Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Not yet tested
15-45mm $299
average price
image of Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

(From Canon lens literature) The EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a compact, stylish zoom lens for EOS M series digital cameras. A special retraction mechanism shortens the length of the lens to just 1.76 inches (44.5mm) when the camera is off, to help make carrying and storing the lens and camera even easier. The quiet stepping motor (STM) design helps ensure low-noise focusing that's ideal for recording movies. The 35mm-equivalent 24-72mm range combines a wide angle for landscapes and big group photos, with a telephoto zoom for close-ups and detailed headshots. Carefully designed lens placement and special Canon coatings help keep ghosting and other lens flare from your images. The integral image stabilization (up to 3.5 stops faster) can help capture sharp images, even in low light and while taking panoramas.

Like other EF-M lenses, the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM features an AF+MF focusing mode that combines quick and accurate autofocus with the artistic possibilities of manual focus. This EF-M lens is available in graphite or silver.


  • Compact and stylish standard zoom lens with image stabilization for EOS M series digital cameras.
  • A stepping motor (lead screw-type STM) helps provide smooth and quiet operation when taking photos, and near-silence when shooting videos.
  • High-speed, high-precision autofocusing is achieved by utilizing the full-time manual focus mode (AF+MF) to make fine adjustments after focusing.
  • Optical Image Stabilizer technology helps reduce camera shake, and achieves a level of sharpness equivalent to a shutter speed 3.5 settings faster* for great performance even when using for handheld photography.
  • Efficiently designed with three aspheric lenses and uses short back focus to help produce high-quality results.
  • Lens retraction mechanism helps shorten the length of the lens and a compact, lightweight design allows easy portability.
  • Optimized lens placement helps to minimize ghosting and flare.

* Focal length of 45mm (72mm equivalent in 35mm format), using an EOS M series digital camera. Conforms to CIPA standards.

Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM User Reviews

8.0/10 average of 4 review(s) Build Quality 7.5/10 Image Quality 7.8/10
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by berndherrmann (3 reviews)
    Lightweight, fairly good build-quality, balances well on all EOS M series cameras. If you get a good copy of this lens, IQ levels can be quite superior.
    Huge variations in optical performance levels among different copies of this lens. Very slow minimum F6.3 on the long end (and we're talking 45 MM here). Plastic lens mount.

    To begin with, I have sort of an "approach/avoidance" conflict mindset regarding the Canon EF-M 15-45 F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens. You see, I had to go through 4 copies of this lens before receiving one that was fairly good. It's a hit or miss proposition with this lens and it's been well documented (or talked about) on various Canon EOS M forums.

    More so, after sending in one copy of the lens to Canon for repair (severe decentering after getting it with an M100 kit), I was informed that all Canon does is to send you a new one in its place. The customer service rep at the Canon repair facility even admitted (which was surprising) that the EF-M 15-45 is one of the most returned lenses in their inventory. She went on to state that typically, Canon do not repair this lens because it's not cost effective for them to do so. That's why they just send you a new one.

    Now, bear in mind if you get a great one right off the bat, you'll be quite pleased. Good copies of this lens can really put a smile on your face. I was lucky in that the 2nd EF-M 15-45 that I received (came with the M6 kit), was superb, being sharp from corner to corner. So now I have two excellent copies - but I've been through the ringer with various copies of this lens prior to this.

    IMO, Canon really needs to update this lens, making it more consistent optically (from copy to copy, that is), and to also make it a big faster. Having an F6.3 minimum on a relatively short long end of 45 MM is really cost cutting here. Having (at a minimum). And subjectively speaking, I would like to see Canon release more metal lens mounts.

    reviewed November 27th, 2019 (purchased for $200)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Perry Rhodan (42 reviews)
    Canon did it again. Very small and light. Very inexpensive. Surprisingly good image quality. Decent zoom and manual focus. On the newest M50 high speed AF. For the price,size and IQ a steal.
    Only average built quality. Only 3.5-6.3.

    I didnt expect to like this little lens. After having used the olympus, sony, panasonic, fuji pancake (the pana and fuji are almost as good but I really hate the a: lack of real MF and b: the irritating powerzoom). This came as a real surprise. The IQ is very good for what this is. Even the macro is usefull (use F8.0 at a minimum). As always be carefull shooting in the sun and be sure to use the original canon hood. AF speed and accuracy on the M50 are very good. In short another great and very inexpensive amateur zoom that is a must have for M users. Highly recommended.
    After adding the M5 I even like this lens better. It just handles much better on this body. The copy I got with the M5 was almost free of charge and is even better IQ wise.

    reviewed July 4th, 2018 (purchased for $20)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by cyrano123 (1 reviews)
    Great utiliy regarding minimal size and weight. Very good image quality. Effective image stabilization.
    Performance open at 15 mm (weak corners). Prone to lens flare, use lens hood. Small apertures, difficult to isolate subjects.

    I bought this lens as a kit with the M3 together with a Bilora UV filter, a 16 GB Sandisk card and a Tamrac pouch for 500 Euro (ca. 560 US$). If it was the idea of the engineers to offer maximum value with minimal size, then this has been well achieved. The lens covers the focal range I use for 90% of my fotos. It is really small, much smaller and lighter than the 18-55 kit lens, protruding just 45 mm out of the M3. It is made from plastic, however, it is functional and build quality is more than OK regarding its size, weight and price.

    Image quality was surprisingly good. I made raw pictures of my bookshelf at 15 mm, 24 mm and 45 mm at f/6.3 and f/8 (Iso 100) and compared them with raw pics I made in parallel with my Nikon D610 with the 24-85 mm kit zoom at f/8 and corresponding focal lenghts (Iso 100). I then corrected all files in DXO (standard settings including correction of vignetting and distortion) with manual correction of WB and exposure and with the same color output (Canon 6D profile). I carefully compared all files on a 5K Retina iMac and printed some of them at 30x45cm (A3+) on an Epson SC-P600. From a normal viewing distance or at smaller print sizes it was barely possible for me to decide which picture was made by which camera. Yes, viewed from 10 cm distance, i could see a very slight difference in sharpness and contrast in favor of the D610/24-85 combo, but this was minimal and only visible in the side-by-side comparison. The visible difference was not greater in the corners. When I sharpened the M3/15-45 pics a little bit more in DXO (Lens softness module e.g. +0.7, Detail 60) the difference in the 30x45 prints was gone. Under the conditions mentioned I am perfectly happy with the IQ at printing sizes up to 30x45 cm. IQ wide open at 15 mm was not so good (weak corners), however, most often I use f/8 or f/11 for landscape pictures, and - when sharpened with DXO (e.g. +2.0) - 30x45 prints from pics made with 15mm f/3.5 were fully usible.
    From my rather preliminary and non-professional tests I conclude that for practical use with prints up to A3+ and in combination with DXO there is no real limitation in image quality using the M3/15-45 - even at its weakest spot (15mm wide open).

    I was surprised how minimal the differences in IQ were compared to a FF DSLR. I have learned that IQ differences in lab tests obviously occur on a very high level (at least for a hobbyist like me) and that I have overrated the differences described in lab tests for practical use with the smaller print sizes I use.

    The image stabilisation is quite effective and compensates well for the small apertures - I can get good results at 1/4s. So I can take useful pictures at 1/4s, f/4 and Iso 3200 (EV 1) without tripod which - in such a small packet - is something I have dreamed of for years. In many situations the 15-45 might be more useful in low light than the 22 mm f/2 which is not stabilized. On the negative side, the lens is prone to flare, so one should use a lens hood or give shadow with the hand. Due to the small apertures it is difficult to isolate subjects.

    In summary, one really gets a lot from this lens (image quality, stabilization, focal range) regarding its size, weight and price, and it is quite easy to circumvent its major weak points. I do not have to worry about image quality when I go out with my M3/15-45.

    reviewed October 15th, 2016 (purchased for $100)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by benherrmann (5 reviews)
    Very light - yet has what I would call "quality" construction for the genre. Optical quality is actually much better than I had originally assumed when it was released. And the price is outstanding also.
    All plastic construction, but that's par for the course now-a-days among many lenses being released at this price-point. In addition, I tend to forget to unlock the lens, causing me to have to go back to unlock it before you can shoot.

    This is the lens that came with the EOS-M10 which I purchased for my wife. I love the focal range, considering that most of us spend over 90% of our efforts within this area.

    So just for curiosity's sake, I took this lens off the M10 and tried in on the likes of the M, M2, and M3. And I've got to tell you, that for the most part, it is a stellar optic for the price and genre. Like most lenses in this price range, you'll get solid performance in the center and then that gradually erodes as you get to the sides. I'd say at f6.3 you get about the best you can get on the sides. Having a wider 25 MM equivalent focal area makes for great scenic and/or architectural photography.

    It is a small lens to be sure (similar to the 11-22), so it's not an optic that brings attention to itself with regards to size. My wife has captured some absolutely wonderful shots using her M10 and this lens combo - I'm actually jealous on some of them because they were so good.

    So don't let the price or focal range bother you. This lens will do quite well.

    reviewed October 14th, 2016 (purchased for $150)