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Lens review

Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS

20 July 2009
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • light weight and compact size
  • good picture resolution in the middle as well as at the corner of the frame
  • not very problematic chromatic aberration
  • good performance against bright light
  • well controlled coma
  • reasonable autofocus performance
  • image stabilization
  • reasonable price

Cons:
  • slight focal plane tilt which results in small, however measurable, differences in chromatic aberration and resolution levels between the two sides of the frame
  • noticeable astigmatism
  • relatively large vignetting for all focal lengths
  • too much plastic in its body


When writing the summary of this particular lens we can easily say that we get what we paid for. After spending less than 300 USD we can get a lens with a good resolution at the whole focal length range, with well controlled chromatic aberration and optical stabilization – maybe not being 4EV, but still relatively effective. At the risk of being honestly blunt (as I tend to do in my reviews), I sincerely think that the Canon 55-250 IS is a better choice for amateurs than its competitor, the Nikkor 55-200 VR. In many categories, the Canon’s performance is the same, in couple of them its even better and it offers a wider focal length range.

The plastic body, which first looked like it could prove sturdier for long-term use, significantly reduces our enthusiasm. Inside the body we find a lot of looseness, which results in the different resolution and chromatic aberration levels between the right and left side of the frame. Let’s say we want to photograph the object on the right side of the frame. Knowing that the aberration on the left side of the frame, at the particular aperture, is smaller we have four choices:

  • turn the camera upside down
  • resolve to never buy any more plastic lenses
  • decide not to take a picture
  • come to the conclusion that these defects are unavoidable in this class of equipment

The choice, my dear readers, is up to you!

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Sample shots:

Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 55 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/50 sek., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.9 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 131 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/200 sek., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.4 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 250 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/125 sek., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.2 MB
Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 55 mm, f/9.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 4.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 55 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/5000 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.6 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/125 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.5 MB
Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 130 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.0 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 208 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.4 MB
Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 250 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.0 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 55 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.9 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 250 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.0 MB




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