lens rental
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS Gordon Laing, February 2010
 

Canon 18-135mm results : Sharpness 18mm / Sharpness 50mm / Sharpness 85mm / Sharpness 135mm / Geometry / Vignetting


Real-life sharpness when zoomed-out - Canon EF-S 15-85mm IS vs EF-S 18-55mm IS vs EF-S 18-135mm IS

 
Support this site by shopping below

To compare real-life sharpness when zoomed-out, we shot this scene with the Canon EF-S 15-85mm IS, EF-S 18-55mm IS and EF-S 18-135mm IS, using an EOS 7D body at all apertures.

The 7D was set to RAW to avoid in-camera JPEG corrections; all files were processed in Canon DPP with lens corrections disabled and the default sharpness of 3. IS was disabled on each lens, and magnified assistance in Live View used to confirm the focusing.


The image above was taken with the Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS mounted on a Canon EOS 7D body. The lens was set to 18mm f8, and the 7D to 100 ISO. In the samples below, the exposures were identical with each lens and the crops taken from the areas marked with the red squares for presentation here at 100%.

The first table compares crops taken from the corner of each image at different aperture settings and the second table compares crops taken from the centres of the same images.

While we matched the coverage as closely as possible for our tests at 50 and 85mm, we decided to test each lens on this page when fully zoomed-out. As such, the EF-S 15-85mm IS USM captured a slightly larger field-of-view at its widest focal length of 15mm than the others did at 18mm. This poses an issue when it comes to choosing an area to crop from the corner, as subjects close to the edges of the 18mm sample will be comfortably further-in on the wider lens, giving it an unfair advantage. As such we have taken our corner crops below from an area pressed up against the far right edge of each frame, and very close to the bottom.

The areas may not show the same subject area as a consequence, but they do allow us to compare overall sharpness and correction from the same portion of the frame. Below this table you'll see crops taken from close to the centre of each image and again the variations in focal length have resulted in slightly different areas being captured.

Zoomed-out, the EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens suffers from softness and coloured fringing in the corners at all apertures tested, although it does improve slowly towards f8. The EF-S 18-135mm IS enjoys a step-up in sharpness in the corners over the kit lens, but it's the EF-S 15-85mm IS USM which features the best performance of all here – as you'd hope considering its much higher price.

The EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens does however redeem itself in the centre, delivering a respectably sharp result even with the aperture wide open – indeed it looks a little better than the EF-S 18-135mm IS at f3.5. As the apertures close down, there's little to tell the EF-S 18-55mm IS and EF-S 18-135mm IS apart, although again the EF-S 15-85mm IS USM enjoys a small edge in overall crispness.

Now check out how the three lenses tested here compare at a mid focal length of 50mm.



Corner sharpness with all lenses zoomed-out

Canon EF-S 15-85mm IS USM
Corner sharpness at 15mm
Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS
Corner sharpness at 18mm
Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS
Corner sharpness at 18mm
   
f3.5, 100 ISO
f3.5, 100 ISO
f3.5, 100 ISO
         
   
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
         
   
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
         
   
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO



Centre sharpness with all lenses zoomed-out

Canon EF-S 15-85mm IS USM
Centre sharpness at 15mm
Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS
Centre sharpness at 18mm
Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS
Centre sharpness at 18mm
   
f3.5, 100 ISO
f3.5, 100 ISO
f3.5, 100 ISO
         
   
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
         
   
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
         
   
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

Now let's see how the lenses compare when all are adjusted to the same mid-range focal length of 50mm.



Canon 18-135mm results : Sharpness 18mm / Sharpness 50mm / Sharpness 85mm / Sharpness 135mm / Geometry / Vignetting



If you found this review useful, please support us by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs