Review Canon EF-S 18-200 mm 3.5-5.6 IS (C APS-C)

Canon only released the Canon 18-200 mm lens in 2008. Other brands passed Canon with that. The advantage of an 11-fold zoom range is clear; you can manage almost all photographic situations with just one lens. Lens exchange is no longer needed and you save on weight. Not for nothing, this type is also called “vacation zoom lens.” The Canon 18-200 mm can only be used on a camera with an image sensor of the APS-C format due to its construction. The crop factor is 1.6 at Canon; the focal length equivalent is thus 29-320 mm. Canon has an in-house competitor, namely the Canon 18-135 mm. It has a smaller zoom range and is cheaper than the Canon 18-200 mm.  

Canon 18-200 mm @18 mm/3.5
Canon 18-200 mm @200 mm/5.6

Construction and autofocus Canon 18-200 mm

The house is made of plastic and the mount of metal. During focusing the filter does not rotate. The focus ring and zoom ring run very smoothly. When zooming, the lens becomes 6 cm longer. When you hold the lens upside down, the zoom ring puts itself in the 200 mm position. To prevent that, it has a ‘zoom lock.’ The drive of the auto focus is USM driven and is very quiet. Focusing is reasonably fast with a Canon 7D; from 15 meters to 1.5 meters in 0.28 seconds. Hunting in low light is rarely observed.. {insertgrid ID = 289}

Image stabilization Canon 18-200 IS

The effectiveness of the integrated image stabilization is measured at a focal length of 200 mm. Effectiveness is high; more than 3 stops gain.

Vignetting Canon 18-200 mm

The vignetting of the Canon 18-200 mm, expressed in stops, is only on the high side at all focal lengths at full aperture. The vignetting can be tackled by software. The lens does not reach the specified speed of f/5.6 at 200 mm.

Distortion Canon 18-200 mm

The distortion of the Canon 18-200 mm, expressed as a percentage, is extremely high at 18 mm and high at 50 mm. It is only negligible at 200 mm. Distortion can be tackled by software.


Backlight can cause much Flare with the Canon 18-200 mm. During shooting, a bright light source, such as the sun, should not shine into the lens. The lens is insensitive to ghosting though.

Resolution Canon 18-200 mm


The resolution, expressed in lines/sensor height, is sufficiently high at the center of 18 to 50 mm at all apertures. The corners are disappointing, however, at virtually all apertures and focal lengths. A photo of A4 does not look sharp at the edges and in the corners.

Click on the graph to see all Imatest results.

Chromatic aberration Canon 18-200 IS


In many cases, the chromatic aberration is on the high side and will have to be corrected with software.

Click at the graph to see all Imatest results.

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Conclusion Canon EF-S 18-200 mm 3.5-5.6 IS review

Look in our list of all reviewed lenses or the lenses we have reviewed with a Canon mount in order to compare the performance of this lens with other lenses.
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you store the files in the camera as jpg, where you have all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: “What you see is what you get”. {insertgrid ID = 308}


  • Large zoom range
  • Insensitive to ghosting at strong back light
  • Effective image stabilization
  • Compact construction in relation to the focal length


  • Low resolution
  • High distortion
  • high chromatic aberration
  • Lens does not reach the specified full aperture
The Canon 18-200 mm has an almost ideal zoom range and has an effective image stabilization. The lens has a slow maximum aperture and does not reach the specified full aperture at 200 mm. The distortion and chromatic aberration are high. The biggest disadvantage of the Canon 18-200 mm we’ve encontered in this Canon 18-200mm review, is the very low resolution at the corners at all focal lengths though.  



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