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594 of 615 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2009
Where do I start... This lens gets the most action/time on my camera. Images are clear and color accurate and the zoom range makes it hard to take off. I am a 1:1 ratio person that hates photos that only look good from far. I try for that pixel to pixel perfection that makes my hobby harder, but so much more enjoyable when done right. I don't use or run photos thru photoshop, because a part of me thinks it is cheating (leads me to retake photos often). I suppose someday I will change, but until then, I want a simple and clean photo.

The 18-200mm has surprised me over and over. I have compared it to my L lenses and it keeps up. If you go to Canon's website check out the lens diagram info, the guts of this lens is very, very, very close to the L 24-105mm. I had to check because it was surprising me too often. In real life, I have taken the same shots between the two and find myself checking DPP (Canon's Digital Photo Professional software) to see which lens took which photo. When I test new lenses during an event, the 18-200 goes back on for the rest of the event because it produces GREAT shots and saves time in lens changes and looking like a wannabe pro. The only comparible L lenses I have in this range are the 24-105mm and the 70-200mm, both f4 and with IS. This lens STILL trumps them when it comes to function. My only complaint is the vignetting which usually only shows up when I photo something in the sky. I let is go until it get a great shot and that shot i open with DPP and let it remove it. My 50D has an option to do this in camera, but I have all that post shot cheating turned off. (no noise reduction, auto highlights, etc...)

===L Lens Info for new folks:===

Don't get me wrong, there are reasons to own an L lens. Tack sharp clarity may not always be the case. The 24-105 and 70-200 are similar to the other L series lenses, they help take the guesswork out of the shot. If anyone make a lens with well coated glass, low aperture, and supreme motors, the lens no longer part of the challenge with taking photo. The joy of photography is to enjoy it, and if you are in it to make money, then L is the way to make your life easier. For the rest, it is the challenge of getting that perfect shot. The advantage between Pro and Enthusiast is that Pros will come to learn which setting will or will not photograph well. Enthusiasts will be able to see each scene in a mechanical way, a way that they will know which Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO will get the shot the best. It isn't the lens that makes the shot, it's the photographer. But, L lenses make it MUCH easier to not worry about little details. L does mean luxury (not better photos) in the true sense that these type of lenses take out some of the guesswork for photography. I will say again, it isn't the lens that makes the photo -- it is the photographer; more specifically, it is the TIMING and LUCK.

I will compare this to the list of lenses I have used and maybe you will have something to reference it by. BTW, I don't review lenses unless I spent a few weeks with them.

Note: EF-S lenses handle power much better with longer battery life on Rebel (1.6 factor) Cameras in my experience than EF or non-Canon. I have seen this difference on my XS, XSi, two X1i's and my 50D.

EF-S 10-22 USM
no comparison (part of my travel trio)

EF 300mm f4L IS
no comparison (part of my travel trio)

EF 50 f1.8 II
There really is no comparison. This is a low light, close subject lens that is better than the 18-200 at 50mm.

EF-S 18-55 IS (kit lens)
The 18-200 has a better focus control. Image quality is the same, however, 18-55 is better at 18mm.

EF-S 55-250 IS
The 18-200 has sharper corners all around, but I miss the extra 50mm.

EF 24-70 USM
Completely better than 18-200 in the 24-70 range, but no IS. No IS makes it really hard to take macro shots.

EF 24-105 f4L IS
Near identical shots, can't tell when sorting (have to use DPP to find lens info sometimes). Overall, 18-200 is more useful.

EF 70-200 f4L IS
The 18-200 is near same IQ up to 190mm. After 190mm this L lens has an advantage. I love the 70-200 shell (nothing moves) but absolutely hate the noise that IS makes. I can hear and FEEL it start up and spin down. Annoying compared to the quiet 18-200.

Sigma 150-500 OS
The 18-200 is better between 150-200. This Sigma did really poor at 500mm. Images were soft past 300 and at 500mm photos looked like double vision. I hope it was a bad lens.

Tamron 18-270 VR
The 18-200 shots are cleaner at all ISO and focal length mm. The Tamron is a lens to be used in bright light at 800+ ISO. The range is advertised at 18-270, but in my experience it was more like 18-220mm. My 55-250mm Canon got closer to the subject.
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359 of 373 people found the following review helpful
இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾѾѾ Highly recommended with warm fuzzies!

Having used the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 Image Stabilized USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLR's for about two years now, this is the perfect focal length range for use as a day-to-day walkabout lens on my Canon 40D. Other Canon gear that I have include their excellent Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras , their razor-sharp Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras ,Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM Lens for Canon EOS Cameras , the extremely sharp Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras ,Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens for Canon SLR Cameras , and Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite for Canon Digital SLR Cameras.

In low light or wider-angle scenery shots, this lens is not as sharp as my 17-55mm f/2.8. When used to photograph macro-like shots of butterflies and flowers, it is not as sharp as my 100mm f/2.8. When used at its 200mm focal length to focus onto distant birds and turtles sitting on a stone in a pond, it is not as sharp as my 70-200mm f/4L. But as a one-lens solution for covering that kind of focal lengths, it is pretty good. On sunny days, I use this lens on a 40D with a B&W multi-coated MRC Kaesemann Circular Polarizer. I consider this to be a very useful hiking/travel/walkabout lens, or if (like me) you hate changing lenses back and forth :-) , or if capturing the moments in both wide-angle and zoom situations is more important than getting that perfect shot by carrying multiple lenses and/or camera bodies. This is my first experience with a Canon lens that does not use USM, and the micro-motor is barely slightly slower and noisier than USM... but not knowing what to expect, I was expecting even slower focusing and, in nearly all situations, I found its focus speed totally adequate - still very quick and without any back-and-forth hunting in lower lighting. But my main gripe about this lens is that Canon did not use USM (who knows what kind of marketing decisions went into this, much as I wondered why the 40D had a 3.0-inch LCD but kept the same 230,000 pixels as the 2.5-inch LCD on the 30D - one of my main gripes with the 40D). For the price, Canon should have included USM with full-time manual focusing. But I did notice that the price has dropped by more than 60 dollars since I bought the lens less than three weeks ago.

The use of a zoom lock switch to prevent lens creep is a very welcome addition that I always wished that their 17-85mm and 17-55mm lenses also had. Because of the 11 lens elements in this lens, it slides out to a zoomed length far more than my 17-85mm lens does when the camera is pointing downward and slung around my neck and/or shoulder. Other super-zooms have this same lens creep problem and this is likely a design compromise that the Canon engineers had to consider in still wanting to minimize the amount of friction and effort it takes to turn the zoom ring versus the propensity of the lens elements' weight to pull the zoom downward due to gravity. I have learned to always flick the zoom lock switch on when I am just carrying the camera, quickly flick the zoom lock switch off as I begin to aim and focus (after a short while, it becomes easily habitual to use the middle or ring finger of my right hand to lock/unlock the zoom lock switch while aiming), and to just hold the camera more horizontal if I am actively looking to photograph more. The lens does not rotate during focusing, so circular polarizer filters stay in place.

Unlike Canon's USM lenses, the micro-motor focus design of this lens does not allow you to override the autofocus mechanism until you first flip the AF/MF switch on the lens. Furthermore, while the 17-85mm lens lets you use both the focus ring and zoom ring when the lens hood is inverted on the lens, on the 18-200mm lens, since the slim manual focus ring is now placed at the very front of the lens (and in front of the much-wider zoom ring), when its Canon EW78D Lens Hood for EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon SLR Lens (not included with the lens) is inverted, the lens hood's "petals" block most of the focus ring and I have to use my middle finger and thumb to reach in between the hood petals to rotate the focus ring when the hood is screwed on in its inverted position. I would have much preferred that Canon either (a) retain the same focus-ring-closer-to-camera-body design that they used on the 17-85mm, or (b) increase the width of the focus ring so that it is more accessible when the lens hood is inverted onto the lens. But with the zoom ring being 2.2" wide, the bulk of the lens barrel is occupied by the zoom ring, as if Canon expects that most people will not be using manual focus much on this lens. Since I mainly use manual focus on my two 65mm and 100mm macro lenses, this is not that big of a deal for me. In looking across Canon's entire zoom lens product line, Canon seems to be inconsistent in their placement of the zoom and focus rings, with some lenses having the zoom ring closer to the camera body, and some lenses having the focus ring closer to the camera body.

At both 18mm and 200mm wide open, the image corners can be a little on the soft side, but when stopped down between f/5.6 and f/11, the image is sharp from edge to edge. The image stabilizer on this lens works very well, allowing me to get non-blurry handheld shots in dimmer light while I try to stay within this lens' optimum aperture range of f/5.6 to f/11. Of course, Canon's "17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens" is better in lower light than this 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. But if you use a tripod with this lens, it becomes even more suitable for indoor and night shots. I did not notice any chromatic aberration or purple fringing in my photos. Background bokeh is pleasant and visually appealing. At its maximum 18mm wide-angle and 200mm zoomed-out extremes, there is noticeable barrel and pincushion distortion in the photos, but these are easily correctable using post-processing software, and all super-zoom lenses like this have barrel/pincushion distortion anyway, so I think that this is a physical limitation of the current state of super-zoom lens designs.

Even Canon's 28-300mm L glass, which is also f/3.5-5.6, has its share of design compromises and sharpness issues in a super-zoom lens design, and the big and bulky Canon 28-300mm L lens is not much sharper than this 18-200mm lens, even though it costs more than four times the cost of this lens. In fact, if you compare the MTF charts between this 18-200mm lens and Canon's really big and expensive 28-300mm L lens, both at their wide-angle and telephoto ends, this 18-200mm lens' MTF charts are actually BETTER than the 28-300mm MTF measurements! This 18-200mm lens does lack the weather sealing and better build quality that the 28-300mm L lens has. Any lens encompassing this sort of zoom range will be tripping over various physical limitations of what can be achieved when compared to a lens with a smaller zoom range; i.e. a 17-40mm or 17-55mm lens will beat this 18-200mm or the 28-300mm L lens on the wide-angle end, and a 70-200mm lens will beat both super-zooms on the telephoto end. A 18-200mm lens (or, why not, a 17-300mm lens) at a fixed f/2.8 with USM and L-grade glass and weather sealing in a lens that weighs less than 3 pounds would be wonderful, and I would gladly pay a lot more for it as a single-lens travel/walkabout lens solution, but that product still only exists in my dreams right now.

This 18-200mm lens will now make my 17-85mm lens the least-used lens that I have, so I may eventually end up selling the 17-85mm lens.

I have posted 3 sample shots taken at Denver Botanic Gardens and 19 shots from having spent 4 weeks in South Africa to the image gallery for this lens. My posted photos are straight from the camera, after RAW conversion using Canon's Digital Photo Professional; no Photoshop tweaking or other post-processing was done on them. This was a great lens to take on an extended vacation where multiple camera bodies and lenses would have weighed me down more and the dusty conditions of an African safari make it difficult to cleanly change lenses (not to mention that wildlife often does not wait for you to switch your camera gear around!) There were some times during my vacation when I wished that I had my 17-55 f/2.8 with my travel-sized tripod, but for most shots, you would have to squint at the pixel level to notice differences in the sharpness of daytime shots (i.e. 11x14" and 13x19" prints look great!) If you hate spending time editing each photo one-by-one during post-processing and if you do not already own a collection of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro, and Lightroom software, I would recommend that you consider "Dxo Optics Pro" software since DxO Optics Pro can automatically, without much adjusting of software parameters for each photo or photo set, process all of your JPEG or RAW files and correct a whole slew of lens-related imperfections in photos.

December 14 2009 update add-on to my original review: Even though I keep thinking about eventually moving to full-frame, I just got the Canon 7D (still keeping my 40D, and wondering what to do with my 30D), and as a daily "only one lens and only one camera body" walkabout/travel combination, this 18-200mm lens ROCKS when used with my spanky new 7D :-)))) My other favorite combination, when I do not mind lugging the extra bulk and weight, is to carry both the 70-200mm f/4L on my 40D and my 17-55mm f/2.8 on my 7D, with the 7D in the hand and the 40D in the Think Tank Digital Holster 30. My issue with just carrying only a 17-55mm or 17-85mm as a general walkabout lens is that, all too often, I find interesting things to photograph that need more than a 55mm or 85mm reach, especially when it comes to photographing wildlife or strangers (e.g. I love shooting "street photography" and "everyday people doing everyday things" whenever I visit foreign countries) and trying to get closer to the subject may not be practical, or some strangers may get annoyed if they know that you are photographing them, or their actions and facial expressions become more posed and less natural if they know that you are pointing a camera at them. So while I am walking around photographing scenery, if I come across an interesting "street photography portrait" opportunity (e.g. old men playing cards along a sidewalk or a young woman strutting like a peacock in colorful dress and heels), from a distance, I can discretely point my 18-200mm lens, zoom, focus, shoot, blend back into being a pedestrian, and I can have a better chance at remaining unnoticed to photograph candid unposed shots than using a larger super-zoom like Canon's 28-300mm L lens. So along with being a fine all-purpose walkabout lens, I love this lens for use in "street photography" or "guerilla travel photography" settings where the emphasis is on quickly capturing a moment in time, instead of getting the perfect shot by setting up a tripod, trying different angles and viewpoints, and looking for the perfect lighting setup. I have seen tourists in foreign countries carrying a camera backpack with a full-sized tripod, and then they would set up the tripod in the middle of a busy sidewalk, looking like they work for "National Geographic", except that no one is holding up lighting reflectors for them, bringing them cool drinks, and helping to wipe the sweat off their eyebrows :-) Real "guerilla travel photography" involves shooting hand-held, and resorting to the tripod only for night and low-light photography.

Since I recommend this lens for "street photography" or "guerilla travel photography", here are some...

Tips for Effective Street Photography and Travel Photography:

(1) Know before you go! Get a good idea of the kind of shooting situations that you will encounter, before you head out for your walk around town or before you depart for your travel outing. Use the Internet to search for photos and images of the locations where you will be visiting, and to see what special events, festivals, theater performances, or other activities may be taking place.

(2) Have you camera always accessible within a matter of seconds. This means having your camera either right in front of you, or at waist-level or by your side. If your camera is stored inside a backpack on your back, it will take you longer to get it ready if you suddenly encounter a perfect shot in the city or a perfect wildlife shot while hiking or on safari. For rapid shoot-and-scoot camera deployment, I like the Think Tank "Digital Holster" and Lowepro "Toploader Pro" line of camera holsters.

(3) Learn how to shoot quickly. This means a lot of things: thoroughly being familiar with ISO, aperture, shutter speed, aperture priority, shutter priority, "Manual", and other settings on your camera, not relying on tripod setup for shots that are not nighttime or low-light, having good camera-steadying technique that involves a steady hand and calm continuous breathing, and knowing when to quickly use a nearby structure (e.g. table, wall, light pole) to brace and steady your hands or arms while shooting hand-held, especially if the scene is darker and may require a longer shutter speed.

(4) "Real photographers" do NOT only shoot in "Manual" mode with manually-set white balance each time. Some people have this weird macho belief that the best photography can only come from adjusting Manual-mode settings and white balance with each shot. While that is nice in a studio, portrait, or landscape photography setting, if you spend too much time twirling camera setting dials, you will miss out on street photography opportunities. I shoot aperture-priority as much as manual-mode, and switch to shutter-priority when I want a specific motion-freezing effect on moving subjects. And if you shoot in RAW, you can shoot in Auto White Balance and change it later.

(5) Learn to use exposure compensation, auto exposure bracketing (AEB), and circular polarizers to adjust for lighting issues. You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but when it comes to street photography, you cannot pick your lighting options. Notice that I did not mention using a fill flash. Using a fill flash is fine for outdoor portrait photography on bright sunny days to even out the shadows. But street photography and wildlife photography both involve deft speed and discreteness, and using a flash draws attention to yourself, which is usually not a good thing in these shooting situations. Learn to adjust exposure compensation and know when you need to use auto exposure bracketing (AEB). I often use AEB when there are plenty of light/dark differences in the scene since the camera meter may not always get it right. In addition, I sometimes use High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing on my bracketed shots to balance some of the brightest brights and darkest darks. HDR processing is often abused to produce surreal psychedelic photos that become tiresome to view, but when the HDR settings are adjusted so that its effects are used in moderation, it can do wonders for scenes that involve both glaring light and dark shadow regions, without needing to use a fill flash. Using AEB and HDR processing on the bracketed shots requires a steadier hand and smooth breathing so that each bracketed shot has minimal shifting of the camera; again, practice steadying your hands, arms, and breathing, and use a nearby structure for support and bracing of your arms/hands if available. While the soft light of the early morning and early evening are lovely and ideal for photography, a circular polarizer is a must during mid-day shooting. Learn how to use a circular polarizer, and when to use it and when to remove it. For street photography, you need to preemptively think about how you will set exposure compensation and AEB and whether you need to screw/unscrew your circular polarizer before you come upon a scene.

July 14 2012 update add-on to my original review: I am still loving this lens when used on my Canon 7D :) So I rate this 18-200mm lens 5 stars NOT based on absolute tack-sharp image quality, but based on pretty good image quality for covering such a wide range of focal lengths. An 11X super-zoom lens will likely always require optical compromises in its design, but the tradeoffs for not having to carry and change different lenses may be worth it for you. For wide-angle landscape photography, I use my Canon 17-55mm lens because it is sharper than this 18-200mm. But the 200mm reach on this lens is great for various "street photography" and wildlife photography purposes. Last year, I tried using a Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD LD Aspherical IF Macro Zoom Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras at a camera store, but I was thoroughly not impressed with it. That Tamron 18-270mm lens has a very cheap build quality feel to it, it is only f/6.3 at the 270mm end, and, most importantly, its image quality and sharpness are not as good as Canon's 18-200mm lens. This year, Nikon came out with their Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX Nikkor Lens. I hope that Canon also comes out with an 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6!
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311 of 324 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2008
I've had the Sigma AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS lens for several months and found it to give sharper images with my 40D than the Tamron 18-250mm (non-IS/OS) which it replaced. Then along comes Canon with their own superzoom "travel lens" so I bought one to see how it compares to the Sigma. My tests show mixed results regarding image quality. With both lenses wide open the Sigma wins at the wide end from 18-24mm, especially away from the center, while the Canon wins at the 135-200mm long end, also especially away from the center. Further, the Sigma is f6.3 wide open at 200mm while the Canon is f5.6. This is only a small difference, but it does give the Canon even more advantage at 200mm where shutter speed needs to be the highest.

Both lenses auto-focus accurately (no front or back focus) although the Sigma is slower to lock focus in low light and is a little noisier in getting there. Their IS/OS are equally effective at about 3 stops of compensation. Build quality, size and weight are about the same and both use the same 72mm filter size. Sigma includes a lens hood while Canon wants to sell you one.

In summary, the Canon is slightly better for me due to the faster and quieter low-light focus and improved telephoto image quality. The trade-off is poorer image quality than the Sigma for wide angle shots, even after stopping down. Finally, the Canon lens costs about $200 more than the Sigma at this time.
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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2009
I am a professional photographer specializing in weddings for over 30 years. I have used medium format cameras, 35mm cameras, and now digital since the Canon D30 hit the market. I have used all types of lenses, Prime, USM, IS, even the pricey L series. Not much of a fan of the L series too heavy for my likes. I have used USM lenses solely because of the focus speed, but after using the 18-200mm I couldn't believe how fast and spot on the focus was, I lock my focus with the rear AF-ON button using the center zone. I was amazed when I did use auto zone focus the lens still performed spot on! I photographed with a Canon 40D with the 18-200 for an entire wedding... over 10 hours and 2600 images with fantastic results. I read somewhere that Canon updated the connection on the rear of the lens to communicate better with the camera body, perhaps the reason for eliminating the Ultra Sonic Motor (USM) on this lens and other EF-S lenses. Selling my 1D MKII for a Canon 7D and most of my lenses for more EF-S... perhaps another 18-200mm!
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2010
I recently purchased the Canon 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS lens to replace my 18-55mm kit lens. I found that I often needed a longer focal length than 55mm, but was too lazy to keep changing to my 75-300mm lens. Another great lens for the price by the way! Although I have been very happy with the lens, I've never really been able to compare it to something in the "same" class (similar focal lengths). Well this weekend changed that as I got the chance to borrow a friend's 70-200mm F4 L IS lens. It's a beautiful lens which has received extremely good reviews. How will the 18-200 hold up against this pro lens?

Firstly, the results were remarkably similar at all zoom ranges. Aperture wise, at around F7 - F9 the 70-200 is sharper, but at F5.6 and F11 the 18-200 is sharper. Focal length wise, at 70mm and 200mm the 18-200 appears to be slightly sharper, especially at the edges. The centres are virtually identical, but at 135mm the 70-200 has a slight advantage. This advantage is really marginal in bright sunlight, but is a bit more pronounced in lower light like shade or indoors.

I did some handheld indoor shooting. The 70-200 beat the 18-200 hands down, but probably only due to it being a faster lens when zoomed in. At 70mm the 18-200 was possibly sharper, but at 135mm and 200mm, the 70-200 was fantastically sharp even though it was handheld. Settings at 200mm were F5 and 1/13s for the 18-200 and F4 and 1/40s for the 70-200. Although the shutter speed was so ridiculously low on both lenses, the shots came out very usable indeed. The IS works an absolute charm on both lenses! On the 70-200, you can actually feel the IS working. It gives off a slight vibration in the lens which lasts for about 5 seconds after taking the shot. The 18-200 gives no indication that the IS is in use.

One big plus point for the 18-200 was the colour saturation gain over the 70-200. Virtually all shots were richer and more vibrant with the 18-200 and felt slightly washed out with the 70-200. Nothing that can't be sorted out post-processing, but still, I didn't expect that. The bokeh award however, undeniably goes to the 70-200. Creamy smooth bokeh at all focal lengths. Not that the 18-200 is bad, but when compared, the 70-200 is definitely better.

Overall, I found the 18-200 to hold up extremely well against the 70-200. I honestly thought I was going to be depressed in the knowledge that I needed to cough up around $1200 for a 70-200 as well, but I am very pleased to say, that won't be the case. Although the 70-200 is indeed a fine piece of work and marginally better than the 18-200 in low light, in bright sunshine the 18-200 is right there with it. Don't think that the 18-200 is bad indoors - not at all. It's surprisingly sharp at F3.5, but this stops down quickly as you turn the zoom dial, decreasing your shutter speed significantly and introducing blur when hand held.

At wider focal lengths like 18mm and 35mm, the 18-200 is plenty sharp. I took some test shots of a brick wall during a very cloudy day at F3.5, F5.6 and F10 at 18mm and F4, F6.3 and F11 at 35mm, and was greatly impressed at how sharp the images were. There was a very slight hint of vignetting at 18mm F3.5, with a noticeable amount of CA at all F-stops at 18mm. This was only significant however when the image was fully maximized on the screen, and only on certain very high contrasty vertical and horizontal lines. Mostly horizontal though.

My biggest gripe with the 18-200 however, is the fact that it is not a true 200mm zoom. In fact, when standing at the exact same spot with both lenses, and zoomed exactly the same on both, the 70-200 was consistently more zoomed in than the 18-200. Only slightly, but noticeable. The biggest difference comes in at 200mm. The 18-200 basically stops zooming at 170mm. It is in fact a 18-170mm lens. With today's high pixel count and excellent image sensors, that's not too big an issue as you can just crop the image as you need afterwards. But it is a little frustrating when the 70-200 gets in that much closer considering it's supposed to be the same focal length.

Would I recommend this lens - ABSOLUTELY!! This isn't the kit lens for the excellent 50D for nothing!
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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2010
If I had a dime for every "expert" lens review......
I've had this lens for a bit, and here's a recent report-from yesterday. Small town parade. Sitting on the curb at a curve in the road. I can see just about straight down the parade route. Shots were made at 100+ yards, shots were made at a few feet.
Bright mid-morning with the sun to my back.
Did I change any of my L lenses? Nope.
Did I switch on or off the lens lock? Nope.
Did I spend time listening for niggling lens noises? Nope.
Did I need to impress anybody with lens whiteness a la L zoom? Nope.
(To tie in with that last one- Am I a lens snob? Nope.)
Did I score hits? You Betcha!
Were they sharp? Mostly-I goofed here and there. The keepers were very nice.
Do I worry about distortion? No, silly goose! I have that new fangled software that helps with such issues.
Did I already microfocus adjust this lens? Uh-huh. Sorry, 60D video camera - with - photo - capability owners. You no can have.
I'm being a little snarky, mostly towards lens snobs. I feel they and the wanna-be's hurt more than help. You don't need a Benz. A Corolla does the job beautifully. Get the idea? For the majority of non-studio people, I'd submit that focal range generally trumps aperture when concerning yourself with capitalizing on opportunity. A parade is a great example. The lighting was great. I shot at f8 all morning. With that in the bag, all I really needed was zoom flexibility.
This lens will do it for you. Don't get too wrapped up in the numbers game people play. You'll find that experts only see whats bad in a thing because their experience and discriminating tastes and endless wallets all point them to know what shouldn't be. Only what they own is good enough.
The EF-S line's newer additions are real sleepers. Canon doesn't want you to feel better about buying the "low end" glass than buying L glass. They won't (I think) EVAH designate EF-S as L grade, because somebody might figure out that APS-c sensors are just fine, and related glass is really doing the trick!
I have L glass, but I get that for particular needs. Low light is one of those needs. The 18-200 is what stays on my camera. I get a great hit rate under most conditions, and have really sharp pics because I'm set up pretty well.
Oh, and I see the lens lock as a non-issue. Carry your camera like you love it. Whenever I used the lock, I'd end up missing shots because I'd forget I had it engaged. Duh.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2009
I will try to not reiterate what's been said thus far in other reviews. Everyone is on target and the lens' faults seem to affect some people more than others. Just so you know where I'm coming from: I consider myself an advanced amature and tend take about 20 shots/week on average.

This is a solid everyday lens. I've taken some nice wide angle shots and have zoomed in on children playing with great results. Very nice to go from one extreme to another without having to change lenses.

The barrel slips when held vertically. This is a pain in the rear when I take a shot, let the camera hang by the neck strap, then try to take another shot with the previous settings. In these cases, I have to refocus and can miss that spur of the moment shot. This is the #1 drawback for me. As long as I keep the lens horizontal, everything works fine. This problem has acutally made me a better photographer; I have had to pay attention more to my surroundings--when a good shot might be coming up and when it's best to enjoy the moment instead of worrying about capturing it. You can learn to live the lens slip.

I don't see much difference between 170mm and 200mm. Maybe I'm just not experienced enough to make the note but thought I'd put it out there.

I love the lens stabilization feature. I would have gotten some poor results in lower light with no tri-pod if not for this feature.

I would actually give this a 4.5 stars if I had that option. I've recommended this lens to friends after letting them know about the lens slip. I think it's a good buy.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2012
I purchased this lens to go with my Canon EOS 20D digital SLR, which I inherited from a friend who unfortunately had passed away. The camera came to me with only a wide angle zoom, but most of the photos I shoot are in the normal to telephoto range. So I chose this lens because of its good zoom ratio, and it's relatively compact size. The latter makes it a good all-around lens to travel light, such as on overseas vacations.

This lens is really sharp, so much so that I can blow up a selected portion of a photo in Photoshop and it's still pretty sharp. This effectively comes close to giving me the equivalent of a 600 mm telephoto (in 35 mm film) in a walk-around lens.

Unfortunately, the lens vignettes (i.e. the corners of the photos are dark relative to the center of the photo). The vignetting is most pronounced in the longer telephoto range. It is especially noticeable with a background that's uniform in color and lighting, such as a blue or overcast sky. Further, the darkening is more pronounced in the upper left corner compared to the upper right. I can correct most of the vignetting in Photoshop, but that program does not deal so easily with the differential darkening between the corners, thus some darkening remains. (Advanced Photoshop techniques should be able to deal with that, but so far I have not expended the necessary effort). Because photos I shoot tend to be more varied in color, lighting, and with more detail in the lower corners, the vignetting is not so noticeable there; thus I have no comment at this time re the behavior in those corners.

The lens also has a very heavy front element. When the lens is on the camera,and that combination is on the strap around my neck, this tends to keep pulling the combination down and then the weight further pulls the lens out into the fully extended telephoto position. Rather inconvenient!

But for these problems, I have would given this lens a 5 star rating; instead I gave it a 3.

Update: The lens is incredibly sharp. I took this lens as my only lens on a recent Mediterranean cruise. While docked in Pireas (Athens) I took a rock-steady, hand-held photo of a distant cruise ship at the 200mm setting -- like a 330mm shot for an old 35mm film guy like me. The cruise ship was still kinda small, so I cropped the photo in Photoshop to what's the equivalent of about a 1000mm shot (for 35mm film) and it's still incredibly sharp! Imagine having that kind of telephoto magnification in a camera you can carry around your neck! On this same cruise, I took lots of other photos at all the focal lengths offered by this lens, and all are good except when I myself messed them up! Vignetting is still a problem though, and I had to spend a lot of time in Photoshop applying fixes to many of the photos from that same trip: So still a 4 rating.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2008
I started out with the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 and the thing would just not focus correctly. I went through two copies and still didn't get a good one. Then I switched to the Canon 18-200 IS lens and am sure glad I did. The comparison is apples to oranges because the lenses are different fundamentally so take it for what it is. I do miss the fast f2.8 of the Tamron but for a carry around lens the 18-200 rules the roost IMO. The focus is tack sharp 95% of the time. I think at least 3% of that is due to the camera choosing an unintended focus point when I have it in 9 point focus mode. If you are looking for a lens that will focus perfectly almost every time then this is a good choice (among other reasons).

I'm very satisfied with this lens, the IS works as advertised. Would not hesitate to recommend to anyone looking for a good all around carry lens.

One note, if you are putting this on a Canon XSi or similar small body DSLR this lens weighs more than the body. It is a heavy lens but I wouldn't consider that as a deterrent. Get the Canon battery grip to add more bulk and weight to the body and it evens out nicely.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2009
Look, I'm not a professional photographer where as I'd have a mess of lenses to switch to and fro!... I mean that no one lens does it ALL!...
So, the Pro's will switch lenses when one lens will not do the job!... So, DO YOU WANT TO HAVE THEIR ASSORTMENT OF LENSES IN YOUR LENS BAG?..

Thats what this lens is partially about! can simply keep it on your camera for MOST shots!..some call it a great "carry around" lens....
And, NO, this lens will not do it all!...and for you "perfectionists" out there, if its perfection you seek, then, you'd better go for the extra money
and get an assortment of lenses for that 'PERFECT SHOT!".....

I speak from experience having purchased the other so called GREAT LENSes like the Canon 70-200 2.8 lens that certainly solved my shooting in
very LOW LIGHT problems. But, I had to return that great lens due to the problem that it could only go wide at 70mm. I needed a WIDER lens.

And, I also returned another great lens, the Canon 17-55 2.8 IS lens because it couldn't zoom any closer than 55mm. So here, I'm sounding like an idiot who returned two great rated Canon lenses because one would not zoom far enough and the other would not go wide enough!..

So, what to do, what to do......I finally decided that there was no one lens that would do ALL that I wanted it to do!..and, I wasn't going to buy three separate lens which would have solved my problem. Even if money were no object, I simply wasn't going to keep changing lens to suit my dilemma!..

So, in my final research for this amateur but passionate photographer, I decided to go for the Canon EF-S 18-200 ,3.5 IS lens. And, the reviews I've read about this lens were no where near a good as the lenses that I had returned!....

This lens goes as wide as I want it to and it zooms as far as I want it to. I had no need for any zoom longer than 200mm.
Another plus for this interesting lens is that I can gain three to four shutter stops due to its "Image Stabilization" abilities. So, even though its
a f/3.5 lens, I can shoot HAND-HELD in very low and existing light!... that was a tremendous plus for me since I rarely if ever use the flash!..

So here we have a Canon lens that's gotten just OKAY reviews and I'm as happy as a pig in mud with it!..

I love this "OKAY" lens so much that I also bought the additional three year extended warantee so that I don't go into the "depths of
depression" should I drop it. Yes, you read that right. The warrantee DOES cover it if you UNINTENTIONALLY drop it. So for $62.00, I"ve got
peace of mind for that three years its under warrantee.

So, if you like to shoot pretty wide, from 18mm to pretty far out, 200mm, and like to hand hold shooting in very low light, thats what this lens
can do. There's also a Sigma 18mm-200mm 3.5 OS lens out there thats also pretty great too!

Look, I'm pretty sure a top professional photographer would not be caught dead with this lens in his lens bag, but for me, there's simply nothing like
it!.. my shots all come out sharp, clear & focused.. "good enough for this very critical,amateur!... I only wish Canon would have made it a f/2.8, but thats another story!...
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