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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Review

July 1, 2015

Overall Rating:

5

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM


Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£129.00

Tags:

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 – 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%

  • Filter diameter: 49mm
  • Lens elements: 6
  • Groups: 5
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 - f/22
  • Minimum focus: 35 cm
  • Length: 39.3mm
  • Diameter: 69.2mm
  • Weight: 160g
  • Mount: Canon EF

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