Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM review


The Canon EF-S 10-22mm equips budget to mid-range Canon DSLRs with ultra-wide angle coverage. While the equivalent coverage of 16-35mm sounds extreme, our Gallery shows the range can be surprisingly useful in practice.

For example most of us have faced landscapes, buildings, interiors or even group shots which are simply too large to squeeze into the field of view of normal lenses, or found ourselves in situations where a wall or cliff edge meant we couldn’t step back any further. In all of these situations, an ultra-wide angle zoom lens can prove invaluable.

In practice the Canon EF-S 10-22mm performs very well, especially considering its extreme coverage. In terms of resolution it matched or out-performed the EF-S 17-85mm and EF-S 18-55mm lenses, and was only just beaten by the premium EF-S 17-55mm model. Corner sharpness was also good with softness only visible when zoomed-out with larger apertures.

Perhaps most impressive of all though were its geometry results. Due to their extreme coverage, ultra-wide angle zooms often suffer from significant barrel distortion. This was not the case with the EF-S 10-22mm though, which zoomed-out to 10mm, actually exhibited significantly lower barrel distortion than the EF-S 17-85mm did at 17mm. Zoomed-into 22mm, the lens exhibited virtually no distortion at all, which again is impressive compared to the obvious barrelling of general purpose zooms at the same focal length.

The light fall-off may have been worse than the EF-S 17-85mm and EF-S 18-55mm lenses, but again this is to be expected for an ultra-wide angle lens, and in its favour the gradient was quite gentle, so any loss of light was subtle and unlikely to be noticed in most real-life shots.

To put these results into perspective, it’s well worth comparing the EF-S 10-22mm with the Canon EF 17-40mm, which when mounted on a full frame body delivers roughly similar coverage. In our Canon EF 17-40mm review, the combination of extreme wide angle and a full-frame sensor resulted in considerably worse distortion and light fall-off than the EF-S 10-22mm did on an APS-C sensor body like the EOS 400D / XTi. Admittedly, full-frame lenses offer some perspective benefits, and as an ‘L’ lens, the EF 17-40mm boasts superior build quality and also comes with a lens hood and pouch. But considering the EF 17-40mm’s highly respected reputation, it’s impressive to find the EF-S 10-22mm perform so well against it.

There’s actually very few downsides to the EF-S 10-22mm. Admittedly it’s annoying the lens hood isn’t included as standard, and once you’ve used an ‘L’ lens you may envy the superior build and smoother operation, but to be fair, these criticisms apply to all EF-S zooms.

If you’re in the market for an ultra-wide angle zoom, you should also consider the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 which may offer a slightly shorter range and slower aperture, but does come in a little cheaper – see left. We’ll be reviewing this lens soon.

In the meantime, if you’re the owner of an EF-S compatible Canon DSLR who’s ever yearned for wider angle coverage, we can highly recommend the EF-S 10-22mm. It performs very well and delivers an exciting and surprisingly flexible range. As such it’ll become a valuable ally in your lens collection.

Good points
Extreme wide angle coverage.
Low geometric distortion.
Fast, quiet and internal USM focusing.
Relatively small and light.

Bad points
Lens hood not supplied as standard.
Modest macro capabilities.
Sigma 10-20mm worth considering.
Incompatible with full-frame bodies.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm video

We’re pleased to present a short video tour of the Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens. There’s no need to download any new software – just press the play button in the middle of the screen below and wait for the video to start; you may need to press the button twice. The quality and any delay before playing may vary depending on your internet connection.


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