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Home » Camera Lens Reviews » Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Review

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Review

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 lens is a popular choice for selfie photos, group photos, or any other type of photo where the subject is far away from the camera. This makes it an ideal portrait photography lens to use instead of carrying around two lenses in one.

The EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM is an updated version of the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5 IS USM, so there are some similarities. However, this newer version also has a STM (Stepping Motor) for quieter video autofocus. The lens is not made to be fast like the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, but it’s still reasonable compared to other lenses of its kind.

The 18-135mm focal range on the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM lens is decent, capturing wide to portrait range with decent quality of optics for what you pay for. The maximum aperture range of f/3.5-5.6 means that every shot will be blurry in low light situations without a tripod, but this is expected. The minimum aperture of f/22 also limits the use of this camera lens in low-light conditions, and there’s no image stabilization built into the camera lens.

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: Stepper Motor (STM)

Stabilization: Yes

Zoom Type: ring

Tripod Mount: None

Colors Available: Black

Full-Time Manual Focus: Yes

Weight (grams): 480

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Performance

In terms of performance,  the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM is rather lackluster when compared to other lenses in its class, but it’s still a decent performance measure for the price that you pay.

The camera lens is sharp at either end of the zoom spectrum, with slightly soft images around 50mm in focal length, which is normal. Chromatic aberration is also minimal in most images, but there are noticeable purple fringing around the white areas of an image. Distortion is negligible for this lens (almost non-existent). 

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM has a smooth , quiet autofocus motor that is especially good for movies. The camera lens also has very little vignetting (corner shading), which will not be noticeable unless you shoot your images at larger apertures. Unfortunately, the camera lens doesn’t have image stabilization, but this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker as long as you’re careful when shooting handheld images.

Build and Handling Quality

The build and handling quality  of the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM is decent, but it’s definitely not built like a tank. The lens feels very plasticy , but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it will increase the overall weight of the camera lens . Since this camera lens has internal focusing (the front element doesn’t move when focusing), your outdoor images will be sharper compared to other models with the same focal range.

Autofocus Performance

Autofocus is  quick, and there were no problems with locking onto a subject. The stepping motor (STM) works great for movies, and the noise is low compared to other lenses in its class. Canon’s STM technology allows for better autofocus performance while shooting video.

Sharpness

Sharpness  is good in the center of the image, but the corners are not as sharp. The lens is sharpest around 135mm with slightly soft images at 18mm and 35mm, which is normal when it comes to lenses in this class. Sharpness will be optimal when shooting at larger apertures (smaller f-numbers).

Distortions / Aberrations 

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM has very small amounts of vignetting (corner shading), chromatic aberration, and barrel distortion. However, there are noticeable purple fringing around the white areas of an image at all focal lengths..

Vignetting / Color Fringing

Vignetting is often noticeable in the camera lens’ images, but it’s not as bad as other lenses in its class. There is noticeable vignetting at either end of the focal spectrum, but the center is unaffected.

Image Quality

Image quality is superb. Images are sharp in the center, but corners will be a little soft. Colors are excellent when shooting outdoors, and they will be vibrant in most cases. There is noticeable purple fringing around the white areas of an image when it is shot at larger apertures (smaller f-numbers), which is normal for lenses in its class.

Bokeh

The bokeh is lackluster, but it has few issues (if any). The depth of field is very shallow when shooting wide open at either end of the focal spectrum, but bokeh will appear smooth.

Competitor Lenses

The Sigma 18-125mm F3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM is considered a comparable lens in this price range. Check out our Sigma 18-125mm F3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM vs Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM Comparison review to find out how these two lenses stack up to one another.

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: 6.5/10
  • Bokeh: 6/10
  • Build Quality: 6/10
  • AutoFocus Quality: 6/10
  • Handling: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10

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. 

Pros: 

  • Fast maximum aperture of f/3.5
  • Smooth, quiet autofocus motor perfect for movies
  • Vignetting is often noticeable in the camera lens’ images , but it’s not as bad as other lenses in its class. There is also noticeable purple fringing around the white areas of an image when it is shot at larger apertures (smaller f-numbers), which is normal for lenses in its class.
  • The stepping motor (STM) works great for movies, and the noise is low compared to other lenses in its class. Canon’s STM technology allows for better autofocus performance while shooting video.

Cons: 

  • The lens is not weather sealed, and there is no image stabilization
  • Sharpness will be optimal when shooting at larger apertures (smaller f-numbers).

Conclusion

Overall, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM is a decent camera lens for those on a tight budget. If you’re looking for a high-quality travel and all-purpose lens, this may be the right choice for you.