The Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is an interesting option for EOS M system cameras. For a really compact and lightweight outfit, there’s a lot to be said for sticking with the tiny, retractable EF-M 15-45mm (opens in new tab) and adding the similarly small ultra-wide EF-M 11-22mm and telephoto EF-M 55-200mm (opens in new tab) if you need to bolster your range. However, if you’re in the market for a single lens to cover most of the bases, the EF-M 18-150mm is the only candidate. It’s not as wide-angle as the 15-45mm but gives far greater telephoto reach, with an effective zoom range of 28.8-240mm in full-frame terms.
Mount: Canon EF-M
Full frame: No
Lens construction: 17 elements in 13 groups
Angle of view: 74.3-10.5 degrees
Diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum aperture: f/22-38
Minimum focusing distance: 0.25-0.45m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.31x
Filter size: 55mm
Measuring 61x87mm and weighing just 300g, it’s very compact and light for a superzoom lens, significantly undercutting the still small Tamron 18-200mm (opens in new tab) that’s designed for APS-C format DSLRs. Even so, there’s a lot packed in, including no less than 17 optical elements in 13 groups, a stepping motor-based autofocus system and a 4-stop optical image stabilizer. The lens is also compatible with 5-axis ‘Dynamic IS’ for movie capture, where featured in later EOS M-series cameras.
Build quality is good and the lens is nicely finished in the usual graphite or silver color options. A plastic rather than metal mounting plate helps to keep the weight off but no weather-seals are included and the hood is sold separately.
The autofocus system is quick and virtually silent, and the image stabilizer lives up to its 4-stop billing. Image quality is impressive for such a small superzoom, with levels of sharpness being very similar to those of the Canon EF-M 15-45mm, which naturally has a much more modest zoom range. The lens does well to control color fringing and long-zoom pincushion distortion, although barrel distortion at 18mm can be noticeable when uncorrected in-camera.
We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.
We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the center of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and color fringing (chromatic aberration).
Center-sharpness holds up well throughout the entire zoom range but is never reaches truly impressive levels. Towards the edges and corners, sharpness is pretty mediocre.
Without automatic in-camera corrections, color fringing can be a little noticeable towards the edges and corners of the frame at the shortest focal length, but it dies away somewhat at longer zoom settings.
Barrel distortion can be quite noticeable at the short end, whereas more modest levels of pincushion set in through the medium to long sector of the zoom range.
One of the main attractions of Canon’s EOS M system cameras is that they’re so small and lightweight. That makes the retractable and featherweight Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (opens in new tab) a perfect fit. However, if you don’t mind upsizing, the non-retractable 18-150mm lens is about twice as long and twice as heavy but gives you much greater zoom range and the extra versatility that goes with it, without any loss of image quality.