Photozone, one of the web's most-trusted resources for reviews dealing with interchangeable camera lenses, has just posted an in-depth review of the new Canon 10-18 f4-5.6 STM IS lens, which is the first truly affordable name brand ultrawide lens on the market, and the first to incorporate a stabilizer, too.
So, how does it do in practice? Short answer: very well.
Optically, the lens is really good. In terms of sharpness, the lens is good right from the get-go at all apertures across the focal range, with the corners only slightly lagging behind the center. The lens does sharpen a little through f5.6 at 18mm but, at all other apertures, peak sharpness is achieved wide open. As for chromatic aberration and distortion, both are very well controlled and should not present any real problems. Vignetting? If there is a weakness to this lens, it's here as the shading is over 1 stop darker in the corners until one reaches f8 (except at 10mm, where it does not drop below 1EV until f11). The stabilizer? Canon claims 4 added f-stops of steadyness.
Mechanically, this is where Canon obviously cut some costs. Why? The lens is made entirely out of plastic, even the mount. While not a good thing in terms of durability, Photozone does note that there is no wobbling in any of the moving parts. In addition, the rings move smoothly and the front element does not rotate, both of which are good things. Focus is controlled by a stepper motor, which provides fast, accurate focus with full time manual override capability, too.
Overall conclusion: high praise despite the shading and build quality shortcomings. Why? This lens retails for a mere $300, which is half the price of the 10-22mm ultrawide. Oh yes, the 10-18 adds a stabilizer, too.
My take: if you need an ultrawide lens, look no farther!
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