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Author Topic: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS  (Read 28358 times)

Haydn1971

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Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« on: November 07, 2010, 06:45:56 AM »
A few pictures taken on a cheap lens, in fact probably one most of the entry level cameras come with now, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS on a 450D.

Tree Blast was taken at f4.5, 1/1000, ISO 100 & 21mm with just a UV filter using spot metering on the tree and a slight adjustment on levels in Photoshop
Lantern was taken at f5.6, 1/200, ISO 100 & 45mm with just a UV filter
Storm Berries was taken at f10, 1/200, ISO 200 & 40mm with just a UV filter
Porthcurno was taken at f9, 1/200, ISO 100 & 18mm with just a UV filter

Overall, very happy with the results, slight issues with fine detail when zooming into the images, in particular some colour fringe between contrasting colours, but on the whole, I'm finding it difficult to justify spending big money on moving up to a 17-40 or 16-35 as I had originally intended.  Great starter lens !
Regards, Haydn

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Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« on: November 07, 2010, 06:45:56 AM »

irphotorumor

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 10:19:13 PM »
I bought my EF-S 18-55mm as a part of the canon xSi kit. In my mind's money-eye it seemed the lens would add value to the camera. I'd already had enough lenses to be a happy photo camper. After playing with the lens for a day and straining my eyesight over the fresh snaps I decided to buy a B+W UV filter because I thought the lens' front element was worth protecting. I'd suspected I might be using the lens more. Unfortunately, the lens' mechanics cannot be as easily protected.

I consider the lens' weight as an important discriminant since I go on hikes and like to trim down the gross weight in such adventures. On the other hand, there are people who take hand weights when they go on walks. I try to evaluate my needs but I am not always sure how certain features will turn out in the field when I finally use them or not. The lack of excessive weight is a plus when I have to haul it but my camera jiggles happily in my hands when I need it steady for exposures critically close to causing camera-shake blur.

These considerations are important to me since I am too lazy to carry a tripod on my hikes (and mountain-bike fair-trail runs) and tend to take pictures when light is photographically strongest: early morning and late afternoon.

Now I find a camera (with the battery grip)-lens combo weighing up to a 1kg/2.2lb a very light package to carry and heavy enough to provide stability, comfort and grip.
This brings me to the point of how I feel using this lens for landscape photography. I think this is where I have most problems using it.

I find that overall, subjects are much sharper when the lens focuses on distances less than infinity. The scenery captured on the assumed infinity mark (the lens does not have a distance scale) has less clarity than subjects photographed at closer distances.
For landscapes, I prefer setting my focus to infinity by either setting the focus ring manually or having the auto-focus do this for me at a longer end of the lens, and then turn the switch to MF. This can be reckless because a random zoom lens needn't to be parfocal. Occasionally, I like to relieve the shutter button from the focusing function and delegate it to the AE-lock button. Anyhow, I am unable to tell when the lens locks consistently to infinity and subsequently I've been using this lens for very casual landscape photography.  I haven't done any casual landscape photography in a while.

In terms of picture quality, in contrast to middle-of-the-road settings, I find the lens to be struggling with sharpness, color and contrast at very short (macro) focus distances. Various lens' "color" defects can be corrected nicely in DPP when shooting RAW.

Wide apertures are wonderfully comparable to expectedly better smaller f-stops. At the longest end, wider apertures than f/8 are notably less favorable when looking at photos fully magnified. Closer to its widest end, open apertures when light is light and contrasty "color" artifacts are less likely to show, and aided by the IS is where this lens wins the evening.

I don't expect inexpensive products to be stellar performers at extremes of their design, as I don't perform as well when pushed to my limits.

The EF 50mm f/1.8 (that I don't own but do the f/1.4) would fill in where the zoom is arguably "lackluster-sih" and provide workable portrait bokeh. Now that is an inexpensive and light combo that wants me to put more weight in my photo bag!

Picture quality related concerns are quite subjective and I tend not to worry about them. It helps that I have other quite capable lenses (none are L) so that I never think I am held down by my optics. I hope you find some time and look at photos I have taken with my photo-tools of which some were taken with a film camera bought used for $1.49 + sales tax.
Thank you for reading,
Ivan Rabak

http://irbque.blogspot.com/

ps. both photos taken where the lens is most vulnerable (55mm). the photos appear significantly compressed here.
1st photo: f/8
2nd photo f/9.5
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 10:25:16 PM by irphotorumor »

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 10:40:04 PM »
A few pictures taken on a cheap lens, in fact probably one most of the entry level cameras come with now, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS on a 450D.


Overall, very happy with the results, slight issues with fine detail when zooming into the images, in particular some colour fringe between contrasting colours, but on the whole, I'm finding it difficult to justify spending big money on moving up to a 17-40 or 16-35 as I had originally intended.  Great starter lens !

Excellent job.  Pretty much any lens will take excellent photos if the photographer knows how to take advantage of its strong points and work around its weak points.

I have a lot of "L" lenses, but am happy to use a consumer lens if thats what is available.

The photographer is by far more important than the hardware, IMHO. 

Policar

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 12:22:26 AM »
irphotorumor, is it possible your issue is with AF accuracy and your camera is focusing past infinity?  That seems more likely than the lens being soft at infinity.  I've found Canon's cheap lenses don't focus very accurately on all cameras.  Have you tried live view?

Fwiw, I've had great luck with the new kit lens.  Corners are quite soft, distortion is present, and chromatic aberration is pretty glaring at close magnifications (but it's there to some extent on L lenses, too; I don't know why but it's everywhere on digital), but this thing is plenty sharp over most of its field of view.  Its mtf curves are competitive with much higher end offerings and while it's 1/2 stop slower wide open than its expensive brethren, it's got three-stop IS.  That is, of course, toward the wide end...it's not very good zoomed in, imo.  But other than the semi-egregious CA, this lens is quite good, especially for landscapes, for which it provides a near-ideal range of focal lengths.  If it weren't for the CA I would have no desire to upgrade, but I would love the 17-55mm IS if I could afford it. 

I'm not sure I'd spring for the wide L lenses unless I had a 5DII, as they provide excess coverage (and thus physical size) for APS-C and lack IS.  I might feel otherwise if I hadn't just blown too much money on a whole other breed of red-ringed lenses...  And the 24mm TS-E looks tempting for any format.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 12:28:03 AM by Policar »

Policar

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 08:10:22 PM »
Had to process the **** out of this to reduce CA and distortion, but sharpness is pretty respectable, good for an 8x10:

« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 08:28:39 PM by bvukich »

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 08:32:26 PM »
The sky has some great color to it.  Any filters?

Policar

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 09:50:49 PM »
Thanks!  The conditions were great.  Better than the shot would indicate (more fog, but modern zooms cut through it, for better or worse).

No filters, just a 1-stop virtual grad in camera raw.  The camera wanted to shoot for shade white balance, but I processed for daylight, and that plus some curves and dodge/burn brought out the blues.

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 09:50:49 PM »

irphotorumor

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011, 07:42:22 PM »
Quote
irphotorumor, is it possible your issue is with AF accuracy and your camera is focusing past infinity?  That seems more likely than the lens being soft at infinity.  I've found Canon's cheap lenses don't focus very accurately on all cameras.  Have you tried live view?

Fwiw, I've had great luck with the new kit lens.  Corners are quite soft, distortion is present, and chromatic aberration is pretty glaring at close magnifications (but it's there to some extent on L lenses, too; I don't know why but it's everywhere on digital), but this thing is plenty sharp over most of its field of view.  Its mtf curves are competitive with much higher end offerings and while it's 1/2 stop slower wide open than its expensive brethren, it's got three-stop IS.  That is, of course, toward the wide end...it's not very good zoomed in, imo.  But other than the semi-egregious CA, this lens is quite good, especially for landscapes, for which it provides a near-ideal range of focal lengths.  If it weren't for the CA I would have no desire to upgrade, but I would love the 17-55mm IS if I could afford it.

I'm not sure I'd spring for the wide L lenses unless I had a 5DII, as they provide excess coverage (and thus physical size) for APS-C and lack IS.  I might feel otherwise if I hadn't just blown too much money on a whole other breed of red-ringed lenses...  And the 24mm TS-E looks tempting for any format.

Hi Policar,
I am sorry for effectively ignoring your post. I've been collecting some creative juices to reply you properly.

My EF 24-85mm @24mm loves my xSi AF module more than the given-away xTi's. The xTi (has, if I remember correctly, an older AF module) loved to (edited) back-focus @24mm, the behavior I did not love for my landscape shots on this end of the infinity.  Still, on my xSi noticeable contrast is welcome for a greater number of focused shots. But truly, for 24mm shots, I set focus manually to about 5m and f/8 & 1/2 and continue breathing.
To get back on topic, I have not tested the AF focus at infinity using live view. I am kind a guy who shots RAW almost exclusively just not to worry about a singe setting when working the landscapes. I even started using exposure bracketing with continuos shooting just to avoid even looking at the LCD to check the quality of the exposure. This keeps my book-keeping a nightmare when I get back from shooting. What really helps is that I immediately go looking for the best shots, and there are only one or two of those on a good foggy day. They get my workflow attention the most. The rest, if I'm bored, I massage futilely later.

These real-life imperfections of the 18-55mm don't bother me. Perhaps a pinhole contraption on the xSi would be an interesting experiment.

I see there have been replies to your post already. I can't really add anything substantial (including image samples) to the discussion at this point.

quote:
"I'm not sure I'd spring for the wide L lenses unless I had a 5DII, as they provide excess coverage (and thus physical size) for APS-C and lack IS. "

In my amateurish experience, the technical quality (both construction and image) of the EF-S 10-22mm impresses me so much that the full-frame just seems unnecessary expensive at this point, even though i could drop down the dough for a 5DII and I am a proud owner of an EF 20mm already. The bigger viewfinder would be nice but I still shoot film with an Elan 7N so the-bigger-viewfinder ego trip gets experienced when too annoying to be put off. Also, viewfinder discussions make me laugh considering how many camera I have molested thus far. Those wanting a bigger viewfinder should get a 6x6 TLR :-)!
Best wishes and lots of fun shooting (and post-processing),
Ivan

http://irbque.blogspot.com/
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 11:40:09 PM by irphotorumor »

Policar

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2011, 10:00:23 PM »
I didn't realize the xsi had the new autofocus system.  I guess that's not what's wrong with your lens, then.  Personally, I don't trust hyperfocal technique entirely on APS-C sensors (or digital in general, the pixels are so small--so much resolution in a tiny chip) and just use autofocus so that might be worth a try.  I do have to admit that I essentially use the kit lens as an 18mm prime.

I also never meant to imply that APS-C isn't worthy of good lenses (in fact, it may need them more than FF does), just that (on the wide end, at least) the 10-22mm and 17-55m lenses make a lot more sense than L lenses, which are bulky and expensive for their superfluous coverage.  Unfortunately I can only afford "budget" lenses.  But I like having a small, plastic camera.  I would really like a tilt/shift lens because I like perspective correction, but they are very expensive and digital is clean enough that you can correct that in post and just stop down for the dof.

I have a 6x7 slr.  Not as cool as a 6x6 tlr, imo, but I really like the waist level finder and aspect ratio.  Live view is nice, too, though.  I can focus more accurately with it than with any other viewfinder, so I use it a lot, but the rebel's optical finder is very poor for judging focus--only good for composition (and even then it cuts off the edges a bit).

« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 01:22:36 AM by Policar »

irphotorumor

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2011, 12:16:08 AM »
Hi Policar,
Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your experiences.
I never thought of the hyperfocal technique on the crop format in that way. I see your point.

You got a lovely capture there. I couldn't resist posting a few fall photos to counteract your beautiful cold. Had you posted some warm tones I would have put up the deep-blue ones :-). So is the nature of forums ;-).

Enjoy!
Ivan

http://irbque.blogspot.com/

PS. The photos were taken several years back when I used this lens frequently for nature explorations while riding my bike.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2011, 12:25:50 AM by irphotorumor »

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2011, 10:40:58 PM »
Thanks!  It really was cold:  -6º F, I think.

You've posted some nice shots here, you've got a good eye.  And I always like the squarer aspect ratio.  Let me know if eschewing hyperfocal technique works for you.  So far it's worked for me, though corners remain softish.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 11:49:05 PM by Policar »

irphotorumor

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2011, 02:18:55 AM »
Thank you very much Policar,
Also, thank you for reminding me about the following:
Another benefit of being enamored of the square format or at leas a squarer one (4:3 ?) is that the corner performance issue of any lens becomes mute.

I feel I should post anther photo or two now but I'd have to dig deeper in my photo album.
Regards,
Ivan

http://irbque.blogspot.com/

« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 02:21:30 AM by irphotorumor »

Policar

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2011, 01:16:32 AM »
Speaking of square format, I took another winter shot I liked and cropped to a perfect square.

Unfortunately the trees have a lot of blue fringing around them.  I'm not sure why.  I don't think it's from the lens.  Maybe all digital cameras do this.


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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2011, 01:16:32 AM »

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2011, 11:41:33 AM »
Speaking of square format, I took another winter shot I liked and cropped to a perfect square.

Unfortunately the trees have a lot of blue fringing around them.  I'm not sure why.  I don't think it's from the lens.  Maybe all digital cameras do this.


It looks like color balance.  The human brain adjusts those bluish hues to look white, but a camera can be fooled.  Just adjust the whites to pure white, and the blue hue should disappear.

You may prefer the blues, but for comparison, here is a one cluck adjustment using the white correction.



« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 11:43:04 AM by scalesusa »

Policar

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2011, 03:06:41 PM »
Wow, that is a lot better.  No more fringing.  I like the blue look but now it looks kind of extreme.  I might have to rethink my tendency to always shoot at daylight color balance, which is a bad habit I picked up from shooting slides.  Or at least be more conservative about it.  Thanks for the advice.

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Re: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2011, 03:06:41 PM »