The 18-200mm Canon Lens – Superzoom Review

The 18-200mm Canon Lens Does it All

By Wayne Rasku

If you own a Canon Digital Rebel or one of the Canon xxD digital SLR Cameras, the 18-200mm Canon Lens deserves a look from you.

Its official name is Canon EF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 IS telephoto lens. Quite a moniker, huh? The EF-S designation means that It is specifically for what are known as “crop sensor” cameras. Also labeled as APS-C sensors. So, if you are shooting with a Canon 7D or one of the full frame models, the 18-200mm Canon lens will not even mount to your camera.

Technical Stuff
  • Standard zoom lens; 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6
  • Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer technology allows sharp hand-held shots at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than otherwise possible
  • 11 elements in 9 groups; aspherical lens element to correct aberration
  • For EOS 60D, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, Rebel XSi/XS, Digital Rebel XTi/XT and ALL other Digital Rebel cameras

Benefits of Owning a Super-Zoom Lens

The obvious main benefit of owning one of these Super-Zoom lenses is that it can stay on your digital SLR almost constantly. This is an excellent advantage for travel and vacations when you don’t want to lug a camera bag or heavy backpack all over the countryside.

It is also great for getting quick shots. You do not have to stop and affix just the right lens to your camera body. Many times the shot is gone by the time you finish setting up to take it.

In fact, having to change lenses is one of the blessings AND the curses of digital SLR owners. We actually buy the cameras so we can change the lens, then we are frustrated when we have to.

Continuing with the benefits, this lens has a few more worth mention.

First, as mentioned is the focal range, which is 11x. Considering the monumental variation in range, the image quality is exceptional.

Also, there is IS (image stabilization) which is supposed to give you an additional 4-stops of aperture without having to use a tripod. This is important because the widest aperture is only f/3.5, and it increases from there to a max of f/5.6. This is typical of the super-zoom lenses, whether Canon or some other manufacturer.

One more benefit is the bokeh that is produced when using a wide aperture. Photographers are always comparing bokeh. Briefly, it is when you try to get the main subject of your photo in sharp focus and have the other areas of the photo in a pleasingly blurred focus. The 18-200 does a pretty good job with this, but it is not considered the best.

The last benefit has to do with a comparison to the “kit lenses” that Canon promotes. Sometimes new buyers purchase the 18-55mm starter lens and an additional 55-250mm lens for the mid-range focal lengths. These two lenses are not bad as far as image quality goes, but they are not high quality construction.

The Canon 18-200mm lens is far better constructed than the kit lenses.

The Down Side

You will find this true of most super-zooms, whether they are Canon, Nikon, Sigma, or Tamron lenses. There is a compromise in image quality in order to get the wide focal range. Most will have barrel distortion at the wide angles and chromatic aberration issues at both the shortest and the longest focal lengths.

This is not to say that the images are bad – the lens produces really good images. The problem areas are quite minimal, and you might not even notice them without someone pointing them out to you. But if you are looking for the pixel-perfect image, you will either need to pay more money or use a more specific focal length lens.

Finally, consider a Canon look-alike.

Third party manufacturers have produced some really good lenses that fit Canon digital SLR cameras. If the benefits and problem areas are identical, why not consider saving some money for one of those? It’s a thought.

As you look at the 18-200mm Canon lens, you will be pleasantly surprised at how well it really does perform.

But do take a look at the other lenses in the same category. You can do that at Canon EOS Lenses.

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