18-55 IS compared to 17-55 IS

Started Dec 1, 2007 | Discussions thread
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RicksAstro
RicksAstro Veteran Member • Posts: 3,879
18-55 IS compared to 17-55 IS

I've been searching for a nice travel lens. I've gone through a few Sigma 18-200 OS's...one not sharp, 2 had nice optics but the OS was flaky after a week on each...too bad, because it was a handy lens.

Anyway, I decided to try out the new 18-55IS at a lightweight lens. After the PZ reviews, I could hardly not! I have a 17-55 I use for dim light situations...a fantastic lens, and I was very skeptical that the 18-55IS could compete.

At the wide end, the 17-55 dominates in the center sharpness with both wide open, but the 18-55 isn't bad. At the edges, the 17-55 is still better, but at the corners, the 18-55 catches up!

At the Tele end, the 18-55 wide open (5.6) is competitive with (and is in some ways sharper than) the 17-55 at f2.8...an unfair 2 stop difference though! Stopping the 17-55 down to f4, accelerates the 17-55 in front.

All in all...I'm impressed with this $200 lens. The IS seems at least as effective as the 17-55's, which is impressive. It's also quieter than the 17-55's. Focusing is very quick and quiet for a non-ring USM lens. It will make a nice sunny day lens when the 17-55 is too heavy and bulky to carry.

At the same apertures, the 17-55 is clearly better, but the 18-55 is quite good as well, and is actually more consistent across the image (center and edge are both good). It reminds me a LOT of Olympus' kit lens (14-42)...sharp enough for most purposes from edge to edge. You don't get that muddy corner look you could get with some other lenses.

Here are a few full res, unsharpened images with the 2 lenses taken with a 40D in standard picture style using the 580EX flash...filenames describe the lens, fl and aperture.

http://www.ricksastro.com/temp/1855_1755/1755_17_f2_8.JPG
http://www.ricksastro.com/temp/1855_1755/1855_18_f3_5.JPG
http://www.ricksastro.com/temp/1855_1755/1755_55_f2_8.JPG
http://www.ricksastro.com/temp/1855_1755/1855_55_f5_6.JPG

Rick Krejci

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