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A quick guide to the Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 all versionsWhich version of this f/3.5-5.6 lens do you have and how does it compare with the others?

There is regular confusion as to what version of Canon's standard 'kit lens' is fitted to cameras. The EF-S 18-55mm dates back to 2003, and by 2013 existed in eight different guises. Actually, there are (Nov 2013) nine versions, since in Japan, Canon announced a white version of the IS STM version to go with the white Kiss-7 (100D)

The latest STM version is optically the best, and quietest, if you want to shoot video.

The IS, IS II and III are next downwards in image quality and differ only in external deign and the lack of IS in the III (this model indentification causes the most confusion)

The USM, I, II USM and II are similar, differing in the focus motor type (the I and II appearing only as kit option lenses, i.e. originally available only in conjunction with a camera body)

If you have a choice, avoid the original versions. The lens is not of particularly high image quality, which is much more obvious on modern higher resolution cameras. Whilst software will ameliorate some issues, there is only so much you can do to 'fix' things.

Lens features                
Image stabilisation  No  Yes (4 stops)  No  Yes (4 stops)
Micro USM  Yes  No  Yes  No
Stepper motor  No  Yes
Internal focusing
Front of lens moves if not internal
 No  Yes
More obvious differences.

Note that there may be undocumented ones too

  Identical to the Mk I USM but without an ultrasonic motor Similar optics to the Mk I, but with changes to the shape of the zoom ring and the tapered area at the front of the lens Identical to the Mk II USM but without an ultrasonic motor Adds image stabilisation and improves image quality problems of the Mk I and II. Improved bokeh from new aperture blades. Identical to the IS I but with a revised external design Similar to the IS II but without image stabilisation Featuring a revised optical design and utilising stepper motor technology
Physical data
Weight 190 g 200 g 190 g 205 g
Diameter x Length
68.5 mm x 66 mm 68.5 mm x 70 mm 69.0 mm x 75.2 mm
Filter diameter 58 mm
Technical data
Groups/elements 9/11 11/13
Aperture blades 6 7
Min. focusing distance 0.28 m 0.25 m
Max. magnification 0.28x 0.34x
Lens hood EW-60C EW-63C
Case LP814 LP1016
Retail information
Announced Sept. 2003
(with 300D)
Feb. 2005
(with 350D)
Aug. 2007
(with 40D)
Feb. 2011
(with 600D)
Apr. 2013
Nov 2013 (W)
Price $239.99 Kit only $239.99 Kit only $199.99 Kit only $249.99
Current?  No  Yes

In February 2017, Canon announced a new EF-S18-55 f4-5.6 IS STM lens alongside the EOS 800D and EOS 77D

The lens widest aperture is reduced to f/4 and the lens is shortened.

It's 215 g but only 62mm long, retaining the same 58mm filter size.

new 18-55mm lens size comparison

Spotting which EF-S 18-55 you have

18-55 mk1 and USM

The non USM version was only found in kits

18-55 mk2 and USM

Note change of focus ring and taper at front.

The non USM version was only found in kits

18-55 IS
18-55 IS Mk2

Note lack of silver ring and lettering changes compared to original 18-55 IS

18-55 mk3

Note lack of IS switch compared to IS mk2

18-55 STM
15-55 f4-5.6 IS STM

Shorter than the previous f3.5-5.6 version


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