Canon EF-M 22mm ƒ/2 STM
Released in 2012 along with the original EOS M camera, the Canon EF-M 22mm ƒ/2 STM, at only 23.7mm long, is the shortest lens in the EF-M range1. It is also the only pancake lens for the EF-M mount.
I bought this lens on day one alongside my original EOS M camera body. It and the much newer Canon EF-M 32mm ƒ/1.4 STM are the only EF-M lenses that forego optical image stabilization. In the case of the 22mm this is not surprising as the designers obviously prioritized size/weight over stabilization. The fast ƒ/2 aperture also obviates the need for stabilization for stills photography.
While I have always enjoyed the 22mm focal length (35mm full-frame equivalent) and the pocketable size, I have often wanted slightly better image quality (sharpness mostly) and focusing speed from this lens. Its absolutely perfect as an unobtrusive carry-around street photography lens and that is mostly how I use it.
I initially scoffed at the tiny 43mm filter thread diameter, but now it and the other two Canon EF-M prime lenses (i.e., the 32mm ƒ/1.8 and 28mm ƒ/3.5 macro) all share that same size. I have added a 43mm Hoya Fusion Anti-static circular polarizer to my kit and have enjoyed using it on these primes.
The one downside of this lens is the inability to mount a tradition lens hood. I am a big fan of lens hoods. Canon’s EF-S 24mm ƒ/2.8 STM pancake also has this design limitation. In actuality I would always prioritize compactness over the ability to mount a hood on this type of lens.
Since the introduction of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM, online commentators often question the need for the 22mm ƒ/2 lens? There are many reasons why I would say the 22mm is still very useful:
- focal length—there is a big difference between 35mm and 45mm equivalent focal length;
- size—the 22mm remains jacket-pocketable on any EOS M body (I’m Canadian and we have big jackets and big pockets);
- speed—the 22mm lacks image stabilization, but ƒ/2 is 1 1/3 stop faster than ƒ/3.5, allowing not only faster shutters speeds when shooting moving subjects but also a much shallower depth of field effect;
- sharpness—I have not fully tested this, but macro lenses typically sacrifice some infinity focus sharpness for the ability to focus closely.
- focus speed—there is a danger of increased focus hunting with high magnification lenses as they move through a much wider range of focus distances.
To that end, I always—repeat, always—carry the Canon EF-M 22mm ƒ/2 STM when I go shooting—it takes up almost no room in by bag.
- As of 2020, Canon has adhered to a strict design standard for the EOS M system and all eight EF-M mount Canon lenses share the identical 60.9mm barrel diameter.