One of the big reasons to pick a camera with a removable lens is the ability to change your perspective, swapping the starter zoom out for a wide, telephoto, or fast aperture lens, all of which offer different creative effects.
Canon has taken an interesting approach with its mirrorless camera development, splitting its efforts across two separate, incompatible systems. This guide covers the EF-M lenses that work with EOS M cameras. If you have an EOS R mirrorless camera, you’ll use different lenses, those with RF mount. We’ve put together a separate guide for Canon R photographers.
Canon’s Compact Camera System
Canon opted for the APS-C sensor size for its EOS M cameras. The format is common among consumer models—it’s the same one Canon uses in its popular Rebel SLR line. It makes for a generally smaller, lighter kit than you can get with full-frame cameras.
The company has held true to the compact philosophy with M cameras and the EF-M lenses that go with them. You won’t find big zooms with F2.8 apertures or F1.2 primes like you can get for EOS R mirrorless or Canon SLRs.
Canon EOS M6 Mark II (Photo: Jim Fisher)
You can still use SLR lenses with the system. Canon sells its EF-EOS M adapter for around $200. Autofocus performance was an issue with the first-generation models from 2012, but more recent entries offer speedy focus with adapted lenses.
You may find adapted lenses to be useful. Canon has covered the basics with its EF-M lenses, but only offers eight choices so far. Sigma has added a handful of F1.4 primes with autofocus to bolster the library. Other third parties, including Venus Laowa and 7artisans, make manual focus glass for the system.
EF-M 18-150mm / EOS M6 (Photo: Jim Fisher)
When you buy an EOS M camera, you may or may not get one with a lens. Canon bundles its current-gen EOS M200, EOS M50 Mark II, and EOS M6 Mark II with the EF-M 15-45mm zoom. It covers a useful range for day-to-day photography, and includes optical stabilization.
The EF-M 15-45mm replaces the system’s first kit lens, the EF-M 18-55mm. If you own an older EOS M with the first zoom, you’ll find that the newer zoom covers a wider angle and is smaller and lighter all around.
If you prefer more zoom power in one lens, you can opt for the EF-M 18-150mm instead, or supplement with the EF-M 55-200mm if you prefer one that’s made just for telephoto shots. If you want a wide-angle look, the EF-M 11-22mm is the one to get. Canon offers each zoom in your choice of graphite black or silver finish.
Canon EF-M 11-22mm F4.5-5.6 IS STM
The Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM for EOS M cameras is an excellent choice if you love wide-angle photography.
Canon EF-M 15-45mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
The Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a solid starter lens, but don’t pay full price for it.
Canon EF-M 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM
The EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a small lens that covers a big zoom range, and a solid choice for Canon mirrorless shooters who don’t want to fiddle with frequent lens changes.
Canon EF-M 55-200mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM
The Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is small and light, but it doesn’t capture as much light as similar lenses for SLRs.
EF-M 32mm F1.4 / EOS M6 Mark II (Photo: Jim Fisher)
You’ll reach for prime lenses when you want to work in dim, challenging light without a flash, or make images with blurred, defocused backgrounds.
Canon sells three primes for the system. The EF-M 22mm F2 and 32mm F1.4 are pretty standard fare. The third, the EF-M 28mm Macro, sets itself apart with its close-up focus and a built-in ring light. It adds soft illumination to cut out camera shadows for better macro results.
There’s some third-party support with prime lenses. Sigma’s Contemporary Trio, F1.4 lenses in 16mm, 30mm, and 56mm focal lengths, add some versatility. The 56mm is an especially good fit for portrait work.
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary
The Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens, available for Micro Four Thirds and Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, delivers tack sharp photos, even when shot at f/1.4.
The Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM, the standard prime lens for the EOS M, is compact, fast, and sharp.
Canon EF-M 28mm F3.5 Macro IS STM
The Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens is a small, inexpensive macro gem, delivering crisp images and featuring an integrated LED to shed light on subjects.
Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary
The Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary is a bright, crisp, standard-angle lens for Sony and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras.
The EF-M 32mm F1.4 STM matches the angle of a 50mm full-frame lens and its F1.4 optics snap shots with soft, defocused backgrounds. It’s the closest thing Canon has to a nifty-fifty for the EOS M system.
Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary
Sigma’s 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens captures crisp images with a shallow depth of field, and is a solid addition to your camera kit.
Venus Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D
The Venus Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D is a compact, sharp, ultra-wide lens for mirrorless cameras. It does a great job curbing barrel distortion, even if it’s not truly Zero-D as advertised.
Godox V1 (Photo: Jim Fisher)
Lenses aren’t the only accessories to think about adding to your camera. You’ll get better flash with an external strobe, and the svelte Speedlite 90EX pairs well with most EOS M models. For more serious flash work, consider a wireless system—we like the affordable Godox system, also sold under the Flashpoint banner.
You can also think about getting a tripod, a powered gimbal, or other support. If your camera supports an external microphone, you’ll want to take advantage of one for better audio if you’re using your camera for video and vlogs. Finally, we like the Lensbaby Omni filter system, a creative kit to add optical effects to your photos and videos.
Once you’ve found the right setup for your needs, make sure to check out our top camera tips for beginners and shutterbugs.
The Canon Speedlite 90EX is an impressively compact flash. It pairs well with the compact EOS M, but can be used with any Canon camera that supports Speedlites.
The Godox V1 betters first-party flashes with its round head and rechargeable battery, and undercuts premium alternatives on price.
Flashpoint Xplor 100 Pro TTL R2
The Flashpoint Xplor 100 Pro TTL R2 straddles the line between flash and studio strobe. It’s small enough to fit in your camera bag, but delivers the power and the off-camera operation you expect from a monolight.
Peak Design Travel Tripod (Carbon Fiber)
The Peak Design Travel Tripod rethinks what a go-anywhere tripod looks like, eschewing the fold-up designs of competitors to more easily fit into your pack.
The DJI RSC 2 is a compact gimbal for mirrorless cameras with a smart, folding design and superbly smooth stabilization.
The easy-to-use Sennheiser MKE 200 microphone delivers a clear, crisp directional signal for cameras and mobile devices.
The unique Rode Wireless Go II allows for easy two-mic wireless recording on the go, and works with cameras, smartphones, and tablets.
Lensbaby Omni Creative Filter System
The Lensbaby Omni Creative Filter System attaches to the front of your lens and includes attachments to bend light, add color, and more. It’s a powerful tool when put in the hands of creative photographers.