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EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Review: A Compact, Reliable Telephoto Zoom Lens

Boasting an overwhelmingly light weight of 260g, the EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is so small it can be carried around in your pocket. Despite the compact size, the lens is equipped with the IS feature and covers a focal length range of 88 to 320mm in the 35mm format. In the following, let us take a look at the lens in greater detail. (Reported by: Akiyo Ogawa, Yusuke Yuzawa)


Excellent depictive capability ideal for pet photography

The subjects of my photos are mostly pets, and thus I usually make use of a 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens for my shoots. Many may think that telephoto zooms are not suitable for photographing pets, but in fact they help to create desirable effects in many ways. 
One such effect is the bokeh effect that can be obtained at a telephoto focal length. This is particularly important for when you are creating a background blur, which plays a vital role in making subjects stand out—and therefore showcasing your pet in its full, adorable glory! Telephoto zooms also enable you to take photos at a distance from the subject, so that you can capture the natural expressions of the pet without distracting it.

Here, I tested the EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, a telephoto lens that was released in 2014 and designed exclusively for the EOS M series. Despite the compact size, the lens delivers outstanding depictive performance with excellent clarity, thanks to the high-precision optical design. The aspherical lens element eliminates distortions in the image, while the UD lens element works to effectively cancel out chromatic aberration.

EOS M5/ EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 162mm (259mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/6.3, 1/250 sec, EV+1.0)/ ISO 6400/ WB: Auto

When photographing pets together with some small items, it is important to prevent the subject from being overshadowed by the presence of these objects. To do so, allow sufficient distance between the subject and the background and capture the subject while creating a background blur. In this shot, I used a teaser toy so that cat would raise its forefoot.


EOS M5/ EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 200mm (320mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/6.3, 1/320 sec, EV+1.0)/ ISO 8000/ WB: Manual (4800K)

I covered a baby chair using a multi-purpose cover with a checkered pattern, and took this shot with the help of an assistant who tried to attract the attention of the subject with a teaser toy.


EOS M5/ EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 55mm (88mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4.5, 1/800 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

Pet shots taken at home can become rather monotonous. However, it is possible to add variety to your techniques with just a little twist. I took this shot by laying a 1m x 1m sheet with star patterns on the floor. Although the sheet was not very big, choosing a high angle allowed me to occupy the entire composition with the stars even at the focal length of 55mm.


Tip: Capture a close-up view of the area you want to feature

A telephoto lens also comes in handy when you are at a loss as to how you should handle the background when composing a shot. In the two examples below, both shots were taken using a white-based wallpaper with a width of 1m as the background. The areas around the wallpaper were very dark, and these would be captured in the image if I were to use a standard lens. By using a telephoto lens, however, I was able to frame the shot so that only the area within the 1m width of the wallpaper was captured, thus creating a bright background.


At a focal length of 200mm

EOS M5/ EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 200mm (320mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/6.3, 1/800 sec, EV+1)/ ISO 8000/ WB: Manual

A close-up shot of the cat’s face at a focal length of 200mm. Bokeh effect that is characteristic of telephoto lenses is also created, which adds a fluffy and soft touch to the image.


At a focal length of 124mm

EOS M5/ EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 124mm (198mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/500 sec, EV+1)/ ISO 5000/ WB: Manual

In this example, I used a focal length of 124mm to include some small objects while maintaining a good balance in the composition. A composition like this allows the scarf to add a warm touch to the image at the same time.


Use a telephoto focal length to create bokeh effects

The EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM also supports full-time manual focus (MF), so you can switch quickly from AF to MF and fine-tune the focus easily. The greatest advantage of this feature is that I can take the camera out of the bag and capture a quick shot even while I am on the move, and lens exchange can also be done in a breeze.

You can also use EF lenses with the EOS M series cameras by attaching a mount adapter, but if this is your very first telephoto lens, getting the EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is a good choice. For the most beautiful bokeh effect, use it at the longest focal length—the 200mm end. With a maximum aperture of f/6.3, you do not need to worry about the shutter speed setting, especially if you are using the lens with the EOS M5 which has a standard ISO speed range that goes up as high as 25600.

I have no doubt that this is one telephoto zoom lens that will make your photography experience more fun and enjoyable. If you carry your camera around frequently, you can also consider getting a lens hood (sold separately) together with the EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM.


Lens Hood ET-54B



A: Aspherical lens
B: IS unit

35mm equivalent focal length: 88-320mm
Lens construction: 17 elements in 11 groups
Closest focusing distance: 1m
Maximum magnification: 0.21x
Filter diameter: φ52mm
Size: approx. φ60.9 × 86.5mm (maximum)
Weight: approx. 260g


For more on photographing animals, check out:
3 Ideas for Cute Cat Photos
2 Ideas for Cute Rabbit Photos
7 Useful Tips for Taking Photos at the Zoo with a Mirrorless/DSLR Camera
How Do I Photograph Small Animals Against a Busy but Beautiful Background?


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Digital Camera Magazine

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.
Published by Impress Corporation

Akiyo Ogawa

Akiyo Ogawa

Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1980. Akiyo is a pet photographer who has obtained many animal-related qualifications, including those for a trimmer and dog trainer. She is currently a lecturer giving photography classes, chief editor of a pet magazine, and the director of a pet program.

Yusuke Yuzawa

Yusuke Yuzawa

Born in Tokyo in 1980. Yusuke is a pet photographer who takes photos of more than 500 pets per month. He is currently a pet photography lecturer and pet magazine cover and gravure photographer. He is also involved in scriptwriting and making appearances in pet programs.