Photography Notebook Photography Notebook: EF-S Lenses

With interchangeable lenses, you can capture a variety of views in photos. My goal in buying lenses initially was to cover the various focal lengths used in photography--ranging from ultra-wide angle to telephoto focal lengths. As I've gained more experience, I've gotten to know the focal lengths I use often, the performance of different kinds of lenses, and what works best for the kind of shots I like. This page reviews the EF-S lenses I got specifically for my Rebel cameras. See the page on lenses for my full frame camera. Note that the EF-S lenses won't work on the full-frame camera, but the EF lenses do work on the Rebel cameras.

My EF-S Lens Summary

This chart shows the lenses I have and characteristics including their full-frame equivalent focal length (due to the cropfactor of my camera) and supplies for them.

Lensfull-frame focal lengthfiltersother
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR 16 mm - 35 mm 77 mm UV filter CIR-PL filter IR filter ND filters Adapter Ring hood
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR 29 mm - 88 mm 58 mm UV filter Adapter Ring hood
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD 29 mm - 216 mm 67 mm UV filter Adapter Ring hood
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM 50 mm 62 mm UV filter Adapter Ring hood included
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS 88 mm - 400 mm 58 mm UV filter Adapter Ring hood

Kit Lens

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens usually is sold with the Rebel XSi (hence can be called the "kit" lens, that is, the lens sold with the camera "kit" itself). This is a great lens, because it gives you a way to take photos in the range of what is considered normal focal length plus dabble a bit in wide angle and telephoto at the ends of the spectrum.

At first, I thought because this lens was included with the camera it was somehow not as useful as specialized lenses that I might purchase. However, I've learned that this is an absolutely fantastic lens for many situations. As I've learned more how to use camera controls properly, I get more out of this lens.

Here is a shot I took with this Kit Lens:

Aradia of Las Vegas

Unfortunately, I had a little accident--I dropped my camera as I was going up some stairs, and I broke this kit lens. The filter saved the front glass from breaking, but the blow broke the lens internals. The camera body was fine. Rather than buying a new kit lens to replace it, I bought the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD Lens.

In the future, if I buy another Canon DSLR camera, I will buy the camera body only (without the kit lens, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens). I therefore don't recommend buying this lens if you don't already have it--nothing wrong with it, but I feel the money is better spent on the coverage offered by the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD, covered in the next section.

"18-135mm" Lens

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS UD lens replaces the focal lengths of the kit lens (and thus is a good replacement if you don't have the kit lens) plus adds to the telephoto range.

mke-2010-02-18 355.JPG

This lens combines the capabilities of the kit lens (18 mm to 55 mm) with the additional zoom to 135 mm. Here are three photos at 18 mm, 57 mm, and 135 mm:

mke-2010-02-19 074.JPG mke-2010-02-19 077.JPG mke-2010-02-19 080.JPG

This is a fantastic general-purpose lens for taking photos of the city. If I had to take just one lens on a trip, it would be this one--it gives me a great range of focal lengths for all kinds of situations. If you buy a Canon Rebel body only (without the kit lens), I recommend getting this lens as your starter lens.

"Sigma 30" Lens

I have found that one of my niches in photography is low-light indoor photography for different meetings as well as dance photography. For both of these applications, I was interested in a low f value prime lens. I got a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lens for Canon cameras. After using this lens for a while, I recognize it as essential for low-light and dance (fast motion) indoor photography or outdoor night photography.

dance-2010-05-15 117.JPG Sophie

I'm still learning how to use this lens effectively, but I am absolutely amazed how well it works in low light and for shutter speeds around 1/400 or so.

"Nifty Two Fifty" Lens

I read great reviews of the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens, so I purchased one from Amazon.com. I was pleased in particular that this lense works so well to zoom into subjects. This lens gives very clear photos.

At the Lakeshore

Here are photos of the moon taken with this lens:

Earth's Moon as taken at 250 mm Earth's Moon

I find that the best application for this lens is for parades--where I want to zoom in parts of a scene that I otherwise can't get close to:

mke-2009-11-07 247.JPG Ernie mke-2010-03-13 079.JPG

Wide Angle Lens

I enjoy wide-angle views, and so I got a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs wide-angle lens.

This wide-angle lense allows me to get a whole building facade in a single shot from across the street:

Mitchell Building

Note that I would really need to optically correct the above shot in software to compensate for the "backward leaning" appearance of the building.

I find that this wide-angle lens is good to dramatically pull in an entire scene or for "big head" photos:

South Fountain Metra Trains at Union Station Shaia poses in the park

After working with these EF-S lenses for about four years, I decided to start getting some EF lenses in preparation for getting a full-frame camera.

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2012-10-23 · John December · Contact · Terms of Use © December Communications, Inc.