It’s been a long time coming, but 25 years after the EF 50mm f/1.8 II was launched Canon has replaced its ‘nifty fifty’ with the new EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. Michael Topham finds out if it represents a bargain at just £129
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM – Build and handling
In keeping with its predecessors, the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is a small and lightweight lens, weighing 30g more than the EF 50mm f/1.8 II. Whereas the EF 50mm f/1.8 II has a highly plasticky feel in the hand – something that earned it the nickname ‘plastic fantastic’ – the build quality of the newer lens is far superior.
Although still predominantly made of plastic, the replacement of a plastic lens mount at the rear for a metal one has enhanced its durability, while the plastic that’s used in the construction of the barrel has a much more pleasing matt finish. When you pick up the lens and couple it to a DSLR, you immediately get the sense that it has been made to withstand more serious use, and the finer attention to detail, such as the embossed Canon logo on the top of the lens, is an improvement on what was printed on the barrel before.
On close inspection you’ll notice there is no focus-distance indicator as on the EF 50mm f/1.8, and the manual-focus ring sits fractionally further back compared to the EF 50mm f/1.8 II. There’s a single switch on the barrel to change between autofocus and manual focus, and with your left hand supporting the lens you need to stretch your thumb around the barrel to reach it. The switch itself is almost flush to the body and a better protrusion would inevitably improve operation in winter months when many users might resort to wearing gloves.
The lens is supplied with the newer centre-pinch style of lens cap, but if you’d like the ES-68 lens hood to minimise flare by deflecting stray light from entering the lens while offering some additional protection from accidental impacts, you’re required to spend an extra £20. This brings the total cost to just shy of £150 – £10 more than the Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8 G, which includes a hood for the price.