Lens: Canon EF-M 55-200mm ƒ/4.5-6.3 IS STM (Photography Museum)

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Canon EF-M 55-200mm ƒ/4.5-6.3 IS STM

The Canon EF-M 55-200mm ƒ/4.5-6.3 IS STM (released in 2014) is Canon’s only telephoto lens (as of 2020) for the M-series of compact mirrorless cameras.

It is a fine lens, especially for its size. I wouldn’t say that I love this lens, but with a maximum equivalent focal length of 320mm it has impressive reach in a very small package. It is probably sharper than, but not as versatile as, the EF-M 18-150mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM (which might be a better compact travel lens).

If I am going out for a day and have no definite plans for shooting with a long lens I take this lens in my bag just-in-case. If I plan to take telephoto shots (birds, landscapes, or people) I will carry either my Canon EF 80-200 ƒ/2.8 L or Tamron 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 SP instead.

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef433.html

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF-M Mount

Lens: Canon EF-M 18-150mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM (Photography Museum)

< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF-M Mount

Canon EF-M 18-150mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM

With a zoom range factor of 8.3x, the Canon EF-M 18-150mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM (released 2016), is the only “high-power zoom”1 in my collection. Typically, beyond 4x zoom, compromises in lens design must be made resulting in a lens with less than stellar optical performance. With the Canon EF-M 18-150mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM these compromises have largely been avoided and the lens is sharp, with well behaved aberrations, across it’s zoom range.

A good lens for travel or hiking, I reach for this lens in general shooting situations where I might want both wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths and want to avoid changing lenses. In more specialized situations I will usually choose a more specialized lens (for speed, sharpness, specific focal lengths, etc.).

  1. This is how Canon characterizes this lens, which is fair as true superzooms have a zoom range of 10x or higher. 

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef462.html

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF-M Mount

Lens: Canon EF-M 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM (Photography Museum)

< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF-M Mount

Canon EF-M 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM

The Canon EF-M 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM, released in 2012 along with the EOS M and the Canon EF-M 22m ƒ/2 STM, was the standard kit zoom lens for Canon’s new compact mirrorless system. It was replaced in 2015 by the wider and smaller collapsible Canon EF-M 15-45mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM and is no longer produced.

The 18-55mm covers a very useful if conventional focal range on APS-C, equivalent to 28-88mm on full-frame. It’s a range I find useful if I have no specific plan when going out with my camera. I also have the Canon EF-M 18-150mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM at my disposal and I will take the lens if I think I will want more reach. If I am prioritizing sharpness I will go with the 18-55mm which has excellent resolving power at 25 megapixels.

In every review I have seen the EF-M 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM is much sharper than the replacement EF-M 15-45mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM. The 15-45mm is tiny when collapsed, but I have never found the 18-55mm bulky in my bag and thus have also never had the desire to add the 15-45mm to my kit.

Surprisingly, the EF-M mount’s short back flange distance shows little advantage over the DSLR EF APS-C mount when it comes to the design of this focal range. Indeed, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit zoom lens, released in 2013, is practically identical in optical design, dimensions, and price.

Lens MSRP (Yen) Weight Max Diameter x Length (mm)
 Canon EF-M 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM 35,000 yen (2012) 210g 60.9 × 61.0
 Canon EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS STM 36,000 yen (2013) 205g 69.0 × 75.2
 Canon EF-M 15-45mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 IS STM 35,000 yen (2015) 130g 60.9 x 44.5

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef422.html

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF-M Mount

Lens: Canon EF-M 11-22mm ƒ/4-5.6 IS STM (Photography Museum)

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Canon EF-M 11-22mm ƒ/4-5.6 IS STM

The Canon EF-M 11-22mm ƒ/4-5.6 IS STM, released in 2013, is the third lens for Canon’s EOS M series of compact MILC cameras, and quickly became one of my favourite lenses of  all-time (particularly for landscape work).

This is the first lens I owned with a collapsible design. For transportation the lens is very small. It is a sharp lens and I have never had any complaints about corner sharpness or other lens aberrations. Expect moderate vignetting at maximum aperture, but this is easily corrected in post-production if shooting RAW or via in-camera peripheral illumination correction if shooting JPEG.

It works well for expansive landscapes or for working in tight spaces (canyons or interiors), but it is a bit too wide for people photos—expect unflattering results if you try to use it for portraits.

This lens highlights one of the main advantages of short back flange distance (the distance from the lens mount interface to the sensor) for ultra-wide angle lens design. It also exemplifies the benefits of the EF-M mount on an APS-C camera. To get the similar focal range in EF mount for APS-C you would look at the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM1 which is 55% longer, 75% heavier, and you will probably not see any difference in real-world image quality. To get the similar focal range on EF full-frame, you still need to step up to the EF 16-35mm ƒ/4L IS USM2 which, again, is twice as long, three times as heavy, and three times the price of the EF-M lens.

  1. Admittedly, the EF-S lens is slightly wider and offers 1/3 faster and 2/3 faster apertures at the minimum and maximum focal lengths respectively. On the other hand, the EF-M lens offers 3 stops of optical image stabilization.
  2. This is a tough comparison, because Canon has never made a non-professional ultra-wide zoom lens for full-frame and the EF 16-35mm ƒ/4L IS USM is a professional lens with internal zoom, constant aperture, weather sealing, and four stops of optical image stabilization. The Tamron 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD would be a cheaper third-party alternative.

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef429.html

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF-M Mount

Lens: Canon EF-M 22mm ƒ/2 STM (Photography Museum)

< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF-M Mount

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:

  1. focal length—there is a big difference between 35mm and 45mm equivalent focal length;
  2. size—the 22mm remains jacket-pocketable on any EOS M body (I’m Canadian and we have big jackets and big pockets);
  3. 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;
  4. sharpness—I have not fully tested this, but macro lenses typically sacrifice some infinity focus sharpness for the ability to focus closely.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef423.html

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF-M Mount

Lens: Tamron 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 SP (Photography Museum)

< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF Mount

Tamron 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 SP

I bought the Tamron 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 SP (what a mouthful) the same day I bought my EOS M5 (2016). I admit it is an odd combination. The EOS M5 features the first built-in EVF in the EOS M-series and also has a more substantial grip compared to previous models. We had been living for several years in our new house, next to a large natural park, and I wanted try my hand at bird photography.

Well built, optically good, attractively priced. Absolutely love the Arca-compatible tripod foot (all long lenses should have this feature). The the clutch mechanism on the zoom ring is great. Zoom creep is not a problem, but still it is reassuring to be able to lock the lens in any position. I will never get used to the fact that Tamron zoom and focus rings rotate the opposite direction of Canon (one of the reasons I have hesitated to add the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens to my collection).

Bulky when mounted on the EOS M5, but almost manageable. When zoomed to 600mm, the lens is physically long and the weight very far forward so that the EOS M5 is hard to balance. It is okay for a few minutes of handheld shooting then my arms need a rest.

After purchasing this lens it wasn’t too long before I also added a high quality carbon monopod to my kit.

I am very pleased with this lens for general landscape work as well. The ability to zoom into distant scenes and to isolate compositions is handy and rewarding.

I have not become a hardcore bird photographer, but I have learned a lot more about the birds that frequent my area.

Canon have made very few super-telephoto zoom lenses, and none with this focal range. The excellent and popular Canon EF 100-400mm is the only realistic first-party alternative. An un-realistic alternative is the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM (aka, “Unicorn”) with built-in 1.4x extender (for a total focal range of 200-560mm and the price of a used car).

Early-2020 MSRP prices comparison:

Lens MSRP (USD) Weight
Tamron 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 SP $1399 4.42 lb / 2010 g
Sigma 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary $1089 4.03 lb / 1830 g
Sigma 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports $1699 6.29 lb / 2860 g
Canon EF 100-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6L IS II USM $2199 3.61 lb / 1640 g
Canon EF 200-400mm ƒ/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x $10999 7.98 lb / 3620 kg

Samples

https://www.tamron.ca/product/sp-150-600mm-f5-6-3-di-vc-usd-g2/

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF Mount

Lens: Canon EF 80-200mm ƒ/2.8 L (Photography Museum)

< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF Mount

Canon EF 80-200mm ƒ/2.8 L

I could write volumes about this very special lens, but instead, I am going to grab my camera and go shoot with it.

Okay, I am back.

Every time I use this lens I am in awe. It predates USM and is a very slow focusing lens by todays standards. It lacks optical image stabilization. It is not white. (It’s nickname, according to the internet, is “magic drainpipe”.)

But the images it produces are, to me, incomparable. I was trying to describe them to my wife and said something like “colours are rendered in the most amazing way…the images are always warm, not in terms of colour temperature, but in terms of emotion.”

German has an excellent word for this sensation—Gemütlichkeit.

I’ve had an almost 30 year relationship with this lens, having bought it several years after its 1989 introduction. It was my first professional lens and the most expensive thing I owned until I bought a Ford F150 in 2000. Come to think of it, the Canon EF 80-200mm ƒ/2.8 L is analogous to my truck (which is still going strong 20 years later): bulky, built tough, practical.

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef285.html

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF Mount

Lens: Canon EF 70-300 ƒ/4-5.6 IS USM (Photography Museum)

< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF Mount

Canon EF 70-300 ƒ/4-5.6 IS USM

The Canon EF 70-300 ƒ/4-5.6 IS USM (released 2005) was my first image stabilized lens and the longest lens in my kit for almost 10 years.

I bought the lens for two reasons: I wanted a longer telephoto zoom than my EF 80-200mm ƒ/2.8L; and I wanted a lighter telephoto zoom than my EF 80-200mm ƒ/2.8L. I was willing to sacrifice some quality to achieve these goals.

I was never too impressed with the build quality of the EF 70-300 ƒ/4-5.6 IS USM. It  always felt very plastic, especially as I was used to all metal L-series zoom lenses. And optically it was never a very sharp lens (again not L-series). It suffers dreadfully from zoom creep. In fact, when photographing the lens for this page I could not show it in the 300mm position because it would instantly collapse under its own weight.

Photographically, I also recall struggling with this lens due to its length. Even with 3-stops of image stabilization (less probably on APS-C) I struggled to get high enough shutter speeds, probably because with the cameras at the time I hesitated to use ISO speeds above 800. I probably would have less trouble on a modern sensor body.

However, all those negatives aside, I was pleasantly surprised by the images in my catalogue that I produced with this lens. On a DLSR it is a fine long walk-around lens. Not too heavy or bulky. For this reason I seemed to have it with me in casual situations where I never would have wanted to lug around my 80-200mm lens. Yes, the images are not tack sharp (well, at 12 megapixels they look pretty good) but the perspective is captivating and the compositions refreshingly different — factors I would not have been able to replicate with a shorter lens.

These days I am used to much higher quality in much smaller EF-M lenses. At 200mm and 24 megapixels I have the option to crop in if I want to, or for serious firepower I take out my Tamron 150-600mm ƒ/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 SP.

The Canon EF 70-300 ƒ/4-5.6 IS USM now only comes out when I am feeling nostalgic. On the other hand, if I was still shooting with a DSLR, I would probably have replaced this lens with the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM, a very nice looking lens.

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef388.html

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF Mount

Lens: Canon EF 28-105mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 II USM (Photography Museum)

< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF Mount

Canon EF 28-105mm ƒ/3.5-4.5 II USM

I am a person of extremes. I feel like I alternate my shooting style between either wide-angle or telephoto, with not many photographs produced in what can be considered the “standard” focal range: that is, greater than 35mm and less than 135mm (full-frame equivalent). Thus I own several professional-grade ultra-wide zoom lenses and high quality telephoto and super-telephoto lenses, but have never owned a fast L-series standard zoom.

I bought my first Canon EF 28-105mm knowing that I needed a lens in that focal range but also at a time when I was unwilling to invest more money in an L-series lens (I was, after all, a poor starving university student). I was also doing a lot of hiking and backpacking in those days and wanted a good lens that was light and compact (something my ultra-wide and telephoto zooms were not). Several years later, when I started travelling for business, this was the lens that always came along.

That first copy was one of only three lens I have ever destroyed in the field (the others were a plastic-mount nifty-fifties). I was on a sea kayaking trip in the Broken Group islands off Vancouver Island, on Canada’s west coast. We stopped at a beach and I was standing beside the cockpit of my kayak changing lenses (dumb I know) when I dropped the EF 28-105mm. I almost caught it before it hit the ocean, but alas I was not quite fast enough and my hand and half the lens ended up 2 or 3 inches in the water. I stopped using the lens for the remainder of the trip, but by the time it was over the lens was non-functional. It could have been worse—the other lens I had in my hands at the time was my EF 16-35mm ƒ/2.8 L USM, a substantially more expensive and precious lens.1

I didn’t hesitate to replace the dead lens with a new copy shortly after, and I got many years of use out of that lens until the switch to EF-M bodies rendered it obsolete.

I have never thought of this lens as a high-quality optic, and indeed, it is not. Wide open it is very soft in the corners. It’s not particularly fast and it predates optical image stabilization.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by many of the images from this lens that I reviewed while preparing this page. For nostalgia’s sake I sometimes mount it on my Canon 30D and take it out for an afternoon of shooting. I always come back with some interesting shots.

  1. After this incident I came up with a mantra and standard procedure for every time I change lenses—the most expensive gear gets priority. That is, when putting a less expensive lens on a body the more expensive lens gets capped and put away first, then the cheap lens gets mounted. When reversing the operation, the cheaper lens is removed and then the more expensive lens is uncapped and placed on the body as quickly as possible.

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef429.html

   
   

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF Mount

Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/4 L IS USM (Photography Museum)

< Back to the Photography Museum Lenses: Canon EF Mount

Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/4 L IS USM

The Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/4 L IS USM, introduced in 2014, replaced my non-functioning Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/2.8 L USM (which stopped focusing in early 2017).

For many years this was my primary focal range. With APS-C bodies, and my switch to smaller Canon M-series cameras, the fast, wide, full-frame compatible zoom lens became less used. The wider, smaller, and excellent Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM became my primary lens for landscape work (even it if is a little hard to use filter stacks on such a tiny lens), interiors, travel, and architecture.

I still fall back to the Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/4 L IS USM, even on my M-series cameras, if I really need to impress people (just kidding), when shooting landscapes with anything more than just a circular polarizer, or if conditions warrant a better sealed lens. Really, someday I do want to have a full-frame mirrorless body on which to properly utilize the EF 16-35mm ƒ/4 L IS USM.

Since I knew it was not going to be my primary lens for some time, I opted to save a lot of money and get the ƒ/4 stabilized lens rather than the ƒ/2.8 non-stabilized lens. I have never regretted that decision.

The only thing I don’t like about the ƒ/4 is are the hideous bright-white and overly-bold markings on the lens barrel—they do not match the quality or aesthetic of any other Canon lens I have ever handled and I cannot figure out a logical reason why.

Early-2020 MSRP prices comparison:

Lens MSRP (USD)
Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/4 L IS USM $1099
Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/2.8 L III USM $2199
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM $399
Canon EF-M 11-22mm ƒ/4-5.6 IS STM $299

Samples

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/ef432.html

Replaced
Canon EF 16-35mm ƒ/2.8 L USM

Photography Museum | Lenses | Canon EF Mount