Buying Canon T1i/500D - 18-135mm Lens?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ColinEC, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. ColinEC macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2008
    I'm going to buy a Canon T1i as my first dSLR, and I saw that B&H Photo was having a special on the camera plus Canon 18-135mm lens.

    How are the Canon 18-135mm lenses better than the standard 18-55mm kit lens - what are the differences besides the increased focal length?
  2. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    I have the T1i with both kit lens 18-55, 55-250, about 2 months now.

    What I can share with you is these 2 kit lens are decent starter lens, and take good shots. Now, I've bought the 50mm 1.4, what it has is a manual override ring to really dial in focus my kit lens does not.

    Once I used that I do wish my kit lens had that, but that would increase their cost. The 18-135 you are looking at does not have that (USM). It does appear to be a decent walk-around lens and you could get the T1i body + that as starter, then consider other lens in future.

    Good luck and enjoy the hobby.

    look at
    and see what those people say, as well as

    Heck, I'll throw this out there, if you do go the 18-135 route, then for a long zoom as next lens consider the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, $650 USD MSRP. That would be a sweet combo.
    I still have 25-ish days on my Costco 90 day return, you made me think about something......
  3. ColinEC thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2008
    Thanks for the reply.

    I might just go for the 18-135mm lens. Checked out the reviews on there, and even the lower-rated ones were relatively positive (only pointing out minor problems with the 18-135 that really shouldn't affect me).

    I actually wanted to go with the Canon 50mm f/1.4 as my first lens, but being stuck with just a prime lens might be a bit limiting. Will definitely buy this lens in the future though.
  4. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    the 18-135 is pretty mediocre optically. good flare resistance, but not much else. it's advantage over the 18-55 is better construction and more range. it's up to you to decide if you prefer the convenience and better ergonomics of the 18-135 or the better optics in the 18-55.
  5. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    You'd be too limited with just the 50mm, I'm in Japan now on business trip and did a nite time walk around with just the 50mm and left my 18-55 in the hotel, while the fast 1.4 allowed me to take night time shots in some situtations, it limits your ability to compose shots. Yea, I tried the "walk a few feet closer/further" to compose the shot, most of time does not work.

    Even with the 50mm f 1.4, lack of light (dark is dark) and cranking up the ISO to 800/1600 still too slow shutter speed for handheld on lots of shots. I saw some cool shots, wish I had tripod, but with people around hard to do that also.
  6. ColinEC thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2008
    So images captured with the 18-155 are most certainly going to be sharper than ones with the 18-135? I'm confused that a more expensive lens would capture lower quality pictures than a kit lens.
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    generally, yes, especially at the end.

    both are kit lenses. the 18-135 costs more because of a better construction and a wider range. shorter-range zooms are easier to make than longer ones, which is why manufacturers usually don't make high-end lenses with more than a ~4x zoom ratio.
  8. nitrobackup macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2009
    Just bought the T1i with two lenses (Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens and Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS Lens) and a 4GB SD card from for $855 including shipping with 90-day return policy.

    Thought it was a great starter DSLR for me.
  9. zeeflyboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2009
    I can also attest to the 18-55 and 55-250 EF-S lenses being really quite good optically.

    However, and this is quite important for me - the vast majority of my shots fall in the 30-100mm or so range... which no one single lens of the two provides, and I was forever swapping lens back and forth.

    I recently plucked up some big wallet based cojones and stumped up for a 24-105 L f4.0 IS USM. This decision was partly because some lens rentals for a holiday to south africa got me addicted to the build and image quality of the L lenses and partly because I operate on a buy once type policy as much as possible... I could have bought an intermediate step lens but I would have ended up replacing it in the not so distant future because I know what I'm like!

    I have to say that having used it a bit now I love the 24-105mm range, it is so useful for my purposes and I can happily take out the camera with just that one lens most of the time. Of course 18-135mm is an even more extensive zoom range and will suit an even wider range of photographic opportunities.

    So I guess what I am saying is that, expensive L lenses aside, you sometimes have to sacrifice a bit for convenience. Even with L lenses you sacrifice convenience for quality as the L series primes (fixed focal length) have the highest quality of all whereas the L series zooms are a compromise for flexibility, albeit a compromise from a higher starting point.

    As mentioned the build quality will also be much improved - the kit lens is a bit toy like after you've played with more expensive setups. Chances are you will find the image quality absolutely fine as well... plus things like barrel distortion and pincushioning which is where the 18-135 will be most likely to fall short of the 18-55 and 55-250 in terms of Image quality are easy to correct in photoshop when they are visible, and most of the time they probably won't be to the average chap like you and me!

    If it were me, I'd go for the 18-135 over the 18-55... then further down the line pick up the 70-300 which is a great lens for the money by all accounts. The idea of having one lens pick up where another stops off is great and all, unless that focal length change over happens to occur slap bang in the middle of your most used ranges.

    Different people, different shooting styles, different answers I'm afraid!
  10. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    If you are just starting out, perhaps you should just stick to the kit lens and figure out what you would need next.

    Although super zoom lenses such as 18-135 or 18-200 have their applications, they come with downsides, such as slow aperture on the telephoto end, high distortion and/or artifacts at extreme ends, soft sharpness near the max aperture, and so on.

    For instance, you might learn that fast fixed lens (e.g., EF 135mm f/2L USM) maybe better for your needs.
  11. nylock10 macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2006
    Thanks again for the replies.

    I ultimately went for the kit lens, just ordered them along with the camera yesterday. I looked at all the older pictures I've shot with my current camera, and they have all been within the 35mm range (all around 21mm on a 1.6 crop camera - mainly scenic photos), so the increased focal length of the 18-135mm would have been unnecessary.


    The L-series from Canon look extremely comfortable to use. My main gripe iwth the 18-55mm lens is that the placement of the focus/zoom rings are very awkward, and the L-series seem to answer that problem. How did the f/4 aperture work indoors? I'm looking into buying a Canon 17-40L f/4 in the future for a general general purpose lens (on a crop body it's a little bit zoomed in, but it fits right in with the photography I do).
  12. zeeflyboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2009

    f4.0 works well enough for the most part due to the image stabilisation in the 24-105... as long as your intended targets aren't moving much of course. As far as I can remember the 17-40L doesn't have any such stabilisation. Lovely lens though!

    When things get darker though f4.0 is ultimately a bit slow and you'll have to use flash to avoid very high ISO - not a problem most of the time as a good bounced flash with a decent speedlite looks very natural anyway... it's only really an issue in situations where one simply cannot use flash.

    That said, when things get darker even f2.8 is often too slow for "natural light" pictures. To really take advantage of low light situations the best bet is a fast prime lens.

    The ideal world setup for you given what you've said would probably be the 17-40L for the majority of photos given it's versatility, along with one or two fast primes within that focal length range.
  13. Acsom macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2009
    Just my opinion, for the APS-C sensors, I'd recommend the EF-S 17-55 f2.8; it is a phenomenal lens, with USM and IS. Not that the 17-40 has anything wrong with it, but for $200 more you get 15mm, an extra stop, IS, and superb image quality. Most of us APS-C folks will never, ever pony up the $2500 it takes to get into the APS club, which (to me) is the major reason to choose the excellent 17-40 over the excellent 17-55; the future compatibility.
  14. zeeflyboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2009
    Very good suggestion acsom, I have heard great things about that lens and the combination of faster aperture with IS must make it very versatile... it would be a fantastic upgrade to the kit lens.

    Perhaps on the even cheaper end the new tamron 17-55 f2.8 VC (VC = vibration compensated, their term for IS) is worth a look. I am not sure how the image quality stacks up to the older non IS version but that was by all accounts rather good.

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