Canon ef 18-135 STM lens

18-200mm & All-in-One Lenses

All-In-One Lenses for Canon

Actually, I don’t recommend any of the currently available 18-200mm lenses or any of the longer all-in-one zooms, like Tamron’s 18 – 270mm.

I’ll grant that they’re convenient. But so are pocket-sized point and shoot cameras, and many of them have longer zoom ranges than SLR zooms… and they all come with a trade-off in image quality.

Unfortunately, the longer the zoom range that is included in a single lens, the harder it is to engineer good optical quality at any given point in that range. Currently, Canon and Nikon’s 18-200mm lenses are both optically pretty bad in at least part of the zoom range, and neither of them are really great in any part of it.  Of course, there are plenty of zoom lenses that we use that are not as sharp as is possible, and we are willing to accept it… but in most cases, that’s because the loss in quality is really only laboratory-relevant, but not a big deal under field conditions.

Not so with the 18-200s in question. The image quality is just plain bad; bad enough to ruin otherwise good pictures. The resolution in the center of the image is fine, but at the wide end of the range,  the edges of the frame are visibly blurry and at the long end, they’re not a lot better… though there are some spots in between where they’re ok.

Of course, if you don’t care about that sort of thing, and you’re happy with the sort of image  quality that you can get from a Holga or a Lensbaby, then the choice is yours!

That said, at this point, optical engineering HAS progressed to the point that we can get good optical quality in an 18-135mm lens. In fact, Nikon’s old 18-135mm (non-VR, now discontinued) lens had remarkably good image quality, though Canon’s 18-135mm of the same vintage was not impressive. At least, not favorably impressive.  Luckily, Canon has remedied the situation with their new 18-135 STM lens, which is optically quite good, and focuses as fast as many USM lenses. This zoom range would be comparable to an 28-200mm zoom (roughly) on a full frame camera, which is still pretty impressive.

Canon ef 18-135 STM lens

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Paolo
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Paolo

I’m going to West Coast USA for the honeymoon next July and I would like to buy an all around lens, I have a Canon 100D with 18-55 mm kit lens.
My idea is to buy canon 18-135 STM (or better the latest USM?) or canon 18-200 (or similar Tamron) for daily shooting and adding a 24mm or 40mm f2.8 pancake for the evening or for photos in low light.

what do you think or suggest?

Thansk in advance
Paolo

John Richardson
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John Richardson

Hi Matthew,

I hope this finds you through this now old trail.

Your post is very topical for me because I am about to plunge into a Canon 70D. I have the 70D on order with the 18-135mm STM kit and my current camera is the 600D with 18-135mm non-STM lens. On back order is the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art lens. I’m concerned that the quality difference between the new Sigma when it arrives and the Canon lens may be such that I will be disappointed with the Canon. So I have been scouring the web trying to see what might be a better companion for the Sigma on the 70D. I can still change my order to “body only” if there is a better option to pair with the Sigma.

I have found the 18-135mm a very flexible zoom range and I don’t hanker for more. It’s a great travel zoom in that regard. But even with the extra heft of the 70D and Sigma lens – those babies are coming with me when I go to Europe next year!

Is there something out there that might do a better job than the Canon 18-135mm STM (without breaking the bank), or is in fact the new Canon lens a viable option?

Thanks,

John

Rose
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Rose

I’m going to Europe next month and I would like to buy an all around lens,
I have a Canon 60D with 18-200 mm lens and 50-1.4. The 18-200 is very
heavy so I want to buy another lens which will be good for shooting those
great places and architecture in Vatican, in Paris.
Should I buy the canon 18-135 or what do you think is the best?

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