shot the best. It isn't the lens that makes the shot, it's the photographer. But, L lenses make it MUCH easier to not worry about little details. L does mean luxury (not better photos) in the true sense that these type of lenses take out some of the guesswork for photography. I will say again, it isn't the lens that makes the photo -- it is the photographer; more specifically, it is the TIMING and LUCK. :)
I will compare this to the list of lenses I have used and maybe you will have something to reference it by. BTW, I don't review lenses unless I spent a few weeks with them.
Note: EF-S lenses handle power much better with longer battery life on Rebel (1.6 factor) Cameras in my experience than EF or non-Canon. I have seen this difference on my XS, XSi, and two X1i's.
EF-S 10-22 USM; no comparison (part of my travel trio)
EF 50 f1.8 II; this is my portrait/indoors lens, it outshines the 18-200 (@ 50mm)
EF-S 18-55 IS; 18-200 has a better focus control, but has vignetting, same IQ, 18-55 is better at 18mm
EF-S 55-250 IS; 18-200 has sharper corners all around, but I miss the extra 50mm
EF 24-70 USM; completely better than 18-200 in 24-70 range, but no IS = no macro
EF 24-105 f4L IS; near identical shots, can't tell when sorting, 18-200 is more useful
EF 70-200 f4L IS; 18-200 near same IQ at 200mm, love the 70-200 shell (nothing moves)
EF 300mm f4L IS; no comparison (part of my travel trio)
Sigma 150-500 OS; 18-200 is better between 150-200
Tamron 18-270 VR; 18-200 shots cleaner at all ISO, Tamron is a 800+ ISO only lens