By April 14, 2009

Canon EF-S 18-200MM Lens review

When you want to travel light with your DSLR camera you’ll probably want to invest in a super-zoom lens. These lenses have a phenomenal zoom range while still keeping fairly compact. Due to the versatility of the super-zoom lens they are often referred to as the ‘Holiday’ or ‘Walk Around’ lens and with the ability to replace several lenses with just one it’s easy to understand why.

The Canon EF-S 18-200MM lens

The Canon EF-S 18-200MM lens

Canon EF-S 18-200MM IS lens specification:

  • Image size: APS-C
  • 35mm film equivalent focal length: 29-320mm
  • Angle of view (horzntl, vertl, diagnl): 64° 30′ – 6° 30′, 45° 30′ – 4° 20′, 74° 20′ – 7° 50′
  • Lens construction (elements/groups): 16/12
  • No. of diaphragm blades: 6
  • Minimum aperture: 22 – 38(36)
  • Closest focusing distance (m): 0.45
  • Maximum magnification (x): 0.24(at 200mm)
  • Distance information: Yes
  • Image stabilizer: 4-stops
  • AF actuator: Micro Motor
  • Filter diameter (mm): 72mm
  • Max. diameter x length (mm): 78.6×102
  • Weight (g): 595


Until this lens was launched last year, if you wanted a super-zoom lens for your Canon EOS your choices were a little limited. Canon have the 28-200 and 28-300mm lenses available but when you consider the 1.6x crop ratio of many Canon EOS cameras these lenses had a 35mm equivalent of 44.8mm at the wide end so if you wanted anything wider you’d have to opt for a Sigma or Tamron lens with an EF mount which many Canon purist hate to do.

However Canon pleased many of their EOS owning customers when they launched the EF-S 18-200mm IS lens last year with a 35mm equivalent range of 28.8 to 320mm on a 1.6x cropped sensor this additional reach was just what the doctor ordered and offers a great deal of versatility.

Canon’s new 18-200mm lens is a large and sturdy looking piece of kit that weighs in at just under 600 grams. This zoom range is achieved in a relatively compact package though thanks to the two telescoping barrels that you’ll see in the images below.

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You might think that such a zoom range would come at the expense of maximum aperture but the 18-200 can still manage f/5.6 at the long end which is still pretty fast. You also get Canon’s Image Stabilizer (IS) technology built-in which helps to reduce blurring caused by camera shake and gives you the ability to shoot 4 stops slower than you would otherwise be able to with the IS turned off. This means 1/15sec at the long end is achievable.

On the outside you have a couple of switches. One to turn the IS on or off and one to switch between auto and manual focus.


The zoom ring is large and has a rubber grip which is ideally placed. The manual focus ring sits right at the front of the lens and is slightly on the small size but still adequate. Both the Zoom and Manual focus rings are smooth and make it easy to make fairly fine adjustments.

On the other side of the lens body is a lock switch that allows you to lock the zoom at 18mm which stops the zoom from extending when you aren’t using it. I found myself using this quite a lot while walking around as the zoom action was a little ‘looser’ than I would have liked and would often extend under its own weight which did get a little annoying after a while especially as I seem to be pointing the camera and lens down quite a lot while taking photos of phones etc. It would be handy to have the ability to tighten this up or to apply the lock at any point within the zoom range.

Unlike many other Canon lenses in my kit bag this one doesn’t have an ultrasonic motor (USM) to drive the AF but to be honest, in practice, I hardly noticed the difference. Autofocus was still fast and pretty quiet and remains accurate throughout the zoom range.

There is a downside though as this lens does suffer from vignetting at both extreme ends of the zoom range and there is a little distortion at 18mm. If you are shooting RAW and using Canon Digital Photo Professional to process your images the lens profile will help to correct this and the rest and be easily edited in Photoshop.



This is definitely a lens that I’ll be adding to my kit bag. It’ll replace the 17-85mm and 75-200mm lens that I already carry with me on a day-to-day basis and will help to lighten my every-day kit bag!

At just over £450 the Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS lens is a bargain and offers an excellent zoom range for the money. Sure you lose a little in IQ versus a lens with a fixed focal length or a shorter zoom range but for me the convenience of not having to lens swap or carry multiple lenses outweighs the drawbacks.


Review by: Matt

Posted in: Cameras, Reviews
Tags: , ,

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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