Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM Review

August 24, 2016 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is an innovative macro lens for Canon compact system cameras. Featuring an equivalent focal length of 45mm, the Canon EF-M 28mm lens can focus at both infinity and at 1.2x magnification. It offers a close-focus point of 13mm and a built-in Macro Lite to help remove shadows from the subject. It’s a virtually silent performer thanks to the built-in STM (Stepping Motor), while the optical image stabiliser corrects for angular camera shake, and there’s a seven blade circular aperture for smoother bokeh. The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is available for £289.99/$299.99/€389.99.

Ease of Use

Weighing a mere 130g and measuring 45.5cm in length, the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is one of the smallest and lightest macro lenses that Canon offers. Being an EF-M lens, you can only use it on a Canon compact system camera body like the EOS M3 that we tested it with, for a 45mm equivalent angle of view.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens mounted on the Canon EOS M3 camera

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens mounted on the Canon EOS M3 camera

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens mounted on the Canon EOS M3 camera

Despite this being a relatively inexpensive, lightweight lens, build quality is good. The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM feels solid in your hand, although the plastic lens mount is disappointing to see. The focusing ring is narrow and only has a very narrow ridged grip to assist with finger-tip operation.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens with the built-in Macro Lite turned on

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens with the built-in Macro Lite turned on

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens with the built-in Macro Lite turned on

The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM has a retractable design for easier storage. On the lens barrel is a lock switch that retracts the lens to its shortest length. You simply need to rotate the zoom barrel to the first "dot" setting to extend the lens and start shooting, at which point it measures an additional 1.8cm. There are then actually two macro modes - 1.0x magnification in the "normal" shooting mode, and 1.2x magnification when the lens is extended again to the Super Macro setting.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens alongside the Canon EOS M3 camera

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens

The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM has a dedicated Macro Lite to illuminate small objects up close, diffused by a clear white ring. A small dedicated switch on the lens barrel allows you to choose between the right, left or both LEDs, and also toggles between two different intensities.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMFront of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMRear of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens

The Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM boasts Image Stabilisation which Canon claims offers an advantage of up to 3.5 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 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMSide of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens

The lens ships with a lens hood (ES-22) which also allows filters to be fitted, but there's no protective bag included. It accepts 43mm filters.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMThe Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens in-hand

Focal Range

At the 28mm focal length the angle of view is 51° 55'.

 Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMField of view at 28mm

Focusing

The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens has a rather narrow focusing ring that doesn't really encourage you to use it - perhaps Canon thinks that most users of this lens will never manually focus. 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 43mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM zoom is a quick performer on the EOS M3 camera, taking about 0.25 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 very well controlled with this lens. The example below shows the worst-case scenario.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM

Light Fall-off

With the lens wide open at f/3.5 at 28mm, you can see some significant light fall-off in the corners, although the Canon EOS M3 can automatically correct for it when shooting JPEGs.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STMVignetting at 28mm

Macro

As you'd perhaps expect, the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is an outstanding macro lens, with the close-focus point a useful 13cm from the film/sensor plane and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1.2x in the Super Macro mode. The following example illustrates just how close you can get to the subject, in this case a CompactFlash card.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro 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 28mm f/3.5 Macro 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 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM
   
Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM

Sharpness

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

Entry Tags

review, test, lens, compact system camera, mirrorless, csc, canon, 28mm, f2.8, prime, standard, macro, close-up, 45mm, eos m, ef-m, Canon EF-M, plants, flowers, Canon EF-M 28mm f3.5 Macro IS STM