The 50mm focal-length lens is a true photographic icon and an essential piece of kit for any photographeru2019s kit bag, but there are quite a few to choose from. Richard Sibley and Andrew Sydenham test 12 such optics to assess their particular qualities

Specififications: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

RRP: £129.99Street price: Around £82
Filter diameter: 52mm
Lens elements: 6
Groups: 5
Diaphragm blades: 5
Aperture: f/1.8-22
Minimum focus: 45cm
Length: 41mm
Diameter: 68.2mm
Weight: 130g
Lens mount: Canon EF

Chart analysis

Tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III

From the test charts it is clear that the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is one of the best lenses in this group. The almost flat vignetting chart shows that there is little difference in brightness from the centre to the corners. The curvilinear distortion figures are also extremely low. Resolution detail, on the other hand, is high, particularly when shooting 2 stops down from the maximum even when shooting with the aperture at its largest f/1.8 setting. The fact that the green lines are so close together tells us that there is little difference in edge and corner sharpness when shooting at f/11.

Score: 4 out of 5

  1. 1. 50mm lens test - Introduction
  2. 2. Page 2
  3. 3. Page 3
  4. 4. Specificiations: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
  5. 5. Specififications: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
  6. 6. Specifications: Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
  7. 7. Specifications: Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
  8. 8. Specifications: Pentax SMC DA* 55mm f/1.4 SDM
  9. 9. Specifications: Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
  10. 10. Specificiations: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
  11. 11. Specifications: Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG
  12. 12. Specifications: Sony Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 SSM
  13. 13. Specifications: Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
  14. 14. Specifications: Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4
  15. 15. Specifications: Zeiss Makro-planar T* 50mm f/2
  16. 16. Our verdict
Page 5 of 16 - Show Full List