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Home » Camera Lens Reviews » Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Camera Lens: Specifications, Performance Measures, Pros and Cons

Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Camera Lens: Specifications, Performance Measures, Pros and Cons

Looking to find more information regarding the Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM? Read our latest review to learn more about the Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM, its specifications, and if it’s a good camera lens for you. 

Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Overview

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM is Canon’s newest lens in the EF-S line of lenses that are designed for cropped sensor cameras like the T4i, T5i, and SL1 models. These models only have an APS-C sized sensor so they can’t take full advantage of all the benefits with full frame sensors like more depth of field control or better low light performance. This lens is a good option because it has improved optics to give your pictures better quality than you would get from a kit lens without breaking the bank on a more expensive model. It also features optical image stabilization which helps eliminate camera shake while shooting handheld shots in lower lighting conditions.

Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Specifications

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM was first announced on 06/08/2012 with a Canon EF-S mount type. Below is a summary of this len’s specifications: 

Indicative Price: $549

Focal Range: 18-135mm

Aperture: F/ 3.5-5.6

Filter Diameter (millimeters): 67

Maximum Diameter (millimeters): 76.6

Number Of Lenses: 16

Length (millimeters): 96

AF Motor: Stepping Motor

Stabilization: Yes

Zoom Type: Ring

Tripod Mount: /

Colors Available: Black

Full-Time Manual Focus: Yes

Weight (grams): 480

Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Performance

Below we’ll dig into some of the various performance measures we’ve tested this camera lens on.

Build and Handling Quality

Because of its low price, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM’s build quality is merely adequate rather than exceptional. Despite the all-plastic construction, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM feels quite sturdy in your hand, with at least the mount being constructed of metal. The focus and zoom rings have a ridged rubberized grip surface that makes operating easier.

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM includes Image Stabilization, which claims to provide a 4 f-stop advantage over non-stabilized lenses. This is done by switching the On/Off switch on the side of the lens to On. If your camera body supports it, Canon’s IS technology can also recognize intentional panning movement and automatically change from Normal IS to Panning IS mode if you move the camera horizontally or vertically.

Autofocus Performance

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens features a tiny narrow focusing ring, but there are no hard stops at either end of the range, making it more difficult to achieve infinity focus. At any time, manual override of the autofocusing system is possible. The 67mm filter thread does not rotate on focus for polarizer users.

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom has an auto-focusing time of about 0.1 seconds when mounted on the Canon EOS 80D, which is a very quick focusing speed when compared to other lenses in its class. However, in either good or low light, we didn’t notice much “hunting,” with the lens focusing correctly almost all of the time. It’s also a virtually silent lens thanks to the built-in Nano USM (Ultra Sonic Motor), making it ideal for video shooting and more informal shooting situations.


The sharpness tests for this evaluation were performed on a real-world subject rather than a test chart. The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens was attached to a Canon EOS 80D body, which was then set up on a sturdy tripod. Self-timer mode was enabled. Minor tonal fluctuations are due to changes in natural light throughout the session (which is normal).

With increasing aperture, diffraction causes softer corners; however, the centre sharpness stays excellent from f/5.6 to f/11, with f/16 and f/22 being severely impacted by diffraction. The edges are extremely sharp, with f/5.6 to f/,11 yielding the best results.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberrations, which are generally recognized as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not adequately controlled with this lens and appear in a large number of our test images.


At 18mm, with the lens wide open at f/3.5 and the image sensor cropped to match the frame, you can detect some light fall-off in the corners; however, Canon’s most recent APS-C bodies can compensate for it automatically when shooting JPEGs. There’s also a little bit of visible barrel distortion that goes away as you get closer to 35mm.

Image Quality

Considering its low price, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/35.56 IS USM is an attractive option for entry level photographers that need a zoom lens with full time manual focus override and Image Stabilization (IS). While it doesn’t have as good image quality as high end lenses like the Canon 70D’s kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm f/22), this one offers more flexibility thanks to its wide focal range of 27 – 202.75 mm (equivalent 35mm camera term) on APS-C cameras.


Bokeh is a Japanese term that refers to the out-of-focus regions of a photograph. It’s usually described in terms of quality, such as smooth, creamy, harsh, and so on. For a nice rendering of the out-of-focus highlights, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM features seven rounded blades on its iris diaphragm.

How Does The Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Score? 

Below are the lens metric scores we’ve measured for this specific lens: 

  • Performance and Image Quality: 7/10
  • Features: 7/10
  • Bokeh: 6.5/10
  • Build Quality: 6/10
  • AutoFocus Quality: 7/10
  • Handling: 7.5/10
  • Value: 6.5/10

Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Pros and Cons

Below are some of the pros and cons regarding this lens. 


  • Decent build quality and metal mount
  • Good image
  • Ergonomics feel good in hand
  • Good zoom range


  • Getting the right sharpness can be a challenge at times
  • Limited F-stop range for low lighting situations
  • Manual focus “sleeps”
  • Lens is placed in plastic housing, can feel cheap despite decent build quality

Our Verdict

Overall, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/18-36 IS STM lens is very sharp at mid to long focal lengths. It’s not so hot wide open though; however, stopping down to f/22 produces images with more acceptable sharpness due to diffraction limiting its effect on your photos.

As for chromatic aberrations and corner shading (vignetting), these are noticeable but easily correctable in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop using either of their tools for removing color fringing along high contrast edges as well as how you adjust exposure. Distortion can also be corrected within post production if needed. When shooting JPEGs, all three issues are automatically compensated by most current camera bodies from Canon when enabled through the menu system.

I recommend the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/18-36 IS STM lens for photographers looking to purchase a general use zoom that’s versatile and capable of shooting action and sports. This is due to its quick focusing abilities, sharpness delivered at mid focal lengths (or longer), lightweight build quality, as well as excellent image stabilization. The only thing I would have liked better with this lens are sharper images when shot wide open; however, stopping down one stop solves this issue nicely without costing you too much in terms of depth of field or shutter speeds needed to freeze your subject if they’re moving around quickly. If you don’t mind paying more for an even faster lens with slightly improved optics overall then look.

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