Canon 50mm Lenses Compared
Image Quality top
The 50mm f/1.8 STM, 50mm f/1.8 II and original 50mm f/1.8 have the same optics, and test identically.
The 50mm f/2.5 Macro has no distortion, while all the others curiously have the same moderate barrel distortion.
Flare and Ghosts
They are all have very little, except for the 50mm f/1.0 L, which can have quite a lot in some conditions.
They are all equally super-sharp at moderate apertures, and get equally softer from diffraction at the smallest apertures.
The only visible differences occur at the largest apertures and in the corners. In real-world shooting the corners never have anything in focus so it doesn’t matter, but under laboratory conditions where we devise tests that have things in focus out there I can see what I’m going to share here.
The f/1.4 lens is the least sharp overall, but not by much. The f/1.8 and f/2.5 Macro are as good as each other, and better than the f/1.4, but the f/1.4 is the most popular because it’s just about as sharp as everything else, and much more convenient and almost as light as the f/1.8.
If you can get the f/1.2 to focus reliably, when in focus, the f/1.2 is as good as the f/1.8 and f/2.5, and even sharper at the largest apertures, especially in the corners.
The f/1.0 lens is as sharp as the f/1.2 lens, and both are better than the others at the largest apertures. The f/1.0 focuses more reliably than the f/1.2, but is less sharp in the last few millimeters of the corners.
Here are more details at specific apertures:
Only the 50mm f/1.0 gores here. It’s sharp and contrasty throughout most of the image, but only if it’s in perfect focus. Otherwise there is a slight veil of color from spherochromatism.
The f/1.0 lens is very sharp and contrasty, while the f/1.4 USM has lower contrast due to its spherical aberration, absent in the aspherical f/1.0 lens. At f/1.4, the f/1.0 is on its game while the f/1.4 is gasping to keep up.
The f/1.2 L is probably the same as the f/1.0 at f/1.4 in the center, while the f/1.2 is sharpest in the corners at f/1.4 of these three f/1.0, f/1.2 and f/1.4 lenses — but I get less consistent focus with the f/1.2, so I prefer the f/1.0 lens.
The f/1.0 is very sharp and contrasty, while the f/1.8 and f/1.4 lenses have lower contrast due to spherical aberration.
In the last few millimeters of the corners, the f/1.8 and f/1.4 gets blurrier due to coma, while the f/1. 0 lens gets much softer — but the f/1.0 is much sharper throughout most of the image.
The f/1.4 is about the same as the f/1.8 lens at f/2. Both have a lot of coma in the last few millimeters of the corners, and lower overall contrast from spherical aberration not present in the f/1.0 and f/1.2 lenses.
The f/1.2 is the sharpest in the far corners, and as sharp as the f/1.0 in most of the image.
The f/1.0 and f/1.2 are the sharpest of these f/2.
Now all these lenses are equally super sharp over almost all of the image.
If you get really picky, the f/1.8 is just a tad softer than the f/1.0 and the f/1.4 is a tad softer than the f/1.8, especially on the sides.
The only real differences are in the last few millimeters in the corners, and only if you actually have something in focus out there. If you do, the f/1.8 is blurrier from coma and the f/1.0 is softer out there.
Not charted, but I did shoot a direct comparison, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 L II is as sharp as the f/1.0 at f/2.8. In the corners, the 24-70mm f/2.8 L II is the sharpest of all these lenses! By f/2.8, the best lens is the newest lens, the 24-70mm f/2.8 L II.
All these lenses are equally super sharp.
The only difference is that the f/1.0 L is less sharp in the last half a millimeter of the full frame corners.
Adding the 28-105mm USM II to the comparison at 50mm at f/4, it’s wide-open and much softer than the rest, all of which are ultra sharp.
All these lenses are equally super sharp, including the 24-70/2.8 II and 28-105 USM.
The only difference is that the f/1. 0 L and 28-105 USM are slightly less sharp in the last half a millimeter of the full frame corners.
The 24-70/2.8 L II is also a tiny bit less sharp in the farthest corner and the f1.4 isn’t quite as sharp on the sides, leaving the f/1.8 and f/2.5 lenses as slightly more excellent than the rest under the microscope at f/2.5.
At f/8 and smaller
They’re all the same; diffraction is out biggest detriment to quality.
If I carry a 50mm lens with my Canon, it’s almost always this cheapest 50mm f/1.8 II, not any of the more expensive options.
Canon 50mm f/1.8 II.
For most use, I prefer my Canon 50mm f/1.8 II because it’s Canon’s sharpest and lightest 50mm lens. It’s all plastic, but it turns out that the plastic mount makes mounting and unmounting much smoother. If I break it, so what. I’ll try to get it fixed under warranty, and even if I had to buy two or three more, I’m still out less money than if I bought just one 50mm f/1.4 — which isn’t as sharp anyway.
Canon 50mm f/1.8.
The original Canon 50mm f/1.8 uses the same great optics as today’s 50mm f/1.8 II, in a tougher package. It has a slightly slower and much noisier “Arc Form Drive” autofocus motor.
I also prefer either 50mm f/1.8 because they use 5-bladed diaphragms, so sunstars have 10 points.
Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro.
The Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro is as sharp as the f/1.8 lenses, and focuses closer. I prefer the f/1.8 lenses because I prefer the extra stop of speed over any need to get any closer than a foot and a half.
Canon 50mm f/1. 4 USM.
The Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM is Canon’s most popular 50mm lens, and adds the ability to grab the focus ring at any time for instant manual focus override. I don’t like it because, under laboratory conditions, it’s not as sharp as the 50mm f/1.8 II, and because it has an 8-bladed diaphragm that leads to silly 8-pointed sunstars.
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L.
The Canon 50mm f/1.2 L is very popular with weekend wedding shooters.
I don’t use the 50/1.2 because the sample I reviewed in 2007 didn’t focus accurately on my cameras, and it sometimes would be completely out of focus, even if the camera confirmed that it thought it had captured perfect focus. Today I have not tried it with the newest Canon cameras with which it probably works magnificently — but on my original 5D, the 50mm f/1.0 below gives much better and more consistent results.
Canon 50mm f/1. 0 L.
The Canon 50mm f/1.0 L is the world’s fastest lens ever made for any 35mm SLR, DSLR or any autofocus camera.
It weighs twice as much as the 50mm f/1.2 L, four times as much as the 50mm f/1.4 USM and over eight times as much as my favorite 50mm f/1.8 II.
As an odd piece of trivia, it is so far advanced that no one, not Nikon or anyone, has ever come out with any AF lens this fast or advanced, and this lens came out back in the 1980s. Another piece of trivia is that paradoxically it’s also the only 50mm Canon AF lens that has a genuinely useful depth-of-field scale. This lens usually has no depth-of-field at f/1.0, yet all the other lenses on which some of us might actually like to use a real depth-of-field scale either have none, or have scales so compressed that they aren’t very useful.
More trivia is that this lens was first announced back in 1987 with the very first EOS camera. Although discontinued in 2000 from lack of interest, today’s newest Canon 85mm f/1. 2 L II has almost identical appearance, size and weight and seems made of mostly the same exterior parts. This lens lives today as the 85/1.2L II!
If you want to throw backgrounds way out of focus or shoot in no light, there is no 50mm lens that comes close. Its autofocus is slower than the other lenses due to the extra precision needed at f/1.0, and I find that it’s fast enough to photograph action like my kids. You need a camera with an AF fine tune adjustment to get the best results. This len is astoundingly sharp and contrasty at f/1.0, but because depth-of-field is so vapor thin at f/1.0, so if you’re not getting sharp results, it’s because you didn’t get it in perfect focus. For head shots, depth-of-field at f/1.0 is much less than the length of an eyelash: you can’t get both ends of the eyelash in focus, much less the eyeball, too.
Beware comments from non-professional reviewers that lack the skill to get perfect focus and think this lens is less sharp than other 50mm lenses; this f/1. 0 is much sharper and contrastier at large apertures than the 50mm f/1.4 USM — but only if you have perfect focus.
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Lenses – Camera & Photo lenses
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Lenses – Camera & Photo lenses – Canon Ireland
An affordable, high quality lens that’s perfect for creative portraits and low-light photos. Blur backgrounds to make your subject stand out, and enjoy smooth near-silent STM focusing when shooting movies.
See full specification
A wide aperture lens for high quality portraits and low light photos
With the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens you can easily produce more artistic and impactful photography thanks to a wide f/1.8 aperture that produces sharp focus on your subject and a beautiful blurred background.
The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is great for:
Artistic and impactful photography
The wide f/1.8 aperture of the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM gives you the ability to bring your subject into sharp focus and blur the background. Photographers refer to this as a ‘narrow depth of field’ and makes your subject stand out which is great for portraits, as people become the clear focus of your shot.
Let more light in
The wide f/1. 8 aperture lets in more than 8x the amount of light compared to the standard zoom lens that is provided with your EOS*. This results in sharper images with less motion blur and reduced need to use flash in dimly lit conditions so you can easily capture the atmosphere of a low light environment.
For portraits and everyday use
The 50mm focal length allows you to fill the frame with your subject from a comfortable distance making it a great lens for portraits. A similar perspective to the human eye and its compact size make the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM a great everyday lens to always carry with your EOS camera.
Sharp focus for photos and videos
The near-silent STM (Stepping Motor) technology focuses extremely quickly when shooting photos, so you can react suddenly to capture fleeting moments. Creating high quality movies is easier with STM as it delivers steady and quiet continuous focusing, so your movies are smooth, and soundtracks only capture the surrounding sounds and not the noise of a focusing motor.
A classic re-born
The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM replaces the popular EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens which was affectionately known for giving outstanding picture quality at an affordable price. This latest version gives the same stunning photo quality but with a fast, near-silent focus motor and a more robust build that belies its price.
Lens Hood ES-68
A lens hood prevents stray light from entering your lens, keeping unwanted glare from affecting your photos.
Lens Pouch LP1014
Protective soft case for selected EF lenses.
Lens Cap E-49
Protects your Canon lens when it’s not being used.
Lens Dust Cap E
Protects your Canon lens when it’s not being used.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
Ratings & Reviews
Lenses for DSLR
EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
A compact pancake lens that, with a fast aperture that is great for travel and general photography.
Lenses for DSLR
EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
High performance, f/1.4 aperture USM lens for general, low light and portrait photography.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Wide aperture lens for high quality portraits and photography in low light conditions sharp focus on the subject and beautiful background blur.
The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is great for:
Perfect for capturing the emotion on the faces of friends and family, ideal for weddings, celebrations and parties.
Ideal for low light situations such as nightscapes, fireworks or interiors.
Capture everyday life on the city streets or the atmosphere and emotions of special events.
Impressive and expressive photography
The wide aperture of the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM ensures that the subject is in sharp focus and the background is blurred. Photographers call this “shallow depth of field”. This effect allows you to highlight the subject in portrait shots – the person becomes the obvious center of attention in the frame.
More light in the frame
The f/1.8 aperture lets in 8 times more light than the standard zoom lens supplied with the EOS camera*. The result is sharper images without motion blur and less need to use the flash in low light conditions.
For portraits and everyday use
With a 50mm focal length that captures the subject from a comfortable distance, this lens is great for portraits. The compact EF 50mm f/1.8 STM provides a perspective close to the human eye – a great everyday lens that you can always take with you.
Sharp focus in photos and movies
STM (stepping motor) focusing technology works quickly and almost silently when shooting photos, allowing you to instantly capture the frame at the right moment. Creating high-quality movies is easier with STM technology, which provides quiet continuous focusing, making movies smooth and the soundtrack containing only ambient sounds, not the sound of the focus motor.
Reimagining a classic
The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM replaces the popular EF 50mm f/1.8 II, which is widely acclaimed for its high image quality at an affordable price. The new version features a more robust design, smoother, near-silent focus motor (STM) and delivers the same amazing photo quality. Excellent value for money and quality.
In order to buy a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens, just fill out an application on the website or contact us by phone. Legal entities can pay by bank account.
+7 (495) 142-06-72.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens review and comparison with Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 I
Finally, I got to another review article for the photo section. Today I want to introduce you to two lenses, namely Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 mk I and mk II. It so happened that I have both at home, and it would be a sin not to compare them, especially since there is something to compare there.
Who will fight for the place of the best today?
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8. It was released in March 1987 and is an entry-level autofocus prime lens. It has a carbon body and a metal mount for the bayonet.
In December 1990, the EF 50mm f/1.8 was replaced by the 50mm f/1.8 II . The 50mm f/1. 8 II is basically identical to the 1987 variant, but has a plastic bayonet mount and lacks a range scale.
Both lenses deliver sharp, high image quality while being the cheapest prime lenses in Canon’s lineup. Recently, the second revision is very popular, especially among beginner photographers, due to the fact that the price / quality ratio is unbeatable. The first revision did not gain much popularity in Russia due to the fact that the mass fascination with digital SLR cameras has begun quite recently, and the lens has not been produced for more than 20 years.
The EF 50mm f/1.8 is incredibly hard to come by, but I was lucky. My copy was found in the United States and brought to Russia. Once again I express my gratitude to Gevorg for helping with such a find. By the way, this lens cost me $400, while the 50mm f / 1.8 II in stores was priced at 3500r, which is about $100. A crazy difference, you might think, well, yes, I will say and proceed to the review.
Of course, should start with a look at the appearance and technical characteristics lenses. Let’s do this, you can click on the pictures, I didn’t make them much smaller on purpose so that you can see everything.
Seemingly the same, but at the same time completely different lenses. Let’s start with the generalities:
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 I||Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II|
|Aperture||f/1.8 – f/22||f /1.8 – f/22|
|Design 9Min. focusing distance||0.45 m||0.45 m|
|Horizontal angle of view||40°||40°|
|Diagonal viewing angle||46°||46°|
|Vertical angle vision||27°||27°|
|Max. diameter||67.4 mm||68.2 mm|
|Length||42.5 mm||41 mm|
|Weight||190 g||130 g|
|Filter thread diameter||52 mm||52 mm|
| NOT available for sale
specifications are identical to . Nothing has changed in three and a half years. Here is a diagram of the insides:
Only the appearance of lenses has been changed. Slight differences in physical size and weight. Looking at the numbers, you can’t understand anything, you need to compare their appearance, holding them in your hands. You will have to compare according to the photos shown above. The differences are really big. What is it worth carbon body EF 50mm f/1.8, it is pleasant to the touch and inspires strength and reliability. In the EF 50mm f/1.8 II, on the other hand, the usual plastic body, like whale lenses, is unpleasant to hold in your hands, fortunately, you don’t think about it at all during shooting. Another huge difference: the EF 50mm f/1.8 has a metal bayonet mount, which gives a certain strength to the entire structure and the reliability of attaching the lens to the body. Nothing hangs and does not play. The EF 50mm f/1.8 II has a plastic mount and is part of the overall plastic lens construction:
Another important thing is focus ring . You get used to it, or rather, you get used to the fact that for all lenses it is located on the body of the body, for f / 1.8 II this ring may not be found at first glance. It is located at the very end, for me personally, it is inconvenient to manage such a ring. Another conversation with f / 1.8 I, everything is somehow familiar here, and the ring is in place and there is a focusing scale. And by the way, f / 1.8 II does not have a focusing scale. Saved literally on everything, it’s a pity.
Here we have examined and analyzed in detail everything related to the appearance of both models. Now we can proceed directly to field tests for picture quality .
I conditionally divided the quality test into 4 parts. There will be 4 tests in different conditions. For all tests except the 4th one, I used a 500 watt building spotlight as a light source. Thanks to OBI for selling such spotlights so inexpensively (500r). The camera is my favorite Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The camera was on a tripod all the time, so when changing lenses, movement was almost completely excluded, I did this with great care.
Test – White Sheet . In this part, I wanted to introduce you to vignetting, photographing a blank white sheet of paper illuminated by a spotlight. However, I photographed a white sheet with both lenses at maximum aperture and moved on to the next test, completely forgetting about the rest of the “holes”. Since the test bench had already been damaged and I could not go back, the test did not quite work out. Also in this test, I took pictures with and without peripheral illumination correction. There is such a new function in 5D2 (it is also in the new 50D, I think that it should also be in 1D mkIV and 7D, because these are very fresh cameras), which eliminates vignetting on the frame due to preloaded image processing programs into the camera. However, an incident happened here, I saw it only when I uploaded the finished pictures to LightRoom (I shot everything in RAW). Both pairs of photos were the same, that is, as if the correction did not work on RAWs, and the camera clearly displayed these differences on the screen to me. But anyway, despite the failures, I will post both pairs of photos:
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 I||Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II|
there are no differences at all. Unless in the first couple of frames it turned out that f / 1.8 II is a little lighter, there is less vignetting. I’m inclined to believe that this is a coincidence. On the second pair, the pictures are exactly the same. So the score is 1 – 1.
Checkered Sheet Test . In this test, I wanted to show the possibility of chromatic aberration at the corners of the frame. To do this, I pasted a sheet of checkered paper on a white sheet and photographed exactly perpendicularly with both lenses. Again an oversight – the sheet turned out to be small, and it was not possible to photograph it for the whole frame. But I found a way out, drew marks with crosses. The left cross is the center of the frame, the right one is the focus point. So in the pictures, I presented you with the top right piece of the frame. 9As 0005
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 I||Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II|
| we see the lines are straight, there are no distortions, in any case, visible to the eye. The pictures here, as well as in the previous test, are the same. Score 2 – 2.
Test – Vignetting . Well, everything is clear from the name of the test. Since I flew in the first test, forgetting about the various aperture values, we will correct. 3 pairs of shots were taken with different values: f/1.8; f/3.5; f/5.6; for each lens respectively. Further, the frames were adjusted in LightRoom to one brightness where it was required, no settings were changed anymore.
As we can see again, the results on both lenses are the same. At f/1.8 we see very strong vignetting. Where without this, any lens at the maximum “hole” gives vignetting. This is especially noticeable in technical shots, as in my test, but in reality, when you shoot nature, people or something else, you will not notice it. Well, except perhaps in the sky, for example, or in any other monotonous places in the frame. At f / 3.5 the situation is much better, there are only small dark places in the corners of the frame. I must say that the picture is not worse at f / 2.8, and the aperture is higher. At f/5.6, vignetting is no longer visible. We can consider the “hole” 5.6 optimal for this lens. Testing at f/11 and f/22 gave the same results as f/5.6, so it’s only a good idea to decrease your aperture size if you’re shooting very bright subjects. In practice, I do not use an aperture value higher than f / 8, and then when shooting in bright sunlight in nature. So, the score is 3 – 3.
Test – “Bokeh or Bokeh” . In this test, I would like to show you how lenses can “blur” the background in a photo. To do this, I set up a tripod with a camera opposite the Christmas tree with garlands. It’s already mid-February, and we have a Christmas tree at home 😉 It’s cool. In this test, I switched the lenses to manual focus and turned the focus to the shortest distance to the subject so that the tree was out of focus, due to which we get the maximum blur. Four pairs of shots were taken at different apertures. f/1.8, f/2.8, f/3.5, f/5.6 respectively.
This is more of a creative lens test than a technical one. Therefore, it is worth evaluating the way you like it. What is worth saying is that in non-L lenses from Canon, bokeh is obtained in the form of pentagons, but in L it is round on any hole.
That’s the end of testing . The account is equal. The lenses are essentially identical, so it’s still not clear to me why the second revision of the Canon EF 50mm f / 1.8 was released. Against all odds, the second version came out no better than the first. But it’s much cheaper, probably, Canon decided to take the mass character, and not the cost. Although this is not clear to me, in the 90s, DSLRs were, well, very expensive entertainment. I don’t know how it is abroad, but in Russia for sure. Let it remain on their conscience.
Now let’s draw conclusions from all of the above . So which of these two lenses should you choose? Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 I or Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II? This question cannot be answered unambiguously, there are many reasons that interfere with the choice, for example, the fact that the Canon EF 50mm f / 1.8 I can no longer be bought, it is a rarity in the full sense of the word. So you probably won’t even have that choice. But, nevertheless, my arguments for the first version: it is more convenient, it is stronger, it is more pleasant. There is only one argument for the second version: cheap and cheerful.
Was it worth it for me to overpay as much as 4 times for the first version? I think so, otherwise I wouldn’t have it in my hands now. For me, the most important thing is reliability and ease of use. On the other hand, I could buy a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 for the same money, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to have a rarity, a piece of history.