on March 18, 2008
I was determined to love this lens based on the specs and price point alone. Canon really needed to come out with this lens at this price because Nikon offers a very decent Vibration Reduction lens at roughly the same range for the same price, leaving me to make apologies for Canon and their neglect to all my Nikon friends.
The IS can be switched off to save battery life but I haven't noticed a difference in battery performance with it. The IS is only activiated when you press the shutter halfway for auto focus. Although it FEELS like there is a small lag for the IS to start, I don't think I've had any photos messed up because of it.
You can HEAR the IS. A little bizarre after using point and shoots that have IS that is silent, but it doesn't seem to affect performance
Pro: Great price for an image stabilized zoom lens. I paid 299 and am very pleased even though Amazon is selling it for 280 a week later. ALso arrive 2 months sooner than Amazon initially promised. This lens has NEVER been 400 dollars. Its MSRP from Canon prior to release was 299.00. Shame Amazon!
Pro: Images are very sharp.
Pro: Image stabilization does a VERY nice job. Four stops as advertised by Canon? I'm not so sure. GREATLY enhancing the composition experience at 250mm? Absolutely.
Pro: Much smaller and lighter than the 70-300 of any manufacturer and much sharper than my Sigma 70-300.
Con: Cheapish feel. But just use it, quit feeling it already. Plastic mount. But if you NEED a metal mount, may I suggest you are being a little rough with your camera. *UPDATE* The plastic flanges on back were able to hold the camera securely to the lens, but NOT hold the rear cap securely to the lens. I've tried many different rear lens caps that fit snugly on other lenses. So I think this is beyond cheap feel and has to be called CHEAP BUILD.
Con: This lens is a little (ok, maybe not so little) slow to focus in dim light, sometimes it misses altogether when I think other lenses of mine would have had no difficulty.
Con: I never gave Inner Focusing much thought on my other lenses until I used this. The front of this lens rotates AND moves in and out a LOT while focusing, so much so that you MAY even want to recompose your shot. The length of this lens changes almost an inch across the focus range. I just checked my Sigma 70-300 and found that it does also, but I've never seen it make as much difference in the viewfinder as I have with this Canon. Your perception may vary.
This lens and the soon to be arriving 18-55 IS as the XSi kit lens will allow me to carry one less lens to achieve an 18-250 IS range. For a little more money than the cost of both lenses you can get the Tamrom 18-250 but not have Image Stabilization. And now Sigma has an 18-200 WITH Optical Stablization for about what these 2 lenses cost retail, but in testing the 2 Canons produced better images.
Conclusion: A great EF-S lens for Canon users. (even if Nikon had to force Canon to make it for us.)
on June 15, 2009
I have a 18mm-55mm lens, and was in search for a telephoto, I read so many reviews that were so complex I didn't know what I was reading. I bought the 55mm-250mm lens and now understand some of the reviews.
To break it down in simply terms:
55mm (the lowest setting on the 55mm-250mm) you can not stand right on top of a subject, the lens makes you too close everything won't fit in the frame. That is Not what the lens is for & might be were some of the bad reviews come from. (Buy the 18-55mm for those close up shots)
It takes time for the auto focus, it still Fast but not as fast as my 18mm-55mm. Still your not going to miss taking a picture of a bird sitting in a tree far away. But at baseball game of a kid catching a 50mph ball I missed some shots (why I gave 4 stars). Not the lens fault more mine I should have used manual focus!!
On auto focus, after all it has a LOT of setting to go through 55 to 250mm settings. No duh the 18-55mm auto focus faster. Think of it as a deck of cards, you (and auto focus) can flip through 18-55 cards faster then a deck of 55-250 cards. Some of the reviews complain about the auto focus, it does work of course just not as fast as smaller lens.
No matter what if you are in the back row and your son on the stage at a school play, your picture will be Prefect and it will look like you were in the front row.
That is what this lens is for, where you can take time to set it up, adjust and take time to snap a picture. At a baseball game you need to use Manual focus, (you can turn the ring faster then auto) and you can get great pics, auto might let you down during fast action but not with still pictures!!
I suggest getting 18mm-55mm for everyday use, for those great up close, fast action, birthday shots; I Love that lens. Then get the 55mm-250mm for those far away school plays, scenery vacation, and birds sitting in a far away tree the lens is prefect for those kinds of pictures.
on June 13, 2008
This is a very good lens given its price. Like with any lens selection there
are compromises, and a more expensive lens is not necessarily better in all
respects. These are the main considerations for me:
* The lens comes with an excellent IS. One could probably save a hundred bucks
buying a non-IS lens in this focal range which may even be a bit better optically.
However, long range shots without IS are difficult, especially in low light. The
IS on this lens works very well, better compared to my Canon 28-135 IS and even
compared to the 100-400L. The IS really makes a lot of hand held shots possible
that one could not do with a non-IS lens.
* The lens is fairly cheaply built and has a plastic mount. However, the
trade-off is that it is also fairly small and light (the small size is also due
to the fact that it is a EF-S lens). My other tele-zoom is a 100-400L lens
which is built like tank, but it is also huge and weighs 3 pounds. In many cases
one does not want to carry that much weight around, and that is where this lens
comes in really handy.
* Image quality: No, it cannot quite match the 100-400L, but it comes surprisingly
close. Of course, the 100-400L costs 5 times as much. Lack of good color
saturation is the most notable deficiency. On the other hand images are very sharp.
For outdoors one should get a hood, there is quite a bit of glare in shots with
* Zoom range: the 55-250mm range makes the lens quite versatile. 250mm is long
enough for most outdoor sports, many nature shots, people from afar, etc. At the
other end 55mm is still good for close action, for example at a soccer field.
That is almost a factor 2 shorter compared to 100-(300/400) lenses.
It also provides a nice overlap with walk-around lenses, like the Canon 28-135 IS.
* Aperture: F4-5.6 is nothing to brag about, however, a faster lens would also
have to be much bigger, heavier, and costlier. And as long as you objects don't
move too much the IS makes the lens effectively faster. If Canon's 4 stop
improvement holds it would be equivalent to a non-ISF1-1.4, although F1.4-2 is
probably more realistic. A F1.4-2 with that focal range would have to be big,
heavy, and expensive, if it even existed.
In summary, this is an excellent second lens to complement a short zoom or a
walk-around lens. Very versatile and a lot of bang for the buck. In my case,
even though I own a 100-400L I still keep this lens because it is often more
practical because of the shorter focal length and the smaller size.
I didn't expect it to be a bad lens, but given the price I certainly didn't expect the quality that I found with this lens. I have shot extensively with the $1800 70-200MM f/2.8 IS and I have to say this lens comes much closer than I thought to its performance. You will be hard pressed to find any difference in sharpness, and I believe the IS on this lens even works better since it is a newer generation of the technology. This lens does have barrel distortion where the 70-200mm has none. It also can't hold a candle to it in terms of low-light performance. The thing is, though, the distortion was correctable easily in PS and as far as the low-light performance goes I wouldn't bring this to shoot a wedding anyway. I bought it for a specific purpose--I needed a lens quick and I needed a small/light one for shooting only in the the daytime on a long vacation--and it did everything I needed and more. I have already sold a few photos that were taken with this lens! The 400mm reach (this is a 400mm lens on all supported bodies which are 1.6x crop factored) is amazing and I found no loss in sharpness at any focal length. I have been similarly pleasantly surprised in the past by low-cost Canon zoom lenses so maybe I should have seen this coming, but I would recommend this lens to anyone other than someone doing a low-light/professional gig. Given the performance for the cost this lens should be more than suitable for amateurs and semi-pros alike.
Pros: Sharpness, IS technology, cost/value, size/weight
Cons: Mild (but correctable) distortion, zero low-light capability except at unusably high-ISOs
Just get yourself a Rebel, a wide-angle or wide-angle zoom lens, this lens, a big memory card--and you're done. Worry about the rest later.
on August 6, 2011
As a former professional photographer I know how important it is for pros to own the best. That's why Canon can ask and get $1500+ for their bestselling L-series zoom. Those who need pro-quality lenses should expect to spend that amount and far more. Those non-pros who have the money and just want the best, should definitely buy Canon L-series--why not? When I decided to sell my dated professional cameras (the "D" was on the other side of the model number) I did a lot of soul searching and researching before I decide where to go next. My lenses were still top quality and fit the newer EF bodies, but lacked modern technological advances like IS. I no longer saw a reason to spend $1000+ on a camera body and $1500+ on a lens. I didn't need video capability. Most of what I take goes up on the Internet, so 10-12 megapixels provides all the cropping room I need. I wanted light weight, good picture quality, and a reasonable price. I found it in the lowly but capable Canon XS (read my review elsewhere). I have no problem with the 18-55 kit lens, but I frequently used my older 28-105 USM lens instead, because it focused faster and was slightly sharper.
In anticipation of an upcoming hiking excursion on Kauai, I decided to pick up a new longer-zoom lens with image stabilization and I again set about doing my due diligence. What I found was that there just wasn't any good reason to go to Canon's middle ground when it comes to lenses. A wide array of testing and reviews showed that Canon's S-series 55-250 was not that far removed from anything short of an L lens -- except in price of course. I was almost embarrassed and feeling a little cheap when I ordered this lens. But now that I've had it for a couple weeks, there is no question in my mind that I made the right choice. I love the size and light weight. The stabilization works like a dream. I've always be a stable base for hand-holding a zoom lens, but I'm now shooting at 250mm 1/200 sec and getting tack sharp results. There is no question that his lens is worth far more than what I paid--thank you Amazon.
What do I wish this lens had that it doesn't? I suppose a metal attachment flange would make me feel more secure. A stop or two more speed, sure. But my only real complaint is the exterior focusing movement that I didn't have to deal with in my older EF USM lenses. The front of this lens moves around a lot, and even if you set your zoom and focus first, using a circular polarizer is a royal pain. For the same reason, I can't use a tulip hood, which is far and away preferable to the ET-60 "Dice Cup" Canon designed for the 55-200. (I did, however, just order one--what choice did I have?)
Is the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens perfection? Absolutely not. Does it perform far above this old ex-pro's expectations? You bet it does, and for a price that is, in my opinion, way below its worth.
Addendum: I forgot to put in my two cents re: the noise mentioned by other reviewers. Noise levels may vary depending on the lens you get--I can't speak to what others are experiencing. However, my lens makes no more noise during focusing than any autofocus lens I've used or been around. The stabilization mechanism makes a mild, almost humorous crackling sound--kinda like paper being wadded up--but on my lens, there has to be dead silence around me in order to hear it. I never notice it under typical shooting conditions--and believe me, no one is more sensitive to noise than I am.
on January 11, 2009
The Canon Xsi package we bought came with an 18-55 fairly fast lens. I wanted a telephoto lens that went to 300 or more for mostly outdoor and sports shots, but the economy tanked... I couldnt bring myself to spend $$$ for my hobby. I started looking at Tamron and Vivitar as a solution, and while I own both for my old analog slr. I wanted to take full advantage of the Image Stabilazation and AutoFocus features on the Xsi. I have mixed and matched camera, flash, and lens brands in the past and knew there might be some issues.
I have used this lens a number of times in High school basketball games. I am very pleased with it. You can buy faster lenses, but for the money... this little lightweight lense is great! I get a few blurred shots when setting courtside at girls games. A few more blurred shots in boys games. But all in all... not many. And usually the blur is the ball or the feet or hands, which add an element of motion to the shot.
This has been a great lens for the action shots I want to take, it is great for the outdoor shots I take while motorcycle touring, is great for low light with a tripod. Shooting in RAW lets me clean up about any mistakes I make with software. (Except for blurred or out of focus shots), no software can fix those. The price was right. I read some reviewers talking about how light weight and cheezy it felt. Hey, I like the lightness of it. I have this sucker strapped to my neck and light is good.
I got a lot of lens for my dollar, coupled with a very capable camera, it is a good combination for recreational photography.
I ordered through Amazon, It was at my door in SC OKlahoma within 3 days.
on July 2, 2008
I bought this lens mainly for the focal length and the IS feature. I figured that I would replace the lens within a year, once I had enough money because I was expecting this lens to be a typical mediocre lens. When I took picture of this lens to test it out, I was amazed. This lens is sharp at wide open apertures. I have taken pictures with many lenses (L class included) and this lens is a rarity in that it was sharpest wide open at each focal length.
The IS on this lens is unbelievable. I was able to take pictures at such low shutter speeds that I could have never been able to do without IS. The IS makes a little bit of noise (VERY minimal) which makes me happy because it shows you that it is working. I know you may not believe me, but I was able to take a picture at 1/15 at a focal length of 250mm and the image was sharp at 100% ... no blur.
The focus is pretty good, but not as fast or sure as USM focus. The construction of this lens is not that of an L class, but for the price you paying, that is expected.
In my opinion, you get a lens to take good pictures and this lens does that, and some. I don't buy lenses for their construction because I am not a photographer that would ever need a metal lens construction. Actually I would prefer this construction because it is so much lighter and easier to carry around. The only legitimate complaint about this lens is the focus, but it is still not an issue at all if you are in a place that is not dark. But then again, why would you be using this lens in the dark with f/4..0-5.6 as its largest aperture.
In summary: if you want a lens that takes sharp pictures with a nice telephoto range of focal lengths and some great IS, then this is the lens for you.
on July 20, 2008
I mainly use prime lenses but my longest lens maxes out at 85mm. So when I saw this lens 250mm (similar to 400mm on full-frame) with a reasonable price, I grabbed it.
The colors are rendered well, the IS works like a charm.
Note - this is an EF-S lens so you won't be able to use it on a full-sensor camera body later - only on the cropped-sensor cameras like the Rebel XTi.
My reason for not giving it 5 stars is that it occasionally gets confused while focusing. (I use spot-focus mostly - perhaps that has something to do with it.) If it happens, I zoom back to 55mm, focus, and then re-zoom, focus and it's all set.
While I haven't had it for long yet, I was able to get some very nice photos with this lens - one close-up shot all the way down a church aisle of someone performing at the other end in front of the church at night, close-up shots of bees in flight, dragonflies, etc.
The front element rotates but I would never think of using a polarizer on a zoom lens like this since you've already lost a lot of light.
Am I happy I bought it? Absolutely.
on September 8, 2011
EFS 55-250mm, f/4-5.6 IS II Lens, purchased from Amazon.com
Second generation was just recently released, make sure you are getting the improved version if that is what you want.
The updated lens came out in July, 2011 and is currently available from the Cannon website for around $150.00 until October, 2011. According to Cannon, the newer version is improved as follows: "The main differences between the newer and older versions of the lens are the weight (slightly lowered) and the design of the zoom ring (changed to conform to newer lens designs.)"
I asked the Cannon people how customers are supposed to know if they are getting the old or new version - in other words if the description of the product, or a code, or the wording on the box was different. The reply was: "When an authorized dealer lists the product, they should list the correct product designation." I'm not sure what that boils down to, but I didn't see a statement from Amazon.com in the product description stating if what they are selling on-line was/is the old lens or the updated version.
I ordered the lens from Amazon, but returned it because it doesn't work well enough for my purposes. The color doesn't seem true, the auto-focus has problems - so much so that manual focusing is more dependable. It's not particularly good in low light, and not fast enough or sharp enough for my needs - and with visual limitations I can't tell the results of shots until they are on the computer screen. Bottom line - I need a lens a can depend on, not one that sometimes results in a good shot.
Note: The lens is made in Malaysia, not Japan.
Other: Someone at Amazon keeps meddling with the wording of my comments, and taking pertinent information out, such as the same lens being available at Cannon for less. Not very professional!
The Canon EF-S 55-250mm is a perfect choice if you shoot mostly wide angle shots and don't want to blow a ton of money on a telephoto zoom lens that you only use occasionally. This lens offers you reasonably sharp photos at a very, very good price. Here's a more indepth evaluation of this lens.
The sharpness is on par with that of the 18-55mm kit lens. In the right conditions, it's almost (but not quite) pro-grade. For a budget lens, it's really about as sharp as they come. I think it's safe to say in terms of sharpness this lens will satisfy all but the most fastidious of prosumers.
You best bet for seeing how sharp this lens is is to seek out professional review sites that show you a 100% crop of pictures taken with this lens and then decide for yourself.
- Chromatic Aberration (CA)
In bright sunlight, where chromatic aberration is most pronounced, the chromatic aberration on this lens is barely noticeable and probably imperceptible to the untrained eye. In more even lighting, this lens shows no signs of CA.
- Auto-Focus (AF)
The auto-focus is fast enough for still subjects, but for very fast-moving subjects, it's a hit-or-miss. I gave this lens a good workout shooting cheetahs running close to their top speeds at the Animal Ark, Reno, NV (OT: cheetahs can run at speeds of 70 mph or greater). Most of my shots came out blurry (and that's not due to motion blur) because the auto-focus wasn't fast enough.
Like the kit lens, the auto-focus has trouble in lowlight conditions. It also has trouble with surfaces that lack texture. The motor whirs back and forth trying to lock on to a focus. It can be a little annoying at times.
- Image Stabilization (IS)
The image stabilization is amazing, even at 250mm. Interestingly, you can hear a click when the image stabilization mechanism kicks in. For handheld shot, especially at the 250mm end, the IS is immensely helpful for steadying your shots. I'm very impressed. (Bear in mind, too, the rule of thumb: the shutter speed should be at least as fast as the reciprocal of the focal length.)
- Internal Focus (IF)
The lack of IF would not ordinarily be a problem unless you're using circular polarized filters. The turning of the barrel throws the filter out of adjustment, so you would have to readjust the filter after the subject is brought into focus.
In terns of build quality, the lens is built a lot like the kit lens. There are complaints that it looks plasticky - maybe so - but it doesn't look cheap to be sure. It's lightweight but it feels well-built and sturdy. The zoom ring feels tight, but not overly so, so there is no zoom creep.
Just FYI, the Canon EF 70-300mm is reputed to be sharper than this lens. You might want to give this lens some consideration if the focal range is right and if you can afford to splurge a little.
I suspect the Canon EF-S 55-250mm is the best mid-telephoto zoom lens you can get at this price. For the budget conscious, and for people who need telephoto zoom only once in a while, this lens is a very good choice.