So you want to buy a new wide angle lens for Canon Rebel T5. Well, look no further, because the perfect lens is right here waiting for you. It’s the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II kit lens by Canon. This compact lens is compatible with all Rebel-series Canons, especially your Rebel T5.
The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR lens is a small lens with a long name. The name is so long that we’re just going to call it the IS lens for the rest of this review. Regardless of what it’s called, the IS is a lens with loads of functionality that performs well in a wide range of situations. One of the more notable features of it has the Canon Optical Image Stabilizer. Back in 2012, when Canon first released this lens into the world, the image stabiliser was a cutting-edge stabilisation mechanism by Canon that put its competitors to shame. Even today, the device works well to keep your image steady for capture.
This lens doesn’t have too many fancy features. Instead, Canon designed it to be a starter lens that provides excellent value for an affordable price. So, don’t expect too much from it.
This lens comes with a fantastic reputation. It’s known for being affordable, small in size, light as a feather, and comes with image stabilisation. Above all, this is an excellent lens for general-purpose photography with you Rebel T5.
Performance And Functionality
As you keep reading, you’ll learn that this lens is packed with functionality, and it performs very well. However, there are some minor tradeoffs to be made when it comes to chromatic aberrations and vignetting. Don’t worry; it’s not as bad as it sounds. Read on to find out more!
What’s In A Name?
Before we look any closer at this lens, we need to understand what its name is all about. The only complaint I have about this lens is that the name could be simplified so that it’s more accessible to amateurs and pros alike. In any case, the name of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR tells us a lot about its functionality. So, let’s break it down one set of alphabets at a time.
- The ‘EF’ refers to its Electronic Focus. Canon has been making all their lenses with electronic focus since 1987.
- The ‘-S’ means that this lens will only fit with Canon’s APS-C format DSLRs, which includes your Canon Rebel T5.
- The ‘IS’ means that this lens comes with an Image Stabilizer.
- The ‘II’ at the end indicates that this is the second version of this lens, with better performance and functionality over its older sibling.
Focal Length And Angles
As is clearly stated in its name, this lens has a focal length of 18-55mm. The reason it makes a great wide angle lens for your Rebel T5 is that it can see the same angles as a 28-85m lens when it’s attached to a 35 mm or full-frame camera. In simpler terms: you get a much better bang for your buck with this lens.
This lens is not the kind of lens you’d call a ‘constant’ lens. What that means is that the more you increase its focal length, the more the maximum and minimum aperture sizes decrease.
This lens does experience some optical distortion, though. After some testing, it becomes evident that the worst barrel distortion happens when the lens is as 18mm. There’s a little less distortion at 24mm, though it’s still pretty strong. However, between 35mm and 55 mm, there seems to be little or no distortion at all.
You should know that this kind of distortion is actually pretty standard when it comes to wide-angle zoom lenses. The remedy is usually to straighten any curved lines using any standard image processing software.
Chromatic Aberration And Shading
Unfortunately, there are some minor tradeoffs with this lens. After all, when you get something that’s compact, light, and affordable, there’s probably a sacrifice to be made somewhere. In the case of this lens, you may experience a little chromatic aberration and shading or vignetting issues. Don’t worry. The problems aren’t severe. Still, you should be aware of them so that you can plan around them.
Firstly, let’s talk about the chromatic aberrations you get with this lens. With this lens, you tend to see it happen with high-contrast parts of photos, including the middle of the frame. This sounds worse than it actually is. The chromatic aberration you experience with this lens can be easily fixed in post-processing. It’s a hassle, yes, but again it’s a minor tradeoff for all the other benefits you get with this lens.
As for the vignetting, there’s just a little in the corners the frames. It tends to happen more when the lens is at its widest angle and aperture (18mm, f/3.5). At other angles and apertures, this issue is barely noticeable. Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
In case you’re thinking of using this lens for taking macro snapshots, you’ll be happy to know that it does perform reasonably well. Of course, it’s nothing compared to a specialised macro lens, but still, it’ll do just fine in most situations.
Canon Optical Image Stabilizer
The most noteworthy feature of this lens is the Canon Optical Image Stabilizer. As mentioned earlier, when this first came out, it was state-of-the-art. That helped this lens catch the attention of enthusiasts and critics alike.
You see, one of the reasons a lot of people capture low-quality snapshots is because of their shaky hands. A camera that moves even slightly during the exposure will cause the image to blur a little and drop its quality. So, Canon came up with a solution.
The mechanics of it is pretty straightforward. Inside the lens, there’s a group of elements that move on an axis controlled by a microcomputer. Those moving elements work to balance out any shaking on your Rebel T5 that’s caused by your hands.
The result? Your camera is much more stable, allowing you to capture sharp shots with slower shutter speeds even though you’re handling your camera with your hands and not a tripod.
Not all optical stabilisers perform the same way, you see. Some of them can get pretty noisy when they’re in operation. The one in this lens, however, is totally silent. Now that’s an essential factor to consider, especially if you’re shooting in situations where you have to be quiet. Maybe you’re in a quiet studio. Or, perhaps, you’re in a library for whatever reason. Either way, when you flip the switch and turn optical stabilisation on, you won’t hear a thing.
Electronically-Coupled Focus Mechanism
Another impressive feature of this lens is that it is electronically-coupled with your Rebel T5 camera. You see, lenses typically have either a mechanically or electronically coupled focus mechanism. With the latter, the focus will only work if your camera is on. Still, it’s much smoother and more silent compared to its mechanical counterpart.
Why does this matter? It matters if you’re trying to record footage and need a smooth and silent focus which won’t ruin your video!
Static Front Element
As a bonus, the front element doesn’t turn when you adjust the focus. That might not mean much to some photographers, but it also means that you can attach a polarising filter easily to this lens.
At this point, it’s pretty easy to see why this lens has such a strong reputation. Still, that reputation doesn’t just come from this lens’ performance and functionality. There’s much more to it than that!
User Interface And Control System
As a kit lens, this Canon lens is simple and straightforward. It’s not too complicated to use, which makes it perfect for both photography newbies and veterans alike. A couple of switches and rings is all you need to master to make the most of this lens.
Focus Mode Switch
The first switch you’ll notice on the side of the barrel is the Focus Mode switch. That’s where you can switch between Autofocus and Manual. To recap: this lens uses an electronically-coupled focus mechanism, which means that the autofocus will not work if the camera is off. However, the Manual Focus mode will still function, of course.
Right below the Focus Mode switch is the Stabilizer On/Off switch. Again, the stabiliser in this lens is almost entirely silent. So, even if it’s on, there’s a chance you might not realise it unless you notice a change in the shakiness of what you’re seeing. Either way, this switch will let you turn it on and off as needed.
Focus And Zoom Rings
This lens also has easy-to-grip focus and zoom rings. They’re just like any other such rings, but you should know that their movements are incredibly smooth. That smoothness will benefit you the most if you’re recording video footage, as you’ll be able to zoom and focus smoothly. In the end, your video is going to look much more professional with the added smoothness.
Build Quality And Design
Even though this is just a kit lens made entirely of plastic, Canon designed it very well. Let’s take a closer look at its build quality and design.
The first thing you need to know is that this lens is incredibly light. It weighs only a tiny 7.5 ounces. That’s just 212 grams, which means its light as a feather. Why is it so light? Well, that’s a happy little side effect of the entirely-plastic construction of this lens.
When you combine that with the Rebel T5’s weight of 869 grams, the whole set up will weigh just over a kilogram. All-in-all, your arms won’t get tired too soon when using this lens with the T5; good news if you’re using your T5 on-the-go or without a tripod.
Other than being light, this lens is also very compact. Its dimensions are only 2.80 x 2.70 x 2.70 inches, making it small enough to fit in any bag (or even your pocket, if you want it to!). You’ll be able to capture some impressive shots without having to carry around the bulkier lenses you might have in your gear bag.
Canon built this lens in Taiwan, and it includes 16 elements in 12 groups. On top of that, it also includes UD glass and spherical lenses. The UD glass is partially responsible for this lens’ high image quality. That material allows a low refractive index and low dispersion of light. To put it simply: it’s much better than lenses made of regular optical glass!
Higher performance in an affordable lens? That’s a lot of value.
Camera Mount Compatibility
Last but not least, this lens is compatible with any camera that has an EF-S camera mount, including your Rebel T5.
So, should you get the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR lens? Yes, you definitely need this lens as part of your setup. Sure, this lens does come with a few tradeoffs. But those are small tradeoffs to make for the high performance and functionality that you get from this lens. There’s just a little bit of chromatic aberrations and vignetting that happens under some settings. These are small issues that you can correct quickly in post-processing.
In terms of its build, the exterior of this lens is made entirely of plastic. That makes the lens light but also just a little bit more durable than other materials. Of course, you should always protect your lenses and never let them drop to the floor or hit anything. Still, this lens feels like it might be able to stay intact even if that happens.
Bottom line, this lens has an excellent reputation for good reason. It’s affordable, tiny, and light as a feather. Without a doubt, this is what you should buy when you’re looking for the best wide angle lens for Canon Rebel T5.