The Canon EOS M series of cameras have an ever-increasing range of high-quality lenses. This takes the form of the EF-M series lenses.
Currently, there is a limited range, but Canon is committed to adding more lenses to the collection as they release new cameras like the M5 and M50. We look specifically at the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM which is the standard kit lens of the EOS M series.
You can often purchase this starter lens as part of a package with cameras like the Canon EOS M50, and Canon EOS M6 Mark II. The 15mm-45mm focal distance gives this lens great flexibility, and it can be used for wide-angle photography, portraits, and more.
The Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a mid-range lens that can be used as a standard walk-around lens. Let’s first look at its basic specifications below:
- Weight: 130g
- Max Length: 60.9 x 44.5mm
- Viewing Angle: 74°10′ – 28°20′, 53°30′ – 19°05′, 84°30′ – 33°40′
- Maximum Aperture: f/3.5
- Minimum Aperture: f/22
- Image Stabilization: Yes – 3.5-stops
- Closest Focusing Distance: 0.25m
- Lens Hood: Yes – EW-53
As you can see, it is lightweight at just 130g. When mounted on your Canon EOS M camera you will hardly notice a difference.
The design of this lens has somewhat regressed compared to some of the other EF-M lenses. Both the Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM and the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM have metal ring mounts and feel like better quality.
In contrast, the Canon EF 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM has a plastic ring mount. This makes it feel cheaper and less durable.
The lens has a locking clamp that fixes the zoom in place BEFORE usage. Before using the lens, you must pull the clip up and twist the lens to release it. This is quite irritating, and we are not sure why Canon added this feature. If anything, it makes the lens more difficult to use!
On the positive side, the lens is lightweight and compact. It weighs just 130g and can easily fit in your pocket for transportation. When attached to a camera like the Canon EOS M3 or Canon EOS M200 it doesn’t make much difference to the overall weight or size.
While the design may be questionable, the performance of this lens is much better. The Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM allows you to produce high-quality images in a range of formats.
This is a great lens for wide-angle photography. The 15mm focal distance allows you to get excellent detail in your landscape shots, and as you zoom in, it can be used for other purposes like portrait and street photography.
Obviously the lens has limited zooming capabilities, so you will need another lens if you want to shoot telephoto images. However, it is a good all-round lens.
The built-in image stabilization provides up to 3.5-stops of correction. This really helps, especially when zoomed-in at the 45mm focal distance. The STM motor is a good addition, allowing for quiet and effective autofocusing.
The image quality you can create using this lens is excellent. Images have virtually no distortion at either end of the focal range. Moreover, there is minimal ghosting, lens flares, and chromatic aberration. The lens element appears to be fantastic quality and offers durability and high performance.
How Does the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Compare?
So how does this lens compare to other EF-M lenses? The main comparison is the other “kit lens”. This is the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. In earlier models of the EOS M series, this was the main lens that you could purchase as a package with the camera.
It was not until later that Canon switched to the 15-45mm as the standard lens. The following is a basic comparison table of the two products:
|Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM||Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
|Image Stabilization||Yes – 3.5-stops||Yes – 4-stops|
|Dimensions||60.9 x 44.5mm||60.9 x 61mm|
From this, we can see that the 18-55mm is heavier, and is a larger lens when fully extended. However, when using the lenses, this does not translate to a noticeable difference.
An interesting factor is that the 18-55mm has a slightly improved image stabilization function at four stops of camera shake reduction. This means that it does offer better control.
The main benefit of the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is that it has a wider minimum focal distance. You can take better wide-angle shots with this lens as the 18-55mm translates to 29mm which is a noticeable difference to the 24mm of the 15-45mm.
Some people may prefer the higher-quality build of the 18-55mm which has a metal ring adapter. This lens feels much better quality and is more durable than the 15-45mm. We are not sure why Canon chose to reduce the build quality!
Is the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM the Best EOS M Kit Lens?
The Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a solid choice for an EOS M kit lens. However, Canon has made some questionable changes to their flagship lens for the EOS M series of cameras. For example, the locking feature required to use the lens can be frustrating.
Also, it does not have the same build quality as the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. It is a good quality lens though. You can capture some great wide-angle shots using the lens. Also, it is lightweight and really easy to carry as a travel lens.
The image stabilization and STM motor are good features that improve its usability. Which lens you prefer is mainly down to personal preference. If you do not mind a reduction in build quality, the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a good choice for your Canon EOS M camera.