The Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens is a compact and lightweight wide zoom range lens that is specifically designed for the range of EOS digital SLR cameras that use the smaller EF-S lens mount. Combining powerful performance with high image quality, this lens offers the equivalent of 29-320mm in 35mm format. It is ideal for use as a general-purpose zoom lens, providing coverage from a wide angle to a telephoto perspective.
The EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens incorporates Canon’s 4-stop compensation Image Stabilizer technology. This allows the use of shutter speeds up to 4 times slower with no perceptible increase in image blur. Automatic panning detection automatically turns off the Image Stabilizer in either the horizontal or vertical direction when following moving subjects.
4 stop Image Stabilizer (IS) extends low light options to previously unavailable levels. Photographers normally shooting handheld at 1/250 sec can switch on IS to obtain a similarly steady and blur-free result with a shutter speed of just 1/15 second.
Superior Image Quality
Two UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) elements and several aspherical elements are used to suppress the effects of secondary chromatic aberrations, to obtain crisp, sharp, high-contrast images without fringing throughout the zoom range.
Super Spectra Coatings
Optimized Super Spectra lens coatings and lens element shaping, suppress flare and ghosting – more prone to occur with digital cameras due to reflection of the image sensor. Coatings also help achieve true color balance and increase contrast for vivid hi-fidelity images.
Conclusion – Pros
- Huge 11x focal length range, ideal general purpose and travel lens
- Excellent image stabilization system, consistently delivering three to four stops benefit
- Good central sharpness at all focal lengths (but inconsistent corners)
- Attractive rendition of out-of-focus regions of the image
- Improved build quality in comparison to the 18-55mm and 55-250mm kit lenses
- Well-placed zoom lock switch
Conclusion – Cons
- Poor sharpness across much of the frame at 18mm and wider apertures
- Pronounced barrel distortion at wideangle, and pincushion distortion around 50mm
- High levels of chromatic aberration at either end of the zoom range
- Enormously flexible 11.1x optical range.
- Effective Image Stabilisation.
- Lock control to prevent barrel from extending.
- End section doesn’t rotate when focusing.
- Noticeable barrel distortion at 18mm.
- Softness and fringing in corners.
- No USM focusing or full-time MF.
- Some creep on the barrel.
Canon had a somewhat weird timing regarding the release of their EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. It is extremely difficult to design such a lens to start with and more so under low-cost requirements. Combine these side conditions with the rather extreme quality requirements of a high resolution APS-C DSLR a la EOS 50D (@ 15mp) and this sounds like trouble. The Canon lens has a couple of weak spots. At 18mm the border resolution is soft and heavy vignetting, extreme barrel distortion and CA problems don’t help either. The situation improves significantly at 24mm and 50mm before deteriorating again towards the long end of the range.