Recently I've decided to buy a new DSLR body (Canon 200D), and now I have to decide what lens to pair this with. For €18 on top of the body-only price I can get a Canon 18-55mm III lens, and for €94 I can get a Canon 18-55 IS STM lens.

I've compared the two, and even though the IS STM has a new optical design, it doesn't seem to score any higher (even a little bit lower) in DxOMark (the IS II should be optically the same as the III, so I used the IS II as a comparison). The online reviews I've read and watched also don't point out any big differences. So as far as I know, the only real advantages are the image stabilisation and the better focus motor.

I mainly use my DSLR for photography, but I want to experiment with video as well when I receive the 200D. As far as I know, the IS and better focus motor are only really useful when used in video, so I was wondering if the extra €74 is worth the upgrade from the III to the IS STM, even if there's a chance I will only use it a few times for video. And are there any advantages of the IS and better focus motor in photography besides the more stable handheld photography?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The differences at DxO Mark between these two lenses as tested are probably less than the copy-to-copy variation of multiple copies of the same model of either lens. They're not really that significant considering that DxO does not test multiple copies of each lens they test. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 13, 2018 at 12:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Further, the "is x worth the extra $?" is an opinion based question and not really answerable here. Since the answer will be different for different people, there's no single correct answer which is what this site is all about: answering questions that have a single correct answer that is equally applicable to everyone. Only you can answer that question for you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 13, 2018 at 12:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of What are the advantages and disdvantages of the Canon 18-55 IS MKII vs IS STM kit lenses? \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Mar 13, 2018 at 20:27

2 Answers 2


(This is really the only part of your question that isn't off topic as a shopping question or primarily opinion based.)

Are there any advantages of the IS and better focus motor in photography besides the more stable handheld photography?

Yes, there are benefits to using IS when taking still images with a handheld camera. It allows one to use slower shutter speeds than would otherwise be the case before blur due to camera motion becomes noticeable in the resulting image.

Regardless of how good your handheld technique is, you can stretch that good technique even further using a lens with good IS if your subject is stationary.

On the other hand, if you are using your camera secured to a tripod for very long exposures or are using it to take photos of moving subjects in low light, IS doesn't do anything at all for you. IS has no effect whatsoever on subject motion.

For more about IS and its uses for still photography, please see:

Is image stabilization a necessary feature for wide angle lenses?
What is more important, f-stop or IS
What reduces blur from camera movement more: large aperture or image stabilisation?
What's the difference between using an Image Stabilization and not using it?

The same is true of STM: It is an advantage if you need faster, smoother, and quieter autofocus. It's not an advantage at all if you shoot astrophotography or landscapes (or anything else) and manually focus the lens.

STM vs Non STM lenses for still photography?
What does STM mean on a Canon lens?
Why is the battery required to manually focus through the viewfinder?

There are other differences between the two lenses as well. How applicable they are to a user depends on what the user desires to do with the lens.

For example, the non-rotating front element on the STM version is useful if you plan to use polarizing or graduated filters on the front of the lens. It's a total non-factor if you don't. And typically, those who use such filters are more advanced photographers that have long since moved on to nicer lenses than an 18-55mm kit lens by the time they start using such filters.

For these reasons, we can't tell you if the extra cost is worth it for you. Only you can answer that.

For further reading, please see:
What advantages does the Canon EF-S 18-55mm III have over the IS II version?
Is there an IQ gain in going from Canon 18-135 IS to 18-135 STM lens?


Yes, the STM version is worth the extra money for most people because the “III” version does not have Image Stabilization. IS should be on every general purpose lens. It allows you to shoot hand held photos in low light with slower shutter speeds provided your subjects aren’t moving too much. (great for landscapes and architecture)

Here are more reasons why the STM is better than both the IS II and III versions:

1) STM AF is faster and quieter for both stills and Video

2) The front element does not rotate on the 18-55mm STM

3) The STM version has a proper manual focus ring.

4) The STM version has "Full Time Manual Focus" available

5) The STM version uses a nice "petal" hood because the front element does not rotate

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Whether something is worth the extra money is entirely opinion based and not appropriate here. The value of IS (and STM for that matter) totally depends on the use case. IS does absolutely nothing if your subject is moving. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 13, 2018 at 12:23

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