Canon XSi/450D

Canon 55-250mm IS zoom lens

The Canon 55-250mm IS telephoto lens is a surprisingly good, reasonably priced zoom lens that produces sharp images.

55-250mm ISOnly days after using the Canon XSi/450D, it became apparent that I sorely missed a telephoto lens. Before buying the XSi, I used ultra-telephoto compact digital cameras including the Panasonic FZ18 and Canon S2 superzooms.

I needed more reach than the 80mm equivalent zoom the kit lens provided.

About a week later I bought the Canon EF-S 55-250mm, an Image Stabilized telephoto zoom lens. At the time of this writing the lens cost around $300.00 U.S., not a lot of money as far as the cost of  interchangeable lenses goes.

It is in the same “class” as the kit lens. It’s relatively lightweight for a lens with this reach.

Not disappointed

I have not been disappointed in the 55-250mm IS or the kit lens. Between the two, I have a lens range equivalent to 28mm to 400mm, enough to cover many wide angle and telephoto shots.

While I still long for more zoom, the quality of XSi images is so good that with 12 megapixels I can crop images closer giving the effect of a longer zoom.

Because I love photographing wildlife, I will get a super telephoto lens some day with a greater focal length. I just have to save enough pennies.

Visit our Canon 55-250mm Lens Photo Gallery for sample images taken with this lens.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.


  • I am loving your site and helpful articles. I have this lens and I really like it for taking bird and wildlife shots. It’s also particularly handy when at zoos etc… I have just read your article about focussing and exposure… I think I know why many of my photos come out poorly focussed. I’m going to have another look through your site and read my manual tonight- I have a holiday coming up and want to take great photos for a change! Thanks for sharing all this stuff 🙂

  • Considering the price, it’s an excellent lens that has received many praises. At times, it a little on the short end when I shoot wildlife, but the alternatives cost 3-4X more money and are quite heavy. I miss my S2 and hope to get another superzoom some day. But for now, I’m getting the Canon s90 for a carry-at-all times camera. Should be better than most point-and-shoots at high ISO. If you get the 55-250mm IS, let us know how you like it.

  • Thanks for the article. This will probably be my next lens. I also upgraded from the S2, and I have gone almost a year with no more than a 28-75 2.8 Tamron for long reach. We also have a Scottie dog. Weird. S2. XSi. Scottie…

  • Thank you for the kind words. You are right. Sometimes the Canon 55-250mm IS lens just does not have a long enough reach. I think the 100-400 mm is a very fine lens. The main issue for some (besides cost) is the weight, unless you plan to use a tripod. It can take some time to develop the skills and strength to hold handhold a heavy lens of this type, but it can be done. I shared some thoughts about this subject in my blog post:  Handling a three pound lens.

  • Beautiful photos! I especially like the water lily. 🙂  I’ve had my XSi for about 3 months now and I love it!  I went from the Canon PowerShot S2 IS to the XSi and I was immediately thrown off by the focal length — I was so used to my 10x zoom!  So, I bought a 55-250mm lens on eBay for around $300, but it’s still not enough for me!  I’d like to be able to take photos of the moon.. I see you rented a 400mm L, I was thinking about upgrading to the 100-400mm L with a 1.4 II extender, any thoughts on that lens?  I enjoyed reading some of your articles — thanks!  Keep up the good work and hope you continue to enjoy the camera. 🙂