Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2013

Introduction

Every now and then, it is time for a new "kit" lens in the Canon lens lineup. Normally this is nothing to get overly excited about since most of the "upgrades" are just on the cosmetical side. However, the latest update - the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS - is a little different since Canon came up with a completely new lens offering not only an updated optical design but also an improved construction as well as a new AF motor so it's worth to have a deeper look once more.

Honestly speaking, the previous Canon standard kit lenses had a rather cheap if not crappy build quality which clearly reflected the attempt to push the cost cuttings to the max. This new little fellow is still not carved from granite, of course, but things are somewhat better now. It's still an all-plastic shell but the inner lens tube doesn't wobble quite as much and it now features a non-rotating front element. Another improvement is a dedicated 'proper' focus ring. Your heart will still not jump for joy when using the zoom or focus rings but, to be fair, it is quite decent now really. The zoom characteristic remains similar to the older lenses so it has its shortest length around the 30mm setting and extends both towards 18mm as well as 55mm. Interestingly it has slightly bigger physical dimensions than its predecessors - which is surprising given the current trend towards downsizing everything.

Canon's new STM ("Stepping motor") is optimized for silent and smooth operations and as such it is also usable for movies. It's also pretty fast, too. The accuracy of the tested sample was good.
Typical for most Canon lenses, the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS features a image stabilizer. Canon claims an efficiency of up to 4 f-stops. While this is a lab figure, the real life results come quite close. However, it is a good idea, where possible, to stay on the conservative side during shooting.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length29-88 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.6-f/9 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction11 elements in 9 groups inc. 1x aspherical element
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.25 m (max. magnification 1:2.8 @ 55 mm)
Dimensions69 x 75.2 mm
Weight205 g
Filter size58 mm(non-rotating)
Hoodoptional, petal-shaped, bayonet mount
Other featuresIS (Image-Stabilizer), STM




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