Canon 18-55 STM is review
Canon 18-55 STM is review
Introduction – Canon 18-55 STM is review
The Canon 18-55 is stm is the new kit lens. The STM refers to stepper motor which helps in video recording to make smoother transitions. What is the kit lens ? Kit lens is usually a cheap lens, which the manufacturers give for few bucks together with the camera body to start with. Although Nikon says most people end up with the kit lens, the general idea about the kit lens, that the customer later will replace it with something better and more expensive. So in this sense a kit lens is not an end product. Many people omit kit lenses totally and buy a better lens immediately when they buy the camera. Today most kit lenses are has decent or very high resolution, but usually with reduced build quality and weak contrast. The difference compare to “normal lenses” are not huge and still there. The next logical step in price from kit lenses is the Tamron 17-50, or Sigma 17-70 lenses. These lenses has much better build quality, better contrast and normally better against flare. Interestingly the Canon 18-55 stm is a very sharp lens. Other difference is the aperture which is f/2.8 for the Tamron and only f/5.6 for the 18-55 stm. This way the Tamron has 4 times shutter speed at the long end.
Specifications – Canon 18-55 STM is review
Focal length range: 18-55mm
Optical formula: 11 lens elements in 9 groups included 1 Aspherical element
Aperture blades: f/3.5-22
Minimum focusing distance: 25cm (9.84′)
Weight: 205g (7.23 oz.)
Dimensions: App. 69 x 75 mm (2.72 x 2.95″)
Aperture diaphragm blades: 7 circular
Magnification: 1: 2.8 at 55mm
Filter thread: 58mm (non-rotating, you can use filters)
Hood optional petal shaped EW-63C
Optical quality – Canon 18-55 STM is review
The lens is visibly better in several aspects than the predecessor, the Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is I and II versions. The Stm lens has better contrast, better against flare, and has better resolution.
Canon 18-55 stm ISO 200 18mm f/10 1/250s Canon 30D camera no post processing click to see in 1200 pixel
Canon 18-55 stm is 18mm ISO 400 1/2500s
I would say picture quality is excellent little stopped down
At wide open aperture the corners are much darker, and has a little distortion at 18mm which is usual
Compare to Tamron 17-50 (non Vc)
The logical upgrade from the Canon 18-55 stm is is the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 Non Vc according to my opinion. The Tamron has little wider angle (17 vs 18mm), the Canon is a little longer (50 vs 55mm), and the Tamron has a constant f/2.8 brightness in the whole range. The Tamron’s autofocus is noisy, while the Canons is absolutely silent. So the question is which is the sharpest lens at wide angle and telephoto range ? To achieve this I made four shots at sharpest aperture with each lenses at wide end at f/5.6 and at long end at f/8. I put the camera on a tripod, ISO 100 settings
For my eyes at the wide end the Canon looks sharper. To check it I observed the image file sizes taken by my Canon 30D camera. The Canon 18-55 is stm file size is 5.9 Megabyte, while the Tamron is 5.5 Mbyte. This is not really a scientific test, perhaps would be more accurate on a higher pixel rate camera, but seems the Canon is sharper at the wide end. At the long end the Tamron seems significantly better here the file sizes is 5.3 and 6.1 Megabytes respectively. It looks like that on the picture as well for me. Sharpness is not everything though. The colours of the Tamron looks warmer for me. I not use the 50mm end so much, mostly I use Tamron for landscapes at the widest angle. So the 18-55 is stm is a very good exceptionally sharp lens.
Build quality – Canon 18-55 STM is review
Finally the Canon kit lens has a manual focus ring and non-rotating filter… how far we went :). Now it is possible to use all kinds of filters on the lens. Compare to the older kit lenses the build quality is a lot better. The first thing I noticed how light the lens is. It is not a bad thing, I usually use much heavier lenses, and it is refreshing to use a really light lens, which doesn’t add much to the weight of the camera. The lens physical length is not constant, at both ends the lens is a little longer. The manual focus ring, which placed at the end of the lens barrell, is nicely can operated.
Autofocus – Canon 18-55 STM is review
The autofocus is completely silent, more silent than the ring type USM drive in higher-end lenses, but not as fast as the ring type USM focus, but perfectly fast enough for most applications. This stm system until now only appears in cheaper lenses, and it is optimized for video recording, where transition can be ugly with normal lenses. This new stm system helps the transitions can be smoother.
Price/performance – Canon 18-55 STM is review
For the price you get a high quality lens, but still it is a kit lens, just the quality in some aspects are not there, where most people want.
Pros – Canon 18-55 STM is review
-stm motor for video
-finally manual focus ring
-non rotating front element good for filters
-decent build quality
-relatively good macro abilities
-manual focus override, not as with higher-end lenses, where you just grab the ring, the shutter release button must half-pressed before, if autofocus has obtained
Cons – Canon 18-55 STM is review
-High light falloff at f/3.5 at 18mm, almost 2EV, some camera corrects it automatically
-no distance scale, I would paint for myself if I would kept the lens
-dark at long end (f/5.6)
Verdict – Canon 18-55 STM is review
For this price it is hard to find a better lens. So if your budget not allows more expensive lenses this lens is highly recommended. Some post processing is still cheaper than to buy a much more expensive lens. The light weight and the Stm autofocus optimized for video recording (with camera bodies started with Canon 650d) is an added bonus.