Gear Review: Canon 10-18mm 4.5-5.6

Just this week I received my first lens upgrade. Because June 2016 is a three pay period month, I was able to invest my extra pay period into gear for my newspaper job, my weekend of photography at my uncle’s wedding and hopefully a future side-job doing real estate photography. At the recommendation of a real estate photography website, I picked up an affordable wide angle lens. Without further ado, here is my Canon 10-18mm 4.5-5.6 review

The Canon 10-18 mm is a variable wide angle lens with a fairly friendly price. Other wide angle lenses by canon cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500, maybe more. The comparable 10-22mm 3.5-4.5 is the next step up from the 10-18mm, and at least double the price at $649. It has some advantages including a 2mm of extra zoom and a bigger aperture available, but the two are very close as far as technical specs.

I’ve only had the lens a few days. I have used it to take photos of a woman in her new shoe shop. The shop is tiny with not much space between walls. The results are below.

My first ever photo with my new lens.
My first ever photo with my new lens.

This photo I took more effectively uses the wide angle function of my new lens. I could have used it to similar affect for the above photo, but didn’t. I like the restricted depth of field, which is surprisingly shallow even though my aperture for this lens doesn’t go wide.

This is Bill, our new investigative reporter who arrived just in time to go undercover for a local "duck race" event. Notice how the action camera on his back is blurred. I didn't expect this quality of blur from such a large f number.
This is Bill, our new investigative reporter who arrived just in time to go undercover for a local “duck race” event. Notice how the action camera on his back is blurred. I didn’t expect this quality of blur from such a large f number.

My biggest gripes with this photo have nothing to do with the lens. In retrospect, I should have had my subject step up even closer to the front of my lens. I have a wide angle to use, so having her stand close would not have blocked out the surrounding space, but it would have given her even more of the focus. Overall, I was satisfied with the field of view. The lens performed well.

Now, there are some weaknesses to the lens. The biggest weakness I know of is simply the aperture. The Canon 24mm has a 2.8 aperture, non variable, at a higher price. the 10-18 requires a lot more light, but you do trade off with the ability to zoom some. They make up for it just a little with an IS (Image Stabilization) function. I haven’t tested it out, but other online reviews really praise the IS.

Because of the maximum 4.5 aperture, I will be limited in the settings where I can use this lens. No fast moving basketball players. Little children running around at an indoor festival are probably out too. I will need to crank the ISO up to make some situations work, but there will be great opportunities where this will also be useful.

I feel that standing at the starting line of a 5k with this lens would work fine. The bright sunlight will overcome any aperture limitations. Similarly, in the real estate field, the walls of a room aren’t moving too fast, so I should be able to manage good photos.

The biggest perk is the price. It was still a very big purchase for me, especially since it was a little uncharacteristically unplanned. It is possible I made a mistake in purchasing this lens without thinking longer on the idea, but it is also possible that getting it now was wiser than taking out a loan to buy camera gear to start a side business. However, due to the price, I am less likely to regret it later. The lens will come in handy, and I might possibly be able to write it off in my taxes.

This lens has been a reasonable expense to expand my photographic capabilities. Currently, my camera gear includes a kit lens (18-55mm 3.5-5.6) with a complement of filters and a lens hood, a homemade tilt-shift lens, a Lenovo 3-d lens that is technically on loan from work, and that’s about it. The only one I could maybe use for work is the tilt-shift, but I have a feeling the t/s images it produces would be too big an alteration to the reality of my photos. Now, with my 10-18mm, I have another option. If I am smart I will also invest in a 50mm 1.8 some time and maybe a pancake 1.4 lens for really dark settings. It’s about time I invest in improving my photo equipment.

Here is a comparison of my kit lens and my new wide angle lens in our office.

This photo is with my new 10-18mm lens. I set up my tripod for these comparison shots, so this is taken from the exact same position as the kit lens photo. You get several more feet of the room in this photo versus the kit lens. In small, cramped spaces this lens should work quite nicely.
This photo is with my new 10-18mm lens. I set up my tripod for these comparison shots, so this is taken from the exact same position as the kit lens photo. You get several more feet of the room in this photo versus the kit lens. In small, cramped spaces this lens should work quite nicely.
This photo is with the kit lens that came with my camera. Until now, all of my photos were taken with this lens or a lens borrowed from work. It is zoomed out fully, and you may notice that it crops the room out quite a bit.
This photo is with the kit lens that came with my camera. Until now, all of my photos were taken with this lens or a lens borrowed from work. It is zoomed out fully, and you may notice that it crops the room out quite a bit.

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