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Home » Camera Lens Reviews » Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Review

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Review

Looking to find more information regarding the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS? Read our latest review to learn more about the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, its specifications, and if it’s a good camera lens for you. 

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Overview

This is a great camera lens option for photographers using something like the Canon 70D. It does a great job at keeping focus and balances performance with budget. Colors and contrast are crisp and turn out well when shooting with this lens. When used for video, it is virtually silent. And if you want a fast little film on the go, this is an excellent lens.

The lens is extremely sharp at all apertures and zoom ranges, even at wide open. For photographers that don’t pixel-peep, the perceived sharpness is exactly what they may hope for. Given the aperture range, low light performance is actually quite good.

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Specifications

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS was first announced on 10/01/2009 with a Canon EF-S mount type. Below is a summary of this lens’s specifications: 

Indicative Price: $349

Focal Range: 18-135

Aperture: F/ 3.5-5.6

Filter Diameter (millimeters): 67

Maximum Diameter (millimeters): 75.4

Number Of Lenses: 16

Length (millimeters): 101

AF Motor: DC Micro Motor

Stabilization: Yes

Zoom Type: Ring

Tripod Mount: None Available

Colors Available: Black Only

Manual Focus: None

Weight (grams): 455

How Does Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Score? 

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

Sharpness: 1.9 / 10

Canon hasn’t had an especially outstanding track record when it comes to “super” zoom lenses, as already stated. The EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS has no obvious resolution deficiency, according to my eyes (and I’m not exactly a pixel peeper).

The center performance is usually excellent to very good at typical apertures. The border and even corner performance, on the other hand, is outstanding except at 135mm f/5.6 when we observed a more apparent drop in the image corners. There is some field curvature, but it’s not an issue. As is common for such lenses , chromatic aberration is controlled quite well even when used wide-open.

Transmission: 2.3 / 10

The light transmission for the aperture of this lens is nothing to write home about when compared with prime lenses that typically offer the best transmission out of all the lens categories.

Vignetting: 6.7 / 10

Vignetting can be a little more apparent when using an APS-C sensor. Vignetting is especially apparent at max. aperture settings with dedicated APS-C lenses, which is very typical. The Canon lens is no exception here, particularly at 18mm with a fairly significant peak vignetting of 1.55 stops at 18mm.

Chromatic Aberration: 6.8 / 10

The CAs are not terrible, but they can be obvious unless you fix them. The issue is most apparent at 18-35mm with a median CA pixel width of 1.3-1.8px around the edges. It’s a far lesser problem from 50-135mm, however.

Distortion: 4.5 / 10

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens, in typical for many “super” zoom lenses, features a significant degree of barrel distortion at 18mm (4.2%). However, this is no longer an issue at 24mm, with a mild barrel distortion of only about 1%. The deterioration type changes from barrel to pincushion at 35mm, peaking at -1.9% (moderate). It is not until 70mm that we observe another barrel distortion (again about 4%). 

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Performance

The focus is extremely silent. It’s not a surprise given Canon uses its new STM lenses with focus-by-wire technology. The ring turns infinitely, but you control it through the camera body.

The lens is about average when it comes to distortion for this focal length range and the AF speed is faster than those of the older Canon models. However, it’s not as fast as those of the newest STM lenses.

Something to keep in mind is the bokeh quality of this lens, which is not bad, but not particularly out of this world either.

Another area to note is the ergonomics of the lens. It’s not horrible, but it’s not good either. Canon has done a nice job setting the weight of this lens to be so light, which makes it easy to carry all day long. However, the rings are too tight and the AF/MF switch is way too stiff.

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Pros and Cons

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

Pros: 

  • Decent build quality with metal mounts
  • Good image quality and ergonomics
  • Sharp, solid zoom range
  • Price point is reasonable for the specs this camera lens offers

Cons: 

  • STM vs. USM – getting a sharp copy can be difficult
  • F-Stop isn’t great in low lighting conditions, however this is mitigated with modern camera bodies offering higher ISO
  • Glass is surrounded by plastic housing, making it feel cheaper in this specific area

Our Verdict

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is a fantastic beginner’s lens. It outputs better performance than would otherwise be indicated by the price point and is highly recommended for anyone with a crop sensor camera.