Truland Photography

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

Canon has recently been updating some of their inexpensive EF-S lenses with versions utilizing stepping motors (STM). While the change to this type of autofocus motor is primarily designed to facilitate smooth and quiet focusing while making videos, the full time manual and non extending focusing these newer lenses offer is of equal advantage for shooting still images. In addition, the new STM versions of the inexpensive lenses generally offer more aperture blades, closer focusing and more, better designed glass elements.

As I continue to try to optimize my various bags and storage options, I have pretty much settled on one kit with my EF lenses and 7D and 5DII bodies and a separate, smaller kit with EF-S lenses and a 60D body. Previously, I had included my EF 17-40 f/4L lens with the 60D but that lens is too valuable a landscape lens on a full frame body to exclude from the setup with the 5DII. As the 17-40mm lens gives the field of view of a 27-64mm lens on the 60D (or 7D), I decided to replace it in the 60D kit with the new STM version of the EF-S 18-55mm kit lens, which gives a field of view of a 29-88mm lens on the 60D.

A very inexpensive way to buy these "kit lenses" sold by Canon packaged with camera bodies is to look for "white box" sales of the lenses. This is where a retailer breaks up the kit and sells the camera and lens(es) separately, the name coming from the fact that the camera body stays with the original Canon box and the lens is sold in a plain white box. The 18-55mm STM, for instance, which retails for $250 alone, can be purchased new for $145 as a separated "white box" lens.

I had already replaced the EF 50mm f/1.4 lens in the 60D bag with the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, an even exchange in terms of both image quality and value. My plan is to finalize this kit with the new STM version of the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM when that lens is available later this month.

Here are a few examples from the new lens. All are single file images (not HDR) the second image is a 100% crop of the center of the first image to show the decent sharpness and contrast this lens is capable of.

18mm, f/8, 1/350 sec., ISO 200

21mm, f/8, 1/350 sec., ISO 200

27mm, f/8, 1/500 sec., ISO 200

33mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec., ISO 400

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