Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM


Best for

Best 50mm for Enthusiasts

Grade (Out of ten)

Image Quality : 8
Performance : 7
Design : 8
Versatility : 8
Price : 10
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Hobbyist photographers looking to pick up their first addition to their kit lens should take a good look at the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. The lens offers a nice wide aperture for creating background blur, using faster shutter speeds or shooting in low light--and all for a very minimal investment of about $125. Despite the low price tag, the lens scored a respectable 35 in the DxOMark tests, with solid sharpness and minimal distortion, all elements that are a bit harder to fix in post. The prime offers a big boost in quality from the Canon kit lens. The 50mm standard will also crop to about an 80mm lens on the entry-level APS-C cameras, which is a good length for portraits and other general photography. The first version of this lens was nearly 20 years old before getting an update--the biggest difference is the new STM stepping motor for a smoother autofocus (which you'll notice the most when shooting video).

The lens scores surprisingly high on image quality tests for the price point. But, the one category where it falls short is vignetting, with a very noticeable -3 EV shadow on the edges at the widest aperture. Keep in mind that vignetting is one of the easiest lens corrections to make in post--sharpness and distortion are much harder to correct. As just a prime lens, the versatility is limited some without any zoom. The lens also doesn't include stabilization, but that's not as necessary at the standard focal length. While the lens doesn't quite have the image quality for professional photographers, hobbyists will see a big jump in image quality over their kit for a very minimal investment.


  • Affordable
  • Fast f/1.8 maximum aperture
  • Smoother autofocus than previous version


  • Some vignetting
  • No zoom
  • No image stabilization
  • Lens Specs:

    • Format : Canon EF
    • Focal Length : 50mm
    • Image Stabilization : No
    • Maximum Aperture : f/1.8
    • Autofocus : Yes
    • Minimum Focus Distance : 1.15 ft. (.35m)
    • Lens Elements : 6
    • Lens Groups : 5
    • Diaphragm Blades : 7
    • Coatings : Yes
    • Filter Size : 49mm
    • Dimensions : 2.7 x 1.6 in. (69.2 x 39.3mm)
    • Weight : 5.7 oz. (160g)
    • Other : STM stepping motor

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