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The 18-200mm Canon Lens - A Super Super-Zoom Lens by Canon
One Lens to Cover a Wide Range of Focal Lengths
Which lens, if any, would be the "perfect lens" for a Canon camera? Perhaps it is the 18-200mm Canon lens. The Canon 18-200mm lens may just satisfy your every need in digital slr lenses. If it's not the "perfect" lens, it's close to it.
That is, if you own a Canon camera with a crop-sensor.
If you are the owner of a Canon Rebel T3i, Canon 50D, 60D, or 7D, you must hear about the 18-200mm Canon lens as an all-in-one lens choice. It is also compatible with the Canon 20D, 30D, and 40D, as well as all the former Digital Rebels. Most recent Rebels include the Canon T2i (aka 550D), Canon T1i (500D), and Canon XSi (450D).
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Pay Attention To The Name - Lens Names Give Hints As To Their Uses
The "official" name for the lens in this review is the Canon EF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 IS telephoto lens.. It's a real mouth full, right?
The EF-S designation simply means that It has been manufactured for "crop sensor" cameras like the ones already mentioned. Another term for crop-sensor is APS-C sensor. Another way to put it is that it is NOT made for one of the full frame Canon models. In fact, the 18-200mm Canon lens won't fit on your professional model Canon digital SLR camera because the mounting bracket is different.
Why Get a Canon 18-200mm Lens
The most obvious reason for owning one of these Super-Zoom lenses is to be able to keep the lens attached to your camera for almost any situation. This is a super time and weight saver advantage for travel and vacation trips. It will save time in that you don't have to change lenses for every different photo situation, and it will save you having to carry a camera bags full of lenses everywhere you travel.
Most photographers buy digital SLRs just so they CAN change lenses, but it is also a disadvantage in some cases, like on vacation.
Other Advantages of a Super-Zoom Lens
The Canon 18-200mm lens has several more advantages worthy of note.
The first is the obvious wide focal range of 11x. On some lenses, this would also come with a down side, that being image quality, but the Canon 18-200 has exceptional image quality in spite of the wide focal range.
Another feature is IS (image stabilization) which is supposed to give you an additional 4-stops of aperture without having to use a tripod. With a widest aperture of only 3.5, IS will help to keep the camera shake to a minimum.
One more benefit is the bokeh that is produced when using a wide aperture. Photographers are always comparing bokeh. Briefly, it is when you try to get the main subject of your photo in sharp focus and have the other areas of the photo in a pleasingly blurred focus. The 18-200 does a pretty good job with this, but it is not considered the best.
The last benefit has to do with a comparison to the "kit lenses" that Canon promotes. Sometimes new buyers purchase the 18-55mm starter lens and an additional 55-250mm lens for the mid-range focal lengths. These two lenses are not bad as far as image quality goes, but they are not high quality construction.
The design, materials, and actual construction of the Canon 18-200mm lens are far better than the kit lenses.
Third Party Lens for Canon?
The Negatives of the Canon 18-200mm Lens
One of the things that naturally comes with a super-zoom lens, whether it is a Canon, Sigma, Nikon or some other brand is that the image quality is not as good as what you would get with a lens that does not have such a wide variety of focal lengths. The issues have to do with the complex engineering required to accomplish the super-zoom attribute. The image quality may suffer from barrel distortion and/or chromatic aberration.
It really depends upon how much of a perfectionist you are as a photographer, because the image quality is not all that bad unless you are examining the images with some very technical equipment. Or perhaps you are a reviewer for a photo magazine, and it is your job to examine the most minute details. Really, most novices will not notice any image quality problems at all.
Third Party Made-For-Canon Lenses
Manufacturers other than Canon also make lenses that will work very well on Canon digital SLR cameras, and their reputation has continued to improve over the years. These Canon lens producers have names like Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina, and they have tried very had to improve their digital slr lenses. According to many sources, they have been successful.
All three third party manufacturers mentioned have super zoom lenses for Canon, and the price is usually lower than a comparable Canon brand name lens. You may want to consider saving some money for one of those? It's definitely worth some consideration.