|EF||Autofocus lens designed both for Canon full frame and APS-C SLR cameras.|
|II||Second version of the lens.|
|Position in the lineup|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM||May 2015||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II||Dec 1990||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.8||Mar 1987||⊗|
|Canon FDn 50mm F/1.8||Jun 1979||⊗|
|Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 S.C. (II)||Mar 1976||⊗|
|Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 S.C. (I)||Mar 1973||⊗|
|Canon FD 50mm F/1.8||Mar 1971||⊗|
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|Maximum format:||35mm full frame|
|Diagonal angle of view:||46.8° (35mm full frame)
37.6° (Canon APS-H)
30.4° (Canon APS-C)
|Lens construction:||6 elements in 5 groups|
|Closest focusing distance:||45 cm|
|Number of diaphragm blades:||5|
|Type of autofocus motor:||Micromotor (Canon EF)
|Full-Time Manual Focus:||No|
|Maximum diameter x Length:||Ø68 x 51 mm|
|Materials:||Plastic barrel, plastic mount|
|Filter size:||52 mm|
Design and Features
The majority of Canon EOS full-frame DSLR cameras are offered for sale as a kit: a body plus a standard zoom lens (Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM or Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM). While the image quality obtainable from modern zoom lenses is very high, it lags behind the very best prime lenses. Besides, zoom lenses are always slower compared to prime lenses with similar focal lengths. For example, Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM has a constant maximum aperture of F/4, whereas Canon’s 24 mm prime lenses offer maximum aperture of F/2.8 or even F/1.4.
The angle of view of lenses with focal length of 50-55 mm closely approximates that of the human eye. In other words, such lenses capture scenes close to what a person can see without moving his (or her) head. Perspective appears natural and composition is not directly dictated by the angle of view as in case of wide-angle or telephoto lenses. Some people say that 50-55 mm focal lengths are neither wide nor long enough therefore not suited well for, say, landscapes, architecture or portraiture. But for the other people photography is about seeing more than about capturing images. When you use only one focal length, often you can easily visualize the image in your mind even before putting the camera’s viewfinder to your eye. There is something in a good picture shot with 50-55 mm lens that pulls the viewer into the scene, as if he was looking into it with with his own eyes. No lens can communicate feelings like 50-55 mm lens. Not surprisingly, many of the world’s best photos in a variety of photographic genres were made using a standard prime lens. So, if you are the owner of a Canon EOS full-frame DSLR camera and a basic 50 mm lens, your progress as a photographer is only a matter of self discipline and practice. Each lens has its own character which can be revealed in many different ways – this depends on how you see the world.
Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II is currently one of the most affordable prime lenses for Canon EOS DSLR cameras. It is the second version of now discontinued Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 (1987) which had much better build quality but the same optical design. The main task of Canon's designers for version II obviously was the reduction of production costs. A budget lens, however, does not always mean worse image quality compared to expensive professional prime lenses with similar focal lengths. Ways to reduce costs vary from one manufacturer to another and from one lens to another, however a typical budget lens lacks advanced optical technologies (IF, UD, IS, ring-type USM, FTM), has slower maximum aperture and less robust construction, which implies heavy use of plastic in the lens barrel and often a plastic lens mount.
Mechanically the lens is not impressive – despite the positive fact that the lens barrel is compact and extremely lightweight, it is also made of cheap plastic down to the lens mount. Plastic lens mounts are less robust than metallic mounts, so you shouldn’t carry the camera by holding the 50/1.8 II lens, otherwise you will risk to damage the mount.
The “focusing ring” is actually a narrow ribbed strip around the front element. The angle of rotation of the ring is only 45 degrees. Precise focusing is practically impossible due to play of the ring. There’s no distance scale.
The lens features AF/MF focus mode switch.
|AF||Autofocus mode without Full-Time Manual Focus.|
|MF||Manual focus mode.|
The lens uses front filters with standard size of 52 mm which are easy to find. They are also inexpensive.
It should be noted that most lenses of the system have such diameter of the filter thread, that is why if you will purchase additional lens with similar focal length and/or speed, you probably will be able to share filters between them.
The filter thread does not rotate during focusing which allows convenient use of different types of filters (including but not limited to polarizing and gradient).
In order to use optional bayonet lens hood ES-62 you must first screw the dedicated Hood Adapter 62 into the lens and then snap the hood onto the adapter using two side pinch buttons.
The front cap that comes with the lens fits the adapter both with and wthout the lens hood attached. The hood adapter also has a filter thread that has the same size as the lens itself. The lens hood can be mounted in reverse but you will loose access to the focusing ring. You can also use third-party screw-in lens hoods designed to fit a 52 mm filter thread.
The lens is equipped with micromotor, the autofocus is moderately noisy and moderately fast. It works very well in good lighting conditions but becomes less reliable in low light which could be noticeable at large apertures.
The focusing ring rotates during autofocus which looks pretty anachronistic by today's standards. It is strongly recommended not to touch the ring or manually stop its movement because it might result in damage to the lens and/or camera.
The lens is based on almost symmetric variant of double Gauss design which is one of the most developed lens designs in the world frequently used for large aperture standard prime lenses and large aperture moderate wide-angle prime lenses. It provides excellent compensation of aberrations, except for the oblique spherical aberration which lowers peripheral contrast.
Optically the lens is very good and has a large maximum aperture which makes it suitable for available-light photography. The sharpness is very good at the center of the frame wide open and excellent at subsequent apertures. Some reports that it can be soft wide open may be due more to focusing errors. The edges are good wide open, very good at F/2.8-4 and excellent from F/5.6. The depth of field is quite narrow at F/1.8, especially at smaller focusing distances. The background blur is not especially attractive at large apertures and can be described as neutral. With closing of the aperture out-of-focus highlights are rendered as pentagons due to the lens diaphragm construction (five straight blades).
|Camera||Canon EOS 5D mark II||Canon EOS 5D mark III|
|Sensor size||36×24 mm||36×24 mm|
|Distortion||-1.18 %||-1.28 %|
|Vignetting at F/1.8||-3 EV||-2.62 EV|
|User Manual. English, Adobe PDF, 235 KB|
|User Manual. Русский, Adobe PDF, 544 KB|
|Prime lenses for Canon EOS DSLR cameras|
Alternatives (AF, 44..56 mm)
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.2L USM||2007||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 USM||1993||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.8||1987||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM||2015||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1L USM||1987||⊗|
|Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM | A||2014||⊗|
|Sigma 50mm F/1.4 EX DG HSM||2008||⊗|
|Tamron SP AF 45mm F/1.8 Di VC USD F013||2015||⊗|