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Canon 18-135mm STM EF-S IS (2012-today) © 2012 All rights reserved.

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Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 (works only on Canon"s small-format (1.6x) cameras, 67mm filters, 16.4 oz./464g, 1.3"/0.39m close focus, about $550 new, or about $400 used). enlarge. This free website"s biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially these links directly to it at Adorama or at Amazon, or used at eBay, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken.

October 2012 Canon Reviews Canon Lenses All Reviews

Video Sample Files


Intro Specs PerformanceRecommendations

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The Canon 18-135mm STM is a great do-everything lens with effortlessly silent and extremely fast autofocusing

The older 18-135mm EF-S IS lens was the only lens I needed to shoot everything for two weeks in Maui in 2010. With this one lens on a Canon 1.6x camera, you"re done.

I never needed any other lens for anything, and this 18-135mm is easy to pack, handle and shoot. You never need to take it off your camera. As experienced photographers know, if you can"t catch it with 135mm on small format (equivalent to just over 200mm on full-frame), a longer lens won"t save you: you need to get closer! In other words, don"t worry about this lens "only" going to 135mm instead of 200mm. If 135mm isn"t long enough, nothing will be.

This new STM lens is an inch shorter and adds a zoom lock and instant manual-focus override to the older 18-135mm EF-S IS lens, however manual focus is electronic. The focus ring isn"t connected to anything, and there is a tiny time delay between when you move the ring and the lens moving. The speed at which the lens moves isn"t directly related to how far or how fast you turn the ring, so it"s weird. It"s not as good as having a real manual focus ring like the 15-85mm, 17-55mm or 17-85mm.

Another huge improvement from the older 18-135mm EF-S IS is that the zoom range from 24mm to 18mm has been spread-out on the zoom ring, so it"s much easier to set precise wide-angle framing. On the old lens, it was very cramped at the wide end.


As a Canon EF-S lens, this 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM works only with Canon"s mini-format (1.6x) digital SLRs.

It is useless for 35mm, full-frame and 1.3x cameras; it won"t even mount on them.

Specifications top

Intro Specs PerformanceRecommendations


Canon calls this the CANON ZOOM LENS EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM.

EF means "electronic focus," meaning that there is an autofocus motor in the lens itself. All Canon lenses since 1987 have been EF.

-S means "small-format only," meaning that this lens only works on, and only attaches to, Canon"s small-format (1.6x) digital cameras. It does not work with, and will not attach to, any other Canon camera.

IS is Image Stabilization, meaning you can leave the tripod at home.

STM means Stepper (AF) Motor.


16 elements in 12 groups.

5 zoom groups.


Internal focus.

Front group moves during zoom.



Canon 18-135mm STM at 18mm and f/3.5. (EF diaphragm not visible).

7 rounded blades.

Round for the first couple of stops, heptagonal from there on.

Stops down to f/22-36.

Close Focustop

1.3 feet (0.39 m) from the image plane.

Hard Infinity Focus Stop? top


You have to let the AF system dial you in.

Focus Scaletop


The manual focus ring turns continuously without mechanical stops.

Depth-of-Field Scaletop


Infra-Red Focus Indextop


Filter Threadtop



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Moves in and out with zoom, but never rotates.


Canon specifies 3.1" (76.6 mm) diameter by 3.8 " (96.0 mm) long.

The older 18-135mm was longer at 3.1" (77.7mm) diameter by 4.8 " (123.0mm) long.


16.380 oz. (464.35g), measured.

Canon specifies 16.9 oz. (480g).

The older 18-135 IS measures 15.940 oz. (451.9g).


Plastic bayonet EW-73B ($26), not included.

I wouldn"t bother getting one, they don"t do much but do get in your way.


$25 LP1116, not included.


Standard (not "ULTRASONIC") Canon 67mm ET-67 front cap.

Standard EOS cap rear.


07 June 2012, 12:09 AM, New York City time.


October 2012: $550 new, or about $400 used over eBay.

June 2012: Sold only as a kit with the Canon T4i, or about $400 used over eBay.


Canon 18-135 STM EF-S. enlarge.


Intro Specs PerformanceRecommendations

OverallAutofocus Color Distortion Ergonomics

Eyeblow Falloff Filters Lateral Color Fringes

Maximum Aperture Mechanics

Sharpness Sunstars Video Sample Files

Overall performance top

The Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM is a handy lens for everything.

Its zoom range covers everything I might need.

Autofocus performance top

Autofocus is silent and super-fast. The lens" motor is completely silent, much quieter than the 40mm f/2.8 STM.

Auto/Manual Switching

Just grab the ring at any time in ONE SHOT for instant manual-focus override.

Only move the AF-MF switch to MF to lock it into manual focus.

AF Speed

AF is pretty much instantaneous at every focal length.

AF Accuracy and Consistency

I always got perfect autofocus on a Canon T4i.

Does focus hold while zoomed?

No; focus drifts as zoomed, so focus after zooming.

Manual Focus

Manual focus is electronic.

It only works if the camera is on and awake.

The focus ring is merely an input to a computer, which then moves the lens as it sees fit. Therefore, sadly there is a slight delay in response, and the actual speed of the focus never quite matches what you"re trying to do.

Video autofocus on the T4i

This lens on the T4i offers the best DSLR video autofocus I"ve yet experienced, but it"s still not as good as a camcorder.

Video Sample Files performance top

Here"s a sample 25MB video clip, made with the T4i at It looks very good, when it"s in focus.

Here"s another 19MB file of Ryan defying death with the same settings, and at these speeds, it still tracks just fine. It took a while for Ryan to wait for me to get focus reasonably locked before I started to roll, but once locked and rolling, it worked fine.

In all fairness, while other DSLRs are nearly useless for making video with autofocus of things that move (the whole point of video), the video and autofocus of the T4i with this lens is pretty useful. It will catch my kids doing most things other than running around in circles.

There is no sound from the lens while it focuses, whoo hoo!

Color Balance performance top

I see no difference in color balance between this EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM and my other EF lenses.

Distortion performance top

The Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM has the usual distortion for this kind of lens: horrendous barrel distortion at 18mm, and strong pincushion distortion at most other focal lengths. It only goes away around 24mm.