Sydney International Tennis Test: Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM mirrorless lens Review

The EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM mirrorless lens is Canon’s biggest zoom lens for it’s APS-C mirrorless cameras.

I was aiming to do a thorough test of this lens over a two-week period while Canon loaned it to me but unfortunately due to unusually hot and wet weather in Sydney most of my testing was done with the lens on my Canon M100 camera while I watched the Sydney International 2019 Tennis finals.

Ashleigh Barty Runner Up - Sydney International 2019 Womens Tennis Final WTA

What does the lens look like and how big is it?

As you can see from the photos below, whether retracted or fully zoomed the EF-M 55-200mm is slightly less than double the length of the EF-M 15-45 standard kit lens that Canon bundles with it’s APS-C mirrorless digital cameras.

The 55-200 filter thread is 52mm compared to the 15-45 kit lens 49mm so you can’t share filters between them.

CANON EF-M 55-200MM next to CANON EF-M 15-45MM

CANON EF-M 55-200MM next to CANON EF-M 15-45MM

CANON EF-M 55-200MM next to CANON EF-M 15-45MM

Specifications

35mm equivalent focal length when used on an APS-C sensor body (mm) : 88-320
Angle of view (Horizontal) : 23°20′ – 6°30′
Angle of view (Vertical) : 15°40′ – 4°20′
Angle of view (Diagonal) : 27°50′ – 7°50′
Lens construction (elements/groups) : 17/11
No. of diaphragm blades : 7
Minimum aperture : 22-32¹
Closest focussing distance : 1.0m
Maximum magnification: 0.25x (at 55mm)
Distance Information: Yes
Image stabilizer: 3.5 stops claimed
Weight: 260 grams

Example photos I took during Sydney International 2019 Tennis finals

Australian professional sports ground security guards restrict entry to ticket holders with zoom lenses of a maximum 200mm marked on the lens body.

Bearing in mind that these photos were taken from the back top row of the Sydney Olympic Park tennis centre with an APS-C sensor, the EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM was able to get very close to filling the whole photo frame with individual tennis players on the court.

I was taking photos with the camera hand held and the in lens 3.5 stop image stabilisation worked quite well.

Given enough light this EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is very capable and great value for money, as you can see if you zoom in to full resolution on the crisp AO (Australian Open) logo it captured on this first photo.

Ashleigh Barty Runner Up - Sydney International 2019 Womens Tennis Final WTA

Ashleigh Barty Runner Up - Sydney International 2019 Womens Tennis Final WTA

Ashleigh Barty Runner Up - Sydney International 2019 Womens Tennis Final WTA

Petra Kvitová Winner - Sydney International 2019 Womens Tennis Final WTA

Petra Kvitová Winner - Sydney International 2019 Womens Tennis Final WTA

Petra Kvitová Winner - Sydney International 2019 Womens Tennis Final WTA

Petra Kvitová beat Ashleigh Barty - Sydney International 2019 Womens Tennis Final WTA

The photos below of the mens final were taken under artificial light after sunset and you can see the difference as the camera had to use a higher ISO and slower shutter speed, compared to the women’s final which was taken under afternoon sunlight.

Alex De Minaur wins Sydney International Mens 2019 Tennis Final ATP

Alex De Minaur wins Sydney International Mens 2019 Tennis Final ATP

Alex De Minaur wins Sydney International Mens 2019 Tennis Final ATP

Other more everyday example photos

These photos of a local cricket match and jacaranda tree show the different field of view of the lens at 55mm and 200mm.

Cricket match - CANON EF-M 55-200MM at 45mm

Cricket match - CANON EF-M 55-200MM at 200mm

Tree - CANON EF-M 55-200MM at 45mm

Tree - CANON EF-M 55-200MM at 200mm

Conclusion: Should you buy the Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM mirrorless lens?

If you want a zoom lens for your EF-M APS-C digital mirrorless cameras then this is literally the only big zoom option, since Canon only offers 7 EF-M lenses in total.

In strong light conditions the Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lens can freeze action sharply while fully zoomed in, while maintaining low ISO levels that ensure good detail and low graininess.

Once light levels drop approaching dusk, the combination of the Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lens being rated at a slow f6.3 when fully zoomed, plus the small APS-C image sensor compared to a DSLR, results in the percentage of sharp action shots dropping markedly and ISO shooting up to a noisy 6400.

To be fair most of my experience with zoom lenses is using a professional Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 L lens on a Canon 6D full frame DSLR.

Considering the huge price difference for this combination compared to a Canon M100 and EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM mirrorless lens, the APS-C camera and EF-M lands perform admirably apart from action shots in low light conditions.

The Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lens has an RRP of $459 if bought direct from Canon Australia with a 2 year local warranty. If you want the best price it is well worth searching around on the Internet because I had a look at retail pricing and it ranged from about $438 at Ryda to $529 at JB HiFi.

Other reviewers thoughts about Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3

Ken Rockwell:

As of 2015, this is the only telephoto lens native to the Canon EOS-M system. It’s tiny and works well, so it fits perfectly in this system. While I can think of sharper tele lenses, they weigh many times more, which eliminate the whole point of the EOS M system. For my EOS M cameras, this is the tele lens of choice.

You can adapt the EF-S 55-250mm STM to fit EOS M cameras. It’s the same price and sharper (visible only if you actually print more than three feet wide), but it weighs 50% more — and you still have to buy the $200 adapter, and when you add its weight, the 55-250 + adapter combo weighs double what this lens does. The EOS M system is all about size and weight, and therefore this 55-200mm lens is perfect.

The Digital Picture:

Whether it’s capturing kids’ sporting events, portraits, birds and wildlife or any subject that is somewhat distant, a telephoto zoom lens can be very useful. The Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is Canon’s native telephoto zoom lens for the EOS M series of mirrorless cameras. The EF-M 55-200mm delivers very good image quality in a compact and affordable package and is an excellent complement to a general purpose zoom lens such as that usually bundled with an EOS M camera.

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