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FORUMS Gear Reviews Lens Reviews 
Thread started 08 Nov 2020 (Sunday) 14:11
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List all reviews of Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, reviewed by Import Driver

Import ­ Driver
132 posts
Joined Feb 2007
Nov 08, 2020 14:11 |  #1

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Review: Ultra-Wide Angle Lens on a Narrow Budget

The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is an Ultra-Wide Angle zoom lens designed to be used with APS-C (crop) sensor Canon DSLR cameras but can also be used with Canon M series and Canon EOS R series mirrorless cameras if the appropriate adapters are used.


Why this lens?

The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM has been my go-to Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) lens for several years now. When I purchased it, I was using a Sigma UWA lens that I thoroughly enjoyed. Then a friend mentioned to me that the Canon 10-18 was his favorite lens. After checking out the specs, I was sold! It was lighter, had excellent optics, Image Stabilization, and my favorite focusing system. I switched to the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM and never looked back.

Features and specs

Size. The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is relatively compact. It measures just 2.9in (74.6mm) in diameter and 2.8in (72mm) long. It accepts 67mm filters.

Weight. This lens weighs only 8.5 oz. (240g), which is extremely light! To put that into perspective, Tamron’s 10-24mm UWA weighs 14.3 oz. (406g) and Tokina’s 11-16mm UWA weighs in at more than double the weight at 19.3 oz. (548g)! Without checking the weights of every UWA lens in existence, I think it’s safe to say the Canon EF-S 10-18mm is one of the lightest, if not the lightest UWA lens you can buy.

Focal length. This is an Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) Zoom lens which has a focal length of 10-22mm. Being an EF-S lens, the focal length is designed for APS-S (crop) sensor cameras and is equivalent to 16-28mm on a full-frame camera, such as a Canon EOS 5D IV or EOS R. We’ll talk more about the focal length later on.

Focusing system. This lens can switch between manual focusing and autofocusing. Its autofocus system consists of a “stepping motor”, which Canon simply calls “STM”. Although “stepping” doesn’t exactly imply “smooth”, there’s no doubt about it, Canon’s STM autofocusing system is about as smooth as it gets. Its super smooth and ultra-quiet focusing system comes to life while shooting autofocus in movie mode. A minimum focusing distance of 0.72 ft. (0.22m) definitely doesn’t make it a macro lens but it is better than some other UWA lenses. A few photographers may be happy to know that it has full-time manual focus, which allows manual focus adjustments to be made even in AF mode. If you plan on doing nighttime or astrophotography with this lens, please note that it does not have a focus distance scale window, but we’ll talk more about that later.

Aperture. The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM has a circular, 7-blade aperture. The maximum f/4.5-5.6 aperture means that at 10mm the maximum aperture is f/4.5, but zooming in to 18mm the maximum aperture is reduced to f/5.6, which is two-thirds of a stop difference. Its minimum aperture is f/22 at 10mm and f/29 at 18mm.

Image Stabilization. This lens has excellent Optical Image Stabilization! Canon claims up to four stops of correction, and although we haven’t done a scientific test, real world use proves its Image Stabilization (IS) is top quality. More on that later.

Build quality and optics. This lightweight lens has a durable plastic body as well as a plastic mount. As far as Image Quality, Canon has implemented certain optics technology to reduce chromatic aberration while maintaining resolution and contrast. Its “enhanced lens coatings” improve color balance and minimize ghosting and flare.

Price. Canon has set the MSRP of the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM to $299.99 USD. Actual price, however, is almost always lower.

What I like

We definitely have to start with the Ultra-Wide Angle focal length! The 10mm focal length is excellent for travel, landscape, urban, architecture, real estate, or even astrophotography. Another great thing about 10-18mm is that, unlike a telephoto lens, a UWA is much easier to hold steady. So even without IS enabled, you can often shoot photos at shutter speeds much longer than 1/60th of a second. And with IS enabled it’s even better! This lens is also an excellent choice for Canon EOS R owners who want an UWA field-of-view lens while shooting 4k. The full-frame mirrorless Canon EOS R has about a 1.74x crop in 4k mode, making this lens a good focal length for that severe of a crop. Be sure to check out the helpful tips section of this review for additional details.


Image Stabilization is my second favorite feature of this lens. While shooting photos, IS allows you to choose a longer shutter speed and still get a sharp image. But, of course, because of human error, you’re still more likely to get a few shaky images now and then. But having IS is still a huge improvement. For me, however, IS really comes to life while shooting video. At 10mm, with IS enabled, it’s easy to hold the camera very stable. And with little effort you can get smooth panning or tracking shots as well. Shoot in 60p or 120p and slow the footage down later for even smoother footage!

As highlighted earlier, this lens is light weight and compact compared to most other UWA lenses! I travel a lot and often find myself just wanting to travel light. Whether I’m throwing it in a carry-on and jumping on an airplane or putting it in my backpack and hiking up a mountain, this lens is a good lightweight option. This lens, with a Canon 80D and QR plate, weighs in at only 35.3 oz. (1003g). To put it into perspective, that’s just a couple of ounces more than the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens by itself. The lightweight Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is also a great option for motorized gimbals.

Another thing I really love is the STM focusing system. Like I mentioned earlier in the Features and specs section, this lens focuses very smoothly! Smooth focusing is very important in video work. This lens doesn’t make a lot of noisy clicking sounds while focusing like many other lenses do. Which means even the in-camera mic doesn’t pick up loud autofocusing sounds. It also focuses quickly and accurately, as it should.

This lens has very good image quality. If you’ve ever had a lens that wasn’t sharp or had some other outstanding optical flaw, you know how frustrating it can be. But while shooting photos or videos in the real world with this lens, I haven’t experienced any image quality or sharpness issues that I couldn’t deal with. Like most lenses, sharpness does decrease somewhat at the edges and corners. But in the real world, it’s often not easy to detect. Overall, it’s very sharp.

What I’m not fond of

My #1 complaint about this lens is definitely the aperture. Whenever possible, I try to purchase lenses with apertures of f/2.8 or wider. So I’m not a fan of f/4.5-5.6. I would say more than 50% of the time I’m shooting wide-open, wishing I could open it up even more. I also don’t like that it’s not a constant aperture. A trick I’ve found to be effective if I’m going to be zooming in and out when shooting video is to set the aperture to f/5.6 so that it will stay at f/5.6 throughout the zoom range instead of jumping around automatically and ruining my shot (which can happen even in Manual exposure mode).

It has no focus distance scale window. Admittedly, the only times I’ve ever wanted to use one is while shooting astrophotography. It turns out it’s nearly impossible to focus manually or automatically when you can’t see what you’re shooting through the viewfinder or on the live-view screen. The tradeoff is cost and weight which I definitely prefer.

For the money I would prefer that the lens had a metal mount instead of a plastic mount. Ironically between the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM, and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, this is the only one out of the three that has a plastic mount. It’s also the largest and most expensive, so that doesn’t add up to me. That having been said, I haven’t had any problems with it. And yes, I sometimes pick up my camera by the lens and the mount does not break.

Helpful tips

One of the reasons full-frame Canon EOS R mirrorless cameras are so popular because they not only use native RF lenses natively, but with one of the three EF-EOS R adapters Canon offers, they become compatible with EF and EF-S lenses. However, while there are advantages to using EF-S lenses with EOS R mirrorless cameras, there are several disadvantages as well. Be aware that when using EF-S lenses on the Canon EOS R, 60 fps will be disabled while shooting 1080p. And when using EF-S lenses on the Canon EOS RP, 1080p recording will be disabled all together. These seem to be camera firmware limitations, not EF-S lens limitations.


Final thoughts

As mentioned in the beginning I replaced a Sigma UWA lens with this Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, and I haven’t had any regrets. It really was an upgrade in every way. Whether you’re a photographer, videographer, or hybrid shooter, I highly recommend this lens! It’s an Ultra-Wide Angle on a narrow budget that ticks almost all the boxes. Of course if you need an UWA lens with a wide f/2.8 aperture, you’ll have to look elsewhere. On the other hand, to get that f/2.8 aperture you’ll most likely have to sacrifice size, weight, cost, optical image stabilization, and possible image quality. Which brings us back around to the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM now doesn’t it?

To find out how it does with vignetting, chromatic aberration, and a few other things, read the full review at (external link) (not a store)

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Junior Member
22 posts
Likes: 5
Joined Feb 2021
Feb 21, 2021 10:23 |  #2

Great review! I needed a wide angle lens for my apps-c bodies and waffled between this and the 10-22mm for months before finally getting this one. So glad I did, the IS on this lens is so good, more than makes up for the stop of light.

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Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM, reviewed by Import Driver
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