The ultra wide zoom—16-35, 17-35, 17-40, et al.—has been a mainstay of pros, especially photojournalists, since the early 1990s. Sweeping landscapes, operation in tight quarters and ease of hand holding are hallmarks of this range. The EF-s 10-22 3.5-4.5 USM brings this range to APS-C (1.6X crop) cameras like the 7D, 70D, 80D and Rebel.
The metal mount and polycarbonate barrel make it reasonably durable but lightweight. Yes, it has a L series price but lacks moisture seals and battle grade components. The front element moves slightly during operation so an UV filter helps seal the front from dust.
This lens is a classic two-touch design: wide ribbed rubber zoom ring near the end of the barrel and a narrow focus ring near the mount. The opposite placement of Canon L series zooms. Zoom and focus mechanisms are internal: no extension of nested barrels and the size of the lens stays the same at all zoom settings. The internal mechanism is also not subject to zoom drift and less prone to sucking in dust compared to front extension designs.
The filter size is 77 mm, making filters expensive.
3.5-4.5 USM | 1 Super UD and 3 aspherical
elements make this ultra wide a sharp optic in a petite package.
The cosmetics aren't as nice as the similarly priced Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM or Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. The overall appearance is plain and similar to the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II and Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM.
How does it feel in use? My initial impression was it's a bit plasticy and zoom and focus rings are slightly coarse and stiff, but loosened up after a year. It's a notch below the mechanical smoothness of my EF-s 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM. However, it's light and petite: easy to slip in a coat pocket and ideal for travel or hiking. Wish I owned it when I went to Europe a couple years back.
Ring-type USM drives an internal lens group and, thus, AF blazes and is silent to human ears. The front element doesn't rotate during focus and zoom operations. It has FTM, allowing manual focus without switching out of AF mode.
This AF design is optimized for stills and not ideal for video: the camera's mic picks up a high pitched stutter from the focus motor and movie servo is jerky due to the stepped motor. The workaround is to use an external mic and pre-focus or focus manually. If video is your main thing, buy the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM instead as the STM drive, albeit slower, is stepless and silent to the camera's mic.
Wired | EOS 70D, EF-s 10-22 3.5-4.5 USM: 10mm, F5.6
The optical design and antireflection coatings of zooms have evolved to the point the best examples rival prime lenses, the EF-s 10-22 3.5-4.5 USM being a prime example of this trend. Canon combines exotic optical glass and blazing fast AF in an ultra wide priced for serious hobbyists. It offers the optical quality of an L zoom in a prosumer body. Of course there is a gotcha: slow maximum aperture of F3.5 to 4.5.
Wide open, this zoom is sharp and contrasty in the middle of the frame with slight softening towards edges. The wide side is the sharpest with slight degradation as you zoom towards 22mm. Sharpness across the frame improves as you stop down. By F8 it is pin sharp from edge to edge. I'm going for increased depth of field for landscapes and cityscapes, so I leave this lens set to F8 most of the time. I only shoot wide open for testing and occasional low light snapshots.
Downtown Honolulu | EOS 7D, EF-s 10-22 3.5-4.5 USM: 10mm, F5.6 | This image shows perspective distortion typical of wide lenses (building falling over).
Distortion is exceptionally well corrected. Yes, there is a wee bit of barreling at the wide end and slight pincushion ate the long end. But way less distortion than my EF-s 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM and even a little better than the 17-40 4L USM. Even if 100% distortion free, you need to compose carefully with ultra wides to avoid perspective distortion, e.g., noses appearing too large or buildings falling over.
Flare is well controlled: no problems with sunsets or streetlights. Nevertheless, a lens hood is recommended for protection and to shade the front element from glare. Too bad the OEM hood will cost you $32 (unless you spring for a Chinese knockoff).
Chromatic aberration is a reality with all zooms and this one is not exempt, with magenta fringing along high contrast edges. e.g., tree branches or buildings against a bright sky. However, it is mild and easy to remove in DPP, LR or Apple Aperture. In normal light you will never notice magenta fringing.
Alika | EOS 60D and EF-s 10-22 3.5-4.5 USM, 22mm F4.5
The recommended EW-83E hood is bulky and (looks like a dish) and costs $32. Worse of all, it's so shallow it offers little protection. I have an EW-83H that came with an EF 24-105 4L IS USM. The bayonet mount is the same size as the EW-83E but the hood is longer and narrower, offering increased protection. I thought the longer length might vignette but, amazingly, it doesn't vignette at any focal length, has better protection from glare and less bulk than the EW-83E. If you're going to spend money on an expensive hood for the 10-22 3.5-4.5, get the EW-83H instead of the EW-83E. If you're on tight budget, check out the Vello EW-83H clone/knockoff.
Although this lens was designed before the advent of DSLR video, it makes a fine video lens if you're shooting in tight quarters or need to go wide. As noted above, the AF motor is picked up by the internal mic so use MF or an outboard audio recorder and/or external mic. I shoot video of my concerts using two DSLRs and Tascam audio: one camera off the right side of the conductor's stand and another operated by an ensemble member in the rear. And the 10-22 is perfect to take in all the players. The manual focus ring is too coarse for focus pulls and you need a follow focus sling/handle if you want smooth zoom pulls. However my needs are simple: press the "start video" button and play with the band!
Air on a G String (Leeward Coast Guitars) | The wide shots from the rear of the ensemble were taken with a 60D and EF-s 10-22 3.5-4.5 USM.
Gavotte (Leeward Coast Guitars) | The wide shots from the rear of the ensemble were taken with a 60D and EF-s 10-22 3.5-4.5 USM.
This zoom is a specially lens and too wide for most daily use. After all, 10mm covers 107 degrees! It took practice to learn to compose effectively. The tricky part was simplifying compositions so they don't look cluttered or lack a graphic focal point. Nevertheless, I reach for this lens when I plan to shoot cityscapes, landscapes or building interiors. It has ideal coverage for spacious public buildings like cathedrals or mammoth train stations.
If you need an ultra wide zoom on APS-C, this is among the best in terms of image quality. The EF-s 10-22 3.5-4.5 USM has optical quality similar to the famous EF 16-35 2.8L USM, but at half the price and weight. It's sharp, fast to focus and easy on the shoulder.
The dilemma is choosing between this lens and the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 USM. Image quality is a toss-up so other features may be the deciding factor. The USM lens has 4mm of additional reach, 1-stop faster aperture at 10mm, better build, distance scale, sturdy metal mount and blazing fast AF optimized for stills. On the other hand, the STM lens is $300 less, smaller and lighter, includes IS and the STM drive is silent and smooth when shooting video in Movie Servo mode.
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