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Which would be more suitable lens in terms of utility, weight, price: 18-135 or 18-55 + 55-200?

I am going to purchase my first DSLR which is Cannon EOS 550D. The seller says it comes with 18-135 mm lens and price is around 922$ and also he offer me same camera with 18-55mm lens for 650$. I prefer people, street, nature, indoor, wildlife, and night landscape photography. If I purchase 18-55 lens I will purchase some telephoto zoom lens later. Which lens set should I select with the camera. Appreciate your help on this selection.

  • Just go out and hunt for a good ole 5D. 800$ used, great pictures and it's full frame ;) – s.m. May 15 '12 at 17:59

When I was in your exact situation I've bought the 18-135 and I'm very happy with that choice.

The extra zoom is extremely useful for photographing people - both for portraits (people look better with longer lenses) and candids (it let me take picture from a non disturbing distance) - the extra zoom is even more useful for photographing kids because they tend to move a lot and the 18-135 range will get you tight or wide framing at any reasonable parent-kid distance.

55mm is way too short for wildlife (I've tried once to use a 50mm lens to photograph animals in a zoo - and I couldn't get any picture that didn't require a lot of cropping), 135mm is actually also too short in my opinion but it will work well in a zoo or if you can get animals to come to you - if you are serious about wildlife you will have to get a longer lens eventually.

Also, the 18-135 is slightly better built, for example it has a non-rotating front element (very useful if you ever use a polarizing filter, commonly used for nature and landscape photos)


This is probably quite subjective, but I have an 18-55mm on an EOS 600D, as it is basically the kit lense. I also have a 55-250mm, and find that I use that for 90% of the time. I too go for wildlife, candid people, and street, and it works very well for that.It is, in effect, my standard lense.

The 18-55mm only comes into play in special circumstances, such a very low light or indoors. Though I don't use it often, I would not want to be without it - I don't want to give that impression.

  • Yes, very subjective. In my case I use a wide angle lens 90% of the time and a telephoto 10% of the time.... – Jakub Sisak GeoGraphics May 15 '12 at 15:17

If you can afford it buy the 18-55mm one and complement with a better tele lens. If you can not afford it buy the 18-135 one. Spending money on good tele lenses is always a good investment.

I have among my lenses one 18-50 and one 70-300 and usually I start with the 18-50 one and once I have switched to the 70-300 I tend not switch back again that day. But I do love the tele shoots... :)


Given the wide variety you want shoot; get the 18-135mm. This is basically an all-in-one but decent at the wide end. This way you can shoot nearly everything you want then query all your exif data in a year or so and see at which focal length you shoot most. If you already have a lot of existing photos you can go through them all to determine which is your proffered focal length. If you can afford it get the widen angle zoom and the telephoto zoom. A basic kit usually includes those 2 lenses and something normal (fast 30 - 50mm prime)


If you consider Portraits as your serious hobby I would raise my both hands for canon ef 85mm f/1.8 usm . Amazing Sharpness you will get for a cheaper buck around 310£ in UK. Where as its brother canon ef 85mm f/1.2 usm costs 1200£ in UK. I used it with Canon EOS 500 D and got amazing results. It's worth more than we pay for it. This lens is best if you consider shooting Babies, Models, Weddings, Dogs and cats...Happy Clicking:)

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