Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM delivers a high image quality.
Do you already have a wide angle lens? Precisely for novice photographers, a cheap wide-angle zoom, like the Canon 10-18 mm, is interesting. With a wide-angle lens, you bring drama into your photos. You offer viewers an impression that is impossible for you with a standard lens. Almost certainly, you get enthusiastic responses to wide-angle shots.
The Canon EF-S 10-18 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is compact, light, equipped with built-in image stabilization and has a suggested retail price of 269 euros. That is considerably cheaper than the suggested retail price for the Canon EF-S 10-22 mm, which is used by many amateur photographers. In addition, the Canon 10-18 mm has a stepper motor, meaning that it, in combination with Canon SLRs that support AF during video, offers extra silent focusing and is thus very suitable for video photographers.
The compact build and the low weight make the Canon 10-18 mm a perfect lens to take with you all the time. In terms of focal length, it is also suitable for many forms of photography. In terms of construction quality, the Canon 10-18 mm STM compares with the Canon 18-55 STM kit lens. It's nice and light (240 grams), compactly executed in plastic and is solid. If you compare the Canon 10-18 mm with the (more expensive) Canon 10-22 mm, then you can see for example that the Canon 10-22 mm is equipped with a distance scale and a metal mount, while the cheaper Canon 10-18 mm makes do without a distance scale and a plastic mount.
Focusing was smooth, fast and quiet with the STM (Stepping Motor Technology), which also with video interacts perfectly with the AF of our Canon 650D test camera. Manual focusing is possible with a small ring on the front of the lens, which is very narrow..
With a closest focusing distance of only 0.22 m, you come closer to your subject. The wide field of view gives you fun images.
Canon 10-18 mm in-camera lens corrections
Canon cameras have the ability to correct jpg files created with Canon lenses in the camera for chromatic aberrations and vignetting. If it is possible, we always apply that during our testing on the jpg files that we use for the WYSIWYG scores. At the time of this test, the lens correction profiles were not yet available. The WYSIWYG scores will be slightly higher for vignetting and chromatic aberrations if you apply the lens corrections though. In our Canon EF-S 10-22 mm test, there was a correction profile available. If you want to make a comparison of the Canon 10-18 mm vs Canon 10-22 mm, use the pure and RAW scores, where no adjustments have been applied.
Vignetting Canon 10-18mm lens
Wide-angle lenses always show plenty of vignetting, and the Canon 10-18 mm is no exception. In particular, at a focal length of 10 mm it is visible, even if you choose a smaller aperture. At the longer focal lengths, the vignetting at f/8 is no longer visible. It is recommended to correct for it with EOS Utility, Photoshop or Lightroom, as soon as there are lens correction profiles for the Canon 10-18 mm available.
Canon 10-18mm @ 10mm, 400 ISO, f/5.6, 1/5 sec+IS
Distortion Canon 10-18mm
Wide-angle lenses distort always considerably. In part, that is a nice effect, but sometimes you would like an image that is undistorted. The distortion ranges from clearly visible barrel-shaped at 10 mm, to just visible pincushion-shaped at 18 mm. In the middle, you have little trouble with distortion.
If you hold the camera at an angle, because you want to have the whole building, then the skewing that you as the photographer usually cause as a result is larger than the distortion caused by the wide-angle lens.
While you can repair distortion in the camera or (batchwise) with 1 click of a button using software, you will need to manually repair each picture for skewing. It is not difficult, but if you learn to hold the camera as straight as possible, then you save yourself a lot of time. In Photoshop and Lightroom, you can correct the distortion by batch, but during our test there was no lens correction profile available for it.
The Canon 10-18 mm surprised in a positive way, and it's just as good as lenses that are 5 times as expensive.
In general, wide-angle lenses are prone to flare: in case of backlight, you will see spots in the image, and the area around a bright light source has a lower contrast. This lens is equipped with Super Spectra coating for accurate color balance and high contrast, and by which flare and ghosting are effectively suppressed. Under extreme conditions, in night shots where a light source appears directly in frame, will you certainly have some flare. But you also have that with wide-angle zooms that are much more expensive than the Canon 10-18 mm.
Modern lenses keep getting better. You usually used to have to stop down two stops before the highest sharpness was achieved. In addition, you can see with older lenses a big difference in sharpness between the corners and the center. Above, you can see two image excerpts from the edge of test shots made at f/4.5 and f/8. Which picture is sharper? In practice, they are equal to each other. The highest sharpness is already reached at maximum aperture and drops off slowly the further you stop down. The sharpness is even from center to corner.
What many photographers do not realize is that the skewing that you introduce as a photographer, by rotating the camera to get an entire building, is often worse than the distortion caused by the wide-angle lens. Here you can see the both distorted and skewed original (inset) and the corrected image.
The Canon 10-18 mm STM lens includes aspherical and UD lens elements that correct spherical and chromatic aberrations. Almost all wide-angle lenses without software corrections show colored edges at high contrasts in the corners. That's called lateral chromatic aberration. As you can see in the image excerpt from the corner of a practice shot on the right, that also applies to the Canon 10-18 mm. This is easy to correct with software, in-camera or later in Lightroom or any other photo editing program.
Canon reports that the circular aperture of the 10-18 mm IS STM with seven lamellae provides a beautiful background blur. But you don't buy a wide-angle lens for the nice bokeh; you buy it for its fantastic depth of field. Put the Canon 10-18 mm on f/8 and you have so much depth that you almost don't even need to focus. Ideal for street photography.
Canon 10-18mm @ 10mm, 3200 ISO, f/8, 1/13 sec + IS (edited RAW shot)
If we note in a test of a standard lens or a wide-angle lens the lack of image stabilization as a minus point, we often get comments on it by some readers. At short focal lengths, you don't need such a fast shutter speed, so it is usually not problematic to work without image stabilization. I partly agree. And yet, image stabilization on a wide-angle lens offers added value. I often shoot indoors with a wide-angle lens, because then you can make a nice overview, like the picture here.
Inside, however, it is often so much darker that a high ISO setting is not sufficient to avoid a shot with motion blur. Different shots in this Canon 10-18 mm test would not have succeeded without image stabilization. The objection that an lens becomes unnecessarily heavy and large from built-in image stabilization goes nowhere. The Canon 10-18 mm IS STM is equipped with the latest Canon Image Stabilizer (4.0), yet is compact and light.
Canon calls the image stabilization a 4-stop Image Stabilizer. This means that if you turn the image stabilization on, you make an equally sharp picture with 4 times as slow a shutter speed as without image stabilization. With telephoto lenses, 4 stops can indeed be booked as a profit, but with wide-angle lenses the shutter speeds are so long that the movement of the photographer during the shot becomes so great, that this is no longer physically possible for an image stabilizer. This applies to all types of image stabilization (in-camera or in-lens) and all brands of cameras. In our test of the image stabilization, we reached a profit of two stops at a focal length of 18 mm. A shot made by hand at 1/25 second is as sharp as a shot made with image stabilization and a shutter speed of 1/6 second.
Conclusion test Canon 10-18 mm on a Canon 650D
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WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, where you have all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score will give you for this lens/camera combination test: "What you see is what you get".
Pure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera as a RAW file. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.
Wide-angle zoom for APS-C
Solid construction and image quality
Built-in image stabilization
Very attractively priced
Lens correction profiles are not yet available
Canon has surprised many with the introduction of the Canon 10-18 mm. This wide-angle zoom for starting photographers will also appeal to many amateur photographers. It is a perfect complement to the 18-55 mm kit lens: compact, light, equipped with good image stabilization and very attractively priced. Just as with much more expensive wide-angle lenses, there is, especially at the shortest focal length, visible chromatic aberration, vignetting and distortion. These lens properties are easy to correct. At the time of the test, there were no lens profiles available, but after the next update of EOS Utility, Lightroom or Photoshop, that will be easy to correct with software. The image quality - even without lens corrections - is very good, compared to much more expensive wide angle lenses. The Canon 10-18mm offers a lot of value for money.
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.
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