Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM Gordon Laing, June 2015
 
 

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM review-in-progress

Canon's EF 50mm f1.8 STM is a low-priced standard prime lens for the EOS range of DSLRs. Announced in May 2015, it's the long-awaited replacement for the EF 50mm f1.8 II, the most successful lens in the EF catalogue, yet one that's actually 24 years old.

The earlier EF 50mm f1.8 II is enormously successful for a number of key reasons. Firstly, flexibility. If you have a full-frame body, it delivers standard coverage for general-purpose use, and if you mount it on a cropped-frame body, it's transformed into an 80mm that's perfect for portraits. Secondly, depth of field. With an f1.8 focal ratio, it's easy to blur the backgrounds whether you're shooting people, products or details. Third, and arguably most importantly, price. Typically costing less than 100 dollars or pounds, not only is it the cheapest prime lens in the EF catalogue, but one of the cheapest lenses period. No wonder it's become the first choice for DSLR owners buying their second lens to explore fixed focal lengths and shallow depths of fields.

The new EF 50mm f1.8 STM keeps the same focal length and aperture, not to mention a six element in five group construction. But instead of five diaphragm blades, there's now seven, promising smoother out-of-focus effects, and a closer focusing distance of 35cm compared to 45cm. The plastic lens mount of its predecessor has been replaced with a metal one, it's fractionally heavier by 30 grams and employs a slightly narrower filter thread of 49mm. The older micro motor AF system has also been swapped for a smoother STM focusing system, albeit the gear-type which isn't as quiet as the lead type used on the STM zooms. The thrifty-fifty finally has a sequel and I've started testing it!

 
Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM review
 


I've started testing a final production sample of the EF 50mm f1.8 STM lens and will report back soon with my findings, but for now wanted to start a gallery of sample images for your perusal. Just before those though, I wanted to note the Ef 50mm f1.8 STM employs one of Canon's gear-type motors which may be smooth, but nowehere near as quick or quiet as the lead-type employed by the STM zoom lenses. The reason the new 50mm, not to mention the other STM primes, use the slower and louder gear-type is because of their compact size; sadly the quieter and quicker lead-type are much larger.

 
Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM review
 


 

1/640, f1.8, 800 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop
Click image to access original at Flickr



1/60, f1.8, 400 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop
Click image to access original at Flickr



1/2500, f4, 100 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop
Click image to access original at Flickr



1/100, f4, 800 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop
Click image to access original at Flickr



1/500, f1.8, 800 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop
Click image to access original at Flickr



1/250, f1.8, 100 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop
Click image to access original at Flickr



1/250, f8, 100 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop at f8
Click image to access original at Flickr. Also available at f1.8, f2, f2.8, f4 and f5.6



1/80, f1.8, 400 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop
Click image to access original at Flickr



1/800, f1.8, 100 ISO, 50mm on APSC (80mm equivalent)

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM sample image on APSC / crop
Click image to access original at Flickr



Check back soon for many more updates!
 
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