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Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Evaluation


Introduction

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM is an affordable wide-angle to telephoto all-in-one zoom lens for Canon EOS R APS-C mirrorless cameras that’s well suited to travel, wildlife and macro photography.

It offers an equivalent zoom range of 29-240mm in 35mm full-frame terms and features 17 elements in 13 groups, including one ultra-low dispersion elements and two aspherical elements to help control chromatic aberrations and distortion.

There is a Super Spectra Coating to reduce flare and ghosting and a 7 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image.

The Optical Image Stabilizer provides up to 4.5 stops of compensation, increasing up to 7 stops when used with certain EOS R camera bodies which have an In-Body Image Stabilizer (IBIS).

It offers a minimum focusing distance of 12cm / 4.7″ and an impressive half life-size maximum magnification ratio of 0.59x, whilst using cost effective 55mm filters.

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens is available now priced at £519.99 / $499 in the UK and the US, respectively. It is made in Taiwan.

Ease of Use

Weighing in at just 310g / 10.9 ounces and measuring 8.45cm / 5 inches in length, the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM is a very small and very light ultra- zoom lens given the versatile 8.33x focal range that is on offer.

It feels very well balanced when used with a mid-sized camera body like the Canon EOS R7 body that we tested it with, as shown in the product photos below.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

Build quality is fine for such an affordable lens. Despite its all-plastic construction, including the lens mount, the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM feels solid enough in your hand.

The lens has an extendable design, so the barrel gradually extends up to an additional 4cm when the focal length is set to 150mm, being shortest at the 18mm focal length.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

Note that this lens does not have a weather-resistant design to help protect it against dust and moisture.

There is an optical image stabilizer built-in to this lens, though, which can only be switched On and Off using the camera’s menu system rather than via a dedicated switch on the side of the lens barrel.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

This offers up to 4.5-stops of protection against blur from camera shake, increasing to 7 stops when paired with an EOS R camera body that has IBIS, like the EOS R7 that we tested the lens with.

If you’re not using the focusing ring for manual focusing, you can change its operation to be the Lens Control Ring instead, although you again have to delve into the camera menu to do so because there’s no dedicated Focus/Control switch on the side of the lens barrel as on some Canon lenses.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

In this Control setting, the ring can be used to control certain key camera settings (TV, AV, ISO and exposure settings) instead of the focusing.

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens has a very narrow fly-by-wire focus ring with a knurled grip band.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

There are no hard stops at either ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity.

Note that this lens usefully offers full-time manual focusing even when AF is selected.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

In use the manual focusing system is virtually silent, which makes it suitable for both recording video and shooting stills.

Polariser users should be pleased that the sensible 55mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

When it comes to auto-focusing, the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM is quite a snappy performer thanks to the STM motor, taking around 0.10 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS R7 camera.

Despite the slow maximum apertures, we didn’t experience too much “hunting” at all, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing most of the time, thanks to the superb low-light capabilities of the EOS R cameras.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

The STM motor is also virtually silent in AF mode, which makes this lens well-suited to auto-focusing during video recording.

There is a petal shaped lens hood (EW-60F) and a soft case (LP1016) available for this lens, but disappointingly both are optional extras that aren’t included in the box.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

Focal Range

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM’s focal length of 18mm provides an angle of view of 74° 20′.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

18mm

The focal length of 150mm provides an angle of view of 10° 25′.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

150mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not especially apparent in our test shots, only appearing in very high contrast areas.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

18mm

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

150mm

Vignetting

With the lens set to its maximum aperture, there is some obvious light fall-off in the corners of both JPEG and RAW files, requiring you to stop down by at least 2 f-stops to prevent it.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

18mm – JPEG

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

18mm – RAW

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

150mm – JPEG

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

150mm – RAW

Distortion

There’s a huge amount of barrel distortion evident in both the JEPG and RAW files at the 18mm focal length. Thankfully the other end of the zoom range exhibits less pincushion distortion.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

18mm – JPEG

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

18mm – RAW

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

150mm – JPEG

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

150mm – RAW

Sunstars and Flare

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM is capable of creating fairly nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/22-40, as shown below, although it is quite prone to flare when shooting directly into the sun.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

Macro

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM offers a useful minimum focusing distance of 12cm / 4.7″ when the focal length is set to 18mm and manual focus is used.

It also offers an impressive half life-size maximum magnification of 0.59x available when the focal length is set to 35mm and manual focus is used.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

In the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens, Canon have employed an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in quite nice bokeh in our view, especially at the longer focal lengths.

We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included lots of examples below for your perusal.

Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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