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349 of 356 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good multipurpose zoom lens for Canon T1i/500D.
Week after buying Canon T1i camera I went to Mt St Helens National Park and realized how much I need extra zoom. So I ordered the new Canon 18-135IS. My first impressions are very positive:
- The build quality is pretty decent.
- The lens is relatively light and feels pretty balanced on the T1i body.
- Front of the lens doesn't turn during auto focus which...
Published on October 3, 2009 by Ivan Barakumba

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325 of 341 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Expected - but Still Economy Class
Switching from Pentax to Canon, I had to start with no Canon lenses. Therefore, I had to go with the 7D kit. I had wanted the EF 28-135 USM kit but after waiting months on a backorder situation, I went with the 18-135 kit from a local camera store. I knew that the 28-135 was a pretty good "kit lens" whose only consideration was that the 28mm aperture is very restricting...
Published on November 11, 2009 by P. VANDALEN


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349 of 356 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good multipurpose zoom lens for Canon T1i/500D., October 3, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
Week after buying Canon T1i camera I went to Mt St Helens National Park and realized how much I need extra zoom. So I ordered the new Canon 18-135IS. My first impressions are very positive:
- The build quality is pretty decent.
- The lens is relatively light and feels pretty balanced on the T1i body.
- Front of the lens doesn't turn during auto focus which is a plus if you use a polarized filter.
- AF is quick and very accurate - it easily finds focus even in dark conditions.
- Image Stabilizer supports horizontal and vertical panning.
- I think sharpness is comparable with the kit 18-55IS (looks like corners are a bit softer).
- Zoom range is perfect for vacation/outdoor photography.
- There is no zoom creep (so far).
- Very smooth bokeh (background blurring)

Few cons:
- No zoom lock.
- Doesn't have USM/full-time manual focus - this is the feature I'd expect in the $500 lens.
- Distortions on the wide end (18-24mm)
- More CA than 18-55IS.

P.S. I've spent the last couple of weeks reading endless forum posts and reviews. Here are my notes about the similar/competing products:
1. Canon 55-250IS - My friend got this lens - it's sharp but some shots have bad color saturation/contrast. He also told me that he needs to change lenses too often.
2. Canon 28-135 IS USM - sharp, has full-time manual focus, but the lens is quite big and heavy for T1i and has a zoom creep. 28mm is too much for the wide shots on the x1.6 cameras.
3. Sigma 18-125 OS HSM - good zoom range/color/price, relatively sharp. I almost bought this lens but then I noticed that almost every review mentions the constant background noise produced by the image stabilizer. Sometimes I use the camera for short videos so that was a deal breaker for me.
4. Sigma 18-200 - good zoom range/color/price, but too heavy. Sharpness is very inconsistent. Also not much extra zoom comparing to the 135mm.

Overall I think this lens is a good choice for nonpro photographers looking for a multipurpose zoom lens.
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693 of 729 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great travel/ walk around lens., October 17, 2009
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I was more than a little apprehensive about purchasing this lens before many official reviews came out, but I'm really glad I did. I have an 18-55 kit, 70-300, 60mm f/2.8 Macro, and 50 prime (all great beginner lenses, BTW) but I needed something I could stick on my camera and forget about when going out around town. As a young lady that likes small purses, this is a constant internal struggle- hang my awesome camera around my neck like an "I'm on a project and shouldn't be hit on" necklace, or stuff it in a big camera bag with my other lenses in a "I don't have kids but I might as well cause this looks like a diaper bag" fashion. I deflect male advances either way. It's just a matter of how light I travel when I do it. And if I can leave some highly-stealable stuff at home, I will.

How does it feel?
This seems to have the same feel as my 70-300. Not a plastic-y light feeling like the 18-55, slightly rubber ridges and hefty, but not heavy, weight to it. I wouldn't use this lens to bludgeon enemies, but it doesn't feel as though it came out of a gum ball machine either.

What's the color like?
We compared this lens to the Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras (took identical photos at same focal length, f-stop, settings, etc.) Both lenses were incredibly sharp at the sweet spots and still great at the edges (when taken at F8) but the colors of the 18-135 were much less washed out. We definitely had the white balance settings locked for both photos, but the 18-135 just showed reds, purples, blues, greens, all colors were more vibrant and true.
Now if you want your family photos to look like they came straight from a comic book with crazier-than-life color explosions, you'll have to look to post-processing for that. Weirdo. All I'm saying is that I won't have to change the color balance to cloudy to experience non-prison looking color in family portraits. Nothing kills the vibe of a party photo montage like grayish Alcatraz hues.

Yeah, but I can get this from an 17-85 or the new 15-85, right?
Good point, friend. But the extra focal length after 85mm is really worth it, especially when shooting things across a street or shooting semi-close wildlife. And if the 15-85 is way more expensive and the 17-85 is about the same price, why not go for the longer length? You could make the same argument for the 18-200, but I don't think that the compromised sharpness (and heavy 21 oz weight, vs the 16.1 oz of the 18-135) is worth the extra focal distance. Also, you get the latest version of the image stabilization system with this one.

But there is no USM, and the 17-85 has USM. I MUST HAVE USM ON ALL MY LENSES!
Calm down there, buddy. True, there is no USM on this lens. But having used both the 17-85 and 18-135, the latter is just as fast to autofocus. It may not have the USM, but you wouldn't notice a big difference. The motor is super fast and doesn't autofocus hunt like my 70-300 USM tends to do. You can hear the motor, but it's not as loud as the Canon 70-300 USM motor. Image stabilization is also great- there were plenty of pictures that have been saved with that feature, especially in low light/no flash situations.

Finally, I want to mention the "The Digital Picture" ISO 12233 Crops (google this; I can't provide a link). This test scared the crud out of me, and is making a lot of people spew hate about this lens. It makes this lens look soft compared to some other lenses. When I started shooting, I thought at first that there was a sharpness issue until I realized that my little brother had changed my ISO to 1600. Thanks, little bro! After that was fixed, everything was as sharp as I could hope for. Having done my own sharpness tests, I realized that the ISO 12233 crops weren't telling the whole story. I don't plan on sticking this sucker on a tripod and shooting tiny black and white lines with it all day (I have more interesting subjects, and they are in color!) I've taken hundreds of pictures with this lens and just don't see any image quality or sharpness difference when compared to my other lenses. So chill, people.

In conclusion, if you love the pictures your DSLR gives you, but hate the lens diaper-bag/bookbag look, this is a great choice. It's not going to make you into a magical Ansel Adams photo spouting machine, but no equipment will do that. This lens takes some pretty nice pictures when you stop worrying about 100% crops and start enjoying life. Shoot and be happy.
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325 of 341 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Expected - but Still Economy Class, November 11, 2009
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
Switching from Pentax to Canon, I had to start with no Canon lenses. Therefore, I had to go with the 7D kit. I had wanted the EF 28-135 USM kit but after waiting months on a backorder situation, I went with the 18-135 kit from a local camera store. I knew that the 28-135 was a pretty good "kit lens" whose only consideration was that the 28mm aperture is very restricting for wide angle on a crop-sensor. I had read preliminary reviews of the 18-135 that didn't sound too encouraging (this is in contrast to working with pro-level glass from Pentax for some time). However, after a week of using this lens with the 7D, I found that it's not as bad as I expected. Pictures taken with it are reasonibly sharp, have reasonible contrast and fairly even image quality across the frame - when I follow these guidelines:

1. Avoid 18 - 24mm shots, even at stopped-down apertures due to overall reduced image quality; softness, especially away from center, distortion and fringing.

2. Don't shoot at wide-open aperture for any focal length if given the choice due to increased softness.

The lens is built reasonibly well for a kit lens. It does focus quickly without USM and is not too loud doing so. What I don't like is that there is no distance scale. I will often take candid shots, either with flash or without, where I first guess the distance to the subject and set that manually on the lens, and then take a surprise photo without any focus delays or focus-assist lighting from the flash to warn the subject that a picture is about to be taken. Can't do that with this lens.

While the 18-135 is generally a reasonible kit lens, it is not the right lens to do the capabilities of the advanced 7D justice, however. Don't know why Canon packaged this lens with the 7D (kinda of like "putting a Fiat motor in a Ferrari?"). Based on reviews and comparisons, I believe the 28-135, on the other hand, would be the better inexpensive choice for this camera. The funny thing is that the 18-135 kit costs $100 more than the 28-135. For that extra $100 I gain some usability between 24 and 28mm but lose some image quality overall. While the 18-135 is convenient to have for now, I look forward to the 17-40 and 70-200 f4L lenses as possible upgrades. I'll provide an update after more time using this lens in order to make sure I give it a fair chance to prove itself.

Update (11/20/09): After many more photographs with this lens, I have to admit that it deserves a bit more recognition than I originally gave it. The guidelines I mentioned for best results still hold true: avoid 18-24mm when possible and stop-down all other focal lengths to about f7 - f8 for the best images. Comparing this lens on the 7D to the Tamron 18-250 on a Pentax K20 and the Canon lens is clearly better - sharper center, sharper boarders and far less CA. It actually looks to be comparible to the Tamron 28-75 with both at f8. Stopped-down, the 18-135 is surprisingly sharp across the frame for a kit lens. I would increase the ranking from three to four stars if it wasn't for the really poor performance between 18-24mm. I also just purchased the Canon 70-200 f4L and the image quality of the 70-200 is certainly in an entirely different league. However, you can still get pretty decent pictures with the 18-135 when you work around its weaknesses.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome affordable lens that creates crisp images, November 2, 2009
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I used to own a Sony 12x digital zoom and recently stepped up to a Canon T1i. I liked my Sony because it was light weight, snapped great pictures and offered me the flexibility of an ultra zoom. So, I was hoping to get the same range with a lens for my Canon T1i as well. I travel a lot and like taking close-up as well as landscape pictures with my subjects in the foreground. So, I did not want to be seen as a geek who keeps changing camera lenses often and kills the joy of posing for a photograph. Based on several reviews I read about the kit lens, it didn't seem like the ideal one to buy and it did not have the ideal zoom length as well. So, I just bought the Canon T1i body and plunged into extensive research about the ideal lens that would offer the flexibility of a wide angle and an ultra zoom. The most recommended one seemed to be the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens. However, for a novice photographer, it seemed too much a price to pay. Then I stumbled upon this one and was quite skeptic that it had very few reviews. But, the review by Stubblefield gave me the confidence to try this one out as she seemed to have the same requirements as I did. It turns out that I made a really good decision in going for this lens.

I compared this with the kit lens(18-55mm) one of my friends owned and it is only slightly heavier albeit with a bigger diameter (67mm). But comparisons of shots taken with the 18-55mm and this one at ~30mm reveal how crisp and rich (with nice bokeh) the pictures are with the 18-135mm compared to the 18-55mm which created slightly softer pictures. At the telephoto end, the lens is pretty fast in focusing and there is no difference in image quality compared to the ones taken at 30mm zoom. I was at a concert recently and was having fun snapping close up shots of the performers at 135mm and was amazed at the low light performance of this lens. I was shooting at ISO 1600 but still the images were sharp, had hardly noticeable noise and had excellent details when cropped. Two thumbs up for the Image Stabilization! I am not sure if it was the Canon T1i or the lens that created those awesome pictures but the combination definitely works great. One of my friends shot those close-ups with his Canon 55-250mm IS lens and at 250mm he sure got close. But, the pictures came out shaky because we didn't have our tripods with us. Never mind though, when I cropped my shots taken at 135mm, I was able to get the exact pictures that he shot at 250mm without any shake or loss of image quality. So, I guess I wouldn't wish I had the 55-250mm.

There was some mention about this lens not having the USM. But I would not be concerned with this at all as it does not seem to be any more noisier than the kit lens or the Canon 55-250mm IS lens. Over all, I would highly recommend this lens for novice photographers at least as you wouldn't often find yourself wanting for a wider angle or more zoom (think crop). An excellent walk around lens at an excellent price that produces excellent images. The only other lens I would even consider buying is the Canon 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 to cover the ultra wide angle segment but that can come later though. If you are finding your feet with one of Canon XS/XSi/T1i, then please do yourself a favor and get this lens with the body. You will never find yourself searching for another lens in the near future..
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Expected on My XSi - Will Stay on Full Time, November 5, 2009
By 
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
Purchased lens from someone that bought an EOS 7D and had good glass already. It was essentially new. Put it to the test when I got it, compared it directly to my existing 18-55IS under the exact same conditions. I'm hoping to post some 100% crops of handheld and Live View shots of the moon taken on 11/4/09. My takeaways for this lens after about 150 test shots:

- It has better corner sharpness than the 18-55 at all aperatures and all focal lengths
- It appears f8 is the sweet spot for this lens, at least on my copy.
- No issues with focusing even in low light.
- Easy to handle on XSI, should be well balanced on all cropped sensor Canons
- Will be my permanent on camera lens, if I need more zoom, will use my 55-250 for now.
- Colors and contrast are good and true across the zoom range. That's what we bought a Canon for to begin with.
- Vignetting characteristics essentially the same as the 18-55IS. Visible wide open, gone by f8.
- No downsides from my standpoint. I shoot as a hobby for enjoyment and this camera/lens combo just plain works for me, and most likely will work for 95% of you that have cropped sensor Canons.

For the money (~$450 or less), this is a no brainer. Buy this lens if you are looking to upgrade, have limited funds, and want more reach compared to the 18-55. If you have more available funds, don't need as much reach, but still want/need an upgrade, buy the new 15-85 ($800 MSRP) or the older 17-85 (~$500 on-line), or the 17-55 f2.8 (~$1000 on-line. You may want to sepnd some time exploring this site and the excellent reviews and information. [...]

Not having USM, not a big deal. Early ISO 12233 Crops don't look good, stop worrying - B. Stubblefield's hit it on the head in her review. I was just as concerned, and can tell you my concerns are unfounded. Close ups, tight zooms, distant shots with zoom, all turned out better than the 18-55 and 55-250 combination up to the 135mm level. I don't have expectations that this will be as good as a "L" series lens, but know how to get the most out of what I have. Image quality exceeds what I can get from my 18-55, so I'm pleased as punch with it. Could I get better image quality, sure, but at many more $$$'s that aren't justified for me.

I will be purchasing the Canon 70-300 USM lens shortly after Christmas to compliment my new 18-135, and then sell my existing 18-55IS and 55-250IS lenses. Needless to say, I am very happy with this lens.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits the sweet spot!!, November 25, 2009
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I wanted a versatile, cheap lens that could help me rediscover the magic of photography and also serve double-duty as an all-around lens with similar zoom coverage as a point-and-shoot.

The EF-S 18-135mm IS lens had just come out, but I was somewhat put off by the bad technical review it got from photozone.de considering that it was retailing for almost $600. I kept looking. However, the price dropped, and I decided to take a chance, and thus, here are my impressions...

GOOD:
- decent sharpness through much of the zoom and aperture range
- good color reproduction
- less chromatic aberration due to UD element
- versatile zoom range of 18-135mm (equivalent to 29-216mm)
- new generation IS for at least 2 stops of hand-holdability
- good balance and weight (1 lb), goes well with my 40D
- non-rotating front element
- fairly tight tolerances
- no zoom creep (will this change with a hood and filters? UPDATE: after nearly a year of owning this lens, I have noticed zoom creep while walking if lens is pointed straight down)
- decently fast focus motor, despite being non-USM
- wide enough to get everyone in the picture (fix distortion if you like with software)

BAD:
- non-USM focus motor, no manual focus override (spend more money, get USM lens)
- some focus-hunting at wide angle especially low contrast or dim shots (if you need to, use infrared focus assist from a 430EX or use a fast prime lens for your dim shots)
- heavy barrel distortion at wide end
- vignetting at large apertures, not too bad
- peripheral softness at wide end and large apertures (you can stop down or use the more central portions of your frame for your subjects to help with this)
- no distance scale (still don't know if I miss it or not)
- you're stuck with EF-S (no compatibility with Canon full frame bodies)

This lens delivers what I need for a price I was very happy with, and I will be using it to take lots and lots of pictures in the hopes of improving my abilities and and preserve family memories at the same time. Who am I kidding, I crave "L" class glass as much as the next guy! I just can't justify the cost given my current ability level.

Buy this lens - chances are you'll be very happy with it. I know I am. Enjoy!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Dynamic Lens, December 13, 2010
By 
Branden (Northern California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I'll start this by saying that I am a lens snob, and that all my other lenses open to at least f/2.8 and don't zoom.

Now, there is no denying that a zoom range of 18mm to 135mm will cover at least 95% of situations encountered while travelling around town or around the world. For these goals, this lens is ideal, and since arriving at my house it has remained permanently affixed to the Digital Rebel. It replaced a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM which I felt was a lower build quality and image quality. I have been very happy with the way this EF-S 18-135mm lens has out-performed its predecessor. Indoor shooting will require high ISO, but this is standard for this lens type. Just messing around, I also shot some studio portraits with this lens, but there are better options if that's your goal.

Here's a general outline of what makes this lens different than all its cousins:

* This lens has a solid feel, and a large zoom grip for easy zoom control while holding the lens. The front portion of the lens will extend based on zoom amount, but it does so smoothly and in only one direction (unlike some lenses which are the shortest at a middle point through their zoom range).

* True, the focus ring is small and doesn't have the USM's full-time-manual feature, but this lens is not designed for situations requiring frequent manual focusing. Autofocus does perform quickly and accurately.

* The weight distribution throughout the lens is even, and it feels very balanced to use.

* Image Stabilization works great, and really beneficial when shooting scenery. Low-light performance isn't going to knock your socks off, but is adequate.

* Sharpness and color are, in my opinion, better on this lens than on the Rebel kit lens and the EF 28-135mm.

Overall, I have been very happy with this lens, and believe this is most ideal lens for the Rebel.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect walk around lens, October 29, 2009
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
Like many people i was debating whether to go for this lens or the canon 18-200 IS, or the Tamron 18-270 VR on my Canon DSLR. Let me clarify on this point.
Firstly this lens is cheaper (at this time) than the other, almost 150$ difference at retail.
Secondly this lens weighs half at 1 lb than the canon 18-200 at 2 lbs. For canon 450d/xsi or 40/50D this is excellent, as the lens is not too heavy for the body. I have no problems of stability and walking around, and it makes better shots.
Third, there isn't much advantage of 200 over 135 at the telephoto end. you can crop the pictures and for 10/12 mpixels it really doesn't make much a difference.
Lastly, i decided to go with the Canon lens vs Tamron or Sigma (actually both the Tamron and Sigma are good lenses, the Tamron slightly better in some aspects, but it doesn't have a product in the 18-120 range with VR). The sigma 18-125 with OS is slightly heavier at 1.5 lbs.

I was skeptic of not having USM but it doesn't seem a deal breaker to me. Focussing is fast and accurate, and like other review has no zoom creep (yet). There is also no zoom lock button, so i hope there is no lens creep.

Now the picture quality. I found it sharp for most cases, not tack sharp like primes, but compared to kit 18-55 lens very good sharpness. The edges seem a bit soft in low light, but center sharpness is very good. Outdoors or in good light, sharpness throughout. Colors are vibrant and faithful, i wasn't dissapointed.

It is not a professional review, but if you just want an opinion i would highly recommend this lens as an excellent lightweight walkaround lens, ideal for most situations with enough zoom, and sharp enough to make great pictures.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent midrange multi-use lens, May 10, 2010
By 
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This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I'll leave the detailed reviews to others, and there have been some very good ones posted here. I'd just like to add a few observations and comments.

This lens does an excellent job for a wide-to-medium telephoto zoom. The focus motor is not USM, but it's quick and not very noisy. It's noticeably lighter than the f/2.8 Tamron 28-75mm non-IS zoom that it's replacing even though the dimensions are the same. It produces more zoom range, quicker focusing, and sharper images than the Tamron. Even with it being f/3.6, the Image Stabilization feature lets it get low-light pictures that the Tamron can't handle at f/2.8. IS seems to come on-line much quicker than the 18-55mm kit lens, which has about a 1/2-second delay for first use (or if it goes into standby mode).

It seems solidly built, produces excellent and consistent results, and is comfortable to carry. I'm much more satisfied with this lens than I was with the slower-reacting 18-55mm kit lens. My wife is the serious photographer in the family, and I tried to find her something that I thought was not too heavy and bulky, yet had good zoom range, versatility, and consistency. I've found it in this lens.

As a last note, this lens has been criticized in some outside reviews for vignetting at long zoom lengths. The Canon T2i's EOS Utility software has a database of Canon lenses, and it allows the camera to internally apply vignetting correction to pictures taken by this lens (and a few dozen others). The EOS utility even offers extensive remote control of the camera when attached to a computer by a USB cable. The versatile and powerful T2i, this lens, and a computer provide a formidable arsenal for serious photography.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the 18-55mm IS kit lens, June 27, 2011
By 
Philip Yeoh (Penang, Malaysia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
My Canon EOS550D came with the 18-55mm IS kit lens. I have to confess I didn't quite like the picture quality obtained from it. For want of a better word pictures turned out soft and lacking in contrast. Even the cheap and plasticky Canon 50mm f/1.8 produced better pictures for me. Furthermore the zoom range of the 18-55mm wasn't long enough so I began looking around on the Internet for a substitute. I wanted it to be a Canon lens.

I came across the Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and read a lot of reviews about it, mostly here on Amazon. Based on this, I went to my Camera dealer and tested it (that's the advantage of DSLRs) My God, the pictures were so much BETTER than the 18-55mm kit lens. I traded my kit lens in and have never regretted it. The 18-135mm stays permanently attached to my 550D. It's twice as heavy as the kit lens, but feels solid. I don't mind. The front element also doesn't rotate (unlike the 18-55mm) so circular polarizers pose no problems. The filter thread is a reasonable 67mm and zooming is smooth.

PROS:
Good picture quality
Solid, well constructed
Zooming is very smooth
Generous zoom range
Filter size is a reasonable 67mm
Front element doesn't rotate (great for circular polarizers)

CONS:
Some distortion is very apparent towards the wide angle end.
The lens is twice as heavy (455g) compared to the 18-55mm IS lens.
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