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Keywords: Canon EF-S Tele Zoom APS-C IS Stabilized Tested


Registered: May 2014
Posts: 3
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by rogerfonts
Review Date: 6/12/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $200.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Good sharpness, good range, cheap
Cons: Focusing might be a bit slow for moving subjects

I have had this lens for three years now and I am very satisfied with it. Altough it might not have the superb image quality of the 15-85 (at least for the colors), is sharp even at 250mm wide open. Bokeh is generally fine unless there are objects in the background that can make it harsh (like branches or so).

Build quality is not great and you have to care with the focusing ring when in autofocus, but hey for this price you can't complain.

Of course it is a bit slow and you have to set the aperture at 5.6 or higher if you want to work on manual mode. Autofocus is a bit slow sometimes, mostly when trying to get things that are moving very fast like birds or so. For not so fast objects it works fine.

Macro capabilities are quite great, plus at 250 the background gets "closer" and nicely blurred so it will probably interfere less in the picture. You have to be at 1 meter or further from your subject, which is generally fine and better than having to get very close to it.

All in all, you get good value for the price.

Some shots taken with this lens (some have been slightly cropped):

Registered: August 2012
Posts: 8
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by makcv113
Review Date: 8/19/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $150.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Quality for price, great in daylight
Cons: slow aperture, not good in lowlight, looks ugly

I needed a telephoto to shoot a night time softball game. I passed on Tamron/Sigma's 70-200mm 2.8 because I read that they autofocused slow. Also I passed on the 70-200mm F4L thinking that performance wise, it would be almost the same as this 55-250mm.

Anyways, on the game I shot in Tv mode at 1/250 or 1/200. I had to bump my ISO to 3,200 on my Canon 500D/T1i. Grainy of course, but for small print this lens with ISO performance still delivers.

So if you're looking for a very cheap lens for sports, don't completely dismiss this lens (or any telephoto). I always try to work with my equipment, instead of the equipment working for me. If you're a beginner and need a telephoto for sports, this will work, but you'll have to adjust your settings accordingly and keep the image size small.

In daylight this lens produces amazing photos. So that's even better for daytime sports shooters.

Here's a shot with my Canon 500D/T1i with high ISO from the dugout:

Here's when the subject is fading into the dark:

Then outfield closest to me (other outfielders were just too dark):

Then here's the lens in good light:

My set with this lens can be found here:
Highly recommended. Can find good deals on your local Craigslist. Buyer beware, always do transactions in public places.

Registered: September 2011
Posts: 5
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by shroud72
Review Date: 9/28/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $250.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Great lens for the price, Great focal length as it picks off where the kit lens leaves off, Better quality then the kit lens, Lightweight with 4 stops IS, Colors are good for the price, Lens is sharp except around 250 but still very acceptable
Cons: Cheap plastic feel, A bit soft at 250mm

DonĀ“t let the cheap price fool you, its a great lens if you follow the photography fundamentals and is capable of some amazing shots.
Build quality is a step above the kit lens and the image quality is about 2 steps above.
Its a great lightweight lens and I have used it as a Zoo lens and I find that it covers the range that I need when I go to the Zoo.
This lens will probably always have a place in my bag even though I have more expensive lenses, the price, quality and weight make it very attractive for me.

Some of my favorite shots taken with this lens:

Straight out of the camera with no post processing for this first shot!

Some other shots with normal amounts of post processing

Overall a welcome addition if money is a concern but still capable of taking quality shots.

Registered: March 2011
Posts: 1
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by OpticShape
Review Date: 3/10/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $255.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Lightweight, good image quality (for the price)
Cons: Cheap built (so not a show off lens)

First, I would like to say that I second ssj_george findings about the IS kicking in with a slight delay. It seems that it kicks in delayed and stops with a delay as well. Perhaps has slower movement sampling rate and thus needs more time to figure out what kind of movement to compensate for, something along these lines. Once you are aware of it, you can work with it.

Onto the lens, for the price you simply cannot expect L quality.I would not even compare an L with this lens as there is no point in doing so from the start.

For what it is, the quality is surprisingly good from wide to about 200mm. At 250mm you can see some softening but not enough to be a problem (for serious work you would be getting a different lens anyway).

In good light, this performs well, with fast focus (again, seeing this through the price and what it is). However, we both know that in demanding situations with low light, things are never easy and this lens is not going to work for demanding scenarios of any kind.

I bought it for fun and I am having lots of fun with it, on a 1.6x crop body it goes to 400mm equivalent with decent results, for the price you can't get any better than this.

Build quality is cheap but who cares, it works just as good and you won't be needing minute focus/zoom adjustments to the point to be limited by the plastic-o-cheap build Smile While the main body looks OK, the extending part looks like a painted toilet paper core :P

Okay, in the end let me say this: With this lens the pictures are way better than with any point and shoot mega zooms out there, so you get the idea.

Buying it for any serious work must be done only if you expect very good lighting always. In the end photography skills are what will make your picture.

Best buy for a fun lens with some reach. Set your expectations right and you won't have any disappointments.

Some shots:

Registered: September 2010
Posts: 6
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by charley
Review Date: 9/2/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $200.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: great starter lens
Cons: none for me

perfect starter lens

Registered: May 2010
Posts: 7
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by steveygti
Review Date: 7/14/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $250.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast AF, good build quality, great IQ for price
Cons: None!

This lens has great IQ for the price. It produces brilliant colors and great contrast in color and monochrome. The IS makes the lens worth the purchase as it work great in the greater focal lengths still keeping your images crisp. It produces nicer imagesthan my 18-55mm IS kit lens. Iys not too heavy on the camera body and it's build quality feels solid. I'm using this lens on a T2i body. You can't go wrong with this lens for it's price and performance. I highly recommend it to any aspiring/amateur photographer as myself. Canon has proved themselves why they are #1 in the market.

Registered: June 2010
Posts: 3
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by ssj_george
Review Date: 6/15/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $245.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, relatively small, good focal range, good image quality, excellent pricing, stabilization is good, good macro capabilities
Cons: vignetting wide open, apperture makes it restrictive for low light use

I really like this lens. There are some strong points and some weak points.

It is a very light lens for its focal range and also very compact. It makes it very easy to carry it around.

I really like the focal range which covers serious tele range and also has a respectable wide range.

The overall image quality is very good. It is not the sharpest lens but its resolution is very very good and related to its price the quality is excellent.

Stabilization works great and helps eliminate camera shake most of the times. Just one recommendation here: When half-pressing the shutter wait for a couple of seconds (if you have the time) because I feel that the stabilization kicks in after a second or so. This is my opinion and haven't done any lab tests to prove this.

The macro magnification is very good (x34) and this adds an extra strength to this lens. Try shooting an insect and you'll be surprised by the result (remember stand 1.1m away from the subject and zoom out completely at 250mm for maximum magnification).

Two weak points:
1. High vignetting when shooting wide open. Stop down at f/8 to completely eliminate the vignetting. But post processing makes it very easy to remove the shades so wide open isn't bad after all.
2. The autofocus may be a bit slow at times and especially when shooting street or action shots autofocus can spoil the shot.

Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by amelo1414
Review Date: 5/31/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $180.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: price, price, excellent IS, extremely light-weight and portable, very good image quality all the way to 250mm, did I say light-weight?, truly inconspicuous
Cons: If you do not shoot too much with telephoto, then NONE; if you do, then the con is that it is not the 70-200 f4 IS USM.

Although previously owned the 70-200 f4 USM L (non-IS), found that the lack of IS truly was a negative element to the ACTUAL daily use of the lens itself. Of course the image quality of the L lens is absolutely GORGEOUS, and yet many images were not taken either because of the lack of IS (many cloudy days where IS would have been essential) or because of my decision to take other lenses given combined weight issues.

With the 55-250 I have longer reach, absolutely essential IS for telephoto focal lengths, good quality bokeh, very good optical quality and ----for me----- the most essential thing, ease of transport so that one carries the lens at all times as a accompanying partner to other lenses. So, if the telephoto side of things is not your stronghold, then this lens is a great, affordable, convenient, and optically very good addition to your lenses.

Registered: April 2009
Posts: 1
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by writingsama
Review Date: 4/14/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: IS, IQ, fast autofocus, light, cheap
Cons: Required considerable work with micro AF adjustment, F8 is required at the telephoto end

I got this originally when I was using a Rebel XSI and a Sunpak PZ40XII flash, because I'm disabled and its light weight was very attractive. It took fairly good pictures, and I was happy for the price.

I missed a few far-off pictures where the focus wasn't perfect, to the point I missed an incredibly impressive 12-point buck on a forest path. Sigh.

Then I got my 50D, and oh, how things changed...

It took about 3 weeks. I tried all the tutorials for micro AF adjustments online - use an LCD monitor, a printed target, etc., but never got consistent results. So I just took notes out in the field (later I learned that wasn't necessary - the AF microadjustment used is logged in the EXIF - doh!) Anyway, I finally settled on +7. Now, when used properly (F8, 1/400th of a second or higher), the pictures *can be* on par with my mom's 300mm f/2.8L on the same body! The IQ is amazing.

Of course, F8 is very limiting, both light-wise and simply having to manage the lens. I have a 580EX2 with a Better Beamer now, which helps with the light, when flash is allowed - in many instances it is not, and I might choose instead my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (which seems to have inferior quality (!?)) with a tripod, say at a horse show or such. Plus, you can't put two 2x extenders on it like the 300mm f/2.8L IS and have a frankly amazing reach (by the way, my mom's 300mm f/2.8L IS with 2 2x extenders still outresolves my 15mp 1.6x 50D... what great glass!). On the other hand, that thing is like 5 pounds. I like to do up-close wildlife work, and the ability to actually CARRY this lens and use it without a tripod is great.

If you can AF-microadjust, or take it back repeatedly 'til you get one that focuses PERFECTLY (I recommend testing on deer or a dog or something far-off that fills only a small portion of the frame over any of the methods I found online), this is an amazing lens with *perfect* sharpness all the way out to 250mm (at f8) at the center, even with the ridiculous pixel density of the 50D, and pretty sharp corners. It resolves 15mp of detail, if not a bit more. If you can't micro-AF adjust or bring it back ad naseum, you might be slightly disappointed, but it's still great, especially for the price. And I personally think its "cheap plastic" construction is a huge plus.

I totally also use the hood 100% of the time. This lens needs it. This, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, and the Tokina 12-24 ATX are my mainstay lenses, plus the Canon 85mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.4 for portraiture and very low-light work.

I'd also like to add: the Raynox DCR-250 (2.5x) macro lens works wonders with this. VERY good image quality, filling the whole frame with a grain of rice if you want. Much less expensive than getting that kind of special purpose macro lens like the MP-E. Not perfect, but for $300 for this plus $40 for that, you get stupendous results.

Registered: November 2008
Posts: 4
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by GeorgiaJedi
Review Date: 11/14/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $260.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: light, easy to use, price
Cons: no hood included, small aperture

This is my second IS lens from Canon (first being the EF-S 17-85 IS). Construction seems a bit too light compared to the 17-85, but the picture quality does not suffer from my experience. Used this lens to photograph my nephew's wedding recently and the pics turned out great, although the depth of field suffered due to the aperture limits. Otherwise, a recommended lens for the beginner to intermediate amateur DSLR user!
Ken Tanaka

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 1
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by Ken Tanaka
Review Date: 9/2/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $250.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp, excellent color and contrast, distortion-free, light-weight
Cons: No lens hood supplied

This is one of the best lens bargains that Canon offers. In my case, although I have a full complement of L, and near-L, lenses for my 1D-and 5D class bodies I wanted a small, lightweight tele-zoom for use with my new XSi body. Mainly on the strength of recommendations here I bought this lens, which has since exceeded all of my expectations.

No, the lens is not built like Canon's L lenses. But it's not priced like them, either. Frankly, I'm very happy wit its build. It's quite sturdy with nothing rattling or loose-fitting. The polycarbonate structure makes the lens nice and light.

If you're looking for a tele-zoom for your cropped-sensor Canon dslr look no further (and spend no more) than this baby. You won't regret it.

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 4
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by 266
Review Date: 7/4/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $230.84| Rating: 8 

Pros: Great DC Focus, quiet with adequate speed
Cons: Awful construction quality

Its focus is amazingly quiet for a DC focus lens, and in a "not bad" speed. The IS works very great that I can use 0'3" shutter speed, hand-held, though weirdly the IS creates some noise (those that you can hear) while operating. The construction quality is basically awful. While I pick up my 400D with my hand grabbing the lens, I can physically feel the zoom ring moving up and down while I pick it up, and it's got a weird lens cover that can't really fit in the lens. But if you are searching for some cheap, light long lens, this should be the choice.

Registered: September 2006
Posts: 26
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by trentdp
Review Date: 6/16/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $230.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Reasonably priced, very good optical quality 55-200, Good 250, light weight
Cons: None, considering the price and target market.

If you don't want to spend a lot of money for an Image Stabilized Canon Brand lens in this zoom range it just can't be beat. It is an excellent value for what you get with nearly excellent image quality. Photo Zone does a very accurate and fair review of this lens as does SLR Gear.

When I first received the lens, it was placed through my standard testing procedure to varify performance. The first lens was good in most respects but demonstrated considerable "off center" focus characteristics. What I mean by off center focus is the apparent center focus point was considerably to the right of the picture center particularly at 200 to 250 MM. The right 3/4 of the picture was very sharp but the left 1/4 to the edge was noticeably blurred and out of focus.

Since I live close to a Canon Service Center in Orange County, CA I reasoned no big deal just drop it off and get it adjusted in a few days. WRONG.

As it turns out the 1st lens was at Canon for about 3 weeks including a trip to the NY main service center. The NY office was concerned about this problem and wanted to review the lens as it was the first one to report a problem on this relatively new release in the U.S.A. Kudos to Canon for wanting to ensure Quality Control of a fairly new product manufatured offshore. However, Shame on Canon Customer Service for making me wait more than 3 weeks before finally sending a brand new lens replacing the first one I bought.

I share this story with you so you may wish to run a few tests to check for perfomance especially center focus as soon as you get it.

This off center focus problem is quite prevalent as I owned the Canon 70-300 IS for a short period and it suffered from the same problem eventually correcting it at the local Service Center. This is not unique to Canon as a Sigma 18-200 OS I owned has a very similar problem at the extreme zoom end with very soft blurry corners on one side of the picture.

I am pleased with the replacement lens from Canon as it tests out just as it should in all respects. The Canon Engineers in NY said my first lens was defective with a bad circuit board and zoom/focus motor.

This lens appears every bit as sharp as the Canon 70-300 IS I previously owned but is definately not up to the build quality or apparent ruggedness of the 70-300 IS.

If you are gentle with this lens I believe you will be very pleased with it's overall performace. I highly recommend it to the average user.

Registered: June 2008
Posts: 1
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by joejoe9
Review Date: 6/6/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $250.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: light and compact, image quality, IS, focal range, price
Cons: AF, small aperture, cheap build

I've owned this lens for just a week, and I have to say it is really a great deal! Before buying this lens, I also considered buying either 70-200mm F/4 IS or F/2.8 IS. However, in my opinion, the C/P value of this lens is better than the other two. Also, it's much lighter -- good for travel/walk-around.

First of all, the image quality. Compared with my 17-55, this lens produces less sharper images for sure. But, it's not as bad as a kit lens. For this price range, you can't ask more about the image quality. I feel it's about 85% as sharp as 17-55 which is acceptable for me. Contrast and saturation are good though.

Second, it is true the AF speed is slow (but accurate), especially in low light (indoor). It's nornal since it does not have a USM. My 17-55 is faster in low light, but I can't feel any difference on my 20D when using them outdoor (of course, under good light condition).

One thing you need to notice is the max. aperature data is not that accurate in the review. Here is the correct version:
55-70: f/4
70-100: f/4.5
100-135: f/5
135-250: f/5.6

Smaller aperture also means that depth of field is not as shallow as those larger aperture lenses can produce. However, at 200-250mm, the boken is actually very impressive even not wide open. Of course, it's not in the same category with 70-200 f/2.8. So, if you don't need really shallow DOF and do not shoot fast moving objects in low light condition very often, this lens is probabily enough for general/everyday use.

One of the most valuable stuffs on this lens is Image Stabilizer. The IS works perfectly and I can handhold this baby at 1/5~1/8 sec with no blur (at 250mm). One more advantage is that focal length is very practical (55-250 instead of 70-200) on APS-C body. This is equivalent to 88mm-400mm in full frame.

Yes, the build quality is not that good, but it also helps to keep it light. The front element does rotate while focusing. The zoom ring is very smooth though. What else? Oh, the minimum focus distance is 1.1m which makes macro photography possible.

Overall, it's a great lens if you need a telephoto lens but have rather limited budget. Actually, I think every APS-C user should get one -- just like the 50mm f/1.8. It's a perfect combination with your kit lens or 17-55. Highly recommanded!

Registered: May 2008
Posts: 1
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by bush0023
Review Date: 5/29/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $277.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: good sharpness, great IS, close minimum focusing distance.
Cons: softness at 250mm, no full time manual

This was my first telephoto lens. It's sharper than I expected, especially from 55-200mm. It gets a little softer at the long end, but nothing a touch of USM can't fix. It focuses faster and quieter than I expected and is very accurate on my 350D (contrary to the photozone review). It hunts a bit in low light but not nearly as much as my 50/1.8. The IS is amazing, I find myself getting in plenty of shots at 250mm with a 1/60s exposure. Great lens for those needing telephoto on a budget.

Some sample images:
Canon 55-250 IS Sample Photos

Registered: December 2007
Posts: 1
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by porapass
Review Date: 12/21/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $326.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: affordable, sharpness, color
Cons: AF,too long

I bought this lens with a thought that I might have to sacrifice some image quality for this budget, to my surprise, it seems very nice to me. If you had used some USM lens before ,you'll feel the AF hunts in low light very annoying and oftenly switch to manual focus.The build quality is moderate .The IS works just fine.I'm just hoping this lens will last longer than it's size. Thanks for all the previous reviews.

Registered: December 2007
Posts: 9
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS review by zoomfreak
Review Date: 12/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $230.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: light , inconspicuous , fast Af , lack of CA, good resolution not excelelnt , though
Cons: micro USM rather than the RING, cheap buid.

just got it to replace my 70-300IS , it is ok , though AF to slow for my needs , so replaced with the DO IS.

it is at least as sharp as the EF70-300IS non DO, the DO is a bit sharper with better color.

if you are a hibbist or back packer and wanna go light and inconspicous , then get it .

you wont regret it, but I do not use it for my work.

I use 200L for my work .

UP date: I got it in Japan as well ,when I worked there 5 days a go , and I bought it at a Fuji camera , which is known to be the cheapest camera store in the world.


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