Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Review

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens
Verdict

Small, light, and affordable are always in style, and the Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is all about providing the ultra-wide-angle focal length range in a diminutive, ultralight, low-cost package. This lens fills in the most-needed APS-C focal length range below the 18-something standard zoom lenses.

Pros
  • High utility ultra-wide to wide zoom range
  • Useful for landscape and real estate photography
  • Quiet optical image stabilization
  • Affordably priced
  • Tiny and lightweight
Cons
  • Narrow apertures
  • Strong wide end barrel distortion requires correction
  • Strong lateral CA
  • Shared focus and control ring
  • No switches
In-Depth Review

Small, light, and affordable are always in style, and the Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is all about providing the ultra-wide-angle focal length range in a diminutive, ultralight, low-cost package. This lens fills in the previously missing APS-C focal length range below the RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens and RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM in Canon's RF-S lens lineup.

While RF-S lenses function normally on all Canon EOS R-series cameras, they provide an APS-C-sized image circle. Full-frame imaging sensor camera models automatically adjust to the 1.6x narrower angle of view availed by this image circle, and the size, weight, and cost of this lens lend merit to use on full-frame camera models.

Reworking the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens mount to create the RF-S lens seemed an easy option, but the easy route was not taken, and the RF-S 10-18mm lens gets a brand-new design, promising the latest technology and optical formula, raising optimism for higher performance.

"The optical performance is a direct result of a totally new lens design, highlighted by two Ultra-low Dispersion glass elements and an Aspheric element. The RF-S10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM delivers reliable, speedy and quiet wide-angle performance, making it an ideal lens for vlogging, video, travel, landscapes, interiors, or simply for creative imagery." [Canon USA]

Despite the light weight, compact size, and low cost, this lens produces good image quality.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Top View

Focal Length Range

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The focal length range (or individual focal length for a prime lens) is a primary consideration for lens selection. A specific angle of view is required to get a desired subject framing with the optimal perspective (or from within a working distance limitation).

This lens provides an APS-C-sized image circle, and the ultra-wide to moderately wide 10-18mm angle of view equates to that provided by a 16-28.8mm lens used on a full-frame camera.

Notably, the 10-18mm range is a precise complement to that of the Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens and Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens, and these lens combinations are complementary in other regards.

Often, one cannot back up far enough to get a large subject or vast scene in the frame, and in that case, an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens is the right choice. When a foreground subject is to be emphasized, rendered large in relation to a vast background (potentially in sharp focus), moving in close with an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens is again the right choice.

What subjects are this lens ideal for? That full list is huge, but let's discuss a few of the common genres photographed by these angles of view.

Landscape and nightscape photography is a great answer to that question. It's a big world, and the 10-18mm focal length range is an excellent choice for capturing the beauty of our planet and beyond. This lens gives us a reason to go out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Another genre of photography with huge subjects, often including some landscape, is real estate photography, and this lens is a great exterior and interior focal length range choice for this use.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens House Sample Picture

The house was photographed at 18mm, and the barn was photographed at 10mm an upward angle, with strong diminishing lines resulting. Prefer your vertical lines to remain vertically straight in the image? Move back, level the camera for tilt and roll, and crop to taste.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Barn Sample Picture

Related to real estate photography is architecture photography, and this lens will take in massive structures even when only a short working distance is available.

Often, the structures we photograph are built for use by people, and people are also a good subject for this focal length range. However, avoid getting too close to people when this lens is mounted.

A close-up perspective can look amazing in a wide-angle landscape scene, but it is generally to be avoided when a person is the primary subject. We do not typically look at a person from super close distances, and if we do, that person becomes uncomfortable with us being in their personal space (and even more so when a camera is in hand). When we look at photos of people captured from close distances, certain body parts (usually the nose) start to look humorously (to some) large.

Unique portrait perspectives can be fun, but this technique quickly becomes overused. Get the telephoto lens out for your tightly framed portraits.

Still, wide-angle focal lengths can still be an excellent choice for photographing people. Simply move back and include people in a larger scene, creating environmental portraits.

The 18mm focal length provides a natural perspective, and it is a desirable choice for full-body portraits. The 10-18mm focal length range also works well for small to large groups. Note that group photography requiring an ultra-wide-angle focal length to fit everyone in the frame often leaves those in the front row appearing considerably larger than those in the back row (the subject distance varies by a significant percentage). Back up or move the subjects closer together (front to back) to reduce the multi-row perspective issue.

The 10-18mm focal length range is a great option for the wide captures at family gatherings and other events. The 18mm end provides especially good general-purpose utility.

The following images illustrate the 10-18mm focal length range (captured with another lens):

10-18mm Focal Length Range Example

10mm | 12mm | 14mm | 16mm | 18mm
10mm | 12mm | 14mm | 16mm | 18mm

This lens, including the focal length range, size, and weight, is an ideal candidate for self-recording (vlogging), and videographers will find the 10-18mm focal length range equally useful as still photographers.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Front View on Camera

Max Aperture

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A lens's maximum aperture is included in the product name immediately after the focal length range, reflecting this specification's next-most importance. F/4.5-6.3 is this lens's maximum aperture, the ratio of the focal length to the entrance pupil diameter.

The lower the aperture number, the wider the opening, and the more light the lens can deliver to the imaging sensor. Each "stop" in aperture change (full stop examples: f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6) increases or decreases the amount of light by a factor of 2x (a substantial amount).

The additional light provided by wider aperture lenses permits sharp images of subjects in motion and with the camera handheld in lower light levels and lower (less noisy) ISO settings. In addition, increasing the aperture opening provides a shallower DOF (Depth of Field) that creates a stronger, better subject-isolating background blur (at equivalent focal lengths). Often critical is the improved low-light AF performance availed by a wide-aperture lens.

A narrow aperture's advantages are related to (often significantly) reduced lens element size, including smaller overall size, lighter weight, and lower cost. Right, everyone loves those factors, and those factors were favored in this lens's design.

Want a zoom focal length range in a tiny, lightweight, inexpensive lens? Expect that lens to have a variable max aperture (the aperture opening does not enlarge enough to maintain the same focal length to entrance pupil diameter as the focal length is increased) and for those apertures to be relatively narrow throughout the entire focal length range. That is what we have in the Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens.

While the aperture value reduction is continuous, narrowing as the focal length increases, the camera rounds the reported aperture to the nearest 1/3 or 1/2 stop. Here are the ranges for the reported 1/3 stop apertures.

10mm = f/4.5
11-13mm = f/5.0
13-16mm = f/5.6
16-18mm = f/6.3

At 10mm, the f/4.5 aperture is relatively narrow, and the camera is already reporting f/5.0 at 11mm. By 16mm, a slow f/6.3 is reported.

Narrow max apertures make this lens an unfavorable choice for photographing low-light motion. Setting the ISO to a high number is the narrow aperture option for sharp low light, in-motion images, and the increased noise is an image quality factor. Fortunately, narrow apertures are welcomed for many wide-angle focal length uses.

A downside to the variable max aperture is that the same max aperture cannot be used over the entire focal length selected. The camera automatically accounts for the changes in auto exposure modes (including M mode with Auto ISO), but using the widest-available aperture in manual exposure mode is somewhat complicated by the changing setting (an in-camera function may also accommodate the changes).

When recording video, 1/60 second shutter speeds (twice the framerate) are typically needed (assuming you are not capturing high framerate slow-motion video), and wide apertures are not often required for 1/60 second rates in normally encountered ambient lighting.

An advantage held by wide apertures and long focal lengths is their ability to blur the background strongly. This lens does not have those advantages.

These examples illustrate the maximum blur this lens can create:

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Maximum Blur Example

Wide-angle focal lengths combined with narrow apertures are not optimal for a strong background blur.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Side View

Image Stabilization

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This lens's image stabilization system, rated for 4 stops of assistance, can make a huge difference in handheld image quality. Use this lens on an EOS R-series camera featuring In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS), and that rating jumps to a high 6.0 stops. The 4.0 or 6.0 stop ISO noise difference referenced by these ratings offsets the narrow aperture disadvantage (when the subjects are motionless).

IS provides a stabilized viewfinder image, aiding in optimal composition (though this issue is not big when using wide-angle focal lengths). A stabilized view is optimal for AF performance, and IS enhances video quality.

The image stabilization system in the RF-S 10-18 performs superbly. IS is nearly silent, with a faint "hmmm" (even when switched off) heard only by an ear practically against the lens. Canon's IS systems have long been well behaved, referring to the viewfinder image not jumping or fighting strongly against recomposition, including while recording video. Image framing drifting only is also well controlled.

This lens does not have an IS switch, and enabling or disabling IS or checking to see the current selection requires accessing a second-level menu option.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens on Tripod

Image Quality

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Converting the EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Lens to the RF mount would have been Canon's easy option to provide a native ultra-wide focal length range lens to APS-C R-series camera owners. The easy road was not taken, and we have a new optical formula in the RF-S 10-18.

The initial expectations image quality comparison between these two lenses were the MTF charts.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens MTF Chart Comparison

The black lines indicate contrast, and the blue lines show resolution. The solid lines are sagittal, and the dashed lines are meridional. The higher the lines, the better the image quality.

The RF-S lens shows improved corner performance at the wide end and improved midframe performance at the long end. Of course, it would be interesting to see the EF-S lens 18mm f/6.3 chart.

With the lens in hand, reality becomes visible.

The old "You get what you pay for" adage usually applies to camera lenses, and the lens is usually the minimum factor for the image quality a camera produces. That this is the least expensive Canon RF wide-angle zoom lens available at review time does not set high expectations. No one expects a diminutive, ultralight, low-cost to deliver outstanding image quality.

With that expectation set, you are going to be especially impressed by this lens's center-of-the-frame results even with an ultra-high-resolution Canon EOS R7 behind it. The RF 10-18 is sharp at its widest apertures at all focal lengths, and stopping down produces only minor image quality improvements (the R7 begins to make the softening effects of diffraction visible beyond f/5.2).

Often, subjects are not placed in the center of a composition. In the periphery of the image circle, where light rays are refracted to a stronger angle than in the center, lenses typically show decreased sharpness. Especially at the wide end, this one shows a gradual sharpness decline from the center to the corner. Still, the longer focal length corners appear reasonable for a lens at this price point, and the resolution chart is merciless on image quality.

Taking the testing outdoors, we next look at a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured in RAW format by a Canon EOS R7 and processed in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) using the Standard Picture Style with sharpness set to 1 on a 0-10 scale. Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

10mm: f/4.5 | f/4.5 | f/4.5 | f/4.5
14mm: f/5.6 | f/5.6 | f/5.6 | f/5.6
18mm: f/6.3 | f/6.3 | f/6.3 | f/6.3

These wide-open aperture results look great, and stopping down produces only minor improvement, not enough to warrant your bandwidth.

Next, we'll look at a series of comparisons showing 100% resolution extreme top left corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

10mm: f/4.5 | f/5.6   f/4.5 | f/5.6
14mm: f/5.6 | f/8.0   f/5.6 | f/8.0
18mm: f/6.3 | f/8.0   f/6.3 | f/8.0

While samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle show a lens's weakest performance, these results from such an inexpensive lens are decent. Stopping down primarily reduces the peripheral shading.

Sharpness testing often highlights focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA), if present. It is not present in this lens.

A lens is expected to show peripheral shading at the widest aperture settings when used on a camera that utilizes its entire image circle. With a wide-open aperture, this lens's corners are darkened by just over 2 stops at 10mm down to just under 1.5 stop at 18mm F/8 and narrower apertures produce just over 1 stop of shading at 10mm and about a stop at 18mm.

One-stop of shading is often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing, with increased noise in the brightened areas the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern shown in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.

Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to the unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii), with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.

With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better to avoid this aberration in the first place.

Color misalignment can be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a set of worst-case examples. The images below are 100% crops from the extreme top left corner of EOS R7 frames showing diagonal black and white lines.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Lateral Chromatic Aberration Example

10mm | 12mm | 14mm | 16mm | 18mm

Only black and white colors should be present in these images, with the additional colors indicating a rather strong presence of lateral CA throughout the focal length range.

A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light. More simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration, along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to observe. Axial CA remains somewhat persistent when stopping down, with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. The spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused, and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.

In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation, with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.

The examples below look at the defocused specular highlights' fringing colors in the foreground vs. the background. The lens has introduced any fringing color differences from the neutrally colored subjects.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

10mm | 14mm | 18mm

These results look good.

Bright light reflecting off lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting, usually destructive visual artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare and ghosting effects in an image are variable, dependent on the position and nature of the light source (or sources), selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quantity and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. Additionally, flare and ghosting can impact AF performance.

Even at narrow apertures, this lens shows only modest flare effects at 10mm and minor effects at 18mm in our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test, reflecting excellent performance.

Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Unfortunately, removal is sometimes challenging. Thus, high flare resistance is a welcomed trait of this lens.

Two lens aberrations are particularly evident in images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light that can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). The coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). This aberration can produce stars appearing to have wings. Remember that Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.

The images below are 100% crops taken from the top-left corner of R7 images captured at the widest available aperture.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Coma Example

10mm | 14mm | 18mm

The stars rendered with wide and mid focal lengths look great, with the 18mm stars showing some stretching.

This lens has extreme barrel distortion at the wide end. The geometric distortion is strong enough that Canon forces the correction in camera (EVF, LCD, JPG images, movies) and in DPP, regardless of the lens correction settings. Processing this lens's distortion test images using third-party software with correction disabled reveals the true image captured.

The squares in the test chart filled the viewfinder during capture. At 18mm, there is a lot of extra subject in the frame, and the straight line at the top of the chart is rendered as a strong curve. While distortion diminishes as the focal length increases, correction-warranting barrel distortion remains at 18mm.

Despite the intention and capability of correction, the actual distortion must be reviewed to fully understand the characteristics of a lens. The distortion from all lenses can be corrected, and once (properly) corrected, there is no distortion to differentiate.

Every lens is a compromise, and reasons for designing a lens with uncorrected geometric distortion include lower cost, smaller size, lighter weight, reduced complexity, and improved correction of aberrations not software correctable. Geometric distortion can be corrected, including in-camera, using software and a correction profile, and once properly corrected, geometric distortion is no longer a differentiator between lenses. However, the stretching required for correction can affect the final image quality. Base your evaluation on the corrected image quality.

As seen earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the strongest blur a lens can create, and wide-angle lenses are inherently disadvantaged in this regard. Due to the infinite number of variables present among available scenes, assessing the blur quality, bokeh, is considerably more challenging. Here are some f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) 100% crop examples.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Bokeh Example

10mm | 14mm | 18mm   10mm | 14mm | 18mm

These results appear normal and quite round, as f/11 isn't a big stop-down for a narrow aperture lens.

Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner does not produce round defocused highlights, with these effects taking on a cat's eye shape due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the frame's corner, the shape is not round. That is the shape we're looking at here.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Cat's Eye Bokeh Example

10mm | 14mm | 18mm

These results show low truncation amounts.

A 7-blade count diaphragm will create 14-point sunstars (diffraction spikes) from point light sources captured with a narrow aperture. Generally, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down, the larger and better shaped the sunstars tend to be. Unfortunately, a narrow max aperture lens does not afford much stopping down before reaching apertures where diffraction causes noticeable softening of details, and these lenses typically do not produce the biggest or best-shaped sunstars. This lens is typical in that regard.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Sunstar Effect Example

10mm | 14mm | 18mm

The examples above were captured at f/16.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Design

"The optical performance is a direct result of a totally new lens design, highlighted by two Ultra-low Dispersion glass elements and an Aspheric element." [Canon]

The extreme barrel distortion and strong lateral CA are this lens's primary optical shortcomings, but as revealed in the opening section, it produces good image quality, especially in the center of the frame, relative to its light weight, compact size, and low cost.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Side Extended View

Focusing

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As called out in its name, the RF-S 10-18 features an STM (Stepping Motor) driving smooth, quiet AF.

"Canon's stepping motor (STM) technology is especially effective at producing smooth, quiet autofocus during video recording. This lens is a perfect choice for multi-media content creation, with its zoom range and quiet autofocus. And, STM focus drive provides responsive, quick — and exceptionally quiet — AF during still-image shooting, as well." [Canon]

This lens focuses with good speed, with only light clicks audible to an ear near the lens in a quiet environment.

While the narrow apertures available on this lens do not create extremely shallow AF-system-challenging depth of field, accurate focusing remains imperative, and this lens provides that. -While this lens does not focus in light levels as low as the wider aperture options, EOS R series cameras still lock RF-S 10-18mm lens focus in dark environments (assuming the required contrast is available). Also, this lens's diameter is narrow enough for the LED focus assist lamp to light up a subject in complete darkness.

As usual, low-light AF is slow.

Non-cinema lenses usually require refocusing after a focal length change, but as illustrated in the 100% crops below, the reviewed lens does exhibit parfocal-like characteristics. When focused at 18mm, zooming to wider focal lengths results in sharp images.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Parfocal Example

18mm | 16mm | 14mm | 12mm | 10mm

As we've seen in other Canon RF lenses, this lens's control ring serves dual purposes, also acting as a manual focus ring with the (somewhat inconvenient) Focus/control ring menu option toggling the functionality. From a focus ring perspective, this knurled plastic ring is tiny and positioned immediately in front of the zoom ring. I prefer the forward-positioned focus ring, though the small size of the lens requires a small focus ring. Fortunately, the end of the focus ring is always clear of the lens barrel when extended for use, making the ring accessible from the front and avoiding inadvertent changes to the focal length.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Side View with Hood

With the camera's "RF lens MF focus ring sensitivity set to "Varies with rotation speed", a slow turn requires 240° of rotation for a full extent focus distance change at 10mm and 150° at 18mm. The minimum manual focus distance is shorter at 10mm, with more focus ring rotation required to cover the extra distance range. A fast ring rotation takes the number to about 100°.

The manual focus ring has a light resistance, and focus adjustments are smooth and solidly centered with no unusual framing shift, as we used to expect from inexpensive lenses.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Angle View Extended with Hood

FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in AF mode with the camera in One Shot Drive Mode, but the shutter release must be half-pressed for the focus ring to become active (Lens electronic MF after One Shot focusing must be enabled in the menu). With no AF/MF switch provided on the lens, the camera's AF/MF switch (or AF/MF menu option) must be in the "MF" setting and the camera meter must be powered on/awake for conventional manual focusing to be available.

It is normal for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other. This effect is focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus (without movement to camouflage the effect), and anyone critically framing while adjusting focus.

This lens produces a moderately strong change in subject size through a full-extent (worst-case) focus distance adjustment at the wide end and a modest change at the long end.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Focus Magnification Example

10mm: Far | Close   18mm: Far | Close

This lens has a minimum AF distance of 5.5" (140mm), and at 18mm, it generates a reasonable 0.23x maximum magnification spec. Switch to MF, and this lens focuses closer at the wide end, down to 3.4" (86mm) at 18mm where it can reach 0.50x magnification.

ModelMFDMM
Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens5.5(140)0.23x
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens8.7(220)0.15x
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens9.4(240)0.17x
Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens5.9(150)0.30x
Sigma 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN Contemporary Lens4.6(116)0.25x
Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens7.9(200)0.26x
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens6.7(170)0.44x

This lens's minimum field of view is:

AF:
10mm: 6.5 x 4.3" (165 × 110mm)
18mm: 3.8 x 2.5" (96 × 64mm)

MF:
10mm: 1.8 x 1.2" (45 × 30mm)
18mm: 3.8 x 2.5" (96 × 64mm)

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Focus Magnification Example

The USPS love stamps shared above have an image area that measures 1.05 x 0.77" (26.67 x 19.558mm), and the overall individual stamp size is 1.19 x 0.91" (30.226 x 23.114mm).

While this lens produces reasonably sharp center-of-the-frame details at minimum focus distance with a wide-open aperture, expect the image mid-frame and periphery to be soft due to field curvature and lateral CA. F/11 brings on increased depth of field that brings some improvement in corner image quality.

The minimum focus distance is measured from the imaging sensor plane with the balance of the camera, lens, and lens hood if installed, length taking their space out of the number to create the working distance. At 10mm, there is a mere 0.2" (5mm) of working distance at the minimum manual focusing distance without the lens hood installed. Lighting a subject in this short distance is extremely challenging, as illustrated in the 10mm example.

This lens is not compatible with Canon extenders.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Angle Extended View

Design & Features

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Like the Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens, the RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens features a collapsible design, retracting to a compact, non-functional parked position.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Product Images

MFD |    MFD |    w/ Hood:  MFD |    MFD |    Rotated   Compare »

The camera will remind you to extend the lens. Powering the camera on with the lens fully retracted results in a "Set the lens to the shooting position" message on the LCD. A twist of the small mold-ribbed plastic (not so grippy) zoom ring extends the lens to its ready-for-use position 0.47" (12mm) from the click-stop-parked position to the 10mm length.

In the useful range, the RF-S 10-18 is shortest at around 15mm, and the extended lens barrel has negligible play. The zoom ring turns smoothly and has an ideal amount of dampening.

The exterior construction is high-quality plastic, including the polycarbonate lens mount. A knurled plastic control ring, configurable for fast access to camera settings including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation, shares MF functionality.

This lens does not have an AF/MF switch — or any other switch or button. While omitting switches and buttons simplifies the lens design, I miss the AF/MF and IS switches.

Canon resolves the first omission by providing an AF/MF switch on some of the APS-C imaging sensor format R series cameras, including the R7 and R10. Those using this lens on cameras without this switch must rely on a menu option for this functionality, and all must rely on a menu option to enable the control ring functionality and a second-level menu option to check, enable, or disable image stabilization.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Side View

Weather sealing is not a specified feature of this lens, and the mount is not gasketed. Fluorine coatings are omitted.

Of the 550 tested lenses in our measurements and specifications table, only 10 are lighter than this one, and 7 of the 10 are wide-angle prime (fixed focal length) lenses. Put this little 5.3 oz (150g) lens in your pocket, and you might forget it is there.

ModelWeight oz(g)Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)FilterYear 
Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens5.3(150)2.7 x 1.8(69.0 x 44.9)492023
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens8.5(240)2.9 x 2.8(74.6 x 72.0)672014
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens13.6(385)3.3 x 3.5(84.0 x 90.0)772004
Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens7.8(220)2.4 x 2.3(60.9 x 58.2)552013
Sigma 10-18mm F2.8 DC DN Contemporary Lens9.0(255)2.8 x 2.5(72.0 x 64.0)672023
Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens4.6(130)2.7 x 1.7(68.9 x 44.3)492022
Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens10.9(310)2.7 x 3.3(69.0 x 84.5)552022

For many more comparisons, review the complete Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.

While the RF-S 18-45 spec shows a 2.7" (67mm) diameter, it is only the RF mount that extends to that width. Most of the lens is only 2.45" (62.3mm) wide.

Here is a visual comparison:

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Compared to Similar Lenses

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:

Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens
Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens
Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

If the RF-S 10-18 and RF-S 18-45 are next to each other, you will probably need to read the printed name to discern between the lenses.

Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens to other lenses.

This lens has 49mm filter threads. While 49mm filters are small and relatively inexpensive, few other lenses use 49mm filters. However, this lens's most complementary sibling, the Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens, shares the 49mm thread size.

The Canon EW-53B Lens Hood is not included in the box. While not inexpensive, I recommend getting and using (reversed does not count) the hood for front element protection from impact and flare-inducing bright light.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Extended Top View with Hood

The plastic EW-53B's petal shape looks cool, and an advantage of this hood shape is easier installation alignment (simply align the small petal to the top), though a round-shaped hood enables the lens to better stand on its hood. The matte interior avoids internal reflections.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Angle View with Hood

A release button is not featured on this hood.

Canon 49mm Lens Cap

The Canon LP814 Lens Case is also optional.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Top View with Hood

Price, Value, Wrap Up

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A small form factor, light weight, good utility, low price, and good image quality create a good value.

As an "RF-S" lens, the RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM is compatible with all Canon EOS R-series cameras, including full-frame and APS-C models. Full-frame imaging sensor models will automatically switch into APS-C mode when an RF-S lens is mounted. Canon USA provides a 1-year limited warranty.

The reviewed Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens was online retail sourced.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Extended Top View

Alternatives

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The predecessor is always an easy choice for a comparison, and that lens is the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM.

Here is the image quality comparison. That the R7's resolution is considerably higher than that of the 7D II means your visualization skills are required. At 10mm, 14mm, and 16mm the lenses appear to be performing similarly. The RF-S lens takes the 12mm comparison and is a bit sharper at 18mm.

The 9-year-newer RF-S lens design produces considerably less peripheral shading and shows significantly milder flare effects. The EF-S lens has dramatically less geometric distortion.

The Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM vs. EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens comparison shows the RF-S weighing and measuring significantly less. That difference is from a percentage perspective, as both lenses are small and light. The EF-S lens requires an adapter to mount on R-series cameras, and the adapter's size and weight must be factored in. The RF-S lens uses 49mm filters vs. 67mm, has a 0.23x maximum magnification spec vs. 0.15x, and has control ring functionality. The EF-S lens has AF/MF and IS switches. The RF-S lens is modestly more expensive before the adapter cost is factored in. Canon R-series camera owners should opt for the RF-S lens.

The Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens is a much-loved tiny ultra-wide-angle lens, and I would not have been surprised to see this lens's design ported to the RF-S mount. It was not, and while these lenses are not crop mount compatible, the comparison remains an interesting one.

Here is the image quality comparison. That the R7's resolution is considerably higher than that of the M means your visualization skills are again required. The EF-M lens appears to have the sharpness advantage.

The 10-year-newer EF-M lens design produces considerably less peripheral shading, and the EF-M lens has dramatically less geometric distortion.

The Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM vs. EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens comparison shows the RF-S lens lighter and smaller overall, though the EF-M mount is narrower. The RF-S lens uses 49mm filters vs. 55mm, 4 stop IS vs. 3, and has control ring functionality. The EF-M lens has a 0.30x maximum magnification spec vs. 0.23x and a considerably higher price. It also shifts the focal length range to noticeably longer lengths. Canon R-series camera owners must opt for the RF-S lens, as EF-M lenses are not adaptable to the RF mount.

Let's create one more comparison, this one with the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens. The name tells us that the EF-S lens has the focal length range advantage and a wider max aperture.

Here is the image quality comparison. We're back to an R7 vs. 7D II camera differential to visually account for, and overall, the two lenses perform similarly with wide-open apertures. The EF-S lens has stronger peripheral shading wide open, but the differential is gone at comparable apertures. The EF-S lens has dramatically less geometric distortion.

The Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM vs. EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens comparison shows the RF-S lens considerably smaller and lighter. Again, the EF-S lens requires an adapter to mount on R-series cameras, and the adapter's size and weight must be factored in. The RF-S lens has 49mm filter threads vs. 77mm, 7 aperture blades vs.6, creating 14-pt sunstars vs. 6-pt, has a 0.23x maximum magnification spec vs. 0.17x, has control ring functionality, and has image stabilization. The 19-year-older EF-S lens adds 4 useful mm to the end of the focal length range and has an AF/MF switch. The EF-S lens is considerably more expensive than the RF-S lens even without the adapter cost factored in. Unless your application requires the 10-22's wider apertures, the RF-S lens is likely your best choice.

Use the site's tools to create additional comparisons.

Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Angle View

Summary

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The RF-S 10-18 takes on an important role in Canon's mirrorless lens lineup. This diminutive, ultralight, image-stabilized Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens provides a highly desired range of ultra-wide angles of view, and the low cost is especially attractive.

This lens's image quality is good, impressive in the center of the frame, considering those other attributes, with handheld image quality aided by IS that coordinates with IBIS. This lens physically performs well, including quick and quiet AF.

Everyone will love the price tag, among the lowest of the Canon RF mount zoom lenses. Professional photographers will love the low financial risk of treating this lens as disposable in scenarios dangerous to the lens, and parents can trust this lens for use by the kids for the same reason.

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Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens
Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens
The-Digital-Picture.com gives the Canon RF-S 10-18mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens an overall 3.0 rating
Manufacturer ID: 6262C002
Review Date: 2023-01-08
Last Updated: 2024-02-04
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