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Must make this clear that it is the older version of 18-55mm before they upgraded it to fit the 450D and above. So 400D and below.
======== When starting out in photography; most people get entry level camera body like 400D Canon EOS, this lens comes with the body to form the basic kit lens. As far as I know, you cannot purchase this lens officially with its boxes and such, you can buy one off Ebay for a reduced price of Ł50 or so without its boxes.
Before purchasing the entire kit, you will have to realise that the lens will have to be replaced very soon as it does not perform as well as its counterparts such as Canon 24-105mm for example. So do not expect high quality photographs from this lens.
The build quality is quite plastic-y and rather light, which made me uncomfortable with its seemingly fragility. The entire lens is made out of plastic, except for the lens itself. The slot where you insert it into the body is made out of metal so I was slightly assured that it wasn't going to fall off. There are two rotational bands; one for the small zoom provided and one for focussing. You can have it in two ways; automatic focus or you can control the focussing yourself. The manual focussing I felt, was incredibly difficult to do on the 18-55mm lens. I cannot explain why. But for most people, they will find it a lot easier to do manual than automatic, as it is a lot quicker. However, beware of unsharp results. The automatic focus is quite fast and accurate but if it focusses on the wrong area of the frame, you will have to turn to manual to rectify this.
The optical zoom on this was predictably disappointing; the focal length was short. I liked the 18mm as it was good for wide-angled photographs for example of landscape photographs.
Detail in the photos I have produced using this has been fairly average; the sharpness could have been improved; to use this, I would have to consider the lightning very carefully, adjusting the ISO speed, F/stops and the shutter speed just to ensure a sharp picture. I know that the IS range lens, the quality is so much better and you don't have to adjust it as much as you do with this lens.
The front element of the lens rotates when it focusses so it is rather unprofessional that it should rotate; what about the filters that clips onto the front? Canon obviously thought that people who uses filters will have upgraded from this lens before it became a problem. Obviously they were wrong.
This lens suffers massive flares when approached by certain sunlight, it shows up in my photos and effectively ruins them. Also, it exhibits the purple fringing; it is visible at all focal lengths and apertures. Nothing anyone can do to prevent this, it is to do with the chromatic aberration from the lens. It is much more obvious when shooting a dark object against a white background. It is only noticeable if you crop a small section of the photo, it will become quite obvious. But if you do not crop at all, it may not be noticeable.
This lens doesn't even have an image stabiliser which is pretty important to gain a sharp image, it corrects any blurry images for you. This lens would have improved so much if it had IS.
Overall, it is good for any new photographers starting out, to learn all the features this camera body has. But they will sorely be limited by the functionalities of the lens and will be looking to upgrade to better quality/wider range focal lens. It produces not the best quality photos but then again, it is cheap.