18-135mm Lens Versus the 55-250mm Lens

edited March 2013 Posted in » Canon Lens Talk
My husband and I are planning on buying a Canon T2i and I was wondering what the difference is between the 18-135mm lens and the 55-250mm lens. I have two kids and I'm tired of taking blurry pictures because they don't hold still long enough to take the picture. I want a camera that has a fast shutter speed that can take a good bright picture inside and out without being blurry every time someone moves. We also don't want to spend a ton, no more than $700 probably. Curious what your recommendations are.


  • Howdy @llkampfe - To answer your first question, the major difference between the two lenses is zoom range. The 18-135mm covers everything from wide landscapes to subjects about 20 to 30 feet away, while the 55-250mm covers everything from portraits to distant subjects.

    To sum it up, the lower mm values represent a wider field of view, while larger mm values represent tighter framing for far away subjects.

    I'm guessing your $700 budget includes the Canon T2i? Without question, I would go for the nifty fifty (see my write-up here). This lens is fantastic for indoor and low light situations.

    You'll be able to take some beautiful portraits of your kids indoors, thanks to the bright f/1.8 aperture which will allow you to capture sharp faces against a silky smooth background.

    For around $100, you just can't beat it. Hope that helps and happy shooting! :)
  • edited March 2013
    Thanks so much for your help!

    I have one more question. If my husband allows me to spend an additional $100 what would your next lens recommendation be?
  • @llkampfe - Based on your interest in photographing kids both indoors and outdoors, I would look at a used Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (see here on eBay).

    This will allow you to zoom in and out between 17-50mm, while using a bright f/2.8 aperture throughout the entire focal range which is ideal for low light situations.
  • Thanks!!
  • edited April 2013
    I just thought this question maybe related to the previous question posted. I intend to buy either the 18-200mm lens or a 70-200mm lens, taking into consideration the cost and the portability (no need to change lenses) compared to native Canon lenses.

    I've read that these lenses tend to have more distortion and chromatic aberrations because of its range (from wide to tele) and probably the reason why it's cheaper than native lenses. Is that right? I'd also like to know if the distortion and chromatic aberrations is noticeable and if so, how noticable are they?
  • Howdy @athena - Yes, distortion and chromatic aberrations are common issues with lenses that have long zoom ranges (like 18-200mm). To a beginner and entry level photographer, these image quality issues aren't noticeable and even to a trained eye can be hard to see from normal viewing distances (like looking at a print or viewing an image at 25%).

    Barrel distortion can be easily corrected in Photoshop or Lightroom, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

    Chromatic aberrations are harder to get rid of. It usually occurs when there's a stark contrast , like tree limbs against a bright sky.

    In terms of image quality, the Canon 70-200mm will produce sharper results compared to the 18-200mm, however as you mentioned, there's a distinct advantage in having one lens that'll allow you to compose a wide range of subjects/scenes.

    All the best and happy shooting! :)
  • edited April 2013
    Thanks so much Moose, very helpful. :)
  • edited April 2013
    Hi @Athena,

    Just thought I would add twopence worth. Have you considered the Tamron 18-270mm pzd (29 - 432 equivalent on your T2i) as a walk around lens? I bought one and was surprised at how minimal the distortion and chromatic aberration was. I had already borrowed an 18-200mm Canon from a friend, and although it is slightly sharper, the aforementioned problems were much worse.

    As Moose said, barrel distortion at the short end and pincushion at the long end are fairly easy to correct, but unless you want to photograph brick walls or sea meets sky type pictures you wouldn't notice it most of the time.

    I would definitely recommend the Tamron due to its quality and lightness and also because you get a standard 5 year guarantee. That's how much Tamron thinks of the quality of their product.

    Best regards,
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