Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2005


The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II is usually sold as part of a Canon EOS 20D or EOS 350D (RebelXT) "kit". The word "kit" already implies that it is meant as a budget solution. EF-S refers to short-backfocus lenses which are only compatible to APS-C EOS SLRs starting with the EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). EF-S lenses feature a protruding rear element which requires a special mirror design to avoid a collision of mirror and the rear part of the lens. The principal idea is the reduce the distance of lens to the sensor which can translate to a better lens design - on paper at least.
With a price of just 80 EUR we shouldn't expect wonders here. The price tag certainly shows up in the build quality. In other words - this lens is not only cheap it also feels that way. The inner barrel wobbles quite a bit for instance. Unlike most recent Canon lens it just features a plain micro motor instead of USM so auto-focusing is noticeable though not obtrusive (in most situations at least). The AF speed is pretty fast. Manual focusing is possible by turning the tiny "focus" ring at the very front. It's quite obvious that this concept isn't meant for advanced users.

Normalized to 35mm equivalent the lens provides about the same field of view like a classic "29-88mm" lens.

The lens extends during zooming. The zoom reaches its shortest length at about 35mm. At 18mm and 55mm the length is more or less the same as visible in the picture below. The front element rotates so using a polarizer isn't fun.

The minimal focus distance is 0.28m. The lens construction is made of 11 (lead-free) elements in 9 groups with one aspherical element and there're 6 aperture blades. With a size of 69x66mm and just 190g it is an extremely small and light-weight lens by SLR standards.