the1willy's reviews

  • Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great focal length, well built, sharp, light
    Strong CA at wide focal lengths, FTM focusing has very slight lag

    Although I had looked at this lens various times, I decided to put my money into a new camera instead, and low and behold, I found a special offer on the 650D/t4i plus the 18-135 STM with a very heavy discount, so ended up getting it anyways.

    I was extremely impressed by the sharpness, and find it at least as sharp if not sharper than my 'famous' tamron 17-50 (about the same as the 18-55 IS II), and pretty close to the 50mm 1.8 in equivalent f stops. Corners tend to be a bit soft at wide angle, but the centre remains sharp all the way through the focal range.

    Perhaps the week point of the lens is barrel distortion which can be quite noticable at 18mm, also CA is pretty evident at the edges in wider shots. Great news is that both can be corrected, and the t4i corrects most of the CA in camera.

    I found the AF with the new STM excellent, generally spot on (much more so than the lenses mentioned above), fast, and absolutely silent. It also has FTM focus also, but it works slightly differently to the 'standard' as it is electrical and you need to half press the shutter button first. There is also a very slight delay between rotating and the focus changing, but this is very slight and hardly noticable.

    I found the IS to be very effective too, giving three to four stops of assitance.

    I also find the bokeh very pleasing, and it makes a pretty handy portrait lens when shooting at longer focal lengths.

    Build quality:
    Solid, with a great zoom ring which is comfortable and easy to use. I used to think the tamron 17-50 was pretty solidly built, but this feels more so.

    Since getting it I've hardly taken it off the camera, almost making me feel guilty about buying the other 5 lenses I have gathering dust right now. This lens plus a fast prime should more or less cover most general needs on those days/trips where you want to take just a couple of lenes. And as a walkaround holiday lens, this is a really useful tool to have.

    reviewed May 9th, 2013