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Comparing Canon 10-22mm and 10-18mm Ultra Wide Zoom Lenses

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Canon is a very popular manufacturer who produces two different ultra wide angle lenses for the EOS Rebel line. These two are very similar in focal length and in focal ratio. Which lens is right for you? Find out now.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens
This ultra wide angle lens covers more focal length range. At the widest, it is 10mm. This allows a substantial field of view to be captured. At the high end, it offers 22mm of focal length. This allows the photographer to zoom in. When you consider that the standard kit lens, (the one that usually ships with the camera), is 17-55mm, this lens is a good substitute. It is much wider than the standard lens and covers almost half of the upper range. This gives it quite a lot of flexibility.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs
Amazon Price: $649.00 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 7, 2014)
The more expensive of the two ultra wide zoom lenses.

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

The alternate ultra wide angle lens is a more specialized unit. While it does cover the same wide field of view at the 10mm end, it stops at 18mm. This makes it less flexible, especially compared to the standard kit lens. As such, this unit will be more of a special purpose tool. Photographers will use it in those circumstances where a wide shot is best. This would include landscape or crowd photography. Because it lacks a long range, it is less useful for capturing details.

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
Amazon Price: $299.99 $299.00 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 7, 2014)
The less expensive model which offers tremendous value for most owners.

Lens Compatibility

Both of the Canon ultra wide angle lenses described here are made for the Rebel line of digital single lens reflex cameras. They will not fit on the other Canon digital cameras such as the 5d or 6d. The lenses do fit the T5i and 70D cameras.

Focal Ratio Performance
Each of these lenses is only moderately fast. That means that they are not as capable of capturing a good image in low light conditions without assistance. For landscape photography, a tripod will be very helpful in this cases. The tripod will allow the lens to be used with a much slower shutter speed.

Indoor photography with lenses of this focal ratio is also somewhat difficult. A tripod may be helpful for longer exposures. Of course with moving subjects such as people or animals, action may be blurred. This may require a flash unit to be used to help capture good images.

Note that the focal ratio changes through the zoom range. Each lense is slower as it is zoomed in. At the highest levels, a full stop less is available. This, again, mandates the use of a tripod, flash unit, or both, for optimal image capturing. The tripod, or flash, adds light to improve the image. The tripod allows a longer exposure to be taken, of stationary objects. The flash provides more light during a short exposure.

Very Good Tripod

Best Selling Flash Unit

Cost Differences

The Canon 10-22mm ultra wide lens is significantly more expensive than the 10-18mm model. In fact, it is hundreds of dollars more expensive. You might logically expect the more expensive unit to be better. After all, we are conditioned to believe that pricier objects are always of better quality, and thus more desirable. This is not necessarily the case with lenses.

Every lens is a trade off. Some work better in low light conditions than others. Some have more zoom capability. The focus motors can be different. Each of the different parameters affects the price. While it may well be true that the more expensive lens is better, the difference may not be worth the cost premium to you. That's especially true if you understand the limitations of the cheaper unit, and you can live with them.

The less expensive model is slower. That means that it reacts less to low light. As mentioned, however, a tripod or flash unit can rectify the exposure problem. For example, if both are used to take a photograph of a woodland scene, the cheaper lens will need exposure help more often. Of course, the cheaper model has Image Stabilization, ("IS"), and the other doesn't. This can help in low light situations.

Image Stabilization, ("IS")
The 10-18mm lens is equipped with image stabilization. This feature allows the camera to compensate for some movement during shooting. The effect is fairly subtle, however. What it means, in a practical sense, is that a photographer can shoot a slower exposure by hand than they might normally be able to do. The image stabilization will adjust the shot so that minor movements are automatically eliminated. This can allow a nice photo to be taken at less than 1/60 of a second. Despite the slow shutter speed, the camera will capture a stable image. This reduces the impact of the slower focal ratio.

Focal Length Difference
The two lenses have different zoom amounts. The difference, though, is only 4mm. While this may seem like a very small amount, it is a fair percentage of the entire range. In practice, the more expensive unit, which covers up to 22mm, is a little more flexible. It can be used more as a general purpose lens. The cheaper unit, covering up to 18mm, is strictly an ultra wide photographic tool. Since most photographers who own this lens have another lens or two, the specialized nature of the cheaper model should not present a problem in the field.

Top Owner Review Comment Covering the Canon 10-22mm Ultra Wide Lens
One satisfied owner reports that this lens seems to be an "L" quality, or professional, unit, in a regular package. It has excellent optical performance. With it, they can create supurb images. This lens, although optically slow, offers better performance in all lighting conditions that the ultra wide Tamron model.

Top Owner Review Comment Covering the Canon 10-18mm Ultra Wide Lens
An owner reports that this lens is easy to use in the field. The zoom feature works well. The image stabilization allows for compensation equivalent to two f-stops. While the image sharpness is slightly soft in the corners, stopping down the lens to f/8 will resolve the issue.

Canon 10-18mm Video Review

Canon 10-22mm Video Review

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