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.)
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