Review Canon EF-S 18-135 mm 3.5-5.6 IS (C APS-C)

canon 18-135 mm review

canon 18-135 mm review

In 1985, long before the Canon 18-135 mm was released, the first 28-210 mm zoom entered the market,

designed for analog miniature reflexes. Soon, the lens got followers and the name “vacation zoom” was soon coined because of the sheer convenience. If you switch that zoom range to a digital SLR camera equipped with an APS-C image sensor, you reach a range of about 18-135 mm. For many forms of photography, a larger zoom range is not necessary. Not all brands have an 18-135 mm in the program. Canon entered the market in 2009 with an 18-135 mm, which is often sold with a camera. The Canon 18-135 mm is the major competitor to the Canon 18-200 mm .

canon 18-135 mm bij 18 mm
FOV Canon 18-135mm @18 mm
canon 18-135 mm bij 135 mm
FOV Canon 18-135mm @135 mm
canon 18-135
@135 mm/8.0
Canon 18-135 mm review
@135 mm/8.0

Construction and autofocus

The zoom ring and focus ring of the Canon 18-135 mm run very light and the whole feels somewhat “plasticy.” The filter does not rotate and the mount is made of metal. Canon uses no USM drive as we are used to from Canon. Yet focusing is sufficiently easy but clearly audible. Focusing from 15 meters to 1.5 meters with a Canon 600D takes 0.24 seconds. In low light the camera sometimes commutes. {insertgrid ID = 289}

Canon 18-135 Image stablization

The effectiveness of the integrated image stabilization is measured at a focal length of 135 mm. The gain delivered by the Canon 18-135mm image stabilization is almost 4 stops, which is bad for such a cheap lens.


Vignetting Canon 18-135 mm

The vignetting of the Canon 18-135 mm, expressed in stops, is high at full aperture in the wide angle. With the right software, the vignetting can be controlled.


Canon 18-135mm Distortion

The distortion of the Canon 18-135mm, expressed as a percentage, is high at all focal lengths with a peak at 18 mm. Without correction by software, the Canon 18-135 is not a lens to photograph buildings with straight gutters and rain pipes. distortion-canon-18-135-mm-aps-c


In backlight, you come across flare everywhere. This ensures softening of the image. In addition, sharp lined ghosting can occur.
canon 18-135 mm overstraling  canon 18-135 mm overstraling 2



The resolution of the Canon 18-135 mm, expressed in LW.PH, reaches reasonably good values in the center at all apertures at f/5.6 and f/8.0. At nearly all focal lengths and apertures, the corner resolution stays behind much.

Click on the image to see all Imatest data.


Chromatic aberration


At 18, 28 and 135 mm, the chromatic aberration is too high at nearly all apertures. This lens error shown by the Canon 18-135mm can be corrected well by software.

Click on the image to see all Imatest data.


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Canon EF-S 18-135 mm 3.5-5.6 IS

canon 18-135 mm productfoto


See our overview of tested lenses or our overview of tested lenses with a Canon mount to compare the performances of this lens with other lenses.


  • Effective image stabilization
  • Favorable zoom range
  • Favorable retail price


  • High distortion, especially at 18 mm
  • High vignetting at 18 mm
  • Low resolution in the corners
  • High chromatic aberration

The Canon 18-135 mm is provided with an effective stabilization, and due to the wide zoom range practical in use. The speed is limited and in terms of resolution, vignetting and distortion, this lens performs only very moderately. The Canon 15-85 mm and Sigma 17-70 mm offer more but at a higher price. The low price of the Canon 18-135 mm ensures a reasonable price/quality ratio.


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