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

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2018


The last time we tested a Canon EF-M lens was two years ago ... and very little has changed ever since in the Canon EOS M system. While other manufacturers are releasing new mirrorless equipment at an insane pace, Canon takes a slow approach to be polite. Even several years after the system launch, there are just a handful of lenses available. To be honest, due to Canon's lack of ambition, the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS has been sitting in my closet for more than 2 years now so it was about time to give it a go finally.

The lens is usually sold as part of a camera kit but you can also buy it separately in some regions. Kit lenses don't have the best reputation - at least in terms of build quality but the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS is clearly an exception to the rule here. It feels pretty sturdy thanks to a tightly assembled metal (!) body based on a metal mount. The zoom and focus rings operate smoothly. Of course, the greatness has to end somewhere thus the inner, extending lens tube is made of plastics.

The lens uses Canon's stepping motor for focusing. It's hard to judge the AF speed because the camera has its (substandard) share in this game - therefore let's call it adequate. It supports Canon’s Movie Servo AF feature for smooth and quiet continuous AF during video shooting. An unusual aspect is manual focusing. Most mirrorless lenses have a focus-by-wire system - and that also applies here - but you won't really notice any "pumping" during focusing.
Canon's image stabilizer (IS) is rated with an efficiency gain of up to 4 f-stops. As usual, we recommend to expect a little less than that - 3 f-stops seem to be a reasonable estimation for us coffee drinkers.

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM IS (to the right below) is not alone in its quest. It has a smaller in-house buddy to its side - the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 STM IS (left) - see the comparison below. While similar in scope, they have obviously slightly different priorities.

Equiv. focal length"29-88mm" (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperture"f/5-8" (full format equivalent in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction13 elements in 11 groups, 3 aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.25m (max. magnification ratio 1:4)
Filter size52mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, optional
Other featuresSTM, Dynamic IS

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