Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM lens test

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM review

Today we are testing a lens whose appearance has gone unnoticed by many. Perhaps this is due to characteristics that are almost identical to some “whale” brethren: we are talking about a range of focal lengths of 18-135 mm and aperture f / 3.5-5.6. There is only one difference in marking from the usual “whale” zoom: the letters USM. In fact, the hero of our test Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM boasts a lot of interesting solutions and one new technology, which we will talk about in detail.

Check price Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM

The main feature of this model is versatility in everything. Here is quite a sweeping zoom, allowing you to cover most of the photos. There is an image stabilizer, the test of which we will definitely show. But the main thing is fitness for both photo and video shooting. And here comes the first place USM, or rather, the Nano USM drive.

Photos taken from one point:

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1/80 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 500, F8, 1/200 s

Autofocus Nano USM

Recall that recently in the Canon lenses we have seen several types of autofocus drives. The first is the traditional USM. It is very fast and quiet, great for taking pictures. But focusing can only be done at a constant speed, which complicates the task of automatically focusing when recording video. Classic USM lacks fluidity.

The second solution is the STM stepper motor. It is also quiet and fast, although inferior in speed to some USM motors. Its advantage is the ability to focus with variable speed, which is very important when shooting movies, when you need to achieve smoothness.

In the Nano USM drive, the developers managed to make a compromise. Such a motor focuses at a variable speed, but in photography mode it is extremely fast and silent.

The Nano USM module consists of an elastic metal housing and a ceramic voltage element. Adjustment of the direction of rotation and speed is achieved by changing the frequency and phase of the high frequency voltage for the ceramic element.

The speed of the Nano USM drive is enough even for very dynamic scenes.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 1250, F4, 1/500 s, 20.0 mm equiv.

If we talk about the speed of focusing, then it is comparable with the best representatives of the L-series with classic USM motors. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM manages to focus on sharpness while your finger presses the shutter button.

Canon EOS 1300D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/1000 s

A full run from the minimum focusing distance to infinity takes about half a second. But let’s not forget that the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM has a very small focusing distance for a 135 mm lens. It is only 39 cm from the plane of the matrix! It is unlikely that it will be possible to take a full-fledged macro, but there will be no problems with large-scale color shots.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/250 s

Design

The lens body is made of plastic. Only the zoom ring has a rubber pad. The focus ring is also plastic. It is electronic here. The speed with which the lenses will move in the lens depends on the speed of rotation of the focusing ring. We rotate the ring faster – the lenses move sharply, rotate slowly – the lenses move barely. Everything happens smoothly and naturally. No steps or jerks are noticeable. Focusing manually is convenient. The only conditional disadvantage is the very small and tight manual and autofocus switch.

During zoom, the lens extends. The front lens block leaves about five centimeters. But it should be noted: the “trunk” does not hang out, the lens does not fold out under its own weight (but the zoom lock is still provided), the front lens does not rotate.

The mount of the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM is metal, which gives it a clearly not entry-level lens. The mass, too, is by no means modest. The new zoom weighs a solid 515 grams.

But the most interesting design feature of this model is the eight-pin connector on the bottom, special mounting grooves and a serrated notch on the zoom ring. All this is necessary to pair the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM with the PZ-E1 servo adapter. When shooting a video, such an adapter allows you to smoothly rotate the zoom ring, ensuring that the subject is zoomed in and out without jerking. This is another feature that makes the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM a good choice for shooting video on the camera.

Optical stabilizer

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM is equipped with an optical stabilizer. And it is obviously made here not “for show”. This becomes clear as soon as you press the shutter button halfway. The picture in the viewfinder freezes and stops shaking.

Canon EOS 1300D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 3200, F5, 1/20 s

Firstly, this is an additional aid to autofocus, which in such conditions is induced much more efficiently and accurately. Secondly, of course, this is help when shooting at slow shutter speeds. The manufacturer claims to have won in 4 stages of exposure due to the use of a stabilizer. Check it out? For a 135 mm lens on an APS-C sensor, shutter speed of 1/200 s is considered to be critical when shooting with hands without a stabilizer. Winning in 4 steps is 1/13 s. And the lens copes with such a task!

Canon EOS 1300D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F11, 1/13 s

The stabilizer also works efficiently with handheld video recording, allowing you to get smooth clips even without a tripod.

Image quality

The optical design of the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM consists of 16 elements in 12 groups. Here is a complete analogy with his closest relative Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS STM. Optically, both lenses are exactly the same.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F3.5, 1/320 s

With an open aperture in a wide-angle position, the photographer can count on a relatively high sharpness in the center of the frame. But the drop in detail around the edges is quite strong.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F3.5, 1/320 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F4, 1/250 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/160 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1/60 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F11, 1/40 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F16, 1/15 s

Aperture up to f / 5.6 makes the sharpness in the center almost perfect, and the edges become much better. Such photos can be safely printed in large format, at least up to A3. Further closing the aperture does not give a significant increase in sharpness in the center of the picture, but the edges and angles at f / 8 become even better. It makes no sense to close the aperture stronger than f / 11: a drop in detail due to diffraction begins.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/200 s

If you like to use a focal length of 135 mm, then be prepared for the fact that on an open aperture the lens is slightly soft at the edges. The center of the frame is sharp. Aperture up to f / 8 makes the center even sharper, the situation on the periphery of the image also improves significantly. Such photographs are suitable for printing in large format. However, an ideal, ringing sharpness at the edges should not be expected even at f / 11. Still, this is not a top-end fixed lens, but an amateur zoom with a magnification of 7.5x.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1/125 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F11, 1/50 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F16, 1/30 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F22, 1/15 s

The lens feels quite confident when shooting in hard backlight. In the wide-angle position around the sun, characteristic rays and small flares can form, and at f / 8, glare.

Canon EOS 1300D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F20, 1/500 s

But the contrast drop of the whole frame does not occur, there is only a small local flare. The level of chromatic aberration is extremely low. They are successfully suppressed automatically, and you can only detect them when converting RAW with the lens profile off. However, everything is very decent here: the level of aberrations is low, they are removed in one click.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F3.5, 1/1250 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F4, 1/1000 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/500 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1/250 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F11, 1/125 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F16, 1/60 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F22, 1/30 s

In the teleposition, the situation is almost the same, but some flare may appear on the open aperture. But chromatic aberration is minimized even in RAW.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/8000 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1/6400 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F11, 1/5000 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F16, 1/1600 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F22, 1/800 s

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM is capable of providing relatively strong background blur for the zoom. Bokeh is not prone to doubling, it looks “calm” until single bright dots appear in the background: drops, bulbs, etc.

Canon EOS 1300D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/400 s
Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 1000, F8, 1/250 s

Due to the not very uniform filling of the flare and its contrasting border, the bokeh does not look so neat anymore. Single glare too actively draws the attention of the viewer.

Canon EOS 80D / Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM Settings: ISO 100, F5, 1/100 s

We at Prophotos are deeply convinced that a photograph becomes real only after it is printed on paper.

A print on paper is perceived differently. This is a tangible thing – a family value or an object of art, and not a simple set of pixels.

Canon PIXMA MG7740

To print pictures from this camera, we recommend the Canon PIXMA MG7740 multi-function multi-function device with six separate ink tanks . Due to the use of a separate black and gray cartridge, the images are more saturated, vivid. The printer supports paper size up to A4, allows you to print on different types of photo paper: from matte to glossy.

Photographers will also appreciate the convenience of printing directly from flash cards. Selecting pictures is simple and convenient using the touch screen. If you have a modern camera model with Wi-Fi and NFC, then frames can be printed directly from the camera wirelessly. The Wi-Fi module allows you to print photos and documents from mobile devices, as well as connect to your wireless network and locate the device wherever you want.


conclusions

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM is an excellent universal lens for all occasions. If you take photos and videos, travel a lot and do not want to buy an expensive set of interchangeable optics, pay attention to this particular model. Thanks to the convenient wide range of focal lengths, the lens is perfect for almost any scene. The new Nano USM autofocus drive is very fast if you take a photo and works amazingly smoothly when shooting movies with compatible cameras. Another useful feature for videographers is the ability to attach a PZ-E1 servo adapter.

Both in the photo and in the video, an optical stabilizer helps to obtain a high-quality result. He fulfills the declared four exposure levels when shooting with hands. The lens has a good sharpness for zoom at an open aperture and shows very good results when aperture is one step. The advantages include a low level of chromatic aberration and good glare protection. However, in the teleposition some decrease in contrast may occur when shooting in hard backlight. The lens bokeh is not so “correct”, but if you choose scenes with a not too contrasting background, then the photographer has the opportunity to beautifully and artistically blur it.

Pros:

  • convenient zoom range;
  • fast and smooth autofocus Nano USM;
  • the ability to install a servo adapter PZ-E1;
  • effective image stabilizer;
  • relatively high sharpness on a covered aperture;
  • low level of chromatic aberration;
  • short focusing distance.

Minuses:

  • inconvenient selector buttons;
  • drop in sharpness along the edge of the frame on the open aperture;
  • not always soft bokeh.

Check price Canon EF-S 18-135mm f / 3.5-5.6 IS USM


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