Canon EF-S 55-250mm Lens Review

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We first heard of this lens during one of our visits to our local Canon shop. We were just browsing through their list of lenses when we found the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS. We were surprised that it cost just under $300 considering its maximum focal length and the fact that it had Image Stabilization. We immediately pre-ordered it and they said that it was going to be delivered by mid-October. For some reason, we got ours nearing the end of December. Was it worth the wait?

Once you open the box, the only thing you will get is the lens unit and the manual. The lens hood (ET-60) is sold separately unlike the other more expensive Canon lenses.

The EF-S 55-250mm is the lightest and most compact in its class. Its weighs 340g which is just 15g heavier than Lisa’s EF 28-105 II USM. The lens feels really solid considering the build is mostly plastic. The focus ring has a smooth feel to it unlike the zoom ring that feels a little tight. This, however, can be a good thing since the lens does not suffer from zoom creep, meaning the zoom does not extend on its own when you point the camera down like other heavier telephoto lenses.

Canon claims that their Image Stabilization technology allows you to shoot up to four stops than what would usually be recommended to avoid shake. I can definitely tell you that this is true as seen by the photo below which was taken with very slow shutter speeds.

Taken at 171mm, f/5.6, 1/8

The image quality is excellent throughout the entire focal range. We have yet to encounter any barreling or chromatic aberration since we started using it. By rule of thumb, lenses are at their best when used near the midpoint of its focal length. With that being said, this is an excellent lens for people who love taking portraits since the recommended focal lengths for portrait use of 80-110mm is where the lens is at its best.

The only thing we noticed is that you will get some vignetting when shooting near its maximum length in low light. The lens is also constructed with a fully circular aperture that produces better bokeh effects. More on this here.

Taken at 250mm, f/20, 1/320
Taken at 250mm, f/20, 1/320

Since the lens does not have USM, its auto-focus motor does take a while to lock on in low light. This can be negated if the lens is paired with a fast focusing camera like the EOS 40D. The motor is also noticeably quieter than other non-USM lenses we own. We actually noticed the sound of the Image Stabilization more that the focusing mechanism.

So was it worth the three months of waiting? Yes it was. This is one of those times that you will actually get more than your money’s worth. The lens doesn’t disappoint, and it certainly won’t be leaving my camera anytime soon.

For a more technical, in-depth review, go here.

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