Canon EF-M 18–150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: The Lens For All Your Needs
With 8.3x zooming capability, the Canon EF-M 18–150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is capable of shooting a variety of subjects. Conchita Fernandes puts it to the test.
The Canon EF-M 18–150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens is the first super zoom lens in the company’s EOS M mirrorless lineup. Currently, it is available for purchase along with the Canon EOS M5. On paper, the lens’ specs look great, offering an all-inclusive focal range to shoot anything from landscapes to wildlife. But, does the quality match up to its versatility? Let’s find out.
The lens is composed of 17 elements in 13 groups and has 7 diaphragm blades. It offers an equivalent focal length of 29–240mm in the 35mm format, and a maximum magnification of 0.31x at the tele end of the lens. It also features a STM AF motor that enables near silent autofocusing when shooting with the M5’s live view and movie modes. It offers image stabilising too, at 4 stops of compensation. The lens, however, does not come with a hood.
Weighing in at just 300g, the 18–150mm is an ideal companion for any mirrorless camera system. It is lightweight and compact and does not weigh as heavy on the shoulder as one would expect from a super zoom lens. Although the lens does poke out a little when you’re walking around with it, I was in no way hindered by it. The camera around me was quite well balanced, with the exception that it protruded out a little on the front end. I also found it quite easy and convenient to use even with a single hand.
The lens features two rings on its exterior—a wider textured zoom ring and a narrow textured manual focusing ring. To use the latter, one has to select the manual focusing option from within the camera’s menu, as the lens provides no option to switch from AF to MF. The textured rings makes it easy to differentiate and reach out for the right one when in need. Both the rings are smooth to operate while zooming in and out. There are also white markings on the lens barrel to show you the focal length you’re shooting at.
The AF performance of the lens was fast and pretty accurate. However, in low light, it struggled a little to lock on to the subject. Also, while recording videos, the STM motor ensures that there is no sound while the AF changes or is being adjusted. This makes it a good lens to have for shooting videos.
In regards with the sharpness of the lens, the 18–150mm is quite sharp at the wide end, and is the sharpest between f/4 and f/8. Beyond f/11, the center of the frame gradually becomes softer. The edges of the frame, on the other hand, was at its sharpest at f/5.
There is noticeable barrel distortion, visible in photographs shot at the wide end of the lens. However, the extent of it isn’t alarming and can be corrected during postprocessing. There is some amount of purple fringing but not to the extent that would be distracting. Moreover, the lens does a good job in controlling chromatic aberrations.
The Canon 18–150mm f/3.5-6.3 is certainly a versatile lens to have as part of your kit. While it may not be the best option for portraits and photographs where the extent of the depth of field matters (f/3.5 maximum aperture), nevertheless, it gets the job done.
Moreover, the fact that it is not bulky makes it a good piece of equipment to carry around, especially when you’re traveling. In terms of its quality too, there is very little to crib about. Apart from the distortion, which is to be expected from the wide end of the lens, there is barely anything to complain about.
The only point of contention at this point is the pricing of the lens, which is at almost Rs. 36,000. Is it too steep an amount for a kit lens? Maybe. But having said this, if you are looking for a lens that ‘shoots-it-all’, maybe investing in the 18-150mm is not a bad idea afterall.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Better Photography.
Versatile focal length, No AF to MF switch on the lens, STM
Sharp images, good AF speed
Good handling, balances well with the M5
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|VALUE FOR MONEY||4/5|
|Who should buy it?||Anyone looking for a versatile lens to carry along while travelling, to shoot a range of subjects.|
|Why?||Good build quality and sharpness. It is also a very convenient super zoom lens to carry around.|