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Lost my standard 18-55mm lens, suggestions for best replacement that is versatile


I lost my Canon EOS Rebel T3i standard 18-55mm lens this weekend. The only other lens I own is a 70-200mm telephoto. I love to take nature photos so alot of insects, flowers, landscapes, birds and animals. I'm considering buying a more versatile lens and I dont want to spend more than $600 and if I can spend less and get something really worthwhile that is great. I was considering the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS but am not sure because I'm an amateur and I dont fully understand the lens options. A friend of mine is a photographer, so I asked him his opinion. He actually recommended I buy the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens. He shoots with a 50D but said that he personally a big fan of shooting with the ultra wide lens. I had trouble grasping what I would gain/give up by going this route. Anyone have any advice in fairly simple terms? My concern is that if I go from 18-55 to 11-22 what does I loose by no longer having 23-55 that I had on my original lens? I know that give then cost of the lens he is suggesting it's better, I just want to make a more informed decision. Thank you for your help! 


I think your instincts are largely correct; you need a mid-range zoom, and the wide-angle can wait. My suggestion would be the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS. It's a little more expensive than your target, but some in this forum claim that you can often get large discounts if you look around. My wife and I both have that lens and have been very happy with it. The one drawback I've found is that it's large enough to cast a shadow when using the built-in flash. But I think many lenses have that problem these days. You'll want a speedlite anyway, so that you can do bounce flash.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Thank you so much for your fast reply! I am so glad I joined this forum! You are so very nice, thanks again!


The EF-S 18-135 IS STM would be a great choice.


It has better image quality than the lens you lost, and has a very versatile zoom range.


Note, the STM version has better image quality than the non-STM version and is worth the extra money,


Also, the recently released EF-S 10-18 IS STM has image quality that rivals your friends EF-S 10-22 at substantially lower price.


Thank you very much, I will definitely check this out. 




Yes, the 18-135mm STM would be a good choice and a nice upgrade from your lost lens.


Perhaps the BEST replacement lens for you would be the EF-S 15-85mm IS USM.


There's a big difference between 15mm and 18mm at the wide end. So you would gain in that respect (although not as wide as a 10-22mm, of course).


Of course the 15-85mm also has a bit more reach than your old lens, plus is better built, has fast accurate USM autofocus and is very close focusing (just over 1 foot). It's able to do .21X magnification on it's own... 1/5 life size. Pretty good, though not really macro on it's own. If you got a set of macro extension rings to use with it (and your 70-200 or almost any other lens), you could do close-up/macro work with it. The 15-85mm is also reasonably compact and has great image quality. It (and the 17-55mm below) has also got a distance scale, something the 18-135s lack.


Problem is, the 15-85mm sells new for more than you wanted to spend. It costs $799. It's selling for $639 refurbished at the Canon online store, where it has the same warranty as new. If you would consider used, B&H Photo currently has one for $500. They say it's in top condition and I'm sure they warrant their used gear for some period of time, too. and Adorama are a couple other places I'd look at used, too.


15-85mm would be great... unless you do a lot of lower light shooting, then the BEST choice might be the EF-S 17-55/2.8 IS USM. This is close to the focal length range of your lost lens, but with a much faster f2.8 aperture, high image quality, better build and fast, quiet, accurate USM focus drive.  Once again, it's a little more expensive than you wanted... a bit over $800 typically. But, same as above, you might be able to find it for less refurbished or used. 


Your friend is right that wide angle lenses can be fun... But what works well for your friend might not be a good fit for you! Most people buy an ultrawide  to complement a standard zoom such as the three above, not as a replacement for them.  The EF-S 10-22mm is very good. But for less frequent use Canon is now offering a newer model: EF-S 10-18mm IS STM... That's already real bargain at it's usual $299, but is even better right now for $249 after instant rebate (the 10-22mm is a bit better built and might be the best of it's class from any manufacturer, but costs $599).


There are several other possibilities to replace your 18-55... but the 18-135, 15-85 and 17-55 would be the top contenders in my mind.


All the above lenses sell without a lens hood. I highly recommend getting the matching hood for whatever you choose. It protects the lens and can only improve it's performance and your images.



Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories


I cannot thank you enough for the amount of detail and knowledge you put into this repy. Thank you so so much, I really appreciate it so much. I'm going to look over your suggestions carefully and see what I can swing. Thank you again! 🙂

You need low light ability whether you think you do or not, because what you think of as low light and what the camera thinks are not the same. Your eyes see much better in low light than your camera can. Sitting at dinner in a nice restaurant or even shooting your kids inside by normal den lighting is low light to a camera. If your lens. Can't open big enough to gather a lot of that light quickly the camera
Has no choice but to boost your ISO sensitivity to compensate and on a Rebel sensor in particular that means it will give you ugly electronic static called noise and grain and it will also rob you of detail in the image.

Everyone needs at Least one good low light lens.
I suggest getting the 17-55 f/2.8. Either that or just get another kit 18-55 but also get a bright prime such as the $120.00 new EF-s 50mm f/1.8 STM. That 50mm pens so wide it lets over 4x more light in compared to the kit lens.

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?

I 2nd the ef-s 18x135mm . Give it a good look. The ef-s 10x22mm will have better IQ than any of the kit lenses but is a little short in focal length. If you ony have it that is.
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Thanks everyone, it looks like th top contenders are these 2 below. There was one of you that mentioned that there was 1 drawback with the 17-55, stating that it's large enough to cast a shadow when using the built-in flash and noting that I would want ta speedlite so that i can bounce flash.  I am looking and that adds another $300+ in cost. Any further thougths on this point and thanks againg for all the expertise, I'm really thankful!

EF-S 17-55/2.8 IS USM  ($829)

EF-S 15-85mm IS USM ($799)


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