Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Lab tested
18-55mm $89
average price
image of Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion

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A standard zoom exclusively for the EOS Digital Rebel, Rebel XT, and EOS 20D SLR cameras with APS-C size image circle equivalent to an approximate 28-90mm focal length. Compact and ultra-lightweight with impressive close-focusing ability of 0.9 feet (0.28 meters). Features optimized coating for digital imaging sensor to minimize ghost images and flare. This is the USM version of the kit lens included with some 20D and Digital Rebel bundles. The Digital Rebel XT kit ships with this lens. It's a very good, inexpensive choice for general purpose photography. Combined with any of the three cameras it's designed for, it makes for a compact lightweight package. Image quality has been pretty universally described as impressive. (Although, as you'll see in our tests below, performance at maximum aperture is a little spotty.)

Test Notes

As an entry-level "kit" lens, cost of manufacture was almost certainly a key design parameter for the Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, but it nonetheless manages to do pretty well optically, particularly when stopped down a little. That said though, performance wide open is indeed a little rough, until you get toward the telephoto end of its range. This is a lens that likes to be stopped down for best performance, the "sweet spot" coming at about f/8 at 18mm, f/8-11 at 27mm, and f/11 from 35-55mm.

Chromatic aberration is also quite high at 18mm, at 0.12% wide open, although it decreases quite a bit as the aperture is stopped down. CA also decreases sharply as you move away from maximum wide angle. At intermediate focal lengths, CA somewhat counterintuitively is lowest at the maximum aperture. Vignetting is well on the low side of average, with a maximum of 1/2 EV wide open at maximum wide angle, but below 1/4 EV over most of the aperture/focal length range. Geometric distortion is about average at wide angle, at about 0.8%, decreasingly more or less proportionately with focal length until 35mm (at which point it's about 0.1% pincushion), then drifting down to about 0.2% pincushion at 55mm.

As many have reported (ourselves among them), this lens is better than you'd normally expect for such an inexpensive design, but our lab tests have led us to realize that it's not quite as good as we'd previously thought: If you use it more toward the tele end of its range, and stop down a little from wide open, it's impressive indeed. Wide open, and particularly at wide angle though, it didn't perform as well as we'd have anticipated, based on our prior impressions. All in all, a good "starter" lens, but one that you'll almost certainly end up replacing after your budget has absorbed the initial shock of buying the camera in the first place.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

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Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM User Reviews

5.7/10 average of 56 review(s) Build Quality 4.5/10 Image Quality 5.7/10
  • 3 out of 10 points and not recommended by Chazz D (4 reviews)
    lightweight, better than no lens,
    poor image quality, poor build quality,

    I used this lens for about a week on a 20D.

    I could not get any decent pictures from this lens, if all you are doing is small pics for printing 4x6" or for emails etc or maybe for facebook pics it might do the job.

    I seriously have seen much better quality pictures from decent compact (non SLR) cameras.

    If you have put money into a SLR digital camera you owe it to yourself to at least step up to the newer IS version of this lens. night and day difference, and well worth the money to upgrade.

    reviewed October 4th, 2009
  • 2 out of 10 points and not recommended by Simen1 (6 reviews)
    Optical performance, build quality

    This is dirt cheap when its included with a camera.
    Warning: You get what you pay for.

    At f/8-11 it performs decent. But who would be stuck at those apertures?

    If the camera is left at Auto-mode, P-mode, Tv-mode, a-dep, or any of the scene-modes this lens will make a lot of the pictures unsharp and with a lot of CA.

    AF isn't as fast that the USM tag suggest. Its actually a lot slower then the Pentax kit-zoom without SDM ("USM") AF-motor.

    Rotating front is troublesome for filter-users.

    Plastic mount is not made to get mounted on and of a lot of times.

    Don't waste your money on this.

    reviewed May 19th, 2009 (purchased for $80)
  • 4 out of 10 points and recommended by climber (11 reviews)
    slow, poor image quality, poor build quality

    Don't use this lens, spend a few 100EUR and buy yourself a lens that you can realy enjoy.

    Poor image quality, slow, noisy, bad construsction, plastic mount.

    I've got mine in the kit and gave it away for free.

    reviewed April 21st, 2009
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by Toco1980 (5 reviews)
    lightweight, small
    build quality, plastic mount, tiny and wobbly focusing ring

    It's quite OK as a starter kit lens (got mine as kit lens on my 350D), and if you don't make large prints or have the need for extra image quality.

    reviewed January 10th, 2009
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by MY (3 reviews)
    Cheep wide angel lens
    Focusing may be an issue

    This is the most affordable 18mm EF-S lens. Therefore we can't live without it. I was debating to stay with my 24-60mm zoom but the 1.6 ratio worked against that. You need at least one wide angle lens and this is the best candidate. It does only one thing: offers the "super wide" lens the DSLR desperately need when shooting landscapes and large group of people.

    reviewed December 30th, 2008 (purchased for $60)
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by GeorgiaJedi (4 reviews)

    For a basic kit lens this leaves a lot to be desired. Used it for a week before tuning to my 17-85.

    reviewed November 14th, 2008
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by that_fox (3 reviews)
    Cheap, good focal range
    IQ mediocre at best, build quality, slow

    This lens is probably the first one that most people start with on their new dSLR and it is just not good enough. The build quality is terrible, it just screams terribly cheap with the image quality not being much better. This is the reason why I tell people to pick the body only configuration of their XTi or XT and get the very good Tamron 28-75 instead. The Tamron can be had for under $300 used and it just wipes this lens out in every category. I didn't know any better when I bought my first dSLR, but I won't make the same mistake twice.

    reviewed February 16th, 2008
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by owashi (4 reviews)
    price, capable of perfectly acceptable shots
    poor in low light, cheap construction

    I got the Japanese version, which is slightly different (it has USM but no IS).

    I mainly take pictures of birds so rarely use this lens. It basically turns my 400D into a fancy point and shoot. That's fine by me...........I'm not so bothered about wide angle landscapes, buildings or portraits and don't need specialist lenses for such applications.

    For those folk who shoot mainly at these standard focal lengths there are of course much much better options than the kit lens but for those of us who generally don't it's a useful addition to the camera bag.

    It clearly has its' limitations which are well known but I've taken a few nice shots with it. And you can't complain about the price that's for sure.

    reviewed December 16th, 2007
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by touristguy87 (33 reviews)
    short and light, decent optical quality
    no IS

    This lens is vastly underrated and of course limited at night without IS, the new one with IS should be great. Like any lens on the 400D the limit is the focus accuracy, not the lens sharpness.

    reviewed August 22nd, 2007 (purchased for $150)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by kamundse (2 reviews)
    light, cheap, great images for lens price, nice bokeh
    slow & noisy focus

    For a kit lens, this is pretty nice. I have gotten many excellent images using this lens. It is super light and can take a pretty good range of images. My only complaint is that I find myself needing to focus manually a bit too often when it just cannot seem to figure it out. I think this is mostly because I am really pushing the limits on what this lens is capable of doing.

    I am one of those people who does not really stress lens durability so that was not much of a concern. I don't find myself banging my lenses into hard objects very often.

    reviewed July 25th, 2007
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by hitendra (11 reviews)
    Image quality is better then expected.
    All plastic build.

    What one can expect at this price? At least it outperforms my expectations!
    Check out the results here

    reviewed May 13th, 2007
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by CeeJay (4 reviews)
    Cheap , decent quality if you know how to avoid it's limitations (hint: read SLRgears review)
    Need to be stopped down to be sharp, limited tele.

    Cheap , cheap, cheap ! .. but actually not that bad.

    Before I got my Canon 400D with this lens in the kit , I read on several forums that this lens was crap.
    Well .. it's not , it's simply .. misunderstood ;)

    As SLRgear shows it's actually decent once you stop it down to f/8 or f/11.
    18mm (x 1.6 = 28mm) is nice and wide and quite useful , though 55mm is a bit too short for my taste.

    Since it needs to be stopped down and because it's focal range is a bit limited in the tele range , I quickly replaced this with the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM as my everyday lens.
    The 17-85 is much better for that task but ofcourse it costs a whole deal more than this lens.

    For the beginner this lens is cheap and will do fine .. but if you're looking to get more out of your camera I'd go with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens as my first lens (or possibly the Sigma 30mm) and then a second lens to cover the 18 - 80 ish range - There are several good ones , depending on your preference and size of your wallet.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by noksukau (4 reviews)
    Did someone mention it was cheap?
    Loads of course, but that doesn't mean it's altogether useless, read on!

    I can't think of a good reason NOT to get this lens. As many others have commented, it's performance is not brilliant, but like with any lens you have to learn how to use it to get the best results.

    As you can see from the sharpness plots here that means stopping down to f/8-11, not ideal for most work but if you doing stills or in bright conditions it's not that hard, and let's face it, you're not going to be getting buttery bokeh at f/5.6 so you might has well have a sharp shot at least! If this is your first SLR it also lets you play around with your aperture priority settings and have some in-control camera fun.

    As a wide-angle lens it serves admirably and earns a place in your bag for that reason alone when you start to add other lenses. This is the first lens to upgrade, definitely, but that doesn't mean you should ditch it immediately. Buy the 50mm f/1.8, a telephoto zoom, and then upgrade when you know a bit more about what you want from your shooting in terms of range, low-light performance and image quality.


    reviewed January 15th, 2007
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by DimLight (7 reviews)
    Lightweight, fast AF, great value for money
    A bit soft, CA are quite evident

    I perfectly agree with "random", down there. This lens is cheap and cheaply-built, but it is nonetheless capable of great pictures. One has just to know in advance what they can and cannot do with it.

    First, the focal range is very useful. If you don't take wide-angle photos that often, you can stick to this lens for those shots and purchase a good tele zoom for everyday usage.

    Second, you don't have to worry about dust, weather or blows: this lens is unexpensive, if it breaks you can get another one anytime.

    Shots turn out pretty good when taken around f/8, so this lens is perfectly usable in daylight, less usable indoors and at night. I personally was able to take good photos with this lens. Just remember that it distorsts a fair bit at 18mm and that chromatic aberrations are strong, so avoid shooting buildings and things like tree branches against a bright sky.

    The strength of this lens is clearly value for money and not quality itself. Given that, I would recommend it to people new to reflex photography (I share this opinion with Canon, I guess :) ) and to people on a budget.

    Its obvious limitations can be useful, too: by struggling to get better photos out of this lens I learned a lot about important aspects of photography. Also, keep in mind softness in the corners, CA and distortions are the rule, not the exception. More expensive lens just control them better. A cheap lens is a valuable tool to learn how to evaulate other lenses quality-wise, and in the end this will allow you to make an informed choice when buying your (inevitable) replacement.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by MJG (5 reviews)
    Lightweight, value for money
    Slow AF (non USM version), image quality not great

    Included in the kit, or bought separately, the lens provides good value for the money. It's not a great lens regarding image quality as well as build quality, but it's OK as a starter lens, or as a light weight travel lens. The non USM version (kit version) has somewhat slow AF, but it's very quiet for a non USM.
    This lens works great when reverse mounted as a macro lens, image quality is excellent then. The zoom makes for a variable macro diopter.

    reviewed January 14th, 2007
  • 4 out of 10 points and recommended by AlainD (8 reviews)
    kit lens can be cheap addition to body only
    too short a range. Feels like a toy. Need to be stopped down.

    I have the regular (non USM) version. Getting it on the my 300D then later on the 350D as the additional cost was something like $40-50, and it's a ok lens to gets started and see what works.

    at $100+ I would save my money and get a Sigma 17-70 or 18-200 (which I have - havn't used kit in a year)

    reviewed January 12th, 2007 (purchased for $40)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by mlacoursiere (3 reviews)
    usm is great! pictures come out pretty good most of the time
    occasionally colors seem distorted

    I read reviews about this lens and almost did not get the kit because of them, but decided to go ahead and get the kit.

    I feel like the pictures I am taking come out clear most of the time, although I am a novice and may not notice all of the problems that someone with more experience may.

    I was very happy with the crisp detail that I was able to get on my photos and did not see the problems that I had read in the review.

    Out of the box, I feel like this performs well, but do realize that there are better lenses, but for now, this will work! Eventually, I want a lens with a "real" zoom on it. I expected more (of course, I don't understand the zoom really well!). I am used to a regular "point & shoot" with a zoom and I was expecting a little something closer to that and was disappointed.

    All in all though, not a bad lens.

    reviewed January 11th, 2007
  • 0 out of 10 points and recommended by JimT (3 reviews)

    I got this as a kit lens with my 400D.

    The lens is serviceable. IQ is not great not horrible.
    About what you would expect from a "kit" lens
    It focuses quickly and accurately.

    You will want to upgrade eventually but not too bad as a starter lens.

    reviewed January 10th, 2007
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by random (10 reviews)
    free (if bought with an APS-C body), light, usable focal length range
    cheap build quality, tiny focusing ring, not that sharp wide open especially at the corners

    We've all read the other reviews, so I'd just tell you how to maximize the use of this lens. It actually has a pretty useful zoom range. Stay near the middle of the zoom range and aperture opening range to maximize sharpness and minimize CA & distortions. That means around 24-45mm and f/8-f/11. Corners would always be softer than the center at most apertures and the lens would have obvious CA & distortions especially at the wide end of the range.

    AF, surprisingly, is fast considering that it only uses a micro-motor but it is somewhat audible. It would tend to focus-hunt in low-light though. The manual focusing is hardly usable due to the tiny focus ring directly at the front of the lens.

    Don't bother protecting the front lens element with a filter since a cheap uncoated one would just degrade the image quality while an expensive multicoated one wouldn't be worth it considering how much this lens costs.

    Overall, it's a good lens to get if you compare the price of the kit package & the price of the cropped-sensor body only. I have seen a lot of amazing shots taken with the kit lens, and some were even award-winning pictures. Once you maximize the capabilities of this lens & learn its limitations, you would have improved your skills enough and you'd have a better idea of what lens to get next.

    reviewed January 8th, 2007
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by ychen (5 reviews)
    cheap, ok for beginners.
    build, distortion, contrast

    overall its an ok lens for beginners and auto/program shooters.
    u can't be too creative with it, but it gets u there.

    if you dont expect much from it, it can surprise.

    its got some pale colors and low contrast, so dont expect any "pop" out of the images. there's heavy distortion at the wide side.

    it so cheap and part of the kit, so you might as well keep it as reserve.

    reviewed January 8th, 2007
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by adobo (17 reviews)
    Cheap, Good for First time buyers*
    Cheap... I'm a bit embarrased with this lens

    Wow.. this lens already has lots of reviews.. I guess that's because this is a kit lens..

    I would recommend first-time buyers to get this lens.. why? Aside from cheap, it allows you to learn important aspects of your lens.. Althought it is cheap, you can work around its weakness if YOU ONLY KNOW how.. :)

    I almost hated my kit lens but when I learned how to properly stop-down, to avoid the extremes, force myself to be creative in composing the image, etc.. It allowed me to improve myself in photography..

    Get over that "cheap quality" mentality and why not just make it a personal challenge to be able to get good images with this lens? (it is possible!)

    Btw, I know one professional photographer who uses this lens and I asked him.. why use a kit lens?! And he said that he's using old school techniques instead (like drop-in filters, etc) I was amazed and was actually motivated to learn how to use this properly :)

    reviewed January 6th, 2007
  • 4 out of 10 points and recommended by amolas (6 reviews)
    buid quality, focus, aperture

    The ideal lens to start shooting on a slr... but shows very quickly its limits....

    Build quality is like a child'toy, and pictures are flat....

    reviewed January 6th, 2007
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by yuj (5 reviews)
    Cheap, sharp if stopped down, light and compact.
    Cheap, front element rotates during focus, very soft wide open.

    This lens is a mixed bag. As a kit lens, it's not too bad, but it's not that great either. You can get sharp photos if you know what you're doing, but then again, you don't necessarily NEED razor sharp photos either unless you're going to be printing at large sizes or you're doing professional work.

    This is a great starter lens and the quality you'll get with it blows away any point&shoot, but that's all that it is: a starter lens. If you feel you're outgrowing the capabilities of this lens, then it's definitely time to trade up. Sell it and get a 50mm prime.

    reviewed January 5th, 2007
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by silverbluemx (16 reviews)
    Small, light, quite good stopped down, inexpensive as a kit lens.
    Not really sharp under f/8, some distorsion, poor AF, poor construction quality.

    As a kit lens, it performs well if you don't expect too much and are aware of its limitations.
    It is sharp if you have enough light to stop it down to f/8, and the distorsion at 18mm can be corrected during post-processing.
    Apart from image quality, it lacks in build quality : full plastic, front lens rotates during focussing.
    This lens allows you to take great shots if you are on a budget, but if you're not, you'd better choose a better "small everyday lens" such as the Sigma 18-125 for exemple.

    reviewed January 4th, 2007
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by jcsoniat (7 reviews)
    Sharp at f8, light
    Very cheap build, Manual focus ring hard to use without hood.

    Well, If you're going to get a camera and don't have any other lenses already, get the kit lens. When you stop it down to it's sweet spot around f8, it produces great images. I still have not had a chance to upgrade from it, but I find if I use it correctly within it's best abilities, I can get great results.

    That being said, it is a very poorly made lens, but it is also super cheap. Considering the price, and that it is made of electronics, motors, and glass, it is a good deal. Definitely recommend getting the lens hood, as it will help with manual focus. If gives you something more substantial to turn.

    Also, for being cheap construction, I dropped my camera from my lap when getting out of a van on the first day I used it. It landed right on concrete. But, it held up pretty well. The lens cap came off on impact and stripped a couple of the threads, and the mount where hood attaches got a little roughed up. I still use the same lens almost a year later, and it has never showed any issues with image quality and construction.

    reviewed January 1st, 2007
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by mbuf (7 reviews)
    good range,sharp if stoped down
    construction, front rotation

    This lens is not as bad as many users complain. If you know its limitations and characteristics it is quite usefull.
    The picture quality is ok if this lens is stopped down at f8, but is not stellar.
    The range is very good for general photography and some macro, so it is ideal for the beginers.
    The built quality is so-so. The front element "move" left-right, I am not talking about the normal in-out.
    A polarizer is a little dificult to use, since the front is rotating a little bit while zooming and a lot while focussing.
    For the price this lens could be a good starter. If you have some extra money, buy only the body and get a better lens.

    reviewed December 28th, 2006
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by logogogue (10 reviews)
    lightweight, comes bundled in a kit
    slow, no hood, mediocre optics, chintzy zoom construction.

    I suppose because of the low cost and it is often bundled as the lowest cost "kit" version it is an unavoidable purchase for a newbie. However if you can pause for a moment and pick up a body only, you'd be better off. Spend just a couple of bucks more on a variety of excellent lenses from Sigma or Tamron and you'll be much happier in the long run. Anyone with more than a passing interest in photograhpy will quickly out grow the lens and wonder why you even bothered. Take it from me, I'm that person.

    reviewed December 27th, 2006
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by nikoskard (17 reviews)
    Lightweight, small, cheap, good IQ for Price.
    Need small aperture to give good iq, toy build

    I bought 300D KIT with this lens as my first dslr. I was very happy with IQ in my photos as long as i was at my first steps.

    After bought tamron 28-75 it begun obvious the limitation of this lens. Not so sharp, slow focus speed, not so good build quality. But for beginners is a must lens cause it's so cheap.

    Of course this can't even close to L but this is not fair comparison. I must admit now it lies in my bag for long time, but i have Tamron 28-75, 24-105L, 17-40L, 70-200L, 50 and Tamron 90 macro, so it is very difficult to shoot with 18-55.

    Overall good results, as long as you are on beginner side.

    reviewed December 26th, 2006
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by jlam (4 reviews)
    Light weight, quick focus, silent, good image quality for the money
    Too slow (aperture)

    The image quality is surprisingly good. Ok, I'm talking about for everyday use - family, kids, in the yard or park... not charts or brick walls. As a kit lens for my XT, I was struck with how fast and quiet it focuses.

    The build quality is noticeably cheap but adequate. Since I don't use the manual focus ring, it is no bother. Neither is the plastic mount construction. It's been working fine for the last 1-1/2 years without chips or cracks. (Yes, I do swap lenses with my EF 28-135mm IS.) In fact, I didn’t realize it has a plastic mount until I started looking into the EF 50mm f/1.8 II recently.

    I recommend this only for the first time dSLR buyers. It is simply the most affordable way to enter the dSLR world with reasonable quality and versatility. Otherwise, look for an alternative with constant f/2.8 aperture.

    reviewed December 16th, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by dennisc (6 reviews)
    Good and cheap
    Poor construction

    This lens came as part of my camera kit and it was hard to say no to it. Though I did try but the shop owner didn't want to take it in...

    Anyhow, no regrets. Definitely no.

    You want to travel light, you put this lens on.
    You want a very usable range of focal lengths, you put this lens on.
    You don't want to attract too much attention, you also put this lens on.
    You want a good return on investment, you definitely want to keep this lens!

    Sure, the image quality is no 'L' standard but it is good enough to sell and impress more than half the population.

    This lens is good for events especially parties and weddings. You can get good group photos and close ups without changing lenses. Tip - stop down the lens to f/7.1 and you get a good DOF and sharpness for group photos.

    This lens is also great for travelling. It is light and short so you can actually pack your camera kit in a waist pouch.

    Another tip - the focus ring is another loose one, so I'd use the autofocus most of the time. Using manual focusing is a real pain.

    I like this lens and I don't mind picking up another unit as a spare. As you already know, the construction makes us wish it was a wee bit better and I am really afraid I am going to break mine someday.

    reviewed December 14th, 2006
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by Jon S (4 reviews)
    Cheap basic no-frills zoom lens....
    mediocre image quality, but you get what you pay for....

    For $100, this is a superb example of you get what you pay for. The lens feels cheap, the image quality suffers unless you stay in the middle of the zoom range and don't use the lens wide open. My suggestion is save the bucks and go for a Sigma or Tamron lens with a 2.8 spec. You will be a lot happier for it.

    The only reason to buy it with the lens is in case you decide to sell your camera and the buyer wanted a lens with it.

    reviewed December 12th, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by mxwphoto (12 reviews)
    Good starter lens, multi-function (explained below)
    Cheap build, but can't complain for the bundled price

    As a cheap kit lens, image and build quality definitely suffers compared to better alternatives. But it's a good lens to start out with and will teach people the basics of slr photography without costing an arm and a leg. This lens will also serve as a impromptu manual macro lens once you get a reverse mount adapter off of e-bay and adds a fresh new element of slr to play with. Other lenses can do the same, but I certainly wouldn't want to expose the rear elements of much more expensive lenses. A good little work horse till you can upgrade to some stallions.

    reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by Kwik3Mart (1 reviews)
    Cheap, Included, great for the kids
    Cheap, soft, substandard color

    Comes as a great starter lens. I use it for the kids now. I was constantly disappointed in the sharpness of this lens. I also constantly struggled with sever color desaturation whenever shooting into any light source, even with the lens itself shaded. I almost gave up photography whne shooting with only this lens. Now I let the kids shoot with it on my 300D body. It works great for 5-9 year olds.

    reviewed December 10th, 2006
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by kirehe (9 reviews)
    Light, cheap.
    Slow aperture.

    Sharpness is ok. Main problem for me was that it was so slow - 5.6 at long end only makes it useful in the middle of the day (when photography tends to be least fun).

    In its defense, it's light and easy to carry around. Focuses fast too for not having a USM motor. If you're more than a camera rookie, you'll probably enjoy a better lens (e.g., sigma 18-50 f/2.8; Canon 17-85 IS).

    reviewed December 5th, 2006
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by suhaskulkarni (1 reviews)
    Good value for money, reasonably sharp when stopped down,light weight
    CA's, soft wide open

    Got this lens as part of 350D (rebel XT).

    It is reasonably sharp for the money that I spent. However, I need to stop it down to at least f10 in order to get sharpness.

    CA is a big problem. It can be corrected in editor, still it is a big problem for me.

    Distortions are pretty high but I can easily correct in editor.

    It is light weight and small, I can easliy take it during my family trip without any major complaints from my wife!

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by Tomti75 (13 reviews)
    Very cheap, lightweight
    Image quality, build

    Considering its price is close to zero when bought with a body, this lens has a good quality/price ratio...

    Basically, judging this kind of lens on sharpness, contrast, bokeh, etc... is close to nonsense.

    For people coming from point and shoot, buying their first DSLR and with no intention of getting deeper into photography it will be the perfect lens, and that's what it's designed for.
    It does its job quite well, focuses where you want to, takes the pictures you want to, with a quite good image quality (no pb for standard size prints or web sized pictures).
    And most of all, these pictures are clearly better than the same taken with a point and shoot.

    On the other hand, any DSLR will be limited by this lens, IQ, DOF control... you can get much better pictures and possibilities with other lenses (for example budget fast primes like the 35mm f2).

    So I would have kept it for snapshots, given its weight and versatility, but in fact, I'm now happier with a fast normal prime for this...

    reviewed December 5th, 2006
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by gadgetguy (62 reviews)
    cheap price, light weight
    cheap quality

    If what you are looking ifor is a cheap, light lens for "non-critical" travel and quick shots, then this is not bad, all things considered.

    Hey - it's a kit lens - designed to be cheap and to give super amateur results to get you to buy a more expensive lens. Once you figure it for that, then you know what to expect.

    reviewed December 3rd, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by Muiderburght (13 reviews)
    light; cheap; useful range
    lens quality; look&feel; picture quality

    It came with my 350D and although not the best of lenses and I quickly replaced it with the 17-55 EF-S, I did enjoy the lens for being light and versatile. Once you have the 17-55, it's just crazy to put this on your camera, otherwise I'd buy it again (I sold my 350D and went to a 30D body only).

    This lens is a good alternative in this much used range for which Canon doesnt have that many options. Your next choice would probably be the 17-85. But that lens seems to provide mediocre image quality as well and isnt very fast (ready: outside only), which is true for this lens as well.
    If you dont want stellar pictures, you might as well stay with a point&shoot, right? That's how I got to the 17-55. In combination with the 70-200/f/4 and a macro lens, I'm very content with my gear.

    reviewed December 2nd, 2006 (purchased for $100)
  • 4 out of 10 points and recommended by cjbowlsby (17 reviews)
    cheap, decent wide to moderate telephoto range, light
    not very fast, soft wide open, cheap construction

    The main reason I have this lens is for its wide angle capabilities. I can't wait to replace it with the 17-55 2.8 IS. But that's a bit down the road.

    It's a fine lens for indoor close quarter shooting as long and one doesn't mind using flash. It's very light & small so it travels well. If I stop it down, it can actually be a pretty decent landscape lens.

    reviewed November 28th, 2006
  • 3 out of 10 points and not recommended by dimfinder (5 reviews)
    Too many to list

    This lens came as part of my 20D kit and I wasn't expecting much from it. It turned out to be even worse than I had thought.
    Contrast is reasonably good in the center of the frame when stopped down, but everything else is just terrible. The image borders are never really sharp, it has strong barrel distortions at the wide end, it suffers from heavy CAs at all focal lenghts, colours are washed out.
    Build quality is even worse than the 50 f1.8 (lower quality plastic) and the focusing ring is impossible to use. The zoom ring is wide and ruberized, which is good.
    Canon should not be putting their name on such a poor product. If you are looking for a really cheap starter lens for your 1.6x body buy the 28 f2.8, you will be much happier with your results.

    reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $130)
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by grahambo (8 reviews)
    cheap, decent micro performance
    cheap, slow, front threads rotate when focusing

    I purchased this lens with the 300D when if first came out. I returned them after a week of trying to fall in love with the camera.

    My impression matched the test results on this site. Notice that cheap leads both the pro and con lists.

    This lens is a master of nothing. But, with prodding and ideal conditions, acceptable results can be achieved. My best results with this lens were shooting outside in full daylight. When focusing very close, the lens seemed to deliver sharp results even almost wide open. Good for flowers, plants, etc.

    Indoors, the results were not good. There is no way to stop this lens down adequately and still use available light. The lens on the G3 I was using at the time was fast enough to make up for the 300D’s ISO advantage.

    reviewed November 26th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by henris (8 reviews)
    light, cheap
    flimsy, not a good lens wide open, manual focus ring a joke

    This lens came bundled with my old 300D, so it was a good starter lens for me. I kept the thing stopped down at 7.1 or f/8 most of the time, so things came out pretty good most of the time. Any larger apertures would result in softness. Don't even think about manual focusing with this thing.

    reviewed November 25th, 2006
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by drwho9437 (9 reviews)
    Useful range, light weight
    Not very fast, not much fun

    What to say about the kit lens. Humm well I had a pretty good copy I guess from an early 300D. It was my only lens for quite a time actually. I followed it with a 50 1.8 then the 28 2.8 then the Sigma 10-20 and the 30 2.0. I sold this lens with my 300D body. Sold the 28 as well as the 30 subsumes it.

    What does all this have to do with the 18-50? Well when I got rid of the 18-55 I tired to get by but really its quite hard too. So I had to get a replacement, I choose the Tamron 17-50 2.8. Stopped down to about f 8 this lens delivers fair results actually. If you are going for landscapes it can be quite fine. Certainly its low weight was welcome on long mountain accents.

    I would say the biggest draw backs are its build and that it is slow. Slow and the image quality are pretty much standard for this kind of kit lens. But take a look at the Pentax kit lens and you will see, you can make a decent feeling lens for kit. Even the new D80 lens feels worse. Hats off to Pentax for this.

    This lens doesn't try to be the best at anything, it just trys to be acceptable at everything. I think it probably comes close to doing that actually. I certainly could be worse. That said, I've seen some very bad "test shots" with this lens so QC might just vary wildly, and I might have lucked out.

    In the end it will get you started, but you probably won't get one if you don't get it in the kit, which might make this review pointless.

    While some people are enthusiastic about the 17-85, I find some qualities of that lens more disturbing than this one, though it has many significant obvious advantages. Too bad Canon charges 2x as much for a nice 17-50 than the 3rd parties (with IS) because at 500 dollars such a lens would be owned by every person who had an EF body.

    reviewed November 22nd, 2006
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by pz (8 reviews)
    its price, picture quality for its price
    construction quality

    It was my first lens. I used rarely. It gave relatively good pictures but its construction quality was terrible. For this price it is a good - but change as soon as possible - lens.

    reviewed November 17th, 2006
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by hobbit (5 reviews)
    Light, cheap, not bad images if you use it correctly, fairly fast autofocus.
    Build quality, soft corners when at 18-25 range

    I bought this in a kit with 350D/XT.
    I don't anyhow regret about this, majority of my pictures were made with this lens for instance these:

    you can see more here

    First of all it is not stellar lens. It is cheap and it is for novices who need to learn how to with DSLR on my opinion. But this does not mean you can not make good pictures with it. Bob Atkins reviews some of the features this lens and I think his review shows how it can be used most effectively.

    On my opinion it is best at 28-55 range. Wider it is exhibiting softness in the corners and significant barrel distortion. Nevertheless I use it wide open as well and sometimes get nice shots (depends more on photographer than on lens I guess).

    It allows shooting from pretty close distance , so macro is possible with this lens.

    The autofocus is fast and accurate. Comparing to my 50/1.8 it is way better. I almost never have to switch to manual focusing.

    The apperture limit , prevents this lens from specific portret use (well not so but , 50/1.8 is better) but it is nice walkaround for beginner.

    I do recommend this lens for beginners, those who just start with DSLR and who are on budget.

    reviewed November 16th, 2006
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by Petre (1 reviews)
    Light weight, cheap, value for money.
    Manual focusing ring too narrow, plastic lens mount, build quality.

    It is OK as a kit lens considering price you pay for it, usually in USD 80.00-90.00 range. If You need zoom coverage You could hardly get any better/other option for this price. If You want much better quality and are with limited budget go fo Canon EF 50/1.8 II, it is much better in optical quality and build quality is same. Plastic lens mount is not good.
    However stop down 2-3 stops and You have optical performance that is avove average for money paid.

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $90)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by pj1974 (7 reviews)
    Lightweight, cheap, sharp enough stopped down, wide angle
    focus speed or hunting / searching in dark light

    I bought this lens as part of the "kit" with my 350D. Although I use the Canon 28-135mm USM IS as my walk around lens, there are times when I use the kit lens. For example for when I need a wider angle landscape, or when I am touring a city / urban scapes (to photograph buildings and have less weight to carry round my neck).

    I have found my lens to be really decent, both at the tele and the wide angle. Wide open is more than acceptable, and stopped down is good to very good. Anyway most of the time I use this lens stopped down one or two stops, so it's sharp then (e.g. landscapes).

    It works well with my circular polariser for sky or sea photos (I got used to focussing first, then adjusting the polariser, no big drama).

    As for manual focus, I never use it anyway (not really needed) so the small (and indeed hard to use manual focusing ring isn't a problem for me).

    I'm glad I have this lens, it's handy at times and does a decent job! Autofocus speed in dimmer situations is really my only complaint!

    reviewed October 20th, 2006
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by ilind (2 reviews)
    Light weight and compact

    I sometimes find myself going back to this "kit" lens for everyday use because it is light and compact, easy to carry as a general lens. Not the highest image quality, but it can produce reasonable photos. A good learning lens for first-time dslr buyers.

    Here are some sample images:

    reviewed August 1st, 2006
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by fabio777 (3 reviews)
    Ottima definizione dell'immagine specialmente al centro, bassa distorsione, e buoni i valori di aberrazione cromatica.
    materiali migliorabili, rotazione parte anteriore.

    Io non capisco come molta gente valuti questo obiettivo solo per come è costruito, senza valutare attentamente le immagini che produce. Io l'ho confrontato scrupolosamente con il 17-85 f4-5,6, con il 28-135 f3,5-5,6, con il 20-35 f3,5-5,6, e sinceramente me lo tengo stretto e me lo porto sempre in borsa.

    reviewed May 23rd, 2006 (purchased for $45)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by rocketralph (3 reviews)
    good zoom range and very light weight
    poor focusing ring

    It is what it is. A "kit" lens. Bought the camera with the lens and if I did it all over again, I would have bought the body only. Focusing ring is very hard to use and it doesn't do any good with a polarizing filter.
    Best suggestion, spend the extra$$ for the body only and buy the 17-55mm F2.8 IS lens or a Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 lens. It will be money well spent and you will be much happier.

    reviewed April 24th, 2006
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by Pasma (2 reviews)
    Very soft

    i like more sigma 18-50 3.5/5.6

    reviewed December 27th, 2005
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by jeffreenz (3 reviews)
    A lot of optical quality for virtually no cost
    What do you expect for about $50-$70; pretty high CA wide open at widest angle

    I have the version "II" of this lens, which Steve's and DPR appear to think has been tweaked by Canon at the long end for a bit of an improvement in quality. Other than the CA at the wide end, wide open, this is a bargain lens. I find acceptable linear distortion with landscapes, but not with architecture. With portraits, I just move back a bit and use the longer focal lengths. This lens gets a bad rap mostly because its cheap, but that's the beauty of it.

    reviewed December 26th, 2005
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by DutchChili (1 reviews)
    center-frame sharpness, weigth
    corner sharpness, fragile manual focus ring

    Center-frame sharpess is good as well as the natural colors it produces. Corner sharpness is much worse at low apertures as shown in the test results. It's is not a good choise for landscape photography nor portraits. Not only because of the corner sharpness, but also because of the severe distortion at 18mm.

    I'm supprised by the test method used on this side. It reflects my personal experience 100%.

    Hopefully all the commonly excepted and used lenses will be tested here soon (such as Canon's 70-200 F/2.8 and F/4.0, as well as the commonly used Tamron lenses).

    reviewed November 18th, 2005
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by Seanr (1 reviews)
    Wide, light, nice macro
    no FTM

    Not sure what rcattani is trying to say but this lens is the best bang for the buck I've found. There's the 50mm 1.8 but that lens is not as versatile and (for me) a little more expensive.

    Canon usually offers this for $60-$100 extra when you buy the Rebel XT. I'd say it is easily worth twice that. Unless you already have a lens that covers this range (and believe me, 18mm on the wide end is FUN to have), I think this is a no brainer.

    reviewed October 25th, 2005 (purchased for $60)
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by hbx2004 (2 reviews)
    price, quiet AF motor
    rotating front barell, plastic mount

    As noted on above test, this lens performes better as assumed (considering price & "plastic feeling"). Many new DSLR owners are dissapointed with this lens, so they start searchin' for replacement too fast. But over the time (learning camera & photo technique) this lens get better. So my advice: don't sell it too soon! Especially if you take mostly family shots (and similar) which you'll print on 4x6" (10x15cm) paper, then keep the lens for a while.
    But there's reality: optically and mechanically this lens can't compare with lenses which costs much more.

    reviewed October 23rd, 2005
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by TomK (7 reviews)
    It Came With My 20D
    almost non-existent MF ring

    Despite what you will read about the technical performance of this lens, it does hold up well for general family coverage. I've been much happier with the images from it that I expected. In a bundle, I essentially paid $100 for it, so it's hard to complain. I've added a Canon UV filter and Canon lens hood so it looks professional.

    Canon should've given us equal sized zoom and focus rings, as using this lens for Manual Focus work is frustrating. It otherwise spoils the exceptional value.

    Here are some images, shot with the 18~55 ...

    reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $100)
  • 2 out of 10 points and not recommended by rcattani (2 reviews)

    shame Canon for designing, producing and selling this lens
    good times when together with a camera body they would sell a sharp 50 mm

    reviewed October 20th, 2005