Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 STM IS - Review / Test
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2016


As of the time of this review, Canon's mirrorless system is solely targeting the budget market and despite a less then attractive overall system, they seem to be surprisingly successful with this strategy ... if we can believe their marketeers (...). A very recent addition to the entry-level market is the Canon EF-S 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 STM IS. While it is primarily sold as a kit zoom lens (currently with the EOS M10), it is also available separately for about 300US$/EUR. Following the recent trend of pushing miniaturization, Canon implemented a retractable design. Regarding its length of 45mm (in transport mode) we hesitate to call it a pancake zoom lens but it comes close at least. It is equivalent to a "24-72mm f/5.6-9.6" on full format cameras so it's slow, yes, but it's wider than the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS so besides its smaller size it adds a selling point there.

Due to the retractable design, you have to switch the lens from its transport mode (seen to the left below) into the actual working mode. This is as easy as pulling a dedicated lever and turning the zoom ring. When zooming throughout the zoom range the inner tube moves a bit back and forth. The mechanical quality is about average. It's an all-plastic construction down to the mount and you feel the cost-cutting measures. The inner lens tube wobbles a bit but it doesn't rotate during focusing/zooming. The zoom- and (small) focus-control rings do their job, of course, but they aren't particularly "nice" to handle. To be fair - this is typical for these budget-level standard zoom lenses. The positive side of all the plastics is a very light-weight at just 130g. It is available in two colors - in black and, in some markets, in silver.

Similar to other mirrorless systems, Canon EOS M uses a stepping motor (STM) for focus operations. This works noiselessly and quite fast as well. Also typical for STM lenses - manual focusing works "by-wire" thus you actually drive the AF motor by turning the focus ring.

The Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 STM IS is obviously a very slow lens but an image stabilizer compensates this limitation to some degree. Canon claims an efficiency of up to 3.5 f-stops. The "Dynamic IS" is also smoothing movements which provides a more pleasing stabilization effect when shooting movies.

Equiv. focal length"24-72mm" (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperture"f/5.6-9.6" (full format equivalent in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction10 elements in 9 groups including 3x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.25m (max. magnification ratio 1:4)
Filter size49mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, optional
Other featuresRetractable, STM, Dynamic IS

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