The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens is an opportunity for most new photographers to get a taste of wildlife photography. It's a excellent companion for the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens that comes with the Canon EOS Rebel. For an entry level lens, it offers some amazing technology that many photographers dreamed of years ago.
The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens comes in a standard Canon lens box (see photo below). It's a sturdy box. The design is quite pleasing and filled with pride. It's obvious that Canon doesn't want you to throw away to box.
The lens is wrapped in a styrofoam bag, held by plastic shipping spacers. The front lens cap and rear lens cap come attached to the lens. Instruction manual and warranty card are also included in the box.
Although priced as a low-end lens, it is hard to tell that it is targeted for the low-end photography segment. Unlike the previous generation low-end lens, such as the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and the Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 USM lens, where the lens body feels like cheap plastic, the newer Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens has a really high" quality body. It feels solid and hefty with no sense of flimsiness that is exhibited in previous generation lenses.
The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens has also every feature in an advanced Canon lens that you'd want. The only major thing missing is the Ultrasonic Motor (USM). Instead of the USM, it uses standard DC motor that is used by many of the Canon low-end lenses. The newer DC motor has solved the noise problem and is relatively quiet; almost to the audio level of an USM lens. Focus is steady and quick.
A manual focus ring is located at the front of the lens, just behind the lens hood attachment ring. It does not have an internal focus mechanism and a rotating front, which means that when it focuses, the front lens element will rotate while extending/retracting.
The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens uses the Canon ET-60 Lens Hood. Interestingly, this lens hood is compatible with seven other Canon telephoto zoom lenses:
The Canon ET-60 Lens Hood comes in a standard Canon red/white box, wrapped in translucent plastic bag. This lens hood attaches to the front of the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens via the bayonet mount. The lens hood is not flower-shaped, because the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens has a rotating front lens element, causing the lens hood to rotate while focusing. The inner surface of the lens hood is molded plastic matte texture to reduce reflection. But unlike a felt cloth surface, this matte texture still reflects a little bit of light.
The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II is really amazing compared to the older Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 USM lens. In the widest angle side, you gain half a stop in speed. In the furthest telephoto side, you gain a whole 50mm. You also gain the awesome image stabilization.
But gaining these performance is not without trade offs. You lose the ultrasonic motor (USM) and the ability to mount on full-frame EOS SLR cameras. But if you don't have a full-frame camera and never want to upgrade to a full-frame camera, this telephoto lens is probably perfect for you.
On the other hand, if you want a maximize gain and minimize loss, you should take a look at the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. You gain everything mentioned above plus 50mm additional zoom. The only thing you lose is a measly 15mm at the wide end.
The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens has a 58mm filter thread. This is the standard size on Canon low-end and medium-end lenses. Great if you already have a 58mm filter collection.
The lens has a rotating front lens element while focusing. Therefore, it is quite difficult to us a circular polarizer with it. If you like to use filters a lot, I suggest skipping this lens and look for a higher end lens with internal focus mechanism.