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 and Canon EOS R10 in mind.
Using the same RF mount as full frame bodies like the Canon EOS R and Canon EOS R5, 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, or even one of the best telephoto lenses in its own right?
Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Specifications
Mount: Canon RF
Full-frame: No (APS-C)
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
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 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.
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, 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 RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Lab results
We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.
We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the center of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and color fringing (chromatic aberration).
Important note: we're testing a pre-production sample of the RF-S 18-45mm, although we've got no reason to expect retail samples to differ considerably in performance.
Center sharpness is excellent at all focal length, even wide open at 18mm, and only starts to drop off at f/11. Corner sharpness is much more mundane, though we'd expect this from a superzoom lens.
With in-camera aberration correction disabled, the RF-S 18-150mm generates considerable fringing at each end of the zoom range. It's much less noticeable at intermediate focal lengths though.
With in-camera distortion correction disabled, there's noticeable barrel distortion at 18mm, transitioning to moderate pincushion distortion at 50mm and beyond.
Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Early verdict
No lens with a focal length this broad is ever going to produce sensational image quality, but the Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM nevertheless performs very well for a superzoom optic. It's 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, 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 for that).
Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: Sample images
Hands on: Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM review
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