After a standard zoom lens, an ultra-wide angle zoom is a frequent addition to many photographers' kits. The Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM is Canon's native ultra-wide angle zoom option for the EOS M series of mirrorless cameras. It is small, light, inexpensive and delivers remarkable image quality.
This is an EF-M lens, which means it is only compatible with EOS M series mirrorless cameras and not with any Canon DSLRs. Since the EOS M cameras all have APS-C sensors with a 1.6x FOVCF, the EF-M 11-22mm lens delivers a 35mm full frame angle of view equivalent to approximately 18-35mm.
The standard EOS M zoom lenses typically start at 15mm and 18mm, and although the absolute difference may not seem like much, in reality the difference in the 11mm field of view is significant. The ultra-wide field of view offered by this lens results in a dramatic framing and perspective not available with a standard zoom lens.
Ultra-wide angle lenses are frequently used to ‘take it all in’ when shooting landscape scenes, to shoot architecture where your ability to back up is limited and to capture interior scenes in small spaces. While this lens is useful for many photographic subjects, ultra-wide lenses are generally not suitable for individual portraits because the close perspective needed to frame a person at these short focal lengths often leads to unwelcome distortion of facial features. However, wide angles can be very useful for group portraits or environmental portraits in tight quarters.
Here are two examples showing what this focal length range looks like:
At 22mm, the long end of the zoom range is still technically wide angle, but it is close enough to normal (which is ~27mm on APS-C/1.6x FOVCF) that I find the 11-22mm lens to be very useful as a walk-around lens, especially in urban environments.
For many photography genres, wide apertures are very useful. A wider maximum aperture lets in more light and results in a stronger background blur. However, wider apertures generally mean bigger, more expensive elements in a lens, which translates to bigger and more expensive lenses. Accordingly, many APS-C lenses have narrower max apertures that enable them to deliver better value.
Like many other ultra-wide zoom lenses for APS-C cameras, the EF-M 11-22mm is a variable max aperture lens. The maximum aperture is a relatively narrow f/4 at the wide end of the focal range that drops incrementally to f/5.6 as the lens is zoomed toward the long end. The following chart shows the max apertures available at various focal lengths for several ultra-wide angle APS-C lenses.
|Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens||10mm||11mm||15mm|
|Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens||10mm||13mm||18mm|
|Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens||11mm||12mm||15mm||19mm|
|Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens||8mm||8mm||13mm|
|Sigma 10-2s0mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Lens||10mm|
|Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM Lens||10mm||11mm||12mm||16mm|
|Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD Lens||10mm||14mm||21mm|
|Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DI II Lens||10mm||14mm||21mm|
|Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX II Lens||11mm|
|Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX Lens||11mm|
|Tokina 12-28mm f/4.0 AT-X Pro DX Lens||12mm|
The narrow (often referred to as "slow") and variable aperture is generally not a concern for most ultra-wide angle needs. Often for landscapes and architecture, the photographer will want subjects in sharp focus from near to far, which means the lens will often be used at f/5.6, f/8 or even narrower.
Although narrow aperture wide angle lenses are generally not the best choice to isolate a subject and blur out the background, the strongest blur possible with such a lens is at the long end of the focal range, using the maximum aperture possible at that focal length, with a subject focused as closely as possible with good background separation. This example demonstrates the surprisingly strong blur achievable with the EF-M 11-22 at 22mm f/5.6.
In the example above, the background is approximately 30' (9 m) from the weather-worn turkey feather in the foreground.
When shooting in low light, a wider aperture lets in more light and allows the use of either a faster shutter speed to stop action or a lower ISO for better image quality. Those situations can be a challenge for the EF-M 11-22mm, but with stationary subjects, image stabilization can help substantially.
Although there are many ultra-wide angle zoom lens options for Canon APS-C cameras, the EF-M 11-22mm is part of a select group among them, along with the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM and the Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD, offering image stabilization. The EF-M 11-22mm was actually the first Canon APS-C ultra-wide angle zoom to feature IS, since its launch preceded that of the EF-S 10-18mm. However, the EF-M 11-22mm was not officially available in North America until two years after its global launch, making the EF-S 10-18mm the first such lens available in the USA.
Canon’s typical implementation of image stabilization employs gyroscopic sensors within the lens that detect angular motion and a group of lens elements that are moved rapidly to compensate for that motion and keep the image stable on the camera’s sensor. By compensating for camera motion/shake, IS allows the photographer to use a slower shutter speed, allowing more light to reach the sensor, thus permitting use of a lower ISO setting for a less noisy image, or otherwise use of a narrower aperture for greater depth of field. Because the benefit of IS depends on using a slower shutter speed, IS is primarily effective with static subjects. With moving subjects, the slower shutter speed will accentuate motion blur (although sometimes that is a desirable effect). In the case of an ultra-wide angle lens, IS is very useful for static indoor scenes, particularly because the interiors of museums, cathedrals and similar locations are often dimly lit and many such facilities prohibit the use of tripods and/or flash.
The effectiveness of an IS system is rated in stops, referring to the number of stops the shutter speed can be reduced with IS enabled. The EF-M 11-22mm is rated for 3-stops of stabilization, which is less than the 4-stop implementation in the Canon EF-S 10-18mm and the Tamron 10-24mm.
In operation, the IS system of the EF-M 11-22mm is virtually silent, a significant benefit for video recording. Using the 10x magnified view on the LCD display, the IS system does a good job of keeping the image steady when handholding the camera, even after a few cups of coffee, and there is no jumping or shifting while recomposing. When moving the camera rapidly with a sudden stop, there is a small amount of compensatory drift, where the image shifts slowly in the opposite direction of the camera movement. In a worst-case scenario, a sharp and sudden move ending with the camera on a stable surface, the drift can take up to two seconds to settle completely. However, during normal handholding this drift does not present a problem.
The IS system in the EF-M 11-22mm appears to be tripod-sensing based on my observations, although there is no official confirmation of this from Canon. Tripod-sensing means the IS system automatically deactivates if the camera is mounted on a tripod or other similarly stable platform. Canon does recommend turning off IS when using a tripod, notably to save battery life. The lens lacks an external switch for IS, so IS can only be deactivated using the camera menu option. The IS system automatically detects panning motion of the lens and provides stabilization only in the non-panning direction, for example, to compensate for vertical shake when panning horizontally to follow a subject.
When used to shoot video on an EOS M series camera, the EF-M 11-22mm supports Dynamic IS, an enhanced mode of image stabilization that compensates for walking while shooting video and is automatically activated when the camera is set to record video.
In practice, I find that the EF-M 11-22mm delivers about 1/3-stop less than the specified 3 stops of improvement in shutter speed. Standing indoors on a stable floor and shooting freehand, I am seeing a good percentage of sharp images down to a 0.4 sec. exposure at 11mm and 1/5 sec. exposure at 22mm. At slower shutter speeds, the percentage of in-focus images drops, but it’s worth noting that a few sharp images were obtained at exposures as long as 1.3 sec. and 1 sec. at the wide and long ends of the focal range, respectively.
The example below shows 100% crops from 12 sequential shots taken in the 22mm, 1/5 s exposure test with IS on.
Manufacturer charts showing the MTFs (Modulation Transfer Functions) of a lens provide one way to evaluate the image quality in terms of resolution and contrast. Because MTF charts are computer-calculated from the optical design of a lens (except for Zeiss, which empirically measures MTFs of production lenses) and the methods used to calculate the curves differ among manufacturers, the charts are useful for comparison of lenses from the same manufacturer, but not for direct comparison of lenses from different manufacturers. Several aspects of optical performance are represented in an MTF chart, but to simplify, the left side of the chart corresponds to the center of the lens, the right side to the edge and higher lines mean better image quality. For more details on how to interpret these charts, see the Canon DLC article on reading MTF charts. The MTF charts for the EF-M 11-22mm suggest that the lens will deliver very good sharpness and contrast, particularly for an ultra-wide angle zoom lens.
The theoretical data displayed in the MTF charts are confirmed by real-world use of the lens. The EF-M 11-22mm delivers very good sharpness in the center of the frame. At the wide end of the focal range, stopping down to f/5.6 results in a barely perceptible increase in sharpness. Away from the wide end, you are unlikely to notice a difference in sharpness when stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8 – the EF-M 11-22mm is effectively as sharp in the center wide open as stopped down, which is consistent with the MTF charts. The images below are 100% resolution center of the frame crops captured in RAW format using a Canon EOS M6. These images were processed in DPP using the Standard Picture Style with sharpness set to "1".
Lens performance is typically best in the center and falls off toward the edges/corners of the frame. In the MTF charts, this is evident from the lines dropping lower toward the right side. Stopping down generally improves corner image quality and this lens is no exception. From wide open to f/5.6 or f/8, there is a slight increase in corner sharpness when stopping down. Here are real-world 100% crop examples from the extreme top-right corner of images captured with a EOS M6 and processed identically.
Overall, the EF-M 11-22mm delivers very sharp images across the entire frame, which is particularly impressive for an ultra-wide angle zoom lens. Among ultra-wide zooms designed for Canon APS-C cameras, the EF-M 11-22mm is arguably the sharpest lens as of review time.
Lenses project a circle of light onto the image sensor. The physical properties of light passing through a lens make it impossible for the same amount of light to reach the edges of the circle as the center, resulting in a darkening of the corners, referred to as vignetting. At its maximum aperture, vignetting ranges from a very noticeable 3-stops at 11mm to a not-too-bad 1.5 stops at 22mm. Stopping down the lens to a narrower aperture reduces the effect of vignetting, such that at f/8, it ranges from about 1 stop down to 0.5 stops across the focal range and this level of shading is maintained as the lens is stopped down further. Vignetting is easily correctable in post-processing, at the cost of increased image noise at the edges of the frame (which may or may not be noticeable, depending on the subject matter).
The ability of lens elements to bend (refract) light varies based on the wavelength of that light. As a result, lenses suffer to a greater or lesser extent from chromatic aberration, where light of different colors is focused at different points on the sensor. There are two types of chromatic aberration, lateral and longitudinal. Lateral CA occurs when different wavelengths of light are focused at slightly different locations within the image plane and is usually seen as blur and color fringing at high-contrast transitions (for example, white and black next to each other). When present, lateral CA is strongest at the periphery of an image and absent from the image center. Stopping down a lens does not substantially improve lateral CA. Fortunately, lateral CA is quite easy to correct during post-processing and most RAW converters, including the in-camera JPG engine, perform that correction automatically.
Ultra-wide angle zoom lenses often suffer from noticeable lateral CA, and in this regard, the EF-M 11-22mm performs well by comparison. The lens has only mild lateral CA which is visible in the extreme corners at 11mm and 12mm. CA is less evident in the middle of the zoom range and essentially absent at 22mm.
The following examples are 100% crops taken from the upper left corner of EOS M6 images, showing an essentially worst-case, white-on-black scenario.
Colors other than white and black illustrate lateral CA.
The second type of chromatic aberration, longitudinal (or axial) CA, occurs when different wavelengths of light are focused slightly in front of or behind the image plane and is usually seen as purple or green fringing at high contrast transitions and particularly around specular highlights. Because longitudinal CA is more evident in out-of-focus areas of an image, it is sometimes referred to as bokeh fringing. Longitudinal CA can be present across the entire image frame and is effectively reduced by stopping down the lens. Specular highlights are usually the hardest test for this type of CA and as you can see from the examples below, even wide open the EF-M 11-22mm passes the test with flying colors – or perhaps, more aptly put, without them.
When the sun or another bright light source is within or just outside of the frame, lens flare can become an issue. With such a wide field of view, ultra-wide angle lenses are more likely to capture light sources in the frame. Flare is somewhat variable in that the degree to which it is noticeable depends on the position, intensity and nature of the light source(s). It generally becomes more noticeable when narrower apertures are used.
The EF-M 11-22mm performs reasonably well in standardized testing for flare, showing only minimal to moderate flare. However, in real-world use flare does sometimes create problems and when not occurring over open sky, those problems can be challenging to correct, as seen in the example below with a green flare artifact in the upper right portion of the 11mm, f/5.6 image.
Coma is an optical aberration frequently seen in wide angle lenses, where points of light in the periphery of the image appear distorted, usually with a short, triangular ‘tail’ or with short lines extending radially outward. Coma is often discussed in the context of astrophotography, since stars are generally seen as points of light against a dark background. Because shorter focal lengths allow longer exposures without star trails resulting from the earth’s rotation, ultra-wide angle lenses are often used for that application. Because light from the stars is faint, a wide maximum aperture is a desirable characteristic for an astrophotography lens, and the relatively slow maximum aperture of the EF-M 11-22mm makes it less suitable for this particular endeavor.
The example below shows a 100% crop from the upper right corner at 11mm.
The triangular appearance of the stars indicates a moderately strong coma, which is fairly typical for ultra-wide angle zoom lenses. By 14mm the stars are nearly round, and in the 17-22mm range the coma is essentially gone. The longer focal lengths that reduce coma also mean a shorter possible exposure without star trails, combined with the loss of light at longer focal lengths due to the variable aperture, so the reduction in coma comes at the cost of significantly increased ISO noise.
Most lenses suffer from some degree of geometric distortion, where straight lines in the scene do not appear straight in the image. There are three main types of distortion – barrel distortion, where lines are bowed outward, pincushion distortion, where lines are bowed inward and moustache distortion, which is a combination of the two. The effects of geometric distortion are stronger at the periphery of the image, so straight lines near the edge of an image are most affected. Stopping down a lens has no effect on distortion.
Zoom lenses generally progress from barrel distortion at the wide end to pincushion distortion at the long end, and wide-angle zoom lenses tend to have more pronounced barrel distortion. The EF-M 11-22mm exhibits moderately strong barrel distortion at 11mm, which is reduced to almost no distortion by 17mm, with almost imperceptible pincushion distortion at 22mm. The example below shows the maximum barrel distortion at 11mm.
Geometric distortion is correctable during post processing (in-camera JPGs and most RAW converters perform this correction automatically), but the process results in some loss of pixel-level image quality and slight cropping at the edges of the frame.
Although wide, relatively narrow max aperture lenses do not produce strong background blur, some degree of blur can be achieved particularly with close subjects. In addition to the strength of the blur, the quality of the blur, referred to as “bokeh”, is an important lens characteristic. Below are examples of out-of-focus specular highlights, shown with the lens at either the maximum available aperture or stopped down to f/8.
The EF-M 11-22mm delivers moderately good bokeh at the wide end and generally good, smooth bokeh through the rest of the zoom range.
When capturing bright point light sources at narrow apertures, starbursts often result. The number of rays in the starburst is determined by the number of aperture blades. An even number of blades will produce the same number of rays as aperture blades, while an odd number of blades will result in starbursts with twice the number of rays as aperture blades. The 7 rounded aperture blades of the EF-M 11-22mm produce starbursts with 14 rays, as seen in the 22mm f/22 example below.
From an overall image quality standpoint, the EF-M 11-22mm delivers very good performance, particularly in terms of sharpness and CA, with the major weak points being vignetting and distortion at the wide end of the zoom range.
Like all EF-M lenses to date, the EF-M 11-22mm features a stepping motor for autofocus. STM focusing provides quiet and smooth focusing, which is beneficial for shooting video, but results in a slightly slower focusing speed compared to lenses featuring Canon’s ultrasonic motors.
The EF-M 11-22mm focuses relatively quickly and very accurately. To be fair, though, inherent traits of ultra-wide angle lenses – like their very large depth of field and the minimal movement of the focusing group required to achieve focus – make obtaining an in-focus subject significantly easier. Although the EF-M 11-22mm is likely not a frequent choice for shooting action, tracking during AI Servo focusing is also fast and accurate, especially when used with the most recently EOS M bodies.
The lens exhibits very minimal focus breathing, meaning that subject size and overall framing do not change significantly as focus changes. The lens is also very nearly parfocal, meaning that as you change the focal length by zooming, the image remains in reasonably good focus. Both of these traits are beneficial for still photography and potentially a significant advantage when capturing video.
Like other Canon STM lenses, the EF-M 11-22mm focuses internally and the filter threads do not rotate with focusing (beneficial when using a circular polarizer filter). STM lenses are electronic manual focus (sometimes called ‘focus-by-wire’) – the manual focus ring on the lens does not directly move the focusing element group. Instead, rotation of the focus ring is detected by actuators which signal the STM autofocus motor to move the focusing element group. That means in order to manually focus the lens, it must be mounted on a camera that is powered on and the camera’s metering system must be active (shutter button currently or recently half-pressed). With that caveat in mind, STM lenses do feature full time manual focusing, meaning focus can be adjusted manually at any time including after autofocus has been achieved.
Typical for EF-M lenses, but unlike most of Canon’s other lenses, the EF-M 11-22mm does not feature an AF/MF switch on the barrel. Therefore, the only way to select a focusing mode is by using the camera’s menu options.
The manual focus ring is reasonably-sized, although only the very front of the ring is textured. It is located at the front of the lens barrel and rotates smoothly and easily with moderate damping and no play. Because of the electronic manual focus system, the focus ring does not have a hard stop, but rather rotates freely through the full 360°. Consequently, the only way to determine if you’ve reached the end of the focus range, either infinity or the minimum focus distance, is to judge when focus has stopped changing by viewing the LCD. Racking focus from the minimum distance to infinity takes approximately 180° of rotation. There is no distance window on the lens to show focus distance or depth of field.
The EF-M 11-22mm features a specified minimum focus distance of 5.9" (150mm), yielding a maximum magnification of 0.30x. This is substantially higher than the maximum magnification available with any other current ultra-wide angle APS-C zoom lens.
|Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens||8.7"||(220mm)||0.15x|
|Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.17x|
|Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens||5.9"||(150mm)||0.30x|
|Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S DX Lens||9.5"||(241mm)||0.20x|
|Nikon 12-24mm f/4G AF-S DX Lens||12.0"||(305mm)||0.12x|
|Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens||9.4"||(239mm)||0.13x|
|Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.15x|
|Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.15x|
|Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.20x|
|Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX II Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.09x|
|Tokina 12-28mm f/4.0 AT-X Pro DX Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.20x|
The measured MFD is approximately 5.8" (147mm), with a corresponding MM of 0.31x, which means at 22mm focused at the MFD, an object that is 2.8" (71 mm) wide will fill the frame. At that magnification, the working distance (measured from the front of the lens to the subject) is approximately 2.1" (53mm).
Higher magnifications could be obtained by using extension tubes. Although Canon does not make extension tubes for the EF-M mount, there are third-party extension tubes available.
It is clear that Canon has designed the EF-M series of lenses to be compact, which makes them fitting companions for Canon’s smaller-than-a-DSLR mirrorless cameras. In addition to their small size, they have a stylish, almost minimalist design with nearly flush, textured zoom and focus rings and minimal switches on the barrel.
The exterior body of the EF-M 11-22mm is mostly anodized aluminum, including the outer barrel and the diamond-textured zoom and focus rings. Tight build tolerances result in smoothly-rotating zoom ring that, like the focus ring, has no play. This compact lens is somewhat heavier than it looks, giving an overall solid feel in the hand that is consistent with the good build quality.
The lens mount of the EF-M 11-22mm is also of metal construction, which was also true of the first three EF-M lenses released (the other two are the Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens and the Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Lens). Shown below are the mounts of the EF-M 11-22mm (left) and the Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens, the latter with the plastic mount found on all more recent EF-M lenses to date.
The only switch on the lens is embedded in the zoom ring near the top of the lens and labeled simply with an etched arrow pointing toward the front of the lens. The lone switch controls the lens retraction mechanism.
Lens retraction? The EF-M 11-22mm is the first Canon EF-series lens that is retractable, with an inner polycarbonate barrel that can be retracted for compact travel/storage, or extended into shooting position. If the lens is in the retracted position and you attempt to use the camera, a reminder to extend the lens is displayed.
Extending the lens into shooting position requires pushing the switch forward and rotating the zoom ring approximately 40° to reach the 11mm mark. The inner barrel extends approximately 0.6" (16mm) from the storage position to the shooting position. The lens locks in the shooting position, so the lens retraction switch must be pushed forward to retract the barrel into the storage position. The zoom range rotation is approximately 40°, and during zooming the inner barrel retracts and extends slightly over a range of 2-3mm, with the shortest length occurring in the middle of the zoom range.
The EF-M 11-22mm is the easily the smallest and lightest of the ultra-wide angle zoom lenses, as is evident from the specifications:
|Model||Weight||Dimensions w/o Hood||Filter||Year|
|Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens||8.5 oz||(240g)||2.9 x 2.8"||(74.6 x 72.0mm)||67mm||2014|
|Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens||13.6 oz||(385g)||3.3 x 3.5"||(84.0 x 90.0mm)||77mm||2004|
|Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens||7.8 oz||(220g)||2.4 x 2.3"||(60.9 x 58.2mm)||55mm||2013|
|Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S DX Lens||16.2 oz||(460g)||3.2 x 3.4"||(82.5 x 87.0mm)||77mm||2009|
|Nikon 12-24mm f/4G AF-S DX Lens||16.4 oz||(465g)||3.2 x 3.5"||(82.5 x 90.0mm)||77mm||2003|
|Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens||19.6 oz||(555g)||3.0 x 4.2"||(75.0 x 105.7mm)||n/a||2010|
|Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Lens||18.4 oz||(520g)||3.4 x 3.5"||(87.3 x 88.2mm)||82mm||2010|
|Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM Lens||16.6 oz||(470g)||3.3 x 3.2"||(83.3 x 81.0mm)||77mm||2008|
|Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD Lens||15.5 oz||(439g)||3.3 x 3.3"||(83.6 x 83.8mm)||77mm||2017|
|Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II Lens||14.3 oz||(406g)||3.3 x 3.4”||(83.2 x 86.5mm)||77mm||2010|
|Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX II Lens||19.4 oz||(550g)||3.3 x 3.5"||(84.0 x 89.2mm)||77mm||2012|
|Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX Lens||19.8 oz||(560g)||3.3 x 3.5"||(84.0 x 89.2mm)||77mm|
|Tokina 12-28mm f/4.0 AT-X Pro DX Lens||18.7 oz||(530g)||3.3 x 3.6"||(84.0 x 90.2mm)||77mm||2013|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens Specifications using the site's Lens Spec tool.
Below is a visual comparison of a selection of the above lenses, with the EF-M 11-22mm in retracted position for travel/storage.
Positioned from left to right are the following lenses:
The table of specifications and the lens images above don’t tell the whole story. The EF-M 11-22mm natively mounts on Canon EOS M series cameras, but using Canon EF or EF-S lenses, or third-party lenses, requires the use of the Canon EF-EOS M Adapter. The lack of a reflex mirror means mirrorless cameras can have a much shorter flange focal distance – the space between the lens mount and the sensor. For the EOS M series that distance is 18mm, compared to 44mm for the Canon EF/EF-S mount. The EF-M mount adapter provides that additional distance needed between the lens and the sensor when using any of the other lenses listed in the table above. As such, a true comparison means adding the mount adapter’s extra 3.7 oz (105g) and 1" (26mm) to lenses other than the EF-M 11-22mm.
The same lenses are shown below as they would be mounted on an EOS M camera, with the mount adapter on EF-mount lenses, hoods in place and the EF-M 11-22mm extended into shooting position.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the EF-M 11-22mm to a variety of other lenses.
The EF-M 11-22mm uses 55mm diameter filters, an uncommon size. The only other current Canon lens that shares the 55mm filter size is the EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens, and it’s worth noting that the EF-M 11-22mm and EF-M 18-150mm make a very versatile combination. Fortunately, 55mm is not a large size, meaning filters are relatively inexpensive. Mounting a slim protective filter on the front of the EF-M 11-22mm has no significant effect on vignetting. A thicker filter, such as a standard mount circular polarizer, results in an additional 1/3-stop of shading at 11mm f/4.
Lens hoods help prevent stray light from entering the lens and can provide some additional physical protection. The optional Canon EW-60E lens hood is the dedicated hood for the EF-M 11-22mm. It provides some modest benefit against flare, although as with most ultra-wide angle lenses, the hood is so shallow that only minimal physical protection is provided. Unlike many Canon-branded hoods which have an inner flocking material to further reduce reflections, the interior surface of the EW-60E is smooth plastic, just like the exterior of the hood.
Canon recommends the optional Canon LP814 Lens Pouch for this lens, though it is somewhat large for the EF-M 11-22mm and many will find it not worth the cost. Good alternatives include the Lowepro Dashpoint 20 (perfect fit for the lens with hood) or Lowepro Lens Case 8x12 (just a bit on the large side).
Although not the least expensive option for an ultra-wide angle zoom lens, a relatively low price combined with very good image quality and a solid build make this lens an excellent value. When the compact size and native mount are also considered, the EF-M 11-22mm will likely be a first choice for many EOS M system users wanting an ultra-wide angle lens.
The reviewed Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens was purchased online/retail.
An ultra-wide angle lens is a commonly purchased second or third lens for many photographers, and as a result there are many choices in this focal range from Canon as well as third-party manufacturers. However, if you are looking for an ultra-wide angle zoom lens with a native EF-M mount, the choice is quite simple – the EF-M 11-22mm is the only lens that meets the criteria. For those that have or are willing to purchase the Canon EF-EOS M Adapter, there are several other options to consider. As pointed out above, all of them are larger and heavier than the EF-M 11-22mm.
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens is the least expensive option. The EF-M 11-22mm is sharper across the frame, has less flare and CA but slightly more vignetting and distortion. Both lenses feature image stabilization.
The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens offers a wider focal range with a slightly faster aperture throughout the range. It is more expensive, less sharp with more vignetting and CA and lacks IS. However, the EF-S 10-22mm was a popular lens that remains in many photographers’ kits. If you are a current owner of the EF-S 10-22mm, adapting it to an EOS M camera may be a good option.
The Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD Lens is a high-quality lens and a good value. It delivers a broader focal length range than the EF-M 11-22mm, is slightly less sharp with more distortion and CA, but with less vignetting. Both lenses offer image stabilization and the Tamron 10-24mm is the only Canon-mount APS-C format lens that has weather sealing (although since none of the EOS M series bodies nor the EF mount adapter have weather sealing, that feature is of little practical benefit in this case).
The Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens offers the widest angle of view among the APS-C zoom lenses. It is less sharp, has more distortion, cannot accept front filters and is more expensive. However, if you want the widest non-fisheye lens available, it may be the best option.
The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Lens delivers a slightly wider angle of view, at the cost of a not-too-significant 2mm on the long end. Importantly, it offers a constant, fairly-fast-for-a-zoom constant f/3.5 max aperture, giving it an advantage in low-light shooting situations.
For stopping action in low light, the Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX Lens offers an even faster constant f/2.8 aperture. For some users, the constant, faster aperture will be more than sufficient to offset the modest loss of sharpness, particularly in the corners and the increase in size and weight.
Although not a zoom lens, when discussing ultra-wide angle lenses for the EOS M cameras, it is worth mentioning the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2 NCS CS Lens. Unlike the zoom lenses discussed above, the Rokinon 12mm f/2 is available in a native EF-M mount (along with mounts for other APS-C mirrorless cameras systems), meaning no adapter is required. Like most Rokinon/Samyang lenses, the Rokinon 12mm f/2 is a completely manual lens – it must be manually focused, the aperture must be set manually, and because it does not connect electronically with the camera, the aperture is not recorded in the image EXIF data. Those caveats aside, the Rokinon 12mm delivers very good image quality in a compact package (similar in diameter to the EF-M 11-22mm and only 0.5" / 12mm longer). In particular, the combination of an ultra-wide focal length, a fast aperture and very low coma make this manual prime lens an excellent choice for astrophotography.
The Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM delivers excellent image quality in a small, light and moderately-priced package. Owners of EOS M series mirrorless cameras seeking an ultra-wide angle lens need to look no further than the EF-M 11-22mm. The combination of native mount, small size, image stabilization and impressive image quality make this lens an ideal choice.
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