The Canon 10-22mm is one of the most popular wide angle lenses for APS-C cameras. I bought one in 2006 along with my first DSLR, and having been avidly shooting at wide angles ever since. It’s about time for a review, so let’s dive in…
Build & Handling
The Canon 10-22 feels great on a Canon body, especially an XXD, where it feels perfectly balanced. It’s not too heavy, the zoom ring is nice and wide, and it looks great. It of course features a metal mount, but it’s not built to the same standards as an L lens. The manual focus ring is one of the nicer rings I’ve ever rotated, and it’s used rather often, especially for night photography. In fact, so often that after 5 years of usage, the AF/MF letters next to the switch have almost completely worn away. Compared to most other wide angle zooms, its lighter and feels less brick-like, which makes it a joy to carry around all day. When zooming, the barrel does not extend, which is nice. Finally, it takes a rather large 77mm filter size.
Image Quality & Performance
This lens is reputed for having excellent image quality. The AF sometimes hunts in low light, especially when shooting at night, but that’s where the manual focus ring comes in handy. And it is virtually void of pincushion and barrel distortion, in contrast to most of its peers. Some photographers have claimed it as an L in disguise, as it features several aspherical and UD elements which are normally only found in L glass. In order to validate this, I put both the 10-22mm and the 17-40L through a little (non-scientific) test here in the studio. Take a look at the results for yourself. I find the 17-40L to be a bit sharper across the frame, at both wide angle and zoomed in. But the 10-22mm still performs admirably.
At one point in time, the 10-22mm was my default walk-around lens. Since then, it has been replaced by the more versatile Sigma 30mm, but the Canon still remains a mainstay in my camera bag. It’s great for street photography, architecture, landscapes, and especially night photography. If you are into these things, for the APS-C shooter, its a no-brainer. However, if money is a concern, there are plenty of other more budget friendly choices on the market, which has bloomed recently with the likes of the Tamron 10-24 (a slightly wider range), the new Sigma 10-20 (with a constant f/3.5), Tokina 11-18 (great if you need a faster f/2.8 aperture). However, in my opinion, there’s nothing like a Canon lens on a Canon body, and they hit the ball out of the park with this one. Personally, it was worth the premium I paid, and I’ve been more than satisfied with it for the past five years.
What They Say:
The Digital Picture – “This lens is an ideal 2nd or 3rd lens for most photographers. I just wish I could use it on my full-frame DSLR bodies.”
Ken Rockwell – “The Canon 10-22mm has much less distortion than any wide zoom I’ve tested, which means it’s much better than my Nikon 12-24mm., much better then the Tamron 11-18mm, much better than the Tokina 12-24mm and much better than the Sigma 10-20mm, period.”
Luminous Landscape – “The numbers tell a positive story, but more importantly, this lens is capable of producing some very fine results in terms of prints. I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Canon 10-22mm for any professional application.”
Photo.net – “There is a little corner softness wide open at 10mm, but overall the image quality is excellent. Those who claim that this lens shows “L” quality performance may not be wrong.”
Bob Atkins – “For a superwide zoom the EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 is pretty small and light. For example it’s 90g (3.2oz) lighter than the EF 17-40/4L and 215g (7.6oz) lighter than the EF 16-35/2.8L, as well as being smaller than both of them.”
Photozone – “There’s no such thing as a free lunch though – the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM sells for around 600€/US$ which is a whopping 50% higher than for third-party products such as the Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 or the popular Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX.”
Cameralabs – “The light fall-off may have been worse than the EF-S 17-85mm and EF-S 18-55mm lenses, but again this is to be expected for an ultra-wide angle lens, and in its favour the gradient was quite gentle, so any loss of light was subtle and unlikely to be noticed in most real-life shots.’
Finally, check out this video review by the good people at Cameralabs: