canon lens

What are Canon STM Lenses – Everything You Need to Know

We all know that Canon is known for making some amazing cameras but the great thing about the company is that Canon is also great when you are talking about some stellar lenses. The company’s EF mount is something that happens to be a lot more beneficial as opposed to some of the other options and if you are looking for something that is truly good, then Canon lenses are the way to go.

Now, a lot of people have asked us what are Canon STM lenses and if you are one of those people and you are still trying to figure out what the whole purpose of these lenses are, then you are at the right place as we are going to take a look at everything.

What Does Canon STM Mean?

If you are looking at some of the entry level Canon lenses, you will see a common theme among them and that will be the STM branding. Now, for a lot of people, this can be a lot more confusing, to be honest. However, do not worry as, in reality, the process is a lot simpler to understand.

STM stands for Stepper Motor or Stepping Motor and this is designed to ensure that the autofocusing vibration and noise are at their minimum. While it might not be important for the photographers if you are a videographer, then having an STM lens is a great way of ensuring that things are not getting out of hand.

While it does sound expensive, the STM motor is now available on almost all the entry level lenses that Canon makes.


However, there are some downsides to STM lenses that a lot of people normally do not know. You see, these lenses have their focus control using a wire, and therefore, there is no proper, true manual focus for the videographers, it might not be the best solution and one must always keep this in mind.

At the same time, another thing worth noting here is that the STM lenses are often slower to focus on, however, they are also much smoother. Therefore, the benefits and downsides exist, it all comes down to how you are going to use the lenses.

What is the Purpose of STM Lenses?

It is safe to say that when you are talking about STM lenses or lenses in general, the main question is that you need to understand the purpose of STM lenses and they are excellent in almost every way. Why? Well, they give you the ability to use them for smooth and most importantly, quiet autofocusing.

The motor ensures that whenever you are focusing, you are not running into issues of the motor making a lot of noise, and STM lenses aim to do just that and deliver great performance through and through.

What are the Differences Between STM and USM Systems?

Now, when you are looking at Canon lenses, you will realize that there are options that are STM offerings as well as USM offerings. This is something that can be confusing for a lot of people to understand but in reality, is a lot simpler to understand. So, if you want to be sure that you are getting the right product, we are going to help you look.


Let’s start with the most obvious thing; USM lenses are on the louder sound. They are loud to a point that you can sometimes hear sound in the video. However, the upside of USM lenses is that they actually come with an overall faster autofocusing system, allowing them to be excellent companions for those who are looking to shoot photos.

Another interesting thing to note here is that when you are looking at USM lenses, Canon makes their entire L series of lenses with USM, and some of the L series lenses cost above $2,000. The latest Canon RF lenses also come in STM variants but as you would expect, they are on the cheaper end.

What are the Benefits of STM Lenses That You Should Know About

Since we are almost done with the post, the next thing that you should know is the benefits that are associated with STM lenses. It should not come as a surprise to anyone because the benefits are certainly there, so let’s not waste time and have a look, shall we?

Again, this is only going to help you have a better understanding of what you are getting your hands on but hey, let’s look into it.

They are Super Quiet

As opposed to some of the other lenses that you see in the market, the great thing about STM lenses is that they are super-quiet I know this might not matter to a lot of people but hey, if you are recording footage, these lenses are great as the focus motor noise will certainly not creep inside the footage.


The Focusing is Super Smooth

Another benefit here is that the focusing on these lenses is super smooth to a point that you can easily get some really nice focusing using these lenses and that too, with ease. However, due to the added smoothness, the focusing can be slower than with USM lenses.


Canon’s STM lenses are among the cheapest in the market and that is the best part because even if you are just starting out and you want something a good lens, you can just get an STM prime lens and you are good to go.


Choosing the right lens can be a difficult ordeal for those who are not sure what they are willing to get their hands on but if you are in the market and you want to be sure that the lens you are picking is right, then this guide is for you.

The conclusion here is that the STM lens is a good offering if you are looking for something inexpensive and something that you can use for videos.

The USM lenses are the way to go if you want a generally higher-end lens that just works really well.

Frequently Asked Questions

STM lenses use a stepping motor where as USM lenses use an ultra-sonic motor; the former offerings are cheaper but better for video recording whereas USM lenses are more expensive and ideal for photography.

An STM lens can be used for pretty much anything ranging from recording videos and takin photos. These lenses are affordable and can be found in the market with ease.

If you are looking to get a hint whether or not the lens you are using is STM, simply look at the lens barrel and you will see the branding there or on the body of the lens itself.

Gary Sindell

Gary Sindell

Hey, I’m Gary Sindell from beautiful Vancouver. A passionate photographer turned ‘Lens Guru’, I’ll help you discover the power of the right lens and elevate your photography game.

Similar Posts