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Lunch » Tags » Photography » Reviews » Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras » User review

Lens For The Budget Conscious

  • Aug 14, 2010
The Canon EF-S 55-250mm is a perfect choice if you shoot mostly wide angle shots and don't want to blow a ton of money on a telephoto zoom lens that you only use occasionally. This lens offers you reasonably sharp photos at a very, very good price. Here's a more indepth evaluation of this lens.

- Sharpness
The sharpness is on par with that of the 18-55mm kit lens. In the right conditions, it's almost (but not quite) pro-grade. For a budget lens, it's really about as sharp as they come. I think it's safe to say in terms of sharpness this lens will satisfy all but the most fastidious of prosumers.

You best bet for seeing how sharp this lens is is to seek out professional review sites that show you a 100% crop of pictures taken with this lens and then decide for yourself.

- Chromatic Aberration (CA)
In bright sunlight, where chromatic aberration is most pronounced, the chromatic aberration on this lens is barely noticeable and probably imperceptible to the untrained eye. In more even lighting, this lens shows no signs of CA.

- Auto-Focus (AF)
The auto-focus is fast enough for still subjects, but for very fast-moving subjects, it's a hit-or-miss. I gave this lens a good workout shooting cheetahs running close to their top speeds at the Animal Ark, Reno, NV (OT: cheetahs can run at speeds of 70 mph or greater). Most of my shots came out blurry (and that's not due to motion blur) because the auto-focus wasn't fast enough.

Like the kit lens, the auto-focus has trouble in lowlight conditions. It also has trouble with surfaces that lack texture. The motor whirs back and forth trying to lock on to a focus. It can be a little annoying at times.

- Image Stabilization (IS)
The image stabilization is amazing, even at 250mm. Interestingly, you can hear a click when the image stabilization mechanism kicks in. For handheld shot, especially at the 250mm end, the IS is immensely helpful for steadying your shots. I'm very impressed. (Bear in mind, too, the rule of thumb: the shutter speed should be at least as fast as the reciprocal of the focal length.)

- Internal Focus (IF)
The lack of IF would not ordinarily be a problem unless you're using circular polarized filters. The turning of the barrel throws the filter out of adjustment, so you would have to readjust the filter after the subject is brought into focus.

- Build
In terns of build quality, the lens is built a lot like the kit lens. There are complaints that it looks plasticky - maybe so - but it doesn't look cheap to be sure. It's lightweight but it feels well-built and sturdy. The zoom ring feels tight, but not overly so, so there is no zoom creep.

- Alternative
Just FYI, the Canon EF 70-300mm is reputed to be sharper than this lens. You might want to give this lens some consideration if the focal range is right and if you can afford to splurge a little.

I suspect the Canon EF-S 55-250mm is the best mid-telephoto zoom lens you can get at this price. For the budget conscious, and for people who need telephoto zoom only once in a while, this lens is a very good choice.

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More Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 ... reviews
review by . June 02, 2010
I had owned Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (Black) for about a year when I decided that the standard lens that it came with was rather limited in terms of what sorts of shots I was able to take, especially when it came to taking pictures of distant object. I was not willing to spend too much money on any of the higher end professional or prosumer cameras. I needed something that would take decent photographs under the normal shooting condition, …
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About this digital camera


Incorporating Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer technology, this Canon 55-250mm telephoto zoom lens captures long distance, low-light shots far better than many comparable lenses, helping you photograph the far-off action of athletes or zoom in for an intimate portrait with a blurred background. The high-zoom-ratio lens is equivalent to a focal length of 88-400mm in the 35mm format (when used on Canon EOS cameras compatible with EF-S lenses). More significantly, the image stabilizer effect creates an equivalent shutter speed of roughly four stops faster than the same size lens without an image stabilizer. In other words, if the slowest shutter speed you can hold a 250mm lens steadily is normally 1/250th of a second, this Canon lens will let you hand-hold shutter speeds as slow as 1/15th of a second. The lens also boasts a UD-glass lens element to correct chromatic aberration to create excellent image quality throughout the zoom range. Delivering an excellent performance at an affordable price for all photographers, the 55-250mm lens carries a one-year warranty.


  • Focal length: 55-250mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/4 to f/5.6
  • Lens construction: 12 elements in 10 groups, including one UD-glass element
  • Diagonal angle of view: 27 degrees (at 50 feet) to 6 degrees (at 15 feet), with APS-C image sensors
  • Focus adjustment: DC motor, gear-driven (front focusing design)
  • Closest focusing distance: 3.6 feet (0.31x maximum close-up magnification)
  • Filter size: 58mm
  • ...
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