18-55mm vs 18-135mm @ 18mm - my thoughts

Started Jun 5, 2010 | Discussions thread
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HaroldC3
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18-55mm vs 18-135mm @ 18mm - my thoughts
Jun 5, 2010

I currently own both the Canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS lens and Canon 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS lens and decided to do a little testing at 18mm to see how each lens fared.

My thoughts:

First I'd like to comment on the build quality of each lens. Most people are familiar with the Canon 18-55mm IS lens. It's a basic lens and as such the build quality is basic. It's not going to give you any great feeling of security but it is light-weight and compact. There really isn't a focus ring as it is the front of the lens.

Turning to the Canon 18-135mm lens. I'd call it a step up from the 18-55mm lens. Build quality is still pretty basic, with a plastic mount, but the lens feels more solid. The zoom ring is larger and it does have a nice focus ring. I feel like the lens might survive a fall but I wouldn't want to test it out.

I love the range of the 18-135mm lens. Since it does have such a decent range, I knew there were going to be compromises. So far what I have seen is wide open the 18-135mm lens is pretty soft at the corners, exhibits a moderate amount of CA and does vignette a small amount.

The 18-55mm exhibits some softness in the corners and some CA but not nearly as bad as the 18-135mm. I could see no vignetting with the 18-55mm wide open.

Barrel distortion on both lenses is about the same. You can see with the power pole how curved it is. This is exaggerated because I did not have the camera parallel with the plain.

Stopping down both lenses provides, what I consider, equal image quality. At f8, both lenses sharpen up quite a bit and most of the problems exhibited wide open are gone. I say most because there is still a small amount of CA with the 18-135mm but it's very small at this aperture.

All in all, I have been pleased with the Canon 18-135mm lens. The range is the main attraction and I find I don't want to take it off of my camera. I can certainly live with the shortcomings of the lens. I can see Canon dropping the price $100 for the lens and then I think it will become more popular.

Below are my test shots I took. These are full-res files, SOOC from a T2i with Sharpness at +2 and Contrast at +1.

18-55mm:

18-135mm:

18-135mm:

Look at the extreme top-right corner. Probably the worst CA you will see with this lens.

18-55mm:

18-135mm:

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Canon EOS M Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
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