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EOS-M EF-M 18-55 STM Kit Mini Review

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by wt21, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I got my new 18-55 kit lens.

    Very compact. Nice size. Anodized aluminum outside, but that's made it a little hard and cold these last couple of days. Nice perception of build quality. internal/rear focusing, so the front lens does not rotate. Absolutely silent AF.

    I bought it because I was interested in getting something with a higher max magnification, but I wasn't ready to go MF macro or a larger EF or EF-S adapted macro. I wanted to stay compact and AF. The 18-55 approaches .24X. That might work! But in researching the lens, I found out it's one of the best 3.5-5.6 kit lenses across all systems. I didn't know that. For just a little more than $100, it was worth trying.

    A couple of notes -- there are no switches on the lens. No MF/AF switch and no IS switch. I don't really care about MF/AF, because you can grab and turn the focus ring anytime you want. For IS -- I don't generally keep IS on, but this is a slow aperture lens, so it came in handy with these shots, some of which were down around 1/8-1/30 when, shooting at 55mm, they should have been more like 1/100, but I was bumping my upper ISO3200 limit.

    The thing I'm really happy with is the bokeh. The close focus is sweet, and it's fast enough to focus, it's sharp, and not a lot of vignetting for what it is (i.e. compact kit). It will be a nice complement to the 22mm.

    Some pics. The first two were intentionally shot to see the bokeh.

    11067281033_3b92a6c644_c.
    20131126-20131126-18-55 Bokeh Test 1 by wt2100, on Flickr

    11067206156_31a883c0c9_c.
    20131126-20131126-18-55 Bokeh Test 2 by wt2100, on Flickr

    11067114905_1e8efb7c61_c.
    20131126-20131126-IMG_6955 by wt2100, on Flickr

    11067208726_eb6ef89c08_c.
    20131126-20131126-IMG_6957 by wt2100, on Flickr

    11067286163_bbb293ca57_c.
    20131126-20131126-IMG_6961 by wt2100, on Flickr

    11067231214_b79a852b40_c.
    20131126-20131126-IMG_6963 by wt2100, on Flickr
     
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  2. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    Thanks for the review and nice photos. Are you buying the wide angle lens also? Too bad it is not sold in US, maybe it can be bought thru ebay...
     
  3. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I think the 18-55 will fit my WA needs for now. I did look at the 11-22, and it looks to be a stellar lens, but I just wouldn't use it enough to justify the purchase.
     
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I also acquired this lens for the M. It's a very nice lens, never mind a kit lens. Not that big but sharp and, as you note, nice bokeh with OIS. As much as I hate to admit it, I might seriously look at he M2 if it actually gets released in NA.
     
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  5. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Agreed. The lenses are a fantastic start.
     
  6. staticantics

    staticantics SC Regular

    136
    Oct 15, 2013
    Central California
    Chris
    Thanks for sharing your impressions of the lens. Would love to see some color in the next batch of EOS-M photos you share. I imagine you shot with the 22mm lens prior to this. How do their focusing abilities differ, if they differ at all?

    Like Steve (drd1135) said, I too will be tempted by a newer iteration of the M if it ever comes out.
     
  7. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Sorry about the B&W. It was a heavy overcast morning, so I went monotone.

    As for focus speed, I would say that at 18mm, it focuses about the same as the 22. At 55mm, the 18-55 feels just a hair slower than the 22 when focusing on distance. That is, I tested both close-in and at-a-distance focusing at 18 and 55. at 18 -- close or distant, it felt like the 22. At 55mm FL, it felt like the 22 focusing close, but seem to have to rack just a bit more for distance shooting.

    One thing is the 22 has a noticeable AF noise. It's akin to the m43 20mm pancake, though still quieter than the P20. The 18-55 makes no appreciable noise. You really, really have to listen for it. Also, the 22mm has to extend a hair on power up. It also retracts on power down. The 18-55 does not do this.

    Hope that helps in some way.
     
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  8. staticantics

    staticantics SC Regular

    136
    Oct 15, 2013
    Central California
    Chris
    I really enjoyed your black and white images. I am looking forward to seeing more :smile:

    Thanks for the added detail, esp the silent focusing / lack of movement details.
     
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  9. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I thought that the 18-55mm was meant to be much faster than the 22mm in focusing speed, or was that only pre-firmware update?
     
  10. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Not sure. I just did a quick test. Sitting in my office using light from outside, so mid-level lighting. I alternated focusing on my keyboard in front of me, to a wall about 20' away. No measurements. Just perception. If I get outside, I'll test again. Maybe also try this evening in lower light.
     
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  11. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    If they just fix the AF I'll be happy. That includes a smaller AF target. After that, A tillable screen or an EVF would be nice. It does many things really well like IQ and the very good touch interface. I've made more use of it this trip since I gave the XF1 to my wife. Her little Pentax was pretty bad at night. With a little practice the M handles well, and 3200 is good even with JPGs. I'll be curious to see the Raw files when I get home to my other computer.
     
  12. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Nic, I just ran some tests indoors, and I really don't see a huge AF speed improvement, 18-55 over 22. This is at night with the AF assist light, using just some lamps in my office. Also, if I cover up the AF assist light, and focus on some pretty dark areas, the 20mm and the 18-55 at 18mm both focus OK. At 55mm the kit lens starts to hunt without the AF light, which makes sense given it's widest aperture is only 5.6. It's getting the least amount of light in.

    I'll try during the daytime tomorrow if there's a break in the rain. But right now, I'd say at least with my two copies, the 18-55 does not have an AF speed advantage over the 20mm.
     
  13. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Cool, thanks for that. I remember seeing some reviews in the early days of the 'M' saying the 18-55mm was noticeably faster than the 22mm. It made sense because the 22mm is a unit focusing lens like a lot of other pancake primes so the focus motor will always be pushing more mass than an internal focusing lens which is only moving a few elements. I wonder how they might compare in good daylight.