The GoodLightweight and compact; affordably priced; very usable manual focus capability; optical image stabilization for sharper handheld photos at slow shutter speeds.
The BadAll-plastic construction, which is less durable than metal; sharpness falls off at 250mm where it is likely to see a lot of use.
The Bottom LineA lightweight, compact design coupled with its stabilized 400mm-equivalent focal length zoom and affordable price make the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS a versatile lens for entry-level shooters and amateurs on a budget.
Available for less than $300, the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS is a lightweight, affordable first or second lens to complement your entry-level or midrange digital SLR. With its 400mm-equivalent focal length, you get the reach and angle of view desirable for shooting portraits and sports, or just to bring the scenes in closer, with the image stabilization essential to keep those long telephoto shots from blurring from camera shake.
Design Measures 4.3 inches long with a 2.8 inch diameter and accepts 58mm screw-on filters. The all-plastic construction of the lens barrel and mount make the lens lightweight (13.8 ounces) for its zoom range, but better-built lenses have a metal lens mount and even a metal lens barrel for durability. Variable maximum aperture from f4 to f5.6, and a variable minimum aperture from f22 to f32. At 55mm it's from f4 to f22; at 250mm, from f5.6 to f32. Closest focus is 43.2 inches, though that remains constant throughout the zoom range.
Matthew Fitzgerald, a CNET associate editor, has been involved with digital camera technology and the photo industry for more than 15 years. His background includes work as a professional photographer, a technical representative, and a repair technician.