Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens


    Photo Review 8.8
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    Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens

      In summary

      Like its 'sibling' EF-M 18-55mm IS STM lens, this lens can only be used with Canon's EOS M. It covers a range of focal lengths that will mainly suit landscape and architectural photography. Its light weight and compact size will be attractive to travellers, while silent operation will make this lens useful for photographers who record video

      Being considerably smaller and lighter than Canon's EF-S 10-22mm f/4-5.6 USM lens, the 11-22mm lens will be welcomed by owners of EOS M cameras. As Canon's first wide zoom with image stabilisation, it will also be appreciated by photographers who like shooting in low light levels, where the EOS M performs particularly well.

      The collapsing lens barrel may be initially off-putting to photographers who only use Canon lenses, although owners of M4/3 cameras and lenses will find it as easy to use as the retracting lenses for that format. The main anomaly with this lens is that its 55 mm filter size is inconsistent with other EF-M and EF-S lenses, so you have to invest in separate filters – assuming you plan to use them.

       

      Full review

      The EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM is the latest addition to Canon's two dedicated EF-M mount lenses for the EOS M, which launched with the company's first compact system camera in July 2012. Unfortunately for our North American readers, it seems this lens will have a limited release and won't be offered in the USA, where the EOS M hasn't sold as well as expected (in line with other compact system cameras in that market).

       Side view of the EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens without end caps. (Source: Canon.)

      The 11-22mm zoom range covers angles of view equivalent to 18-35mm in 35mm format and nicely complements the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit zoom, which we reviewed with the camera in November 2012. Like that lens, it benefits from the STM (stepping motor) autofocus drive, which is virtually silent and ideal for recording movie clips.

      Compact, lightweight and easy to carry the EF-M 11-22mm lens has a retracting barrel that works in a similar fashion to the Olympus 14-42mm kit lens. It's also Canon's first stabilised wide-angle zoom. However, with a maximum aperture of f/4 at the 11mm position, it's not particularly fast.

      The optical design features 12 elements, two of them aspherical and one Ultra-low Dispersion (UD), arranged in nine groups.  Canon claims a three-stop shooting advantage for the built-in stabilisation system, which includes Canon's 'Dynamic IS' to provide a steadier image when shooting movies with the camera hand-held. Focusing and zooming are controlled internally so the front element of the lens does not rotate when the lens is focused or zoomed. The lens is supplied with rather chunky front and end caps but, like other EF-M lenses, no lens hood is provided, although a petal-shaped hood (EW-60E) is offered as an optional accessory.

      Note: This lens has been designed for use with EOS M cameras that have firmware  Version 2.0.0. With the original firmware, the camera can't detect when the lens is retracted and will allow the shutter to release. The camera controls may also become unresponsive. The latest firmware was released late in June and it available for downloading free of charge at www.canon.com.au/eosmfirmware.

      Who's it For?
      Like its 'sibling' EF-M 18-55mm IS STM lens, this lens can only be used with Canon's EOS M.  It covers a range of focal lengths that will mainly suit landscape and architectural photography. Its light weight and compact size will be attractive to travellers, while silent operation will make this lens useful for photographers who record video.

      Build and Handling
       Aside from its retracting design, the new lens has similar build quality and appearance to the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens. The outer barrel is made from high-quality anodised aluminium barrel and it has a metal mounting plate that fits securely on the camera body

      With the barrel retracted the lens protrudes 58 mm from the camera body (without the supplied lens cap). Extending the barrel to the 11mm position adds approximately 21 mm to the overall length, which is resumed after a slight retraction around the 14mm position, at the 22mm position.

      The zoom ring is roughly 20 mm wide and located 19 mm back from the front of the lens. It carries an interesting hatched grip pattern instead of the regular linear ribbing. This feels relatively smooth, although reasonably secure. The locking switch for collapsing and extending the lens is embedded in the zoom ring slightly to the left of centre, in line with the attachment indicator dot.

      Unlocking the lens requires a turn to the left of approximately 40 degrees. A further 40-degree turn spans the zoom range from the 11mm to the 22mm settings.

      The focusing ring is approximately 13 mm wide with a narrow (3mm wide) band of the same hatched pattern as the zoom ring. It rotates smoothly through 360 degrees with no end stops. Manual focusing is fully electronic and driven by the STM motor  via the gold-plated electronic contacts (nine in total) on the lens mount, which provide all communications between camera body and lens.

      Performance
       Although not a stellar performer in our Imatest tests, the review lens nevertheless delivered respectable results, with top resolution figures for the JPEG files we analysed falling slightly short of expectations for the sensor's resolution. We measured slight edge and corner softening at the widest aperture settings but this improved as the lens was stopped down, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results below.

       
       Lateral chromatic aberration was mostly negligible and we found no evidence of coloured fringing in test shots taken in contrasty lighting. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.

      One of the nice features of the lens is its ability to focus to within 15 cm of subjects, which enables it to be used for close-up shots. Some rectilinear distortion can be seen at the 11mm position, although it's less than we expected. But the 22mm focal length produced some excellent close-ups of moderately small subjects, although the bokeh at the wider angles of view wasn't particularly attractive.

      The stabilisation system delivered on its promise of up to three stops of compensation with the 22mm focal length setting. You could probably push it a little harder at 11mm.

      The review lens was very flare-resistant, even when pointed directly towards a bright light source. And, although rectilinear distortion was found at the 11mm focal length, it was less extreme than we expected, providing potential for using this lens for architectural photography in some situations.

      Vignetting was negligible at the widest apertures for all focal length settings. We found a slight brightening along the edges of  shots at the 11mm focal length, which was probably caused by its wide angle of view taking in a brighter section of the sky.

      Autofocusing was relatively fast and accurate, thanks in part to the upgrade to the EOS M's firmware but also attributable to the linear stepping motor, which is also very quiet. However, it wasn't quite as fast as the best M4/3 lenses from Olympus and Panasonic.

      Conclusion
       Being considerably smaller and lighter than Canon's EF-S 10-22mm f/4-5.6 USM lens, the 11-22mm lens will be welcomed by owners of EOS M cameras. As Canon's first wide zoom with image stabilisation, it will also be appreciated by photographers who like shooting in low light levels, where the EOS M performs particularly well.

      The collapsing lens barrel may be initially off-putting to photographers who only use Canon lenses, although owners of M4/3 cameras and lenses will find it as easy to use as the retracting lenses for that format. The main anomaly with this lens is that its 55 mm filter size is inconsistent with other EF-M and EF-S lenses, so you have to invest in separate filters – assuming you plan to use them.

       

      SPECS

       Picture angle (diagonal): 102 degrees 10 minutes  to 63 degrees 30 minutes
       Minimum aperture: f/22-f/32
       Lens construction: 12 elements in 9 groups (including  2 aspherical lens elements and one UD lens)
       Lens mounts: EOS M
       Diaphragm Blades: 7 (circular aperture)
       Focus drive: STM (linear stepping motor)
       Stabilisation: Yes, 3 stops compensation
       Minimum focus: 15 cm at all focal lengths
       Maximum magnification: 0.30x (at 22mm)
       Filter size:  55 mm
       Dimensions (Diameter x L): 60.9 x 58.2 mm
       Weight: 220 grams

       

      TESTS

      Based on JPEG files taken with the EOS M  body.

       

       

      SAMPLES

       

       Vignetting at 11mm.
       

       Vignetting at 14mm.
       

       Vignetting at 22mm.
       

       Rectilinear distortion at 11mm.
       

       Rectilinear distortion at 14mm.
       

       Rectilinear distortion at 22mm. 

      11mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/8.

       

      14mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/8. 

      22mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/8.
       

      Close-up at 11mm; ISO 100, 1/50 second at f/4.
       
       

      Close-up at 22mm; ISO 100, 1/40 second at f/5.6.
       
       

      Forced flare at 11mm, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/7.1.
       

      Forced flare at 22mm, ISO 400, 1/400 second at f/7.1.
       
       

      11mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/7.1.
       
       

      11mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/11.
       
       

      11mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/50 second at f/11.
       
       

      11mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/10 second at f/9.
       

      11mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/30 second at f/8.
       
       

      22mm focal length from the same position as the shot above, ISO 100, 1/30 second at f/8.
       
       

      11mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/7.1.
       
       

      22mm focal length from the same position as the shot above, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/7.1.
       
       

      Rating

      RRP: n/a  ASP: AU$470; 399 Euro (no US price available)

      • Build: 8.8
      • Handling: 8.8
      • Image quality: 8.7
      • Versatility: 8.5

       

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