I know there is a similar question that was asked here, but I could not get any answers there. Hence asking again:

Looking to buy the Canon 600D. But there is a huge difference in price due to the lens kits. What is the differentiating factor between these lenses?

Kit I EF-S18-55mm IS II Lens:

Kit II EF S18-135mm IS Lens:

Thank you for the clarifications.

  • (That's not the question you linked; it's more specifically exactly the same, and it has answers.) – mattdm Feb 12 '13 at 14:05
  • I guess that question should be closed as duplicate as well in that case. :-) – Arpith Feb 21 '13 at 11:21

The 18-55mm lens in the first (cheapest) kit is a "standard zoom", an equivalent to the classic 28-80mm zoom for film SLRs. It's versatile range being wide enough at 18mm for most landscape and interior shots, and long enough at 55mm to shoot tight portraits (head and shoulders) whilst being a comfortable distance from your subject (which also avoids any weird perspective effects).

The 18-135 is encroaching on "superzoom" territory, going from the same wide angle 18mm but all the way to 135mm, allowing you to shoot subjects that are two and a half times as far away as the 18-55mm lens. This extra range adds to the complexity of the lens design accounting for the difference in price.

Whether this is worth the additional cost is up to you. In general it is better to get different lenses for different purposes rather than a single jack of all trades lens, however if you want to travel light, or are a casual photographer and don't want to change lenses all the time it may be the right lens for you.

There are several tools online (such as this one, select "DX" as the format and compare 18mm, 55mm and 135mm) to help visualise the results of different focal lengths.

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    So if I am a casual photographer (weekend getaway shooting), I would not go wrong buying the 18-135mm lens right? Or is the 18-55mm lens recommended? – Arpith Feb 12 '13 at 10:39
  • @Arpith I wouldn't say the 18-55mm lens is recommended, it's the lowest cost option and pretty much a bare minimum in terms of getting images out of the camera. It's so cheap it's not worth going body only (unless you already have a comparable all rounder lens). The 18-135 is a step up, in terms of versatility, but also price and size. The question is, are you going to want to shoot far away objects often? Are you going to want to shoot far away objects often enough to buy a dedicated telephoto lens? – Matt Grum Feb 12 '13 at 11:28

Basically the 18-55mm is the "stock" lens for nearly all DSLR models.

The reason the 18-135mm is expensive is that it is a wide angle zoom lens (7.5X zoom compared to 3X of the 18-55mm), and good wide angle zoom lenses are generally more expensive.

  • Don't both of those lenses have wide angle (18mm) ? – Ilmo Euro Feb 12 '13 at 9:59
  • Yes but second one is also a zoom lens. That even increases the price. – Tyathalae Feb 12 '13 at 10:02
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    @SelimArikan both of these are zoom lenses. – MarcinWolny Feb 12 '13 at 10:06
  • @MarcinWolny, yes of course. I meant the second one has higher value of zoom, which is not common in stock cheap lenses. – Tyathalae Feb 12 '13 at 10:10

The 18-135 is a jack of all trades lens. It exchanges price and quality for more versatility. Generally, a longer range of focal lengths requires more lens elements and more compromises in terms of lens design and image characteristics. This is why prime (fixed focal length) and shorter zoom lenses tend to be really popular for professional photographers where as it is rare that a large range is preferable (unless the photographer needs to be able to rapidly change zoom faster than they can change camera bodies or lenses.

Either one could be the "right" choice for you. It really depends on what you are looking for. If you want a more versatile lens that probably produces slightly lower quality images, then the longer range is fine, but if you don't mind giving up some versatility, the shorter will likely give better image quality.

That said, the rule of thumb that larger focal length ranges produce lower quality isn't 100% accurate, a really well made long range might beat a shorter range, but that would require looking at image distortion information on both lenses and I'm not particularly familiar with the EF-S line since I shoot full frame and can only use EF lenses.

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