Canon 10-18mm IS STM
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NEW: Canon 10-18mm IS vs. 16-35mm f/2.8 L II 12 June 2014
Sample Image Files
More samples at Canon 10-18mm IS vs. 16-35mm f/2.8 L II,
Canary Palm, 11 June 2014. Canon 10-18mm at 10mm at f/10 at 1/100 at ISO 100. Camera-original file.
Concrete Wall at 2 Feet (0.6 meters), 11 June 2014. Canon 10-18mm at 18mm at f/10 at 1/100 at ISO 100. Camera-original file.
Concrete Wall at 2 Feet (0.6 meters), 11 June 2014. Canon 10-18mm at 10mm at f/10 at 1/100 at ISO 100. Camera-original file.
The Canon 10-18mm IS STM is the world's first reasonably-priced ultrawide lens. It works only on Canon's APS-C digital cameras.
Not only is it the world's least expensive, it's super light weight, and is also optically superb. There is no sharper ultrawide lens for APS-C cameras, and it's much better than Canon's 10-year-old EF-S 10-22mm that costs over twice as much!
This new 10-18mm lens also adds Image Stabilization (IS), a first from Canon in any ultrawide.
This 10-18mm also adds Canon's Stepper Autofocus Motor (STM) for faster AF with video.
It's got a plastic mount, which is why it only costs $300 and weighs next to nothing. The 10-22mm is also all plastic except for the mount, so I'm not worrying about it. I've never broken any of my plastic-mount lenses in the ten years I've been shooting them, and I just sold an image I made with a plastic 18-55mm lens to one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies for $4,000, so they can't be all that bad.
Feel free to grab the manual focus ring at any time for manual focus override. Manual focus is electronic, not mechanical, so it doesn't feel as good as it does on the old 10-22mm, but who cares; we rarely use manual focus with ultrawide lenses anyway.
The 10-18mm is the best Canon ultrawide I've used. It's the sharpest, smallest, lightest and least expensive. Too bad it won't work on full frame, but the newer full frame 16-35mm f/4 L IS (not yet tested) should be as good. Canon's full-frame ultrawides (like my favorite 16-35mm f/2.8 L II) have never been very sharp.
Yes, this $300 lens is sharper than the $1,700 Canon 16-35 L II. Not bad for $300!
Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM. bigger.
Canon calls this the Canon Lens EF-s 10-18mm IS STM.
EF: Electronic Focus. All modern Canon lenses focus with a motor in the lens.
-s: For small-format APS-C cameras only.
STM: Stepper autofocus Motor.
14 elements in 11 groups.
One aspheric and and one UD glass element.
Four-group zoom system.
Front, Canon 10-18 STM (EF diaphragm not visible).
7 curved blades.
Stops down to f/22-29.
0.72 feet (0.22m) rated.
7.5" (19cm) measured, from the image plane. That's 3" (75mm) from the front of the lens.
Maximum Reproduction Ratio
Angle of View
74.3º - 107.5º diagonal on APS-C DSLRs.
Rated four stops improvement.
2.9" (74.6mm) diameter x 2.8" (72.0mm).
8.215 oz. (232.9 g), actual measured.
Rated 8.5 oz. (240g).
13 May 2014.
I got the first one on 10 June 2014.
Lens and caps made in Taiwan.
$249, June 2015.
$300, May 2014.
Box, Canon 10-18mm.
The Canon 10-18mm STM is optically superb. Add that to its ultra light weight and small size and the lowest price on the market, and there is no other ultrawide you'd want for your small-sensor Canon camera.
It's the best lens there is for these cameras, and the least expensive.
AF is virtually instantaneous, silent and accurate.
Autofocus is essentially instantaneous.
Just grab the focus ring anytime for instant manual-focus override.
To lock it into manual mode, move the switch on the lens.
Bokeh, the quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to the degree of defocus, isn't visible. There is rarely anything out of focus except at macro ranges, at which point bokeh is neutral.
The color balance of this 10-18 seems the same as my other Canon EF and EF-S lenses.
The Canon 10-18 STM has no visible distortion throughout most of its range, except for moderately strong barrel distortion at 10mm and a bit of pincushion distortion at 16mm.
For critical use, use these values in Photoshop's Lens Distortion tool to remove the distortion. These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.
© 2014 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.
* some waviness is visible after correction.
Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM.
Ergonomics are perfect. Most of the lens is the zoom ring, and the focus and IS controls are right under your thumb.
The thinner black ribbed ring at the front is the manual focus ring. Move it any time with a fingertip for instant manual focus override. It's just an encoder to tell the computer to focus your lens, so it feels completely disconnected from the focus system because it is.
Not visible is how small and light is this lens. It's a joy to pop it in a bag or pocket instead of having to lug something bigger.
Falloff is negligible, even without a profile. It's barely visible wide open, and goes away a stop down.
In the newer DSLRs with automatic correction, be sure you have a profile loaded for this lens and the falloff becomes completely invisible (not shown here).
I've greatly exaggerated the falloff by shooting a flat gray target and presenting it against a gray background:
There's no problem with vignetting, even with thick rotating filters.
There's no need for thin filters; regular thick and rotating filters work great.
In fact, I can stack a thick Tiffen rotating ND grad filter over another regular filter, and I get no vignetting so long as I don't zoom wider than 11mm!
Focus breathing (the image changing size as focused) is mostly of interest to cinematographers who don't want the image changing size ("breathing") as the lens is focused among different subjects.
There is only the slightest bit of breathing at the 18mm end, at which the image gets very slightly smaller as focussed more closely. I can't see any at the 10mm end.
Shot directly into the sun at 18mm at f/16. bigger.
There's no problem with flare or ghosts.
Even shot directly into the sun and putting a tree in the the shot to highlight any ghosts that might materialize, there's nothing significant when you realize that the direct unshielded disc of the sun is in the left of the image, and I couldn't look through their finder because it was so literally blinding.
In actual use, there will be none.
This is excellent performance.
Image Stabilization works great. Presuming you know how to shoot a rifle and thus shoot a camera properly at slow speeds, I get perfectly sharp shots most of the time at 1/4 second, usually get pretty sharp shots at 1/2, and even at 1 second get a sharp shot every few frames.
I use a simple technique when I'm on the edge: just shoot several frames, and one is usually much sharper than the others. Use that, and delete the rest.
Even without an in-camera profile, there are very few color fringes. Newer cameras with a lens profile loaded will clear those up.
Without a profile, there is just a tiny bit of red/green fringing at all zoom settings. Even without a profile, they are nearly invisible.
Macro gets very close.
It's rated as 8" or 22cm, but that's from the image plane at the back of the camera.
I measure its close-focus distance as 7.5" (19 cm) from the image plane, which is 3" (75mm) from the front of the lens!
Here's what you get zoomed to 18mm:
Omega Constellation at close-focus distance at 18mm at f/13.
Crop from above 10MP image at 100%. If this is 6" (15cm) on your monitor, the complete image printed at this same high magnification would be 40 x 26" (1 x 0.7 meters) at this very same sharpness.
Maximum and Minimum Apertures top
Rear, Canon 10-18 STM. enlarge.
The Canon 10-18 STM is all plastic, but good plastic. It's small enough that I don't worry about hitting it by accident and breaking it off a camera; there isn't enough leverage, and Canon's APS-C cameras aren't heavy enough.
Painted on front plastic ring inside the filter threads.
Front Barrel (extends while zooming)
Moisture seal at mount
Laser-engraved into plastic lens barrel near mount.
See Canon Date Codes.
Noises When Shaken
Made in Taiwan.
Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens, and lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers. It's the least skilled hobbyists who waste the most time blaming fuzzy pictures on their lenses, while real shooters know that few photos ever use all the sharpness of which their lenses are capable due to subject motion and the fact that real subjects are rarely perfectly flat.
This Canon 10-18 is extremely sharp throughout all of the image at every setting.
It's super-sharp wide open, while diffraction will dull the image at the smallest apertures.
It's much better than any of the samples of 10-22mm I've tested over the years, both in 2006 and again in 2014.
Canon's specified MTF curves:
Canon 10-18mm sunstars at 10mm at f/10. bigger.
With its rounded 7-blade diaphragm, this Canon 10-18mm IS makes only muted sunstars at best.
It's still better then the silly and weak 6-pointed stars of the 10-22mm.
Canon 10-18mm IS vs. 16-35mm f/2.8 L II12 June 2014
This lens has no competition. Every other ultrawide lens for Canon's APS-C cameras is optically inferior, can't focus as close, has no IS, and costs at least twice as much.
The only advantages to the bigger and optically inferior 10-22mm are that it has a direct mechanical manual focus override (the 10-18mm has instant manual override, but it's focus-by-wire), the 10-22mm has slightly less distortion, the 10-22mm has a metal lens mount and is 2/3 of a stop faster.
Let's be honest: 4 stops of Image Stabilzation beats 2/3 of a stop of optical speed (2/3 of a stop won't save you even if you're shooting action where IS can't help), and even if I broke one of these 10-18mm lenses and had to buy a second, I've still spent less than I would have on just one 10-22mm. There is no significant advantage to 22mm versus 18mm on the long end, and the 10-18mm is sharper so I suspect you could crop-in from the 18mm end of the 10-18mm and get results at least as good as from the old 10-22mm at 22mm.
Tokina's ultrawide lenses are OK and bigger, heavier and tougher, but they have poorer ergonomics, won't be sharper, and cost much more. Forget them, too.
I'd leave it on all the time, except for time exposures on a tripod.
If you want the best possible protective filter, the 67mm Hoya HD2 Protector is ultra multicoated, repels dirt and fingerprints and made of shatter resistant glass.
If I was working in nasty, dirty areas and don't want to spring for the HD2 filter, I'd use an uncoated 67mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.
Honestly, for a $300 lens, personally I'd use the super-high quality and inexpensive 67mm Hoya Alpha MC UV. The Tiffen isn't as nice, and the Canon and HD2 filters start costing almost as much as the lens.
I wouldn't bother with a hood.
For Canon's APS-C DSLRs this 10-18mm lens is the only one to get. It has superior performance and the lowest price.
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29 May 2014