If you’ve followed Canon Digital Rebel cameras in recent years, you know they are often sold bundled with a terrific 18-55mm image stabilized kit lens. The lens performs well and is capable of producing quality images with good sharpness and contrast.
The new Canon 18-55mm IS II kit lens
There is a new Canon kit lens on the block now, the EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS II.
Canon says the lens has the same specifications as its well-regarded predecessor: the same optics and same Image Stabilization. The external design of the new lens has minor revisions. For example, the lens now has a painted rather than molded mark used for aligning the lens on the camera.
This is not the first time Canon downgraded a lens. The Canon 50mm f1.8 II fixed focal length lens is another example of one with external design changes over its predecessor, the Canon 50mm f1.8. Those who prefer the 50mm f1.8 lens point out that the build quality is better and, unlike version II, has a metal lens mount, distance scale, separate manual focus ring and infrared focusing indicator.
But these features are not on even on the 18-55mm IS lens, so the downgrade is not as significant.
Today, most kit lenses offer only basic lens features. But the optics are generally good considering the low price. And they are often much lighter in weight than more costly lenses with the same focal range.
Assuming the optics and Image Stabilization are indeed the same, the differences between the Canon 18-55mm IS II and the Canon 18-55mm IS should be of no consequence. Just make sure you get the kit lens with Image Stabilization. Earlier 18-55mm lenses don’t have it.