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Canon EF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 IS Gordon Laing, January 2009
 

Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS results : Real-life resolution / Corner wide / Corner tele / Studio Resolution / Geometry / Vignetting


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Real-life corner vs centre sharpness at 200mm - Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS

 

To compare real-life corner sharpness when zoomed-in, we shot this scene with the Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS on the EOS 50D body. The EF-S 18-200mm IS was zoomed-into its maximum 200mm focal length and tested at all aperture settings. The EOS 50D was set to its best quality JPEG setting, lowest 100 ISO sensitivity and default processing options.

IS was disabled and magnified assistance in Live View used to confirm the focusing. We have results for the EF-S 17-85mm IS and EF-S 18-55mm IS further down the page.

 

The image above was taken with the Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS mounted on the Canon EOS 50D body. The lens was set to 200mm f8, and the 50D set to 100 ISO. The crops are taken from the upper right corner and centre of the image, and presented here at 100%.

Zoomed-into its longest 200mm focal length and with the aperture wide-open at f5.6, the EF-S 18-200mm IS delivers a sharp detailed result in the centre of the frame, but is suffering from softness and fringing in the extreme corners.

As we saw on the previous page, the situation improves as you stop the lens down. The second row of crops taken at f8 show a noticeable improvement in the corner result over that at f5.6, although it's still far from pin-sharp. Pixel-peepers may notice a small drop in fine foliage detail in the centre crop at f8 compared f5.6, but most would accept that small loss for the bigger improvement in the corner. Like most super-zoom lenses, there's also a lack of contrast when zoomed-in, with slightly flat-looking results that can benefit from a boost in software later.

But how does this compare to the EF-S 17-85mm IS and EF-S 18-55mm IS when they're zoomed-in to the maximum focal lengths? Are they any sharper? Find out by scrolling down this page. Alternatively, to compare them under controlled conditions, head straight for our Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS studio resolution page.

Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS with Canon EOS 50D
Telephoto (200mm) corner
 
Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS with Canon EOS 50D
Telephoto (200mm) centre
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     




Real-life corner vs centre sharpness at 85mm - Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS

 

To compare real-life corner sharpness when zoomed-in, we shot this scene with the Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS on the EOS 50D body. The EF-S 17-85mm IS was zoomed-into its maximum 85mm focal length and tested at all aperture settings. The EOS 50D was set to its best quality JPEG setting, lowest 100 ISO sensitivity and default processing options.

IS was disabled and magnified assistance in Live View used to confirm the focusing.

 

The image above was taken with the Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS mounted on the Canon EOS 50D body. The lens was set to 85mm f8, and the 50D set to 100 ISO. The crops are taken from the lower left corner and centre of the image, and presented here at 100%.

Zoomed-into its longest 85mm focal length and with the aperture wide-open at f5.6, the EF-S 17-85mm IS delivers a detailed result in the centre of the frame, but like the super-zoom above, is suffering from softness and fringing in the extreme corners. That said, the result at f5.6 below left looks better than the corner result from the EF-S 18-200mm IS at the same aperture.

With the aperture closed to f8, the corner sharpness improves, as does the overall contrast and definition of the centre crop. So while the EF-S 17-85mm IS also suffers from softness in the corners at wide apertures when zoomed-in, it's delivering a better result than the super-zoom - as indeed you'd expect given its shorter, less demanding optical range. Now scroll down a little further to see how the budget EF-S 18-55mm IS lens compares...

Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS with Canon EOS 50D
Telephoto (85mm) corner
 
Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS with Canon EOS 50D
Telephoto (85mm) centre
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     




Real-life corner vs centre sharpness at 55mm - Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS

 

To compare real-life corner sharpness when zoomed-in, we shot this scene with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS on the EOS 50D body. The EF-S 18-55mm IS was zoomed-into its maximum 55mm focal length and tested at all aperture settings. The EOS 50D was set to its best quality JPEG setting, lowest 100 ISO sensitivity and default processing options.

IS was disabled and magnified assistance in Live View used to confirm the focusing.

 

The image above was taken with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS mounted on the Canon EOS 50D body. The lens was set to 55mm f8, and the 50D set to 100 ISO. The crops are taken from the lower left corner and centre of the image, and presented here at 100%.

Like the previous lenses, the EF-S 18-55mm IS exhibits some softness in the corners when zoomed-in with its aperture wide open, but judging from the crops below, it's visibly sharper than either of the two pricier models.

The corner crop taken from the f5.6 sample is certainly soft, but looks better than the f5.6 corner crops from either the EF-S 17-85mm IS or EF-S 18-200mm IS. Close the lens to f8 and the corner result greatly improves, as does the contrast on the centre result. Overall, the EF-S 18-55mm IS is delivering the best optical results on this page, which is an impressive achievement considering its budget status - but of course it also has the shortest optical range of the three lenses here.

Ultimately this page illustrates the optical compromises involved with lenses sporting longer focal ranges. What you gain in convenience, you often lose in ultimate quality. Weighing this up is an entirely personal matter. But what about expressing actual resolving power numerically? Find out how the lenses compare in our Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS studio resolution page.

Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS with Canon EOS 50D
Telephoto (55mm) corner
 
Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS with Canon EOS 50D
Telephoto (55mm) centre
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     


Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS results : Real-life resolution / Corner wide / Corner tele / Studio Resolution / Geometry / Vignetting



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