Natural perspective and fast aperture

5stars

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens | DSLR Camera Pro

, ,

The natural perspective and fast aperture make the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 STM ideal for low light, travel and street photography with a full frame camera (6D).

00000

Review for Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

HIGHLIGHTS: excellent image quality, compact form factor and affordable pricing, but with few concessions in build and AF performance.

CONSTRUCTION: Slightly smaller and heavier than the prior model, Canon EF 50 mm 1.8 II, aka nifty-fifty, but with significantly better build quality. Improvements include metal mount, sturdier barrel and AF/MF switch, larger focus ring, grippy matte finish and stepping motor (STM). Unfortunately, it has an odd filter size, 49mm, rather than 52 or 58mm common to small Canon lenses.

OPTICAL QUALITY: It’s the same optical formula as the nifty-fifty, but with tweaks to lens coatings and improved close focus ability. Wide open it’s tack sharp center frame, sharper than my nifty-fifty. Corners on full frame, e.g., 6D, are darker and softer than center but equalize by F2.8. On APS-C cameras, e.g., 70D and Rebel, there is little corner darkening or softness since nearly half the image circle is cropped out. Optimal sharpness is at F5.6. Chromatic aberration (CA) is mild and reduced over the nifty-fifty. In short, image quality is excellent open wide, even better stopped down and one ups the nifty-fifty in both sharpness and control of CA.

BOKEH: I love the soft whirl of a defocused background, and this seven-blade diaphragm does not disappoint, rendering smooth bokeh and pleasantly round specular highlights. The smooth bokeh combined with pin sharp center frame really make subjects pop at larger apertures. This a great portrait lens!

AUTO FOCUS speed and reliability is markedly better than the nifty-fifty. It’s accurate and rarely misses focus even in low light. Focus is achieved by front element extension (nested barrel. The STM motor is quieter than the prior model, albeit not completely silent.

VIDEO FOCUS on a 70D is not as fast as STM zooms but buttery smooth and great for touchscreen pulls and Movie Servo. Focus noise, while low volume, was recorded by my 70D’s built-in mic during quiet video clips. The workaround is to use an external mic or prefocus.

MANUAL FOCUS is focus-by-wire: the ring merely activates the focus motor and is not mechanically coupled to the lens. Manual focus is smooth, but control isn’t as good as a mechanical ring. The MF ring is thin but wider than the nifty-fifty’s ring and better positioned. Like USM lenses, it has Full-Time Manual (FTM), allowing AF override without flipping a switch: simply turn the MF ring. Unlike USM lenses, FTM is only active when the shutter button is half-depressed.

HOOD: The groove on the barrel is for the Canon ES-68, locking bayonet hood. It attaches to the outer barrel, protecting the protruding inner barrel from frontal impact and flare. It’s pricy but a worthwhile investment. Update (8/16/2015): The JJC LH-68, a clone of the ES-68, is now available at less than half the cost of OEM.

FINAL BLURB: The natural perspective and fast aperture make the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 STM ideal for low light, travel and street photography with a full frame camera (6D). On a cropper, e.g., Rebel or 70D, it’s a short telephoto and perfect for portraits, indoor sports and stage. Canon got everything right with this redesign: accurate and snappy AF, sturdy build and, most significantly, vivid and sharp images wide open.

Review similar to Canon EF 50mm: Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body | DSLR Camera Pro


Conclusion Rating
The natural perspective and fast aperture make the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 STM ideal for low light, travel and street photography with a full frame camera (6D).
5 stars

Tags : , , , , , , , ,