Canon EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens is the kit lens that comes with most of Canon’s entry level DSLRs.  True – it’s lightweight, inexpensive and somewhat slow, but for a lens that comes basically free with the body, it offers beginning shooters an excellent introduction to the wide world of glass that lies before them.  Guest photographer Max Luger mounted the lens on the Canon T2i and took it out for a spin for this episode of the Two Minute Review, and came away with some amazing shots.

As Max mentions, the lens comes with an image stabilizer built in.  I.S. allows you to lower your shutter speed to about 1/30 of a second without worrying about camera blur from shaky hands -this can be a huge help in low light situations when your aperture is already all the way open and your ISO is set high.

Max also touches on the differences between using auto focus and manual.  Because the focus ring on the 18-55 is thin, and because there is no manual focus override (which would allow you to manually focus the lens without switching it into MF mode)  it can be difficult to manually focus: first you have to flip the switch to MF, then you have to find focus with the small thing focus ring. Max advises using the auto focus and manually selecting the focus point you’d like the camera to focus on.  This solution works in almost all situations, with the exception of situations in which the camera’s auto focus engines have trouble finding focus.  This usually occurs when the colors in the frame are all very similar, when the subject is moving too much, or when the subject is an intricate pattern.  If the camera has trouble finding focus automatically, flip the switch to MF and give it a shot manually.

Once again, Max closes out this video with a pearl of wisdom, advising budding shooters to use the 18-55 kit lens as a litmus test that will determine their glassware needs down the line. Instead of buying too many specialized lenses with your first camera body (only to let them gather dust in a camera bag), try shooting as much as possible with the 18-55 and letting its limitations guide you towards your needs.  By knowing what you’re missing, you’ll know what you need.

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From Canon USA:

In response to demands of photographers, this standard zoom lens is designed 
with Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer technology while retaining the compactness 
and lightness of previous models. Its stabilization allows sharp hand-held shots 
at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than otherwise possible. It consists of 
11 elements in 9 groups and uses an Aspherical lens element to correct aberration 
for excellent image quality throughout the zoom range and a circular aperture for 
exquisite rendering of out-of-focus backgrounds. Without a lot of size, weight or 
cost, this lens expands picture-taking possibilities any time slow shutter speeds 
are needed.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Lens Construction
11 elements in 9 groups
Diagonal Angle of View
74° 20' - 27° 50'
Focus Adjustment
AF (DC motor), with manual focus option
Closest Focusing Distance
9.8 in./0.25m
Filter Size
58mm, P=0.75mm/1 filter
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight
2.7 in. x 3.33 in./68.5mm x 84.5mm (maximum lens length), 7.1 oz. (200g)