In a small but critical addition to its STM lens lineup -- stepper-motor-driven lenses that provide better continuous autofocus for video and relatively quiet operation -- Canon has rolled out a 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS model. As that's usually the go-to second lens for general-purpose consumer dSLR photographers (if they go for a second lens at all), it gives owners of the Rebel T4i, T5i, and SL1 an important option, and provides resellers with a strong dual-lens kit alternative for the 70D.
At $349.99, the lens is more expensive than its non-STM equivalent, which currently runs about $300, but it can focus a little closer -- 2.8 feet, as opposed to 3.6 feet for the older lens. It also has seven aperture blades, compared with six for the cheaper lens, which should make for better bokeh. Canon rates the image stabilization up to 3.5 stops, but the older lens' 4-stop rating is based on non-CIPA criteria.
It's scheduled to be available in late September.