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

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Review

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Price as reviewed:

£129.00
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Test results

Resolution

Studying our lab results and sample images meticulously revealed signs of softness in the centre at f/1.8. However, stop down to f/2.8 and you’ll quickly notice that the centre immediately starts to sharpen up. The edges of images are perceptibly soft from f/1.8-f/2.8, but by the time you stop the lens down to f/4 and f/5.6 corner sharpness improves. Users who want to find the sweet spot and achieve ultimate sharpness should use the lens between f/8 and f/11. Close the aperture to f/16 and f/22 and diffraction has the affect of softening images.

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM at f/1.8

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM at f/2.8

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM at f/4

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM at f/5.6

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM at f/8

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM at f/11

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM at f/16

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM at f/22

Shading

Shooting wide-open at the maximum aperture (f/1.8) results in strong vignetting at the corners and it’s a similar story at f/2 where you can’t fail to notice the dark corners at the edges of the frame. Stopping the lens down to f/2.8 sees the effect of vignetting reduce significantly, and although still present it’s not as obvious in real-world images. Setting the lens to f/4 and beyond sees the traces of vignetting vanish.

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM shading at f/1.8

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM shading at f/2.8

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM shading at f/4

Curvilinear distortion

As to be expected from a fixed-focal-length standard lens, distortion is well handled. Our distortion chart did show a little barrelling towards the corners, but it’s by no means anything to be concerned about and you’ll struggle to observe it in real-world use.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM distortion

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM distortion. SMIA TV = -1.2%

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

Amateur Photographer Live Prices

About our deals

  1. 1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Introduction
  2. 2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8  STM – Features
  3. 3. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM – Build and handling
  4. 4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Image quality
  5. 5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Test results
  6. 6. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Verdict
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