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Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 USM Lens Review

by Bob Atkins, 2005


The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM is Canon's widest zoom lens (in fact widest lens of any type) for the Canon 1.6x DSLRs which accept EF-S mount lenses, i.e. the Canon Digital Rebel, Canon Digital Rebel XT and Canon EOS 20D.

EF-S lenses have a shorter back focus distance (i.e. the rear element is closer to the image plane) then EF series lenses. This, in theory, permits higher lens performance with very short focal length lenses - and 10-22mm counts as "very short"! They have a reduced size image circle to match the 1.6x APS-C  format sensors and a modified lens mount which prevents them being mounted on full frame camera. If they were mounted on a full frame camera, not only would they not cover the frame, but the SLR mirror would hit the back of the lens.

Though the EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 USM isn't an "L" series lens, it does have similar optical constuction to EF "L" series lenses. For example the EF 17-40/4L uses 3 aspheric elements and one SD element (SD elements are "super low dispersion" glass, which is similar to fluorite in optical properties). The EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM also uses 3 aspheric elements and one SD element. It's evident from this (and the price of the lens), that this is no "low end, consumer" type lens. The optical design and mechanical construction of the lens (which uses a ring type USM motor and has full time manual focus) are both high quality. Some have suggested that if it hadn't been an EF-S lens, it might have received the "L" designation, but since it won't fit on a pro level DSLR (EOS 1D series), Canon didn't feel that could give it a "professional" L designation. I've no idea if this is true, but it could be!

 

efs_10-22_review_17-40_diagram.gif (9813 bytes)
Optical Design of the Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 USM
Green elements are aspheric, yellow element is SD glass

The zoom range is 2.2x, which is pretty good for a superwide zoom. There are some 3rd party superwide zooms, but they are limited to 2x or less (10-22, 11-18, 12-24). In 35mm full frame equivalent terms the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM has the same field of view as a 16-35mm lens on a full frame camera. This covers 16mm as well as the standard prime focal lengths of  20, 24, 28 and 35mm. The images below give you a feel for the difference between the two ends of the zoom range.

zoom.jpg (61118 bytes)

As I mentioned earlier, the Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 USM has a ring USM motor and full time manual focus. The lens does not change length when zoomed, although it's not really an internal zoom lens. In fact the front element moves inside a fixed outer barrel. The filter ring does not rotate on focusing or zooming, making the use of a polarizer more convenient. One note of caution with respect to polarizers though.

I found that a standard thickness polarizer (in fact a Tiffen 77mm PL-C circular polarizer) caused a small amount of corner vignetteing at the 10mm setting. At 11mm all was OK and at 10mm with a standard B+W warning filter all was OK. So if you really want to use a polarizer at 10mm and you don't want to have to crop or retouch the corners of the image, a thin polarizer seems to be required. Obviously stacking filters will give you problems at the wide end of the zoom - but you probably shouldn't be stacking filters anyway!

Focus is fast and silent. I measured that it took 300ms (0.3s) to focus from infinity to its closest focus distance (9.5")

Full specifications of the Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 USM are given in the table below:

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.4-4.5 USM Specifications

First Released November 2004
Lens Construction (groups) 10
Lens Construction (elements) 13  [3 aspheric elements - 1 Super UD element]
No. of Diaphragm Blades 6
Minimum Aperture 22-27 (1/3-stop increments 22-29)
Closest Focusing Distance 0.24m [9.5"] at all focal lengths
Maximum Magnifcation 0.17x at 22mm setting
Filter Diameter 77mm (thin polarizer required for 10mm use)
Maximum Diameter x Length 83.5mm x 89.8mm  [3.3" x 3.5"]
Weight 385g [13.5oz]

Optical Performance

Distortion was low at all focal lengths. There is some barrel distortion at 10mm, but considering the wide angle, it's very low. At 22mm distortion isn't noticable.

distortion.jpg (39734 bytes)

Vignetting without a filter was also low at all apertures and focal lengths, with no real noticable darkening of the image corners. I'm sure it's there and it's measurable (all lenses, especially wide angle lenses, show some vignetting), but in normal use it's not noticable.

Below are full frame shots taken at 10 and 22mm, with areas in red expaned into 100% crops below

view.jpg (27144 bytes)

Below are the 100% crops taken form the very top left corner of the above images. The scales are in pixels to show you that these really are the extreme corner of the image

corner.jpg (40416 bytes)

At 10mm you can see some softness wide open and some chromatic aberration. Stopping down sharpens the image but CA is unaffected (as would be expected). Remember though that these are 100% crops, and on a typical monitor represent sections from something like a 36" x24" image in the very corner. With that being taken into consideration and by comparison with other lenses, I don't think the performance at 10mm is at all bad, in fact it's surprisingly good for a fast lens of such short focal length.

At 22mm things are sharp wide open and there is no visible chromatic aberration. Very good performance.

Below are 100% crops taken from near the center of the image

center.jpg (39543 bytes)

It's evident that shapness is excellent wide open and changes little with stopping down. Excellent performance at both 10mm and 22mm.

Conclusion

The Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 is a very good lens. There is a little corner softness wide open at 10mm, but overall the image quality is excellent. Those who claim that this lens shows "L" quality performance may not be wrong. It is $150-$200 more than the 3rd party competitors, but it does have a wider zoom range than any of then, plus it has a silent, fast, USM ring motor with full time manual focus. For many users these advantages will outweight the higher cost of the Canon lens.

It is an EF-S lens, and so isn't usuable on full frame or 1.3x multiplier sensor cameras. That may put some people off, but in reality I think the vast majority of Canon EOS DSLR owners won't be moving to full frame in the next 3 years unless they have $3000+ to spend on a 5D body. Canon will likely keep the Digital Rebel series with a 1.6x EF-S compatible sensor as long as the line lasts, and it's very unlikley indeed that we will see a mid-range DSLR with a full frame sensor priced under $1500 before 2009-2010, if then. So EF-S lenses do make sense for many Canon DSLR owners. If they ever do go full frame, I'm sure there will still be a thriving market for used EF-S lenses from owners of EF-S compatible cameras.

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© 2005 Bob Atkins (www.bobatkins.com)

Readers' Comments


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Tom T , November 29, 2005; 12:52 P.M.

Anyone for a comparison with the Sigma 12-24 f4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM? I have the latter and am very happy with it. Plus, it's full frame. But I'd be interested in opinions of thos who have used both lenses.

Tom

Tiago Estima , November 29, 2005; 01:52 P.M.

Don't forget about the Sigma EX 10-20mm!

Bob Atkins , November 29, 2005; 03:22 P.M.

I already did those (though not as full reviews).

See http://www.photo.net/equipment/wideangle-dslr.html

Alfie Wang , November 30, 2005; 12:19 P.M.

Wow, this lens looks rather soft at the wide angle when you shoot wide open... hmm. I think that Leica needs to make a wider wide angle zoom now.

Bob Atkins , November 30, 2005; 03:44 P.M.


Corner at 10mm, f3.5, slighlly tweaked in PhotoShop

The lens isn't that soft. A 100% crop represents a section of something like a 24" x36" print viewed close up.

Even slightly away from the very corner things sharpen up, plus the type of shot that you'd take wide open, probably isn't one in which corner sharpness would be a big issue. For landscapes etc. you'd almost certainly be stopped down to around f11

The images I posted were the most severe test I could devise. I could certainly have posted shots that looked better than fine dark lines against a bright sky!

I suppose a Leica 10-22mm zoom might be better (or not), but I suspect I'd need to remortgage my house to buy one...and I suspect they'll never make one.

It all really comes down to whether you want to shoot with a lens or measure it!

Ben Anderson , December 01, 2005; 03:29 P.M.

Nice review Bob, I've owned this lens for a few weeks now and continue to be amazed by the results I get from it. I no longer pack my 18-55 as I have the 10-22, a 24 f/2.8 and a 50 f/1.4 - superb results across the range.

Regarding the CA, for those that are unaware, Adobe camera raw, or most any processing software, can easily correct color fringeing.

Bob Atkins , December 01, 2005; 07:22 P.M.

DxO will also correct color fringing automatically. It reads the EXIF data so it knows which lens was used and it applies corrections for CA and vignetting appropriate for that particular lens.

DxO used to be very expensive and you had to buy a module for each lens and camera. However they came to their senses and now sell the whole lot with modules for all lenses and bodies for around $150.

I'm evaluating it now for a future review on photo.net. So far it seems like an OK package. Only downside is that it's a bit slow. No problem for single images, but batch processing a few hundred images could take time.

It works on both RAW files and JPEG images.

Larry H. - Atlanta, GA , December 03, 2005; 11:32 A.M.

Last week I used this lens really for the first time. I really like it. I particularly like the close focus capability, which I do not think Bob mentioned, but I am not sure. It focuses to 24cm, which at 10mm gives you a larger image than even the 16-35mm on a full frame. The effects are awesome (and I am not a teenybopper overusing that term). I took pictures of my kids' faces at 10mm at close focus. First of all, they naturally smile and laugh because of how absurdly close the lens is. Second of all, you get a great caricature effect. I do not recommend using it on your wife, though ;-).

Then, I took close ups at 10mm of a few maple leaves still on a sapling. The picture looks great, with a blurred background and everything in the background tiny. However, there was a wierd effect at the out of focus corners. It may just be the stretching typical on extreme rectilinear wide angles or it could be severe coma and astigmatism; I am not sure. Bob, how would I upload a photo to show the effect I mean?

Bob Atkins , December 03, 2005; 01:03 P.M.

Larry - you just follow the upload instruction given when you post your comment. Make sure the image is under 511 pixels wide.

I didn't make a big deal out of close focusing because I don't think the 10-22 makes a good macro lens! It does focus (as the article says) to 24cm (9.5") and you can get some interesting effects, but you'll probably tire of those effects eventually. It's a bit like a fisheye in that initially fisheye shots look "cool", but that feeling generally wears off!

It is pretty close focusing for a zoom though, so maybe I should have made that one of it's "features", though the Tamron 11-18 is similar at 25cm close focus and the Sigma 10-22 also close focuses to 24cm.

It's certainly possible that aberrations increase when close focused. In fact I'd be very surprised if they didn't. Lenses are usually optimized for the focus distances most commonly used. It's virtually impossible to make a wideangle zoom optimized at both infinity and 24cm focus distance! Even for a 50mm prime macro lens it needs special optical designs using floating elements to do it.

Thomas K , December 04, 2005; 01:40 P.M.

I rented this lens for a few weeks during a recent trip to southern Utah area (20D).

I really enjoyed it.

There are many lens reviews, but your reviews are always so usable, Bob. We are all fortunate for them.

Many thanks!

Larry H. - Atlanta, GA , December 04, 2005; 04:05 P.M.


Jacob 10mm Close-Up

Thanks Bob. I just wasn't patient enough to go through all the screens. Here's the picture of my son Jacob:

1/80s, f/8.0, ISO 100, 10mm, Handlheld

Larry H. - Atlanta, GA , December 04, 2005; 04:08 P.M.


Maple Leaves 10mm Close-Up

Here are the Maple Leaves. Note the weird stretched corners.

1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 800, 10.0mm, Handheld

Larry H. - Atlanta, GA , December 04, 2005; 04:16 P.M.


Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia 10mm

Here is a picture of Anna Ruby Falls near Unicoi SP and Helen, Georgia. This is actually the picture that best illustrates the capabilities of this lens at 10mm. Be aware the last two pictures were not processed in Photoshop, but this one was to bring out the branches against the sky. Also be aware that these falls are about 150-200 feet high; you are not even seeing the pond in the midfield. Only a 10mm lens can give you the full falls on a 1.6x crop camera. The picture is skewed a little to the left to hide the observation platform.

10mm, f/5.0, 1/60s, ISO 200, Handheld

Andrew Certain , December 06, 2005; 12:39 P.M.

Vrindavan,

As Bob writes in the second paragraph, using this lens on a FF camera will destroy the camera. The mirror will hit the back of the lens when you try to take a picture.

Andrew

Bob Atkins , December 06, 2005; 07:39 P.M.

I'm sure you could take a hacksaw to it and make it mount on a full frame camera. You'd get a nice cropped circle image over most of the range and if you shot at 10mm the mirror would smash into the rear element.

I suppose if you didn't care about the dark sides and corners and you were smart enough never to zoom wider than some lower limit (12mm?) and take a shot, you could do it. I'm not sure why you'd want to, but you could.

If you had an EOS 10D, you'd probably be fine, though you'd probably be a lot better off in many ways just to buy a Digital Rebel XT or EOS 20D to mount the (unmodified) lens on.

If you bought a full frame camera one day, the smart thing to do would be to sell the 10-22 on Ebay and buy a 17-40 for the FF body (or 16-35 if you could afford it).

Graham Taylor , December 10, 2005; 09:58 A.M.

I have recently bought this lens & I am concerned about the focusing ring. On my lens the focusing ring rotates ok but feels slighly loose & rattles. This is only a minor niggle...has anybody else had this problem ?

LARRY LORANCE , February 08, 2007; 08:09 P.M.

HI Bob,

Can I use this lens on my 10D?

Everett Lawson , May 01, 2007; 01:54 P.M.

I would suggest using www.resellerratings.com to investigate any camera shop that is offering lenses for $150 dollars below regular retail prices. I would REALLY encourage you to investigate this particular vendor before making a choice on whether to purchase from them or not.

Arash Hazeghi , June 13, 2007; 08:28 P.M.

I had this lens for a while, it's OK at 10mm but mine was particularly soft at 22mm at all apartures, 10mm corners were not sharp, well depends to what your expectations are but it was not comparable to my 17-40 on a full frame. Also lots of fringing... about the ring, it doesn't feel as nice and robust as the one on "L" lenses but I wouldn't say it was loose etiher, certainly didn't make any sounds during focusing...well I had to let it go on ebay guess I will try Sigma 10-20 EX next...

Jake Izumi , September 20, 2007; 05:46 P.M.

Well, the Leica is just a name , nothing more than that, why worship for an old outdated tech?

Do you still drive a classic car ? look at the trashy quality of the M8 , they can not make any digital camra , the M8 is made by Kodak.

All other modern Leica cameras are Panasonic made.

Plus, they never made a good zoom , just a silly prime.

Adam Sakoonserksadee , October 22, 2007; 12:58 A.M.

Hello everyone, below is my Amazon.com review. Can't tell you all how helpful your reviews and feedback have been in educating me in this wonderful medium. Hopefully my post can help out the next guy. Thanks kindly.

The Canon 10-22mm EF-S wide angle zoom or the 17-40mm EF "L" zoom?

I deliberated this decision for over a month, having physically tested both lenses on my 350D crop frame DSLR at local camera shops and spending a near ridiculous amount of time reading through indispensable online reviews such as this one. With the price for each being roughly the same, the decision came down to the 10-22's ultra-wide capability vs. the 17-40's build quality.

I ended up choosing the 17-40 and here's why: -Incredible optics and sharpness. If you're like me and have never owned an "L" series lens before, you'll be able to see the difference in optical construction quality before you ever snap a digital shot. It's evident in the viewfinder just how precise this lens is. -Longevity: I'm the kind of guy who likes high quality equipment and can see myself upgrading to a full-frame sensor camera body sooner rather than later. -Wide vs. Ultra-wide: You'll often read warnings of the difficulty in framing sub-20mm ultra-wide compositions. It's a valid point. Only certain scenarios lend themselves to 180 degree-style framing but most of the time you'll be challenged to keep all of the uninteresting junk out of the frame. I was a little worried about 17-40mm's 27-54mm conversion when used on a crop frame. Would it be wide enough? Answer, yes. 27mm is plenty wide for most applications and with the crop factor, I get almost zero barrel distortion at the widest edges. In my estimation, the 10-22 is more of an effect lens whereas the 17-40 is much more of an everyday multi-purpose working lens.

In summary, if the focal length range of the 17-40 doesn't overlap too much over your current lens kit and you favor high-quality wide over good quality ultra-wide, then this lens is right for you.

*NOTE: If the 17-40's inclusion of a lens hood is influencing your decision in anyway over the 10-22, don't let it be. The hood is basically a pain in the rear due to it's ridiculous size and shape. Difficult to pack and you'd probably be better served just picking up a 77mm protection filter.

Jesse Lee , March 17, 2008; 03:23 A.M.

I have both the 10-22mm (second-hand) and the 17-40mm. I find that I use the 17-40mm much more often because I'm not a true scenic photographer. However, there are those moments when I need the superwide coverage for the glorious sunrise at the beach. The 10-22mm is more of a once-in-a-while lens for me. Image quality is very good. Don't dismiss it because it doesn't have the red L ring. If you need the coverage for scenic shots, this lens will do the job fine. It's just not an everyday lens.

Damien Lloyd , August 15, 2008; 03:29 A.M.

Could anyone please tell me if the Cokin X-Pro filter system can be used with the Canon EF-S 10-22/3.4-4.5 lens and a Canon 40D Body? Basically I want to know if the X-pro filter system is wide enough not to vignette at 10mm?

Appreciate your assistance

Alexander C , October 02, 2008; 09:34 A.M.

I bought this lens about two months ago. I absolutely love it!!! I use it as an everyday lens. I love how wide it is regardless of the distortion at 10mm. I recently got back from a caribbean vacation and the beach shots I got with this lens are phenomenal.

John Ellerman , May 24, 2009; 05:40 A.M.


Soldier fly reversed 10-22 preset at F16 on 400D with bellows and flash

I used the lens reversed on the end of a bellows (I had to hold it there by hand) and generated a very useful shot of a soldier fly's eyes.

Mubeen Mughal , September 07, 2010; 10:34 A.M.

Have a look here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/19725722@N06/sets/72157605595160801/with/2575757655/

Orlando Andico , March 30, 2014; 10:25 A.M.

I carried the 17-40L through Europe - a real pain in the neck. I found that for travel photography the 17-40L is not wide enough on a reduced-frame camera (equivalent to around 26mm at the wide end). And it is heavy, and not really that fast with the constant f/4.

The whole time in Europe I kept thinking to myself, the 17-40L is not a good lens on an APS-C camera because it simply isn't wide enough. Anyway I sold that lens for the 180L macro.

Now another trip came along, I was tired of the 28mm wide end of my Panasonic GF2 (with the pancake prime) so I finally decided to get this lens. Wow it's a whole different perspective. I should have gotten this lens years ago. I use it at 10mm a whole lot.  It is very similarly built to the 17-40L down to the lens inner barrel moving in and out during zooming within the fixed outer barrel.  It's not much slower than the 17-40L and as noted in Bob's review, wide-open is sharp enough except in the corners. The 17-40 is not the sharpest L in the shed anyhow.

I really don't see a better super-wide than this lens.  If I got a 6D I'd need the neck-killer (and wallet-killer) 16-35L to match the range of this lens.

Highly, highly recommended. Even though I've only probably put a few hundred shots through it (compared to thousands through the 17-40L).


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