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Canon 18-55mm IS STM
EF-M
(2012-today)

© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

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Canon 18-55mm IS STM

Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM (52mm filters, 0.8'/0.25m close-focus, 7.2 oz./203g, about $300.) enlarge. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially these links directly to it at Adorama or at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken.

 

January 2013    Canon Reviews   EOS-M Review   EOS-M System    All Reviews

 

Sample Image Files

Palm 27 Dec 2012

Palm. Canon EOS-M, 18-55mm at 18mm, f/6.3 at 1/125, STANDARD Picture Style with 6 sharpening and +3 Saturation. Camera-Original © 7 MB LARGE JPG File.

 

Century Plant 27 Dec 2012

Century Plant . Canon EOS-M, 18-55mm at 18mm, f/7.1 at 1/160, STANDARD Picture Style with 6 sharpening and +3 Saturation. Camera-Original © 4 MB LARGE JPG File.

 

Benihana 14 Jan 2013

Red Plant. Canon EOS-M, 18-55mm at 24mm, f/10 at 1/200, STANDARD Picture Style with 6 sharpening and +3 Saturation. Camera-Original © 7 MB LARGE JPG File.

 

Benihana 14 Jan 2013

Split Torus. Canon EOS-M, 18-55mm at 24mm, f/4 at 1/30, STANDARD Picture Style with 6 sharpening and +3 Saturation. Camera-Original © 3 MB LARGE JPG File.

 

Benihana 14 Jan 2013

Eucalyptus. Canon EOS-M, 18-55mm at 39mm, f/8 at 1/125, STANDARD Picture Style with 6 sharpening and +3 Saturation. Camera-Original © 9 MB LARGE JPG File.

 

Benihana 14 Jan 2013

Yellow. Canon EOS-M, 18-55mm at 42mm, f/11 at 1/320, STANDARD Picture Style with 6 sharpening and +3 Saturation. Camera-Original © 9 MB LARGE JPG File.

 

Fabric Lunch 16 Jan 2013

Fabric. Canon EOS-M, 18-55mm at 31mm, f/10 at 1/200, STANDARD Picture Style with 6 sharpening and +3 Saturation. Camera-Original © 9 MB LARGE JPG File.

Pretty darn sharp, especially considering that this chair seat isn't flat.

 

Introduction       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

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This Canon EF-M 18-55mm IS STM is a very small zoom lens with superb optical performance. Don't take its superior optics for granted; the very similar looking Sony DT 18-55mm SAM and Sony NEX E 18-55mm OSS are awful by comparison. It's better than the EF-S Canon 18-55mm lenses, too.

This Canon 18-55mm has a metal barrel and mount, but the front barrel, filter ring and the insides are all plastic. It's made in Taiwan.

It has Image Stabilization for sharp hand-held shots in low light of subjects that aren't moving.

 

Compatibility and Formats

As an EF-M lens, it only works on Canon's EOS-M series of cameras, which as of this writing in January 2013, is only the EOS-M camera body.

 

Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

 

Name

Canon calls this the CANON LENS EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM.

EF means "electronic focus," meaning that there is an autofocus motor in the lens itself. All Canon lenses since 1987 have been EF.

-M means that it's a different, smaller mount, so it only works on the EOS-M cameras.

IS means Image Stabilization.

STM means that the autofocus motor is a stepper motor.

 

Canon 18-55mm IS STM

Canon 18-55 IS STM. enlarge.

 

Optics       top

13 elements in 11 groups.

Three aspherical elements.

Multicoated mostly in green and magenta.

Pumper zoom.

Internal focus.

 

Focal Length

18-55mm.

Used on an EOS-M 1.6x camera, it will see about the same field of view as a 28-85mm lens sees on full-frame cameras.

 

Angle of View (on EOS-M 1.6x cameras)

74.3 ~ 27.8º diagonal.

45.5 ~ 15.6º vertical.

64.5 ~ 23.3º horizontal.

 

Close Focus       top

0.8 feet (0.25 meters) from the image plane, specified.

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio       top

1:4.0 (0.25x), at 55mm.

 

Diaphragm       top

Canon 18-55 IS STM

Front, Canon 18-55mm IS STM.

7 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22~36.

 

Focus Scale       top

No.

The ring turns without stops; it's just an electronic encoder.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale       top

No.

 

Infra-Red Focus Indices       top

No.

 

Filters        top

52mm thread, plastic.

Does not rotate, but moves in and out with focusing.

 

Image Stabilization

Rated for four stops improvement.

 

Size       top

Canon specifies 2.4" (60.9 mm) diameter by 2.4" (61.0 mm) long.

2.4 x 2.4 inch, 7.4 oz. / 60.9 x 61.0mm, 210g

 

Weight       top

7.150 oz. (202.7g), measured.

Canon specifies 7.4 oz. (210g).

 

Hood       top

Plastic bayonet EW-54 petal hood, $29.

I wouldn't bother with it; it looks quite useless.

 

Caps       top

New 52mm E-52 front cap, included.

EB rear "dust cap," included.

 

Case       top

LP814 sack, $24.

I'd use a tube sock instead.

 

Quality       top

Made in Taiwan.

 

Canon Product Number        top

5984B002

 

Introduced       top

23 July 2012.

 

Shipping Since       top

Late 2012.

 

Price, USA        top

2012 July - 2013 January: $300.

 

Performance       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

Overall    Autofocus    Breathing    Coma    Distortion   

Ergonomics   Falloff    Filters     Flare     Lateral Color Fringes

Macro   Mechanics   Sharpness   Sunstars

 

Overall     performance      top

The Canon 18-55mm IS STM is the only zoom lens available specifically for the EOS-M cameras, which as of January 2013, is only the Canon EOS-M.

Luckily, this is a swell lens: super sharp at every setting with great image stabilization but more ghosts than other lenses. Don't take this performance for granted; the Sony DT 18-55mm SAM and Sony NEX E 18-55mm OSS are awful by comparison!

 

Autofocus     performance      top

On the Canon EOS-M, autofocus is moderately slow, but it's completely silent so long as you're at least an inch (2 cm) away, and it's always accurate.

 

Auto/Manual Switching

There is no switch; you have to screw with in-camera menus.

 

AF Speed

Autofocus speed on the EOS-M is relatively slow but sure; fast enough for scenic shots, but nowhere near fast enough for people or action shots.

 

AF Noise

The 18-55 is completely silent unless you hold your ear up to it.

 

AF Accuracy and Consistency

AF accuracy is dead-on on the EOS-M.

 

Manual Focus

Manual focus is awful; don't bother trying to use the manual focus ring.

The ring is merely an input to a computer, which in turn controls the lens motor — if you have everything else set properly.

It only works if the camera is both on and awake.

There is little direct relationship between the motion of the ring and the motion of the lens, and there is some time delay.

 

Focus Breathing     performance      top

Focus breathing is of interest to cinematographers who don't want the image changing size ("breathing") as the lens is focused among different subjects.

The image of the Canon 18-55mm IS STM gets smaller as focused more closely.

 

Coma     performance      top

Coma, or saggital coma flare, is when points of light in the corners turn into batwing-shaped blobs. This is often a problem with fast normal or wide lenses.

I don't see any on this modern, slow aspherical lens.

 

Distortion     performance      top

This Canon 18-55mm has the usual barrel distortion at the 18mm end and pincushion distortion at the long end as expected, as shot on the EOS-M.

For more critical use, use these factors in Photoshop's Lens Distortion tool to remove the distortion. These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

 

Shot on EOS-M at 3m (10')

18mm
+4.0*
24mm
+0.5
28mm
-0.5
35mm
-1.0
45mm
-2.0
55mm
-2.0

© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

* Waviness remains.

 

Ergonomics     performance      top

Canon 18-55mm IS STM

Canon 18-55 IS STM.

Zooming is easy; half the lens is the metal zoom ring.

There is a manual focus ring, but it responds poorly if at all. Don't bother with it and you'll be much happier.

It's easy to mount and unmount from a camera, however the index dot is merely painted, so it won't be felt in the dark.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)     performance      top

Shot on the EOS-M with correction enabled, there is no visible falloff at any aperture or zoom setting.

 

Filters, Use with     performance      top

It works without vignetting even with three stacked 52mm filters at the 18mm setting.

Bravo!

 

Flare and Ghosts     performance      top

The EF-M 18-55mm IS STM has much more than the usual amount of ghosts if you push your luck shooting into the sun and putting dark things in place to see the ghosts, and giving enough exposure. It is much worse than the 22mm f/2 STM.

Canon 18-55mm IS ghosts

Ghosts. Canon 18-55 IS STM at 28mm, f/10 at 1/200 at ISO 100 on EOS-M, 6 sharpening +3 saturation.

Of course this is an extreme example; I never saw any problem when used properly, even without a hood.

 

Lateral Color Fringes     performance      top

There are no color fringes when shot on the EOS-M with correction ON.

 

Macro    performance      top

Macro gets close at 55mm:

Canon 22mm macro 09 July 2012

At close-focus distance, f/9 at 1/200 at ISO 100 on EOS-M, +3 saturation, 6 sharpening.

It gets close, but it's not as sharp as the 22/2 STM at macro distances:

Canon 22mm macro

Crop from above image at 100%, 18 MP EOS-M. If this is 6" (15cm) on your screen, the complete image would print at 52 x 35" (135 x 90 cm) at this same magnification.

You can see the scratches on my watch crystal.

It's nearly impossible to tell the EOS-M on what to focus for macro shooting; in this case, it seems to be focused on the scratch on the top of my watch.

 

Mechanics     performance      top

Canon 18-55mm IS STM

Rear, Canon EFM 18-55 IS STM. bigger.

The Canon 18-55mm IS STM is inside out from a modern pro lens: it's metal on the outside for show, and plastic on the inside for low cost.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood Mount Bayonet

Plastic.

 

Front section of lens

All plastic (the part that moves in and out as zoomed).

 

Focus Ring

Anodized aluminum.

 

Zoom Ring

Anodized aluminum.

 

Rear Barrel

Anodized aluminum.

 

Internals

Seems like all plastic.

 

Moisture seal at mount

No.

 

Mount

Chromed metal.

 

Identity Ring

Paint on plastic.

 

Barrel Markings

Laser engraved.

Regulatory certifications are shallow enough to remain black-on-black, while the CANON and other white markings are engraved deeply enough to hit bare aluminum below.

 

Mounting Index Dot

Engraved and filled with white paint.

 

Serial Number

Laser-engraved into bottom of lens barrel.

Shows as silver on black.

 

Date Code

None found.

 

Noises When Shaken

Moderate clattering.

 

Made in

Taiwan, hidden in black on the inside black plastic rear light shield.

 

Sharpness     performance      top

Lens sharpness doesn't matter much, but it sure distracts amateurs who confuse lens sharpness with picture sharpness.

The Canon EF-M 18-55mm IS is super sharp at all settings, right out to the corners wide-open. Bravo!

Here are Canon's rated MTF curves, which agree with what I saw: super sharp even wide open:

Canon 18-55mm MTF CurveCanon 18-55mm MTF Curve

Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS STM MTF curves.

 

Sunstars     performance      top

Canon 18-55mm IS ghosts

Sunstars. Canon 18-55 IS STM, f/7.18 at 1/160 at ISO 100 on EOS-M, 6 sharpening +3 saturation.

With a rounded 7-bladed diaphragm, sunstars aren't that easy to excite. When excited, they aren't all that symmetrical.

For the best sunstars, shoot at f/11 or smaller and pray.

 

Compared         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

This Canon EF-M 18-55 IS STM is the best 18-55mm lens I've tested for Canon. This makes perfect sense because the EF-M format allows the lens designers the freedom to place the rear elements much closer to the sensor than the EF-S lenses which have to be designed around avoiding the flipping mirror of DSLRs

I'm sort of ashamed on Sony's part, but the Sony DT 18-55mm SAM and Sony NEX E 18-55mm OSS are poor by comparison. The Sony lenses are much softer and more distorted.

Canon doesn't screw around when it comes to lenses; Canon is an optical company first and foremost, not a stereo equipment company like Sony.

 

Recommendations       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

As of January 2013, this Canon 18-55mm IS STM is the only zoom lens available exclusively for the Canon EOS-M, and it won't work on any other camera.

It performs magnificently, so I'd strongly suggest it for the EOS-M if you want a zoom. You could use the Canon EF Adapter M and any other EF-S 18-55mm lens, but the combination becomes much bigger than you'd expect, defeating the purpose of the tiny EOS-M — and it's not as good optically as this lens.

If you've found the time I've spent sharing this professional review helpful, this free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially these links directly to it at Adorama or at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live.

Thanks!

Ken

 

More Information       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

Canon USA's 18-55mm IS STM product page.

Canon USA's 18-55mm IS STM instruction manual.

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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August 2012