Camera Accessories

Review Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens In 2023


This lens is an update to the popular and inexpensive basic 50mm f/1.8 EF lens, replacing the traditional focusing motor with Canon’s new stepping motor technology, which promises smoother, quieter autofocus performance that is well suited to video recording. Although this lens is more expensive than its predecessor, it is still reasonably priced at roughly £120. In this review, we will examine its performance.
In contrast to the previous version of this lens, the barrel and bayonet are constructed of high-quality plastic and metal, respectively. Despite its superior construction, this optical instrument weighs only 160g. The lens is well-balanced with the testing Canon EOS 5D MkIII camera.

Autofocus is nearly silent, albeit it can be a little slower than many other Canon lenses. In contrast to many of Canon’s USM lenses, manual focus override is not available and manual focusing is performed by the focusing motor. In single focus mode, manual changes can be made after the lens has locked onto a target. The manual focusing ring is sufficiently damped to prevent it from easily turning, making fine adjustments a delight. A tiny lever on the lens’ side enables rapid switching between manual and autofocus.
At closest focus, the lens extends by approximately one centimeter because focusing is accomplished externally. The non-rotating 49mm filter thread makes this lens suitable for use with polarizing and graded filters.

1. Performance

At maximum aperture, the sharpness in the center of the frame is already very high, while the clarity at the frame’s edges is just below good. Stopping down enhances sharpness across the frame, with f/8 being the optimal aperture. There is remarkable clarity throughout the frame. At all aperture settings, chromatic aberrations are well-controlled, remaining well below one pixel wide. This low level of fringing should be difficult to see, even with extreme cropping towards the frame’s boundaries.
Chromatic aberration is the inability of the lens to focus on the sensor or film all visible light colors at the same place. Extreme chromatic aberration produces a fringing or halo effect around the image’s sharp edges. It is curable by software.

Apochromatic lenses include specialized lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion, etc.) to reduce the problem, hence they are typically more expensive.

At maximum aperture, the falloff of illumination towards the frame’s edges is fairly pronounced, with the corners of the frame being 2.6 stops darker than the center. When the aperture is stopped down to f5.6 or beyond, visually homogenous light is attained.

Imatest detected 1.89 percent barrel distortion for a 50mm lens, which is a significant amount of distortion. If straight lines are of utmost importance, you will be pleased to know that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, making repairs simple to implement.

During testing, there were no difficulties with flare, and only a tiny loss of contrast was observed while shooting directly into the light at wide apertures. Nevertheless, a lens hood is not included, so if you need one for peace of mind, an ES-68 lens hood can cost up to £20.

2. Focusing

Given its compact size, it is not surprising that the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens features a relatively thin focusing ring. The manual focusing is of the electronically-driven, “focus-by-wire” variety, which is more common in compact system cameras. There are no firm stops at either end of the range, making it more challenging to set infinity focus. Polarizer users can rejoice that the 49mm filter thread does not rotate during focus.
It took around 0.3 seconds for the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM zoom lens to lock onto the subject when mounted on a Canon EOS 5Ds during our testing.

Nonetheless, we did not encounter excessive “hunting” under either good or poor lighting conditions, as the lens focused almost always precisely. Due to the built-in STM (Stepping Motor), this lens is also silent, which makes it ideal for video recording.

3. Macro

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is not a macro lens, but the close-focus point is a handy 35cm from the film/sensor plane, and Canon claims the lens has a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.21x. This example highlights how near you can go to the subject, a CompactFlash card in this case.

All View

The new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM prime lens has a fixed focal length of 50mm, a bright f/1.8 aperture, Super Spectra coatings that minimize ghosting and flare, a circular seven-blade aperture, Canon’s proprietary STM stepping motor for smooth and quiet continuous AF while recording video, a new focus ring placement, a metal mount, and a close minimum focusing distance of only 0.35m. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is now available for £129.99/€189.99/$125.99 in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, respectively.
Nonetheless, Canon has modified the lens body dramatically. It has a metal mount and a decent rubberized focus ring, unlike its predecessor. The barrel of the lens is composed of plastic and has a lovely matte finish. The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens continues to employ a linear focus extension technology, so that the inner lens tube extends toward closer focusing distances. A barrel-shaped lens hood remains an optional accessory.

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