It’s not always the case that Canon camera users want the most expensive lenses possible, especially for the crop sensor users. In this regard, the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM worked very well for many Canon camera models in the past. The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is, therefore, a welcome addition to the lineup, with the inclusion of IS and STM technology.
An ideal solution for those who want to shoot architectural or landscape images at the enthusiast level and the idea here is to provide good quality optics and facilities at the wide-angle end of the market.
One feature in particular which will attract favor for the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is the Stepping Motor Technology (STM) which provides almost silent focusing for the likes of the video guys. This along with manual focus override should provide a good solution which won’t break the bank.
The in-lens image stabilization promises four stops of compensation. As the target market is for crop sensors, the focal length comes out as an equivalent of 16-28.8mm. Still plenty wide enough for most applications.
The lens itself is made from high quality, hard plastic which keeps the weight down to 240g, ideal for APS-C-format cameras. Not as solidly built as an L-series lens, but the costs have to be kept down in certain areas.
The aperture is variable from f/4.5 to 5.6 – f/22-f/29, a 22cm minimum focus distance and seven rounded diaphragm blades within. The glass is arranged in 14 elements in 11 groups, with Aspherical and ultra-low dispersion lens elements included.
On the outside, the lens has a simple layout with a smoothly working focus ring, a larger ring for changing focal lengths, a manual to autofocus switch, and one more switch for turning on image stabilization. No distance scale is provided, probably to keep down costs and/or there’s simply no room to fit one in. Up front is a 67mm filter thread, with all focusing done internally which means graduated ND filters or polarizing filters can be fitted without being affected.
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM in Use
The lightweight feel of the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is definitely an advantage on a crop sensor body. The lens and camera feel well balanced together, with no overcompensation of holding the lens as would be the case with an L-series.
As for the relative sharpness, f/5 is the starting sweet spot where corner sharpness becomes the most detailed. The 10mm end of things shows some chromatic aberration with high contrast subjects, but not very visible at the other end of 18mm.
The widest focal length also shows some barrel distortion and vignetting, but as per usual these can be easily corrected in software. Vignetting is subtle and although I love to add it in software, I would prefer the option in post-production.
This lens is relatively consistent in its performance across the focal lengths, although it is the sharpest at 18mm. In many ways, like many very wide-angle lenses, the most distortion comes in a 10mm with problematic areas clearing up at 18mm.
As for background blur or bokeh, this is not the forte of this lens. This lens is more about getting sharpness throughout the depths of the image. If you want those creamy backgrounds, you’re better off with a longer focal length.
In general, the images produced by the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens are detailed and full of nice contrast. The overall quality is not going to be a match for the highest end of optics like an L-series offering, but for the general user who wants good quality wide-angle images, the quality of images produced are more than respectable. As proven by many example images online, a lens of this caliber is more to do with the skill of the shooter.
How Does It Compare?
Being at the more cost-effective end of the market, there are few more choices available. Sticking with a similar price banding, the Meike MK-6-11mm f/3.5 Fisheye lens could be an option. This lens may not be the most familiar and it is a fisheye, but it still has reasonable wide-angle properties.
If you want to go down the prime lens route then the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens For Canon EF comes in at a similar price. Being a prime lens, it should come with slightly better optical quality with the added benefit of a larger f/2.8 aperture. However, where the Canon wins out is having image stabilization which helps enormously if you shoot mostly handheld.
Depending on your budget, the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM is a versatile lens, designed for APS-C bodies. It doesn’t have image stabilization, but it has a flexible zoom range and will never be a disappointment when it comes to taking architectural, landscape or general wide-angle images with good sharpness and contrast. The price is a bit of a hike up from the 10-18mm, but it’s worth it for the extra quality and versatility.
|Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM||Meike MK-6-11mm f/3.5 Fisheye|
|Elements||14 elements/11 groups||11 elements/8 groups|
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM performs as you would expect for a good quality, wide-angle lens at this price point. Under the right settings, images are sharp and crisp with a good level of contrast. This lens is a cost-effective way to capture wide-angle shots with all subjects being in focus in a fast and efficient way.
The addition of image stabilization gives the lens a higher-end usefulness, with ultralow shutter speeds. This means shooting landscapes and wide-angle cityscapes in low light becomes more appealing.
If you own a crop sensor camera and take into account the price and level of performance, this is definitely a worthy lens to have in your camera bag. The lens provides a lot of usability for the price and in the right hands can provide some excellent images.