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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎01-22-2017

18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM

 

I have a canon 18-55 mm IS STM lens on my 750D and am considering part exchanging for a used 18-135 IS STM lens. Apart from the obvious advantage of a longer reach and disadvantage of higher weight, is the 18 – 135 a better lens?

VIP
Posts: 11,320
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: 18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM

No, not IMHO but if I had to have just one, I guess i would go for the larger FL advantage.  Both are "kit" entry level lenses.

Pretty good mind you but you are still in that category of lens.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 8,301
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: 18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM

If you are asking about image quality, I have never compared them..I would not think the 18-135 IS STM has image quality that is significantly better or worse than the 18-55 IS STM.  I do not think that is an exchange that I would make.  

 

But, if I had to place any bets on which of those two lenses has better image quality I would bet on the lens with the smaller zoom ratio every time.  The zoom ratio is the ratio between the longest and shortest focal lengths.  The 18-55 has a zoom ratio of roughly 3:1, while the 18-135 is roughly 7.5:1.

 

Why is zoom ratio important?  In the days of 35mm film, it used to be that prime lenses offered image quality that was far superior to a zoom, because all of the internal lens elements could be optimized for just the one focal length.  On the other hand, a zoom lens had to adjust its’ focal length, which usually meant that the internal optimizing that took place for a prime could not be carried out to the same degree in a zoom.  In other hands, a zoom lens would always represent a drop in image quality compared to a prime.

Thanks to vastly improved design and manufacturing techniques, zoom lenses have pretty much closed the difference in image quality with prime lenses.  But, at least one negative characteristic of zoom lenses still remains, that being the greater the zoom ratio, then the worse the image quality.  This is just a fact of the physics of lenses work.  If we could build one lens that was perfect at nearly all focal lengths, then we would not see such a variety of lenses in the market.

 

Canon’s best lenses are the “L” series of professional lenses, and the lineup includes some of the sharpest zoom lenses for DSLR camera bodies.  Nearly all of the L series zooms have zoom ratios of 4:1, or less.  Most of the best zooms are less than 3:1.

 

I think it would be better to expand your range of focal lengths by investing in another quality lens, rather duplicating the focal lengths that you already have.  I have three zoom lenses that combine to cover the 18-135mm range of focal lengths,16-35mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm.

 

I am using a full frame image sensor body with those lenses.  Your APS-C body would have a different angle of view with those lenses due to the “crop factor” of your image sensor.  Zoom lenses that would give similar angles of view would be, 10-22mm, 18-55mm, and no one makes a good equivalent for 70-200mm, anymore.  I would suggest a 55-250mm as substitute for 70-200mm, instead.

You already own a 18-55mm.  I would recommend any one of three tripe lenses as a “next buy”.  I suggest either a super wide angle zoom like the 10-18mm or 10-22mm, or medium telephoto zoom like the 55-200mm or even a 70-300mm.  

 

The third type of lens I would suggest would be the a fast prime like the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, or perhaps the EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM.  I think having a fast prime is a “must have” for any camera kit.  A fast prime is only a fraction of the cost of a similar fast zoom lens.  A fast prime, like an f/1.8, will teach you a lot about photography, and give you something great to use in low light.

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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎01-22-2017

Re: 18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM

Thanks. I already have other lenses but thought that when I had a lot of other things to carry just that one would do, but now I will stick to what I have got.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎01-22-2017

Re: 18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM

Thanks - I had thought that it might be much better quality as it is a lot more expensive, but will stick to what I have got - 50mm, 10-18 and 70-300.

VIP
Posts: 11,320
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: 18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM

The 18-135mm will beat the 70-300mm any day of the week.  I certainly would take (18-135mm) it over that lens. I have never owned the 18-135mm but everybody I know that has one likes it. It is more expensive because it is harder to make. It is a nice all-in-one lens for this level.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Valued Contributor
Posts: 498
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: 18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM

[ Edited ]

@ebiggs1 wrote:

The 18-135mm will beat the 70-300mm any day of the week.  I certainly would take (18-135mm) it over that lens. I have never owned the 18-135mm but everybody I know that has one likes it. It is more expensive because it is harder to make. It is a nice all-in-one lens for this level.


Not sure if the reference to there is a bit of confusion as regards the 70-300 that you say you have.

The Canon EF 70-300, f4-5.6 IS USM is available in two forms, the MkI (released in 2005) and MkII (released in 2016).  Both of these are a significant step up from the lens I THINK Ebiggs1 meant: the 75-300 that is arguably Canon's worst lens, and is one the comes with some kits.

 

If you want to see my review of both of the 70-300 units, with samples, see Canon 70-300 Lenses compared.

So if you were considering a lens to add reach to the 18-55 for telephoto purposes I would certainly consider keeping the 70-300 if that is what you have.

 

However, as I understand it you are looking for a good walk-around unit that you don't have to change in the field for most shots. (that of course is heavily dependent on what you are shooting).

 

Another lens I think is worth considering is the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM unit.  It covers an amazing range and has been called the secret L lens because of its performance.  It cannot claim that title because it is an EF-S lens (specifically for crop sensor cameras) and is not weather sealed.  That said the glass in there is excellent and the extra 3mm at the wide range makes a difference. On your 750D you should find it a well-balanced unit.  See this image captured with the lens on a Canon 60D, both it and the following image are drastically reduced in size to upload.

 

NZ Auckland Muriwai Gannet Colony Sunet 06.jpg

 

I have two 18-135 IS STM units and have been happy with their performance as a single walk around lens, which is what I think you are referring to.  I agree with statements that reducing the focal length range should result in improved performance, but I think that is less definitive with the two kit lenses you are considering. 

 

Here is a close-up shot with the 18-135 IS STM, hand held.

Bee on a flower 03 - Copy.jpg

 

The best all-in-one lens Canon makes is (I believe) the 28-300 L series lens:  it is an amazing unit, but is expensive and very heavy - lots of glass and metal.

 

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

"I have never been able to enlarge a photograph... I am just interested in the shots" Henri Cartier-Bresson
VIP
Posts: 11,320
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: 18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM

To the OP, Trevor seems to be able to get the best from any lens!  Smiley Wink

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Valued Contributor
Posts: 498
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: 18-55 IS STM V 18 - 135 IS STM


@ebiggs1 wrote:

To the OP, Trevor seems to be able to get the best from any lens!  Smiley Wink


Thank you kind sir! Smiley Embarassed  I am not convinced I deserve the praise but I certainly appreciate the sentiment, especially from a veteran user.

 

The thing to me is these images go some way to demonstrate what they are capable of, the rest is up to the user.

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

"I have never been able to enlarge a photograph... I am just interested in the shots" Henri Cartier-Bresson
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