Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 Review

It’s Fantastic For Wildlife Photography

Here are some more examples of photos I took of wildlife using this lens – I love it, as it really enables me to get close to the action without spooking the animals.

My photo of a swan's feet, in black & white

ISO 800, 160/sec, f/5.6

squirrel eating food

ISO 1000, 1/250 sec, f/5.6


Great For Capturing Candids Too

I love taking candid, ‘natural’ photos of family and friends, and one of the best ways you can do this is by using a long zoom – otherwise, if you don’t have that long focal length available, then you have to stand too close, and your very presence as a photographer generally means that people ‘clam up’ and stop acting natural. By using the 55- 250 at its longer lengths, such as 200 or 250, then I’ve been able to take lovely shots of my family and friends, who have been totally unaware that I’ve been snapping away! See the below examples:

ISO 3200, 1/125 sec, f/5.6

ISO 1600, 1/125 sec, f/5.6

It really is great for any kind of candid shooting – I used it at a friend’s wedding recently, and got some lovely shots of the guests. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get such shots with the 18 – 55 kit lens, that’s for sure…

On to Part 3: Action, Weddings and My Verdict —>

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  1. Abhishek /

    I read in some of the other reviews that it is slower since it doesnt have an USM motor? was it an issue with you?
    And also, is it slow with auto-focussing at over 200mm? Or can we just do it with manual focus?

  2. I’ve not found the focusing slow at all, and definitely no problem when focusing at over 200mm. I really recommend it if you’re looking for a good, reliable budget telephoto.

  3. Nazli Shah /

    What do think abt 18 – 200mm kit lens? Which is better, this or the 55 – 250 kit lens? Appreciate your expertise on this. TQ

  4. Hi Nazil. The 18 – 200 is a really good lens too, and has a similiar variable aperture to the 55 – 250 (although the 18 – 200 can open up a bit more at the wide end). I think they’re both good; the 55 – 250 has the advantage of a further reach, but 18 – 200 has the benefit of having such a large focal range – a lot of people get that lens so that they don’t need to change lenses much at all.

  5. Hi again, TQ for quick reply. FYI, I already have the 18-200mm and the 50mm (nice lens, small yet powerful). For wedding ceremony, what lens would you suggest for both indoor and outdoor?

  6. This lens came with my Canon 550D camera kit. Its my first DSLR.

    This zoom lens is fine, but sometimes I would like to be able to zoom in closer if my subject is too far away.
    What is the next (reasonably priced) zoom lens that you recommend I should consider next?

    Thanks, Maria

  7. There are a few budget lenses that go a little bit further, to 300mm, but you won’t see too much magnification over the 55 – 250mm if you go for one of those. Lenses longer than 300mm are generally not too reasonably priced, however, with the Canon EF 100 – 400 zoom lens about $1600 / £1200.

  8. Hi,
    I bought my 1st canon DSLR T2i rebel mainly to take family pictures and also for my two and half year old daughter. It is very complicated. I am having lot of problem specially when I am taking pictures at night indoor. It looks dull and dark. i just picked up the cannon 55mm/F1.8 lenses per your recommendations. Can you tell me few different kind of setting I should try with the new lens to get some good indoor pictures?
    Also to get a good photograph of the Christmas tree lighting (outdoor) with the family, what Aperture, shutter speed and iso should I use? Taking my daughter to a indoor Ice show and I have no idea how I can get some good shoot with lot of colors sowing.
    Also I played with some of the setting and now it is taking a while to take pictures and it kept on giving me the sign “busy”
    Also I need some clirificaton on shutter speed and aperture, are you able to help me with that or any other place where I can get a good tutorial? Thank you.
    Can you please help.

  9. Hi Immy. For lowlight, indoor photos, you’ll want to use the 50mm f/1.8 in Aperture Priority mode (AV) and choose a very wide aperture of around f/2.0 or f/1.8. You’ll probably also have to raise the ISOto ISO 800 or 1600 if it’s a really dark room. That should then mean you’ll be getting enough light through the lens at once to get a sharp shot, as your camera will also be more sensitive due to the high ISO.

    The ‘busy’ sign on your camera can mean it is writing the image to the memory card; if you take lots of photos at a time at the max file size setting (probably RAW), then you can get this sign coming up. Regarding aperture and shutter speed, you may find this article I did on shooting in lowlight useful.

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