Is the Canon 10-18 mm better than the Canon 10-22 mm?
Recently, we published our Canon 10-18 mm review. That’s a very inexpensive wide-angle zoom lens, which is in our opinion at least as good as the much more expensive Canon EF-S 10-22 mm that we already reviewed.
Is that really so? Where does the price difference between the two Canon EF-S wide-angle zooms come from? Is there a catch?
A wide angle is……… photographing with pleasure
Canon EF-S 10-22mm @ 13mm f/8, 1/250 sec, 1600 ISO
Many photographers start with an SLR camera, including a 18-55 mm kit lens. After a while, they want to draw in their subjects more, and a telephoto zoom comes along, while a wide-angle zoom lens might be a better choice. With a wide-angle lens you’re forced to creep in closer to your subject, so you get more interaction between photographer and subject. A wide-angle lens is also a much better way to get a sweeping overview. Or to get the entire building in the picture, instead of just half.
The main argument for choosing a wide angle, as far as I’m concerned, had to do with a creative consideration. Tastes differ, but I find shots made with a wide angle to be usually more original, more striking and more impressive-looking than shots taken with a telephoto lens. A possible reason why starters at first look in the direction of a telephoto zoom is the acquisition price. For under 300 euros, you can buy different telephoto zooms, but not a wide-angle zoom. The Canon 10-18 mm changes that.
10-18mm vs 10-22mm: External differences
The first thing that stands out when you put the Canon 10-18 mm and the 10-22 mm next to each other is that the 10-22 is longer (9 cm vs 7.5 cm) and heavier (240 us 385 grams).
With a filter diameter of 77 mm, the 10-22 mm seen from the front is considerably more impressive than the 10-18 mm with a filter size of 67 mm. More glass costs more money, and a bigger filter as well. You see that in your wallet. Whether you see it in the image quality is the question.
The Canon 10-22 mm is, thanks to all that extra glass, almost 1 stop faster: from f/3.5 at 10 mm to f/4.5 at 22 mm. The aperture of the Canon 10-18 mm runs from f/4.5 at 10 mm to f/5.6 at 18 mm.
Tip: On Camerasize.com you can compare the size of lenses on your camera. Here you can see the Canon 10-18 mm, Canon 10-22 mm and the Canon 18-55 STM on a Canon 650D. The 10-18 mm is as compact as the 18-55 mm STM kit lens.
With a faster lens, you have less trouble with motion blur, the viewfinder of the SLR is brighter, and you can play more with depth of field. That argument doesn’t work with a wide-angle lens: there, the depth of field is so great that the higher brightness of the 10-22 mm does not lead to a more beautiful background blur compared to the 10-18 mm.
Difference in finish. The more expensive Canon 10-22 mm is equipped with a window with a distance indicator; the 10-18 mm doesn’t. A silver or a black ring with the focal length is a matter of taste.
A higher brightness can justify a price difference of 200 to 300 euros, because it’s much harder to make a sharp bright lens than a less bright lens that’s equally sharp. The Canon 50 mm f/1.8, for example, costs less than a hundred euros, while the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 costs a bit over three hundred euros. For a Canon 70-200 mm f/4 you pay just about half of what you put down for a Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 (around 1,100 euros without image stabilization).
Image stabilization: major plus point for Canon 10-18 mm
Canon has in recent months released a number of zoom lenses (16-35 mm f/4 and 24-70 mm f/4), which is 1 stop less bright than the top model (16-35 mm f/2.8 and 24-70 mm f/2.8 MK2), but unlike the top model are equipped with image stabilization. Because you win 3 stops with image stabilization, you can use the less expensive models with image stabilization longer in the dark to get shots without motion blur than with the 1 stop faster top models—as long as the subject is not moving.
The same is true when comparing the 10-18 mm and the 10-22 mm. The built-in image stabilization of the 10-18 mm ensures that you can keep shooting in the dark longer than with the more expensive, slightly faster 10-22 mm.
That built-in image stabilization does not have to be expensive is proven by the Canon EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, which is for sale for less than a hundred euros. It’s possible that a 10-18 mm without built-in image stabilization would be 50 euros less expensive. Or a Canon 10-22 mm with built-in image stabilization—in theory—fifty more expensive.
Canon EF-S 10-22mm @ 22mm f/7.1, 1/100 sec, 400 ISO
Disadvantage of a premier: research costs money
You can compare the design of a new lens compare to developing a new drug. The research that it takes costs a lot of time and money. And that research money is refunded by the first customers. The Canon EF-S 10-22 mm was the first EF-S wide-angle zoom that was marketed at that time by Canon, with a much wider angle than any other Canon lenses. When Canon began with the development of the 10-18 mm, they could build on the knowledge and experience that was gained from the 10-22 mm and the latest STM lenses. Maybe this is a major cause of the spectacularly low price of Canon 10-18 mm.
It’s not yet clear, because the Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8 MK2 is, for example, more recent and yet noticeably more expensive than the Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8.
Canon EF-S 10-22mm @ 10mm f/5, 1/60 sec, 400 ISO
Canon 10-22 vs 10-18: Image quality
If you’re looking at image quality, see our Canon 10-18 mm review and Canon 10-22 mm review; then you’ll see that the 10-18 mm gives nothing up on any point to the 10-22 mm. In terms of sharpness, they’re neck and neck. the 10-18mm in our test shows a more uniform sharpness when you compare it with the 10-22mm. The 10-22mm shows slightly higher center sharpness than the 10-18mm. Because it is more difficult to make a sharp fast lens, the 10-22mm eventually scores slightly higher for resolution. Below we will show several 100% crop sample images.
Because during our review there was no lens correction profile available for the 10-18 mm, but there was for the Canon 10-22 mm, it seems at first—if you compare the WYSIWYG scores—as if the Canon 10-22 mm suffers less from chromatic aberration or vignetting. The WYSIWYG score for chromatic aberration, which is based on jpg files in which all available corrections are applied, is better for the 10-22 mm, but as soon as a lens profile correction for the 10-18 mm is available, after an update to the Canon software, these differences will disappear. If you look at the scores for RAW files, where no corrections are applied, then the differences between the lenses are not significant. Vignetting, chromatic aberration and distortion are also easy to correct in Lightroom or Photoshop.
In some practice shots, the chromatic aberration in uncorrected RAW files from the 10-22 mm was higher than from the 10-18 mm, as you can see in the following image.
10-18mm vs 10-22mm: comparison of sharpness
Even shown at 100%, the difference in sharpness between the two lenses is difficult for some to see, but it is visible to the naked eye. Normally you never compare so directly. The 10-22mm in our test showed a higher center sharpness and the 10-18mm more uniform sharpness from center to corner. A fair comparison is if you set the 10-22mm at the same aperture as the 10-18mm. Then the sharpness of the corner 10-22mm is closer in the neighborhood of 10-18mm.
Click here for a comparison of the center sharpness withe the apertures wide open (f/4 for the 10-22mm and f/5 for the 1-0-18mm). Move your mouse over the image above for a comparison of the corner sharpness.
Click here for a comparison of the center sharpness with the apertures wide open. Move your mouse over the image above for a comparison of the corner sharpness. To sum up, you can say that the image quality of the 10-18 mm is equal to, if not better than, the image quality of the 10-22 mm. Many photographers attach greater importance to a uniform sharpness from center to corner. Then, the 10-18mm performs even better than the 10-22mm.
Inexpensive wide angle is……….. a joy to work with
How important is the difference in zoom range? The difference in focal length between 18 mm and 22 mm is much smaller than the difference between a 10 mm or 12 mm lens. The 10-18 mm also works perfectly with the zoom range of the 18-55 mm kit lens. And if I look at the EXIF information of the many shots that I made with the 10-22 mm on holiday, then it seems that I used this lens by far the most at 10 mm.
It sounds strange, but the difference in minimum distance of 22 cm (10-18 mm) or 24 cm (10-22 mm) does make a visible difference. At a focal length of 10 mm, a picture taken at 22 cm distance delivers a surprising perspective. I do have to include the side note there that you will probably make few shots at this distance.
Canon EF-S 10-18mm @ 10mm f/8, 1/30 sec, 3200 ISO
“What ‘s it gonna be boy, ‘Yes or no?'”
Paradise by the dashboard light, Meatloaf
Should you buy a Canon 10-18 mm?
The answer is a resounding: Yes.
We started with the question of whether there was a catch, with the price difference between the Canon 10-22 mm and the Canon 10-18 mm. The answer is no. There are a few arguments for the higher price of the 10-22 mm. But in terms of image quality, the 10-18 mm is at least as good as the 10-22 mm, if not better. The built-in image stabilization of the 10-18 mm allows for more sharp images in low light, and the STM AF motor of 10-18 mm, for silent video shots. It’s a nice bonus that the 10-18 mm is also more compact and lighter than the 10-22 mm.
If I found a 10-22 mm for the same price as a 10-18 mm, new or used, I would still buy the Canon 10-18 mm.