Introduction

First released in August of 2004, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM has an equivalent field of view of 16-35mm on APS-C type cameras with 1.6x crop ratio. The lens bears EF-S designation, meaning that it is specifically designed for APS-C type dSLRs (the lens has a protruding rear element, which brings the lens closer to the sensor) and will not work with full-frame cameras. Sold for about US$650 (as of February 2007), the lens is within reach of serious amateurs. The lens includes three aspherical lens elements and a Super UD glass (very much like majority of Canon's modern L lenses) and consists of 13 elements in 10 groups. The lens offers full-time manual and a ring-type USM auto-focus with a minimum focusing distance of 24cm (0.8ft) and a maximum magnification of 1.6x at 22mm.

 

Image

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM sports an inner focusing mechanism with focusing cam, which means that the lens does not extend during zooming. The lens is compact and lightweight - 83.5x89.8mm (3.3"x3.5"), 385g (13.6oz). The build quality of the lens is quite decent - not an L lens, but the plastic body does not feel cheap, nothing wobbles inside and rubberized zoom and focus rings are comfortable and smooth. The front element of the lens does not rotate, which allows attaching filters to the filter mounting thread on the front of the lens. The filter size is 77mm.

The factory box includes Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens, front and rear lens caps, manual and warranty card. The lens accepts EF-83E lens hood (sold separately). You can also use LP1319 soft case, also sold separately. The lens is also compatible with Canon's extension tubes EF 12 II and EF 25 II.

 

Summary
Lens Composition 13 elements in 10 groups
Angular Field 107 - 63 degrees
Minimum Focus 24cm/0.79ft
Focusing Action AF/MF, USM
f-stop Scale f/3.5-f/22, camera-controlled
Filter Size 77mm
Lens Hood EW-83E (optional)
Weight 385g/13.6oz
Dimensions 84x90mm/3.3x3.5"
Lens Case LZ1319 (optional)

 

Field Tests

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM showed very solid results. At 10mm the lens shows very noticeable barrel distortion, which is expected from an ultra-wide zoom lens but is still disappointing. You will notice most distortion around corners where objects get stretched and disfigured. The lens also showed noticeable vignetting when wide open, which can be explained by the fact that the lens is designed for APS-C cameras and has a reduced imaging circle. Also bear in mind that the lens accepts 77mm filters, so you need to be careful when shooting at the widest focal length - if you use a thick (5mm+) circular polarizer, vignetting can become even worse.

Images taken with the lens were very sharp in the center across all focal lengths, but the border quality suffered, so stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8 is recommended to achieve the best results. Flare was well under control - positive surprise for an ultra-wide zoom. Another positive surprise is relatively low (for an ultra-wide zoom lens at least) chromatic aberration. The lens does not have Image Stabilizer, so you should consider using a tripod when taking long exposures. Also, the lens is not weather or dust sealed, so be careful exposing it to nature elements. The biggest gripe for me is the lack of a lens hood (needs to be purchased separately for ~US$40), which is a must in my opinion for both protecting the front element as well as shielding the lens from stray light.

The lens is mindbogglingly wide - it is even wider then Canon's fish-eye lens, A dream (or a curse?) for landscape photography, but rather not suitable for portraits. At 10mm, the lens takes in a very wide angle of view - a bit over 107 degrees to be precise. Composition at this focal length is rather difficult since you'll be capturing pretty much everything from the ground under your feet to clouds in the sky.

 


Lab Tests

The lens shone in the lab tests. It delivered very good results across all focal lengths with sharpest results at 17mm. Here you will be able to get high quality prints up to 16in in hight if you stop down to f/8. Border quality remained pretty solid except at 22mm where it started to fall apart. Nevertheless, the overall results are quite impressive, for an ultra-wide zoom that is. Conclusion? I wish Canon had a 10-22mm zoom lens for a full-frame camera that would have as good overall performance as the EF-S lens. There, I said it!

 

 

MTF50 (Line Width / Inch on the Print) @ 10mm
MTF50 (Line Width / Inch on the Print) @ 10mm

 

MTF50 (Line Width / Inch on the Print) @ 17mm
MTF50 (Line Width / Inch on the Print) @ 17mm

 

MTF50 (Line Width / Inch on the Print) @ 22mm
MTF50 (Line Width / Inch on the Print) @ 22mm

 

Chromatic aberration (fringes of color caused by sharp transitions) is most pronounced at 10mm around borders. While stopping down to f/8 where the lens is sharpest helps, CA still persists albeit at a lower level - ~1.5pixels. Chromatic aberration is lowest at the long zoom range and is almost non-existent when stopped down.

 

 

Image borders @ 10mm (100% crop): f/3.5 vs f/8
Image borders @ 10mm (100% crop): f/3.5 vs f/8

 

Alternatives

There are some interesting alternatives to Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens available on the market these days. The first lens on the list of alternatives is Tokina AT-X 124 PRO DX AD 12-24mm f/4 (review), which is priced slightly below Canon's ultra-wide zoom, exhibits very similar performance characteristics and has a superior build quality. Sigma AF 10-20mm f/4-5.8 EX HSM DC (review) is another possible alternative, although this lens exhibits pronounced distortion throughout entire focal length. Sigma 12-24mm F/4.5-5.6 EX DG ASPHERICAL HSM (review) could also be added to the list, although it wouldn't be my favorite choice since this lens is noticeably softer then Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM. Finally, if you're willing to sacrifice the ultra-wide aspect, then Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM (review) should also be added to the list of possible choices.

 

Recommendation

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM is an interesting ultra-wide zoom lens. At least for those willing to invest in an EF-S lens. The lens has some shortcomings - build quality leaves room for improvement, the lens does not come with a lens hood (surprise to me considering its price tag). The lens showed noticeable vignetting at 10mm and some softness at the borders across all focal lengths. One may only wonder why Canon priced this lens so high considering stiff competition from Tokina and Sigma. If you're considering Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, go to a local lens rental place and test it side by side with Tokina. You might save a few hundred dollars. Ultimately however, the lens will not disappoint you if you decide to stick with Canon brand name.