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Hands on: Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM review

A compact APS-C superzoom, is the Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a must-have for R7 and R10 owners?

Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM
(Image: © James Artaius)

Early Verdict

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a compact, lightweight superzoom that makes an ideal travel companion for APS-C cameras like the Canon EOS R7 and R10. It offers much greater range and a slightly faster aperture than the RF-S 18-45mm lens, and also boasts light macro capability. It performs above expectations for a kit lens and is an excellent pickup with either of Canon's new APS-C bodies.

Pros

  • +

    Up to 7 stops of stabilization

  • +

    28.8-240mm equivalent range

  • +

    0.59x macro

Cons

  • -

    No weather sealing

  • -

    Slow aperture

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is an 8.3x super telephoto zoom lens that's been specifically designed for Canon's new line of APS-C EOS R cameras.

With a full frame equivalent focal range of 28.8-240mm, the Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM provides a compact superzoom that's made with the Canon EOS R7 (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS R10 (opens in new tab) in mind. 

Using the same RF mount as full frame bodies like the Canon EOS R (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab), it can also be mounted on these non-cropped cameras – though it will switch to a cropped shooting mode with reduced resolution, so this isn't really a lens intended for full frame users.

Still, does the Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM rank as one of the best budget telephoto zooms (opens in new tab), or even one of the best telephoto lenses (opens in new tab) in its own right? 

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM at 18mm (left) and 150mm (right) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Full-frame: No (APS-C)
Autofocus: Yes
Stabilization: Yes (4.5 stops / 7 with IBIS)
Lens construction: 17 elements in 13 groups
Angle of view (H, V, D): 64° 30'- 8° 40', 45° 30' - 5° 45' , 74° 20'- 10° 25'
Diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum aperture: f/22 at 18mm • f/40 at 150mm
Minimum focusing distance: 0.17 (18mm) (Manual Focus: 0.12), 0.17 (35mm) (Manual Focus: 0.13) • 0.45 (150mm) (Manual Focus: 0.45)
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.2x (18mm) (Manual Focus: 0.44), 0.36x (35mm) (Manual Focus: 0.59), 0.31x (150mm) (Manual Focus: 0.31)
Filter size: 55mm
Dimensions: 84 x 60mm
Weight: 305g

Canon EOS R7 (pre-production sample) + Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO6400) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Key features

Designed as an all-in-one everyday, travel, wildlife and light macro lens, the 18-150mm has an equivalent field of view of 28.8-240mm in full frame terms, making it an extremely versatile optic. 

The f/3.5-6.3 aperture range limits its ability to record shallow depth of field, as well as its ability to shoot in low light conditions. However, the inclusion of a 4.5-stop optical image stabilization system (which delivers up to 7 stops of compensation when used with a body possessing in-body stabilization, like the R7) makes it much easier to work with slow shutter speeds.

With a maximum magnification of 0.59x when shooting manually at 35mm (56mm equivalent) it's not a true macro lens, but will enable you to get some detailed close-up images. 

Canon EOS R7 (pre-production sample) + Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Build and handling

The lens is light and compact, weighing in at just 305g and measuring a slender 84 x 60mm when shooting at the 18mm wide end (and extending by around 43mm when telescoped out to 150mm).

As with all Canon's RF-mount lenses it comes with a thin Control Ring on the nose, which can be customized to control exposure values, autofocus modes and so on, and also doubles as a manual focus ring.

It's very slight, and arguably too fiddly for anything other than occasional manual focusing, so you're going to want to use assists like focus peaking to perform fine focusing for macro work. 

The zoom ring is much wider and more practical, offering a just-right degree of throw to spin you from near to far with smooth, minimal motion – very handy for when using the lens for video.

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM at full 150mm zoom (left) and the 18mm wide end (right) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Performance

While you obviously shouldn't expect performance on par with lenses like the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L or Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1L (opens in new tab), this lens nonetheless delivers sharpness and detail that's very impressive under the right circumstances – and with a focal range, within a chassis, that's ridiculously small. 

Operating under dim conditions obviously limits the crispness you're able to squeeze out of the optic, but its amazing 7 stops of stabilization (when used with the R7) meant that we were able to shoot at slower shutter speeds with no problem at all – even at the 240mm long end.

As you can see in our sample shots of birds, the 18-150mm is capable of real pin-sharpness, even at its maximum zoom. Moreover, it achieves this in conjunction with the amazing AF of the R7 and R10, keeping up with erratic bird movements without missing a beat.

The STM motor delivers excellent performance for video, too. The lack of constant aperture means that the exposure can be prone to changing when you zoom throughout the range, but with a little consideration this is a really handy all-in-one zoom for holidays and content creating. 

Canon EOS R7 (pre-production sample) + Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO6400) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Early verdict

We still need to run our suite of lab tests to ascertain exactly what this lens is capable of, but let's be honest – this isn't a lens that's going to be made or broken by sharpness or distortion scores. 

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a great all-purpose, all-in-one lens for APS-C bodies – though as with its smaller sibling, the Canon RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM (opens in new tab), this isn't really one to consider on a full frame body (we would recommend the Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM (opens in new tab) for that). 

Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Sample images

Canon EOS R7 (pre-production sample) + Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (1/100 sec, f/5, ISO1250) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Canon EOS R7 (pre-production sample) + Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (1/800 sec, f/6.3, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Canon EOS R7 (pre-production sample) + Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Canon EOS R7 (pre-production sample) + Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO6400) (Image credit: James Artaius)

Read more: 

Hands on: Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM review (opens in new tab)
Hands on: Canon EOS R7 review (opens in new tab)
Hands on: Canon EOS R10 review (opens in new tab)
Best Canon RF lenses (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.