The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is a small and light macro lens for the EOS-M system. It is also one of the few fixed focal points for this system. The lens can focus extremely close and is therefore equipped with built-in lighting so that you can always light your subjects well. To top it off, the EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro also has image stabilization.
Macro WITH LIGHT: Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM
The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is a small macro lens for cameras in the EOS M-series. It is almost a standard lens. The focal length corresponds to a 45mm on 35mm. For a macro, that is still reasonably short. You can use this lens to focus on subjects that are only 13 mm away from the front lens. In the Super Macro mode, it magnifies up to 1.2x. In order to get some light on your subject, there is a built-in Macro-Lite on the lens. This is a LED light around the front lens with which you can illuminate your subject or clear up the shadows. There is also an Image stabilizer on the lens, so you can easily shoot with it by hand. You can also create fluid video images with it.
Something that is immediately noticeable when you want to work with the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is that you have to extend the lens before you can use it. That makes it very compact when it is collapsed, but it is an extra action before you can get started. To extend the lens to the use position, you use the wide ring in the middle of the lens. With a lens with a fixed focal point, you would expect that the widest ring to be the focus ring, but that is not the case. The focus ring is the thinner ring at the front. When extending the lens, you have to be carefully that you don’t go too far, because then you enter the Super Macro Mode and you can no longer focus to infinity. You feel a moment’s resistance when you turn through to the Super Macro Mode. But if you are working quickly or are in a hurry, you may not notice it. At the front is an extra ring that seems to be part of the lens and that works a bit like a lens hood and is equipped with a filter thread. You can remove this ring so that the built-in LED lighting can be used. The EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro is largely made of plastic, including the mount, and the weight is thus only 130 grams. The aperture of the EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro has seven blades.
The shortest setting distance of the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is 9.5 centimeters. That is from the sensor to the subject. From the front lens, you are then a little more than one centimeter from your subject. That means if you really want to make full use of the macro capabilities of this lens, it can be very difficult to get some light between your subject and the lens. And that is when the built-in Macro-Lite LED lighting comes in handy. The LED lighting consists of two strips, left and right of the front lens. The lighting is not rotatable, but the LEDs can be switched on separately. So you have some control over the direction of the light. The LEDs are also dimmable, but not independently of each other. The light output is not very high. It won’t do much for you as a filler light for a portrait. But for the real macro work, it is a godsend. The LEDs go off when the camera goes into sleep mode, but keep in mind that your battery will run out a lot faster if you use the Macro-Lite frequently.
Macro Lite from one side:
Macro Lite from two sides:
The extra attention to the lens design that is needed to ensure that a macro performs well in the macro area, usually also ensures that a macro is excellent at regular distances. And that also applies for the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM. Vignetting is virtually absent with less than 4/10th stop at full aperture and 3/10th at f/11. Distortion in jpeg is 0.11 percent, and that is very low. That’s a requirement as well, because short macros are also popular for reproduction work. The sharpness of the EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro is quite high and nicely even over the entire field of view. That is already the case at full aperture (which of course is not particularly bright), and the quality gradually increases to f/8. That is the optimal aperture if you want to get the most out of the lens. We have hardly been able to detect aberrations. The only thing that actually lags a bit on the EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro is the bokeh. At macro-distances, it is quite nice because the depth of field is of course very small when you are focusing only a few centimeters away. But for a portrait, a 28mm with f/3.5 as the largest aperture is of course not ideal. The depth of field is then simply too big to get a nice blurry background.
Super Macro Mode
The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM goes in the normal mode to 1:1 and is therefore a real macro. But if you turn the setting ring a click further to the Super Macro Mode, you get an extra magnification of 1.2x. Super Macro Mode actually works as an extra intermediate ring. By extending the lens slightly further, you do lose the ability to focus to infinity. That is why this is a separate mode. The magnification that you get is enormous. And the autofocus also continues to work, although it has no easy time of it due to the small focus range and the shallow depth of field. The 28mm f/3.5 Macro is not usable with additional spacers, but the need for this is not very great due to the Super Macro Mode.
The 28 mm f/3.5 Macro also features IS, or Image Stabilization. And not just ordinary image stabilization, but Canon’s hybrid system that also works in the macro mode. Normal image stabilization in the lens is actually effective only at normal shooting distances. This hybrid system from Canon also works in the macro area. Because of the enormous magnification of the lens, and therefore the enormous magnification of every bit of camera movement, you should not expect miracles. Nevertheless, it is nice that it has it. In the practice shots by hand, motion blur was rarely visible, even at short shooting distances.
ConclusiON: REVIEW Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM
- Good image quality
- Real macro
- Built-in lighting
- Small and light
- Good image stabilization
- Super Macro mode
- Great price
- Short focus for macro
- Low brightness
- Little bokeh
The Canon EF-M 28mm Macro is a nice standard lens with unique capabilities.
The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM is a great addition to the EOS-M cameras’ lens range. For the M-system, Canon has mainly released zoom lenses with a variable aperture and brightness that is not that high. This EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro is – together with the 22mm – one of the few fixed focal points. The high image quality, the good macro capabilities and the low weight and compact dimensions are all good reasons to always take this lens with you. And perhaps even to leave it on your camera as a standard lens.