Canon’s EOS M system is severely underrated. I mean, there are so many great things about them – the usual Canon reliability, the pleasing out-of-camera colors, and the intuitive controls.
But most of the earlier models were largely ignored because of some perceived issues – mainly, lesser specifications compared to competitors and the slower development of lenses.
With the release of the Canon M50, Canon M5 and the Canon M6 Mark II, Canon has started to throw around its camera know-how. While these won’t always compete head-to-head on paper vs other brands, in real world use they are superb cameras with fantastic image quality, fast dual pixel autofocus and easy to use controls. The strength of Canon doesn’t always show up in spec sheets.
Best of all, Canon has not gone the way of other brands’ mirrorless offerings that seem to keep getting larger and larger with each release. With each development – each camera, each lens – Canon has always kept the mirrorless ethos to heart – small and light, and well-built.
Fast forward to 2020, the Canon EF-M system has slowly, but surely, rounded out its lens line-up, partly thanks to Sigma announcing that its trio of fast f/1.4 prime lenses will be made available for the Canon M cameras.
We’ve rounded up the best lenses for the Canon M50, M6, M5, M200 and the EF-M mount system below.
Best macro lens for the Canon M50
- Full frame equivalent focal length: 45mm (1.6x crop factor)
- Filter thread size: 43mm
- Length: 45.5mm = 1.79 inches
- Weight: 130g
- Minimum focus distance: 3.8 inches in normal focusing mode; 3.7 inches in super macro mode
This is one of the most unique and most fun lenses for the Canon EOS-M mount. Not only is it the world’s lightest macro lens with autofocus, it’s also the world’s first macro lens with built-in LED lights on the front of the lens!
One of the biggest problems with macro photography is that once you start focusing closer to your subject, your lens or camera starts blocking the available light to the subject. This is why having some other external light source, whether a flash or some form of continuous light, is common when doing macro photography.
Macro made easier – integrated lights!
The great thing about this lens is that Canon has thoughtfully added integrated LED lights into the front of the lens, so you no longer need to fiddle with light sources!
The combination of the integrated LED lights and image stabilization means this lens really makes macro photography easier, especially for beginners.
First, having the lights and image stabilization help in keeping your ISO down (this means there will be less grain in your images). When shooting macro photography, you typically want to stop down to around f/5.6 and f/8 to ensure that enough of your subject is in focus.
Because you’re stopping down the lens (closing down the aperture), this means that you’re getting less light, therefore requiring a higher ISO, leading to grainy images. By adding more light to your subject, and by using a slower shutter speed, you can use a lower ISO, resulting in cleaner looking images.
The second thing the lens helps you with is that it helps you shoot macro subjects hand held. Because macro photography is always a battle against light, most serious macro photographers typically use a tripod so they can use very slow shutter speeds to allow as much light as possible. And this is also because as you focus closer to a subject, any camera shake is magnified.
Having image stabilization isn’t a true replacement for a tripod. There are limits to how slow you can push your shutters speeds using image stabilization, but it does help a lot. And it sure beats having to carry around and set-up a tripod all the time.
You can turn on the integrated lights using a switch on the barrell of the lens. Click it once to turn on the lights at their brightest, click again to dim the lights a bit. You can also do a long press to set it to left/right lighting.
In “normal” mode, this lens can focus to infinity up to 1x magnification (1:1 reproduction), switch the lens to super macro mode, and you can only focus within a limited distance, but you can now focus up 1.2x magnification (1.2:1 reproduction)
It’s not just a macro lens
With the Canon M50’s 1.6x crop factor, this lens has a field of view equivalent to a 45mm lens in full frame terms. This has two major implications: 1. Those who wish to photograph bugs and other small insects might want a longer macro lens instead. 2. Those who wish to do macro photography with everyday objects and other things that don’t fly away when you get close, will have the added benefit of this lens being a great walk around focal length for non-macro stuff.
The 45mm field of view is very close to what the human eye sees. This makes this lens a great walk-around lens, for street shooting, urban scenes, landscapes, almost everything really. The only thing it can’t do all that well is portraits. But for a dedicated macro lens that can do more than life-size reproduction? This is a very versatile lens.
Best all-in-one zoom and travel lens for the Canon M50:
- Full frame equivalent focal length: (1.6x crop factor)
- Filter thread size: 55mm
- Length: 86.5mm = 3.4 inches
- Weight: 300g
- Minimum focus distance: 9.8” at 18mm; 17.7” at 150mm
With an 8.3x optical zoom range, this is the best all-in-one superzoom lens for the Canon M mount.
Despite its whopping 29-240mm equivalent focal range coverage, Canon have done an amazing job of keeping this lens small. Weighing just 300 grams, and extending a mere 2.29 inches from your camera, when stowed.
Despite its diminutive size, it also features optical image stabilization (OIS), with up to 4-stops of improvement.
It’s a small lens, but it’s got a big zoom range, and doesn’t skimp on features.
The biggest concession to keeping the size down is in the aperture department.
Canon EF-M 18-150mm aperture range by focal length
The lens is at f/3.5 at the widest end (18mm), up to about 23mm.
It is at f/4 at about 24mm, then f/4.5 at about 28mm
It reaches f/5 at 32mm, f/5.6 at about 43mm, then it hits its f/6.3 maximum at about 60mm.
That makes this lens primarily a daylight lens, but this is pretty standard among super zooms.
If you find yourself needing to shoot in low light a lot during your vacation, you’re best shooting at the widest 18mm for those times.
Or, alternatively, you can pair this with the superb and absolutely tiny Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 pancake lens (see below), or the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 normal prime (see below), and you’ve got a very capable two-lens kit that will take care of most situations.
Available colors and build quality
This lens is also available in 2 colors – silver and graphite versions. Unfortunately, it isn’t available in white, to match the white Canon M50 bodies.
Build quality is good, in line with the price point. It’s mostly plastic, even on the lens mount. The lens does extend quite a bit as you zoom. There are markings for 18mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 60mm, 100mm and 150mm on the zoom ring.
There are no switches or buttons on the lens.
Edge sharpness suffers a bit across the zoom range, and doesn’t really match center sharpness even when you stop down. But overall, this lens is plenty sharp, and will please all but the most demanding hobbyists.
Overall, this lens does exactly what it needs to do – which is to minimize lens changing while traveling while providing coverage for the most commonly needed focal lengths while on vacation.
Check availability and current price of the Canon EF-M 18-150mm ultrazoom lens on Amazon.
Best ultra wide angle lens and landscape lens for the Canon M50:
- Full frame equivalent focal length: 18-35mm (1.6x crop factor)
- Filter thread size: 55mm
- Length: 58.2mm = 2.29 inches
- Weight: 220 grams
- Minimum focus distance: 5.9 inches
If there ever was an argument for the benefits of the Canon EOS M system – this lens is it.
This is an ultrawide angle lens that delivers on the promise of mirrorless systems – it is small, light, has fantastic image quality, and is an absolute bargain for what it delivers.
With an equivalent focal range coverage of 18-35mm in full frame terms, this lens covers the usual landscape and street photography focal lengths. If you tend to like shooting towards wider angles, this can also be an attractive walk around lens.
It’s great for group shots, tight interiors and vlogging at arms length where you don’t want your face to be too big in the frame.
Optical image stabilization (OIS) is typically not included in ultra wide angle lenses, so it’s a nice surprise here.
The stabilization is good for an additional 3 stops, allowing you to keep your ISO down by handholding to lower shutter speeds.
An ultra-wide macro? Almost!
This lens also has two features not commonly found on ultra wide lenses – image stabilization (IS) and a very good minimum focusing distance (MFD).
MFD is an amazing 150mm, which is much closer than pretty much all other ultra-wide zooms for other systems. This close focus ability is able to do macro with a 1:3.3 reproduction, unheard of in a lens of this class.
That’s just a fantastic bonus. Not only is this the best landscape lens for the Canon M50 and the EF-M mount, you get the bonus of being able to do close-ups of nature (e.g. flowers) when out in the field.
Build quality is a step above the 14-150mm lens (above). The lens mount is metal, and the barrel is mostly anodized aluminum, giving the lens a nice solid feel. It’s heavier than it looks, but it’s still not a heavy lens by most standards.
Canon EF-M 11-22mm locking mechanism
In order to keep the lens as small as possible when not in use, the lens features the lock/unlock system seen in other EOS M lenses, and in others’ – like some Olympus lenses – where you need to set the lens to ‘shooting’ position before it’s ready to shoot. If you don’t, you’ll get a message on your camera to extend the lens to shooting position first.
It’s a minor annoyance, since it’s not always ready to shoot. But it’s a good trade-off so you can get one of the most compact ultra wide lenses ever made, for any system.
This is easily one of my favorite EOS M system lenses. It’s got great image quality, it’s a focal range that I use often, it’s tiny and light, and it won’t break the bank. Highly, highly, recommended.
Check the current price and availability of the Canon EF-M 11-22mm lens on Amazon.
Best everyday lens and best street photography lens for the Canon M50:
- Full frame equivalent focal length: 36mm (1.6x crop factor)
- Filter thread size: 43mm
- Length: 24mm
- Weight: 105 grams
- Minimum focus distance: 5.9 inches
The only pancake lens for the Canon EOS M system at this time, this was one of the two lenses available at the launch of the system back in 2012.
Measuring less than an inch long, this pancake prime lens is the smallest Canon lens currently in production. For obvious reasons (see the name of this website) – I really, really like pancake lenses, and the Canon EF-M 22mm is no exception.
Despite its ultra-compact size, the Canon 22mm features a built-in stepping motor (STM) for smooth and quiet AF, even when shooting video.
It makes the M50 an ultra-portable, high quality content creation machine. A reliable travel companion. Pair it with a smaller body such as the Canon M200 or M100 and you’ve got an almost pocketable set-up.
The fast f/2 aperture makes shooting in low light a lot easier, and it also helps in providing some background blur. Although if you want ultimate bokeh, you’re better of getting the 32mm f/1.4 lens (below). This 22mm pancake is more of a documentary focal length, suitable for environmental portraits where there is more of the scene in focus. It’s similar to the 23mm f/2 lens on the popular Fuji X100F and X100V, for example.
It’s a pancake lens, its got fast autofocus, its got a bright aperture, AF is silent for video and it’s inexpensive. Conventional wisdom says to pick two, maybe three as long as one isn’t the inexpensive part – but this little wonder delivers on all counts. It’s a must-have for any Canon M shooter.
The Canon 22mm f/2 just might be the best general purpose lens for the Canon M50 and the EF-M mount.
Check the current price of the Canon 22mm f/2 pancake lens on Amazon.
Best wide angle prime lens and best lens for vlogging for the Canon M50:
- Full frame equivalent focal length: 25mm (1.6x crop factor)
- Filter thread size: 67mm
- Length: 3.63 inches
- Weight: 405 grams
- Minimum focus distance: 9.84”
One of the biggest news for the Canon M system in 2019 was the announcement that Sigma would be making lenses for the Canon EF-M mount.
And did they deliver. This is one of three prime lenses they have since released for EF-M, and it’s a real beauty.
Sigma also makes this lens for Sony E-mount (APS-C) as well as for the micro four thirds mount of Olympus and Panasonic.
The first thing you’ll notice about this lens is that it’s a bit large. Compared to most other Canon M lenses that is. But, by most standards, its size is more than reasonable, especially for a fast wide angle.
Is it weather-sealed?
Sigma also makes this lens for other camera mounts, specifically Sony E-mount and the micro-four-thirds (M43) mount for Olympus and Panasonic cameras.
On the Sony and M43 versions of this lens, the Sigma has a rubber gasket around the lens mount, and Sigma rates it as dust and splash proof.
Unfortunately, the Canon EF-M version does NOT have this gasket, and the Canon version of the lens is not rated as dust and splash proof.
With a wide focal length equivalent to roughly 25mm, and a fast aperture of f/1.4, this lens is like a chameleon, able to adapt to various subjects.
Environmental portraits, street shooting, urban photography, even close-up photography. This lens can take almost anything you throw at it. And best of all, it lets you keep shooting even in low light.
The quiet AF motors are perfect for video, and the wide field of view is great for content creators looking to start a Youtube channel.
The wide field of view and ability to blur the background can easily produce some very cinematic results.
Check the current price of the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 on Amazon.
Best low light lens for the Canon M50:
- Full frame equivalent focal length: 51mm (1.6x crop factor)
- Filter thread size: 43mm
- Length: 2.22 inches
- Weight: 235 grams
- Minimum focus distance: 9.12 inches
It took awhile for Canon to release a general purpose, fast aperture “normal” focal length for the Canon EOS M system.
But, in early 2019, at the same time that they announced their full frame mirrorless EOS R system, Canon also unveiled this little beauty.
Maybe it is unfortunate that it was announced at the same time as the EOS R, because that camera obviously got all the fanfare, but this lens filled an important hole in Canon’s EOS M line-up.
With an equivalent focal length of approximately 51mm, this fast aperture prime is Canon’s answer for those looking for a small, general purpose low light lens for the Canon M50, M6 and other cameras in the M system.
With a field of view equivalent to what the human eye sees, this lens is all about versatility.
That means it’s a great walk around lens, capable of doing portraits with creamy backgrounds, detailed close-ups (it’s capable of 0.25x magnification), street scenes and travel photography.
Because the field of view is very natural, it can be effortless to shoot with this lens. You’re not limited to thinking that “this lens is good for this subject, or that subject only”. It’s really good for almost everything – except maybe wildlife and shots of the moon.
It also makes for a great pairing with either the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 (above), or the 15-45mm or 18-55mm kit lenses, or the 18-150mm super zoom. For many people, if you don’t really feel the need to shoot wide, this can be the only lens you need.
The only downside to this lens is that its not internal focusing. That means that the inner barrel of the lens extends by around 0.5 inches when it is focused at its minimum focus distance (MFD).
Check the current price of the Canon 32mm f/1.4 on Amazon.
Best portrait lens for the Canon M50:
- Full frame equivalent focal length: 90mm (1.6x crop factor)
- Filter thread size: 55mm
- Length: 2.34 inches
- Weight: 280 grams
- Minimum focus distance: 19.68 inches
Announced in 2019, the Canon EF-M version of the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 is an ultra-compact lens that plugs a major hole in the Canon EF-M line-up. Sigma has a history of making quality lenses that round-out the mirrorless lens line-ups of various manufacturers. They did it with Sony APS-C E-mount, and now they’ve done it with Canon EF-M.
With a focal length equivalent of ~90mm, the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 is the classic portrait focal length. If you search for the best portrait lens for any camera system, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up with an 85mm or 90mm equivalent focal length.
Weighing a featherweight 280 grams and with a length of just 2.34 inches, this Sigma is exceptionally portable for a short telephoto portrait lens. It underscores the size advantage of APS-C mirrorless cameras vs DSLR’s and full frame mirrorless cameras. You just won’t find an equivalent portrait focal length that is this small and light in DSLR’s or full frame mirrorless systems.
Similar to the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 (see best wide angle prime lens and vlogging lens, above), this lens is driven by an ultra-quiet stepping motor, ensuring fast and accurate autofocus.
If you’re looking to shoot a lot of portraits, this is the lens you need. It can effortlessly produce incredible looking portraits, without adding a lot of weight to your bag – and without burning a hole in your wallet.
Check the current price of the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 on Amazon.
Best telephoto lens for the Canon M50:
- Full frame equivalent focal length: 88-320mm (1.6x crop factor)
- Filter thread size: 52mm
- Length: 3.41 inches
- Weight: 260 grams
- Minimum focus distance: 39.3 inches
The new Canon EF-M 55-200mm lens is the longest telephoto zoom in the EF-M lineup and is able to take photos of faraway subjects while still being compact and portable.
Canon just keeps hitting home run after home run with their EF-M lens line-up. They might not be doing it fast enough, but they’re not doing it haphazardly either.
The lenses they release for this system are always a PERFECT match for the M50, M6, M5 and other M bodies.
Sure, they could probably spend a lot of R&D money on some sexy zooms with f/2.8 apertures, but those would be extremely large and won’t be in line with the intent of the whole Canon M system.
The Canon EF-M 55-200mm lens might have a relatively slow aperture of f/4.5-f/6.3 but that is the trade off to meet the requirement of being compact and lightweight.
With an 88-320mm equivalent, that is a lot of reach in such a small package.
Autofocus is fast and accurate, driven by Canon’s STM motors. Best of all, this lens has built in optical image stabilization, which definitely helps a lot when shooting on the long end of the zoom. The stabilization is rated for up to 3.5 stops.
The long end is perfect for wildlife and landscapes, but the zoom range itself is actually very versatile. Great for pets and kids in the park, for candid street photography, outdoor sports, and for detailed shots of towers and ruins when traveling.
At an amazing 260 grams, this lens is easy to carry even through long excursions, and I’d even pack it for “just in case” scenarios. It’s just so small and light – there is practically no penalty to carrying it around.
Check the current price and availability of the Canon EF-M 55-200mm telephoto zoom lens on Amazon.
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