Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS put through its paces


A few weeks ago I was kindly invited to take some shots at a drifting day at Rockingham. Being a bit of a petrolhead I didn’t need to be asked twice!

Never had much chance to shoot motorsport like this before, so was eager to see what results I could get even just with a consumer lens.  The thing I have always loved about this lens is its weight. At 390g it is incredibly light and is great to keep the camera bag at all times. Granted this lens has its drawbacks just like most lenses within this price range (120-150), but for this price there really are no complaints from me on the performance after a quick dusting of photoshop. The 55-250 has 12 elements in 10 groups, including one UD element to reduce chromatic aberration. It has a closest focusing distance of 3.6ft, and handily shares the same sized filter thread as the 18-55 kit lens at 58mm.


Almost touching!

As its an EF-S lens it will only work on cropped framed bodies. One major drawback to this lens which cannot be overlooked has to be the autofocus speed – it really is for want of a better word crap! If you are shooting static objects you really won’t have a problem but the second you try and track a moving subject be prepared to be very frustrated. I had it mounted on a 40d, set to AI Servo with the central focus point selected. Its like everything if you persevere you will be able to get the shot eventually. Another bit downside with the lens was the way in which it rendered colours. There is a distinct lack of saturation. Colours looked washed out and muted – this however can all be corrected with a bit of post processing. I was shooting as wide as possible to keep shutter speeds to something reasonable to freeze the action with very nice results. Only downside to shooting wide open with the 55-250 is the heavy vignetting, but once stopped down a bit this soon disappears. Also worked at slower shutter speeds on a few panning shots which worked out great especially with the IS switched on. Canon claim their image stabilization gives up to 4 stops of image compensation and it really is a fantastic system. In theory this gives you the ability to shoot at much slower shutter speeds and still get sharp shots. Many times I shot zoomed at 250mm at 1/50th second and it performed beautifully.


A beautiful old e30 BMW


The build quality for the price really cannot be faulted. All the controls feel well constructed and solid. Image quality is excellent on the whole, and surprisingly sharp once stopped down past its widest aperture. With a little bit of post processing images look very crisp. I would not hesitate to buy this lens again simply due to the bang for your buck! It really is a bargain and will enable a lot of new and amateur photographers to be able to explore a completely new avenue of photography that simply isn’t possible with the 18-55 kit lens.

My review on the youtube channel here:

If you have been using this lens and would like to share your thoughts please leave a comment and let us know your opinion!

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