Canon 18-135mm STM Lens - Got it!

Started Jul 22, 2012 | Discussions
englishman
MOD englishman Contributing Member • Posts: 944
Canon 18-135mm STM Lens - Got it!

I finally got the t4i and the 18-135mm STM lens. I am excited to test the kit out tomorrow (specifically I want to see how this lens performs). I will report back with my findings (I'm no expert). If anyone wants to know anything specific, let me know. I will try to accommodate.

englishman
OP MOD englishman Contributing Member • Posts: 944
Re: Canon 18-135mm STM Lens - Got it!

I played with this lens extensively today. Here's what I think.

Pros: fast PDAF focusing, nice zoom range, full-time autofocus (with shutter pressed halfway), useful image stabilization (nice for video), fairly silent

Cons: softness across the entire focal range (much worse at the wide end; I guess I'm spoiled with my L glass), significant CA in a variety of situations (worse at the wide end), some front focusing

Here are some of my example shots. Honestly, I'm disappointed. I will probably sell this lens or return the entire kit to Best Buy and just buy the body.

I will say I AM very happy with how this particular body works with my 135mm f/2 prime. Beautiful. But not overly happy with this lens.

007peter
007peter Forum Pro • Posts: 11,430
Thanks for your honest review.....that's too bad

englishman wrote:

Cons: softness across the entire focal range (much worse at the wide end; I guess I'm spoiled with my L glass), significant CA in a variety of situations (worse at the wide end), some front focusing

Honestly, I'm disappointed. I will probably sell this lens or return the entire kit to Best Buy and just buy the body.

Great review Englishman. I didn't want to hear your conclusion because I really want to like this lens, but it is what it is, and the result speaks for themselves. I thank you for your honesty.

itsDing
itsDing Senior Member • Posts: 2,211
Re: Thanks for your honest review.....that's too bad

l am interested in how good the touch screen focusing works. l tripod mount the camera and take portraits of babies, children and families. l have to focus on the eyes them recompose at the moment, awkward when on tripod.. l would like to compose the shot then touch the screen where the eyes are. Will this work efficiently?

englishman
OP MOD englishman Contributing Member • Posts: 944
Re: Thanks for your honest review.....that's too bad

l am interested in how good the touch screen focusing works. l tripod mount the camera and take portraits of babies, children and families. l have to focus on the eyes them recompose at the moment, awkward when on tripod.. l would like to compose the shot then touch the screen where the eyes are. Will this work efficiently?

Sorry, I haven't tried this yet. I was only interested in really testing out this lens yesterday. I took a few more shots today and have not been as disappointed as I was yesterday. Here are a few of my samples today (obviously I'm not trying to take good pictures). These were all with center focus point. I plan on taking it out again this afternoon. I haven't returned it yet. Who knows? I may yet keep it. Much of what I did yesterday was at the wide end which is clearly its weakest spot. But I am used to primes. I shot almost exclusively primes with my t2i and I think I'm just spoiled.

StefanJ Regular Member • Posts: 371
Re: Canon 18-135mm STM Lens - Got it!

Thank you for your thoughts.

I've had a 650D with this lens on order as a gift, but I've not been 100% sure about it.

It is for someone starting out with DSLR photography, coming from Canon G series (although he did use Pentax analogue cameras a long time ago), but I think I'll just shelf out for the 17-55/2.8 IS lens. Then he can buy a good telezoom complement later.

Some might consider that lens overkill in this case, but just me knowing I could have bought the better lens will annoy me as well

Timbukto Veteran Member • Posts: 4,988
Re: Thanks for your honest review.....that's too bad

You are comparing it to some of the sharpest L primes ever...so yes you are spoiled. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the K-30 sample gallery shot with their 18-135 WR lens and compare it to the pics you see here and come back and tell me what you think of your lens then. Pentax owners are mighty defensive and think their 18-135 is actually passable...so what does that makes the 18-135 STM? Practically an L lens in comparison.

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englishman
OP MOD englishman Contributing Member • Posts: 944
Re: Thanks for your honest review.....that's too bad

You are comparing it to some of the sharpest L primes ever...so yes you are spoiled. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the K-30 sample gallery shot with their 18-135 WR lens and compare it to the pics you see here and come back and tell me what you think of your lens then. Pentax owners are mighty defensive and think their 18-135 is actually passable...so what does that makes the 18-135 STM? Practically an L lens in comparison.

Valid points. I don't think I gave it a fair shake yesterday. I played with it a bit more and I think the shots I got today were more favorable. Yesterday I was taking pictures that would be challenging for any lens. Today I took pictures in a more favorable range (for the lens) with better lighting conditions (nothing too contrasty).

In an hour or two I'm going to take it out with my dog and kids and let them run around. I'll shoot a bit more and see what sort of keeper rate I get.

My biggest complaints thus far are the overall lack of sharpness (although I haven't done ANY post-processing on any of these shots; everything is at factory default at this time AND some pictures are very sharp . . . see the lily pictures I posted in my last post) and the CA I'm seeing on a pretty regular basis.

victorian squid
victorian squid Veteran Member • Posts: 3,391
Re: Thanks for your honest review.....that's too bad

I assume that you've put your other lens on the T4i, and aren't comparing in a vacuum? When I got my 60D, I checked the new lens on my old body, as well as old lenses on the 60D, just to be sure!

It could be it's the body, not the 18-135 - unless of course you did stick your L on the T4i. Or did I miss you saying you did that and I can go eat worms?

 victorian squid's gear list:victorian squid's gear list
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englishman
OP MOD englishman Contributing Member • Posts: 944
Re: Thanks for your honest review.....that's too bad

It could be it's the body, not the 18-135 - unless of course you did stick your L on the T4i. Or did I miss you saying you did that and I can go eat worms?

I did put my L on the t4i and it's spot on. Here are a few in fairly low light last night before the sun went down . . . a little quick post-processing in Picasa

Fooshnik Regular Member • Posts: 246
Re: Thanks for your honest review.....that's too bad

In theory this would work, with adults I think it would work fine. There's a 1 second or so lag between when you tap the screen and when it takes the shot (you don't have to touch the shutter release), so a baby might move too quickly for this be effective, but it may be no more lag than moving a focus point over the target and then recomposing.

victorian squid
victorian squid Veteran Member • Posts: 3,391
I thought as much

And yes, that's too bad!

I think a lot of us were stoked (as obviously you were) when the MTF charts were first posted. Of course that goes to show how much credence you can put in those things!

I suppose there is the potential it's a bad copy - and that almost seems to be the case with new products.

Then again, that L is going to be hard to beat! And why would you want to?

Maybe the 40 pancake?

Anyway, hope you at least enjoy the T4i, looks to be a great camera.

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Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 70D Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM +37 more
englishman
OP MOD englishman Contributing Member • Posts: 944
Re: Canon 18-135mm STM Lens - Got it!
1

Here are some more shots from a walk I took with my kids today. I tried to get some action. I also was a little more reasonable in my use of the lens, using smaller apertures and avoiding the extreme ends of the focal range. As with all the other shots I've posted (minus a couple of crops), none of these are cropped, sharpened or post-processed.

Vernon D Rainwater Forum Pro • Posts: 13,584
Re: Canon 18-135mm STM Lens - Got it!

englishman wrote:

Here are some more shots from a walk I took with my kids today. I tried to get some action. I also was a little more reasonable in my use of the lens, using smaller apertures and avoiding the extreme ends of the focal range. As with all the other shots I've posted (minus a couple of crops), none of these are cropped, sharpened or post-processed.

I have viewed all images and read all posts. My honest opinion is that you may be entirely too critical since I actually didn't see even ONE bad Photo -- especially since you indicate you have not applied any post processing (such as USM sharpening).

I believe you have a good lens -- not the overly expensive type for some of the Canon lens -- but a very good lens.
--
Vernon...

owen5 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Canon 18-135mm STM Lens - Got it!

Hi all

Is the 18-135mm STM better than the other kit lens 18-55 IS with regards to image quality?

-Owen

englishman
OP MOD englishman Contributing Member • Posts: 944
Re: Canon 18-135mm STM Lens - Got it!

I have viewed all images and read all posts. My honest opinion is that you may be entirely too critical since I actually didn't see even ONE bad Photo -- especially since you indicate you have not applied any post processing (such as USM sharpening).

I believe you have a good lens -- not the overly expensive type for some of the Canon lens -- but a very good lens.

As I said earlier, I may have been overly critical (as you say) because much of what I shot the first day was challenging for the lens (wide open, wide end, high contrast situations, etc.). I wanted to push it and see what would happen.

I have been happier with the later results. But I've avoided the extreme ends of the focal range and I have shot with smaller apertures. CA is still a problem.

I may yet keep this lens. I am also very happy with the image stabilization for video. I have yet to post those results but I will soon. Maybe later tonight when I put a short video together.

With non-stabilized lenses (with my t2i) I HAD to use a tripod. Even with stabilized lenses, walking caused a lot of problems for me. I got some acceptable results (video) walking with this lens. I will post the link to the video soon.

I also plan on some more controlled focus tests.

Danack Regular Member • Posts: 331
Looks about the same as my 24-105L

Yes, I might not have the best copy of the 24-105 but like yourself I'm probably just spoiled when comparing any zoom lenses to either my 24-70 or my non-L 100mm macro - which are both way sharper and contrastier than consumer grade zoom lenses.

-- hide signature --
owen5 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Looks about the same as my 24-105L

Sorry to interrupt, can anybody point out if this new 18-135mm STM lens is better than the kit 18-55 IS lens in terms of still image quality? Appreciate comments thanks.

Timbukto Veteran Member • Posts: 4,988
Re: Looks about the same as my 24-105L

Yes at the tele end it absolutely destroys the 18-55 IS based on ownership of the 18-55 and looking at the tele performance of the 18-135 STM. I think from 24-135 this thing is great...at 18mm you may need to stop down a bit but bottom line is its one of the best 18-135 zooms I've seen and its tele performance is really good.

Take a look at the recent samples of the K-30, many at 18mm stopped down heavily...they are pretty bad in comparison and it doesn't get any better on the tele side for them.

The Canon STM is the best 18-135 zoom period and quite frankly probably the best moderate zoom / IQ compromise there is for the money. Instead of a 15-85...based on these samples and your usage...the 10-22 + 18-135 looks to be a solid daylight travel combo.

I just took ownership of the 40mm STM and I'm really happy about its performance, build and AF motor compared to ancient toy motor primes, etc. IMO Canon may not make sensorbators happy rehashing their old sensors...but they will win over a lot of fans and loyalists if they keep producing these really nice high quality lens! I predict the 18-135 STM is going to post impressive tele MTFs. Perhaps a very very solid performance from 24-135...and probably very acceptable at wide-end depending on having realistic expectations, etc.

Hope to see some good performance from the new EOS-M STMs as well...IMO maybe its a taste of Canon's initiative to utilize robotics and basically more modernized tooling in lens production.

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owen5 New Member • Posts: 12
Re: Looks about the same as my 24-105L

yeah and great value too if bought as kit lens with the canon 650d.

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