Canon 18-135mm USM vs STM – Comparison Of Autofocus Lenses

Canon 18-135mm USM vs STM

In your research about autofocus lenses, you will come across two types – USM and STM. They are both excellent lenses but have their differences as well. If you are caught between a Canon 18-135mm USM and STM and do not know which way to go, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will talk in depth about USM and STM and compare the aforesaid lenses for you. 

Canon 18-135mm USM vs STM

Difference Between STM and USM


Canon 18-135mm USM

USM stands for Ultrasonic Motor. It was introduced back in the 90s for Canon AF lenses. This technology is widely used in all EF lenses by Canon. It works on vibrations that are applied to rings. These vibration frequencies cause the rings to rotate and drive the autofocus. At the moment, USM is the fastest technology in Canon. There are 3 main types of USM motors:

  • Ring-type
  • Micro USM
  • Nano USM
  • Professional lenses
  • Perfect for still shots
  • Excellent build and quality
  • Quick focus
  • Not very silent
  • Heavy
  • Expensive



Canon 18-135mm STM

STM means Stepping Motor and the lenses are named as such due to the stepping motor technology that they work on. STM lenses provide smooth focus and work quietly, enabling you to shoot amazing videos. You can make precise movements while shooting videos and capturing photos with this tech. The different types of STM lenses are:

  • Lead-screw
  • Gear-type
  • Excellent for videos
  • Silent motor
  • Affordable
  • Only suitable for amateurs
  • Focus is slower


Canon 18-135mm USM vs STM – The Features

Now, let’s compare these lenses with regards to Canon 18-135mm to find out which one takes the cake.


Canon 18-135mm STM

Canon 18-135mm USM
Lens type
Super Zoom
Standard Zoom

zoom method
Internal rotary
Extending rotary
Zoom lock
AF motor type
Stepper motor

Besides the aforementioned differences, the two lenses have more or less the same features. So, the only choice you have to make is whether you need a professional-grade lens or a beginner’s lens. USM is ideal for professionals while STM is a good choice for amateurs. You can also decide based on the type of shots you’d like to take because STM is much more suitable for videos while USM provides excellent still shots. 

Canon 18-135mm STM vs USM – the Verdict

The truth is simple – there’s no clear winner here because both the lenses serve different purposes. It is up to you to decide based on your preferences. All you have to do is to compare them keeping your requirements in mind. All the best!

People also ask:

Before we conclude, let’s take a look at a few FAQs on this topic.

1. What is Better – STM or USM?

USM is better for professional-grade still photos while STM is ideal for videos.

2. What is the Canon 18-135mm Lens Good For?

It is a good choice for portraits, sports photography, and wildlife photography.

3. Why are USM Lenses More Expensive?

USM lenses are faster and quieter than STM lenses. They use an ultrasonic motor, which is why they are more expensive. 

4. Which Canon Lens Do Professional Photographers Use?

Most professional photographers prefer the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens.


The right lens for you totally depends on your photography requirements. Both USM and STM lenses are excellent but only you can tell us who the winner is in the Canon 18-135mm STM vs USM battle. There’s no template answer here! If you have any questions, please reach out.


Jacob Crone has spent too much time on researching and finding the best stuff for my Canon DSLR, and this led him to make As he found that millions of cameras are sold every year, and photographers like me are looking for cool and useful stuff for them all the time. So he wanted to make a site dedicated mostly to camera owners to help them get better results.

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