Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Review

3.5
August 21, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is the standard kit lens for the fledgling EF-M compact camera system, but is it any good? Read our in-depth Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM review to find out...

The Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is a standard zoom lens for Canon compact system cameras (currently just the EOS M model). Featuring an equivalent focal length of 29-88mm, the Canon EF-M 11-22mm offers a stepping motor for smooth and quiet continuous AF while capturing video and in live view mode, 4-stop optical Image Stabilizer and Dynamic IS for movies, manual focus override, minimum focusing distance of 25cm, circular seven-blade aperture, and a non-rotating front element. The Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is available either as a kit lens or seperately for £269.99 / $299.99.

Ease of Use

Weighing a mere 210g and measuring 61cm in length, the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is one of the smallest and lightest standard zoom lenses that Canon offers. Being an EF-M lens, you can only use it on a Canon compact system camera body like the EOS M that we tested it with, for a 29-88mm equivalent angle of view.

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMThe Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Despite this being a fairly inexpensive, lightweight lens, build quality is very good. The Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM feels solid in your hand, thanks to the mostly metal construction, and the metal lens mount is good to see. The focusing ring is quite wide given the size of the lens, but only has a very narrow ridged grip to assist with finger-tip operation. The zoom ring is much wider and covered almost entirely in the same ridged coating.

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, extended

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

The Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM boasts Image Stabilisation which Canon claims offers an advantage of up to 4 f-stops over lenses without a stabilizer. This is activated via the camera's menu system, rather than an On/Off switch on the side of the lens.

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMFront of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMRear of the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMThe Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens in-hand

The lens doesn't ship with either a lens hood or a protective bag. It accepts 52mm filters.

Focal Range

At the 18mm focal length the angle of view is 74º 20'.

 Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMField of view at 18mm

At the 55mm focal length the angle of view is 27º 50'.

 Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMField of view at 55mm

Focusing

The Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens has quite a wide focusing ring but annoyingly only about 3mm of its width has a textured surface, making it trickier to locate and use in a hurry. There are no hard stops at either ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity. Manual override of the autofocusing system is available at any time. Polariser users should be pleased that the 52mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM zoom is a fairly quick performer on the EOS M with the latest firmware installed (version 2.02), taking about 0.7 seconds to lock onto the subject. We didn't experience too much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It's also a virtually silent performer too, thanks to the built-in STM (Stepping Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording and more candid photography.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are not particularly well controlled with this lens, appearing in quite a lot of our test shots. The examples below show the worst-case scenario.

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

Light Fall-off

With the lens wide open at f/3.5 at 18mm, you can see some significant light fall-off in the corners, although the Canon EOS M can automatically correct for it when shooting JPEGs. There's also some obvious barrel distortion too.

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMVignetting at 18mm

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMVignetting at 55mm

Macro

The Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is not really a macro lens, but the close-focus point is a useful 25cm from the film/sensor plane, and Canon quotes a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.25x for the lens at the 55mm focal length. The following example illustrates how close you can get to the subject, in this case a CompactFlash card.

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STMClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. The Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM has an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades for a pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Below you'll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
   
Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

review, lens, compact system camera, test, mirrorless, csc, canon, zoom, standard, f3.5, f5.6, kit, 18-55mm, kit lens, eos m, Canon EF-M, ef-m, Canon EF-M 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM

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