Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (Full Format) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2009

Special thanks to Markus Stamm for providing this lens!


The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is the most affordable lens in the Canon EF line-up. Its optical design has not been changed since the dawn of the EOS system but Canon simplified the construction from the mk I lens in the early 90s. Classic "fifties" are popular when it comes e.g. to low-light, shallow depth-of-field and street photography.

At just 130g it is an ultra light-weight lens and with a size of 68x41mm it's also extremely compact. The build quality is sufficient to use a positive phrase. The lens barrel is made of plastic down to the mount. All-in-all you feel the price tag here. The lens uses a linear extension system for focusing (similar to extension tubes) so the physical length of the lens changes slightly according to the focus distance. There's little wobbling of the inner tube and unless you abuse it there're no reasons to believe that it'll not last. The front element does not rotate during focusing.

The lens features a conventional micro motor without full-time manual (FTM) focusing. The AF speed is pretty fast - finally there aren't really many elements to move around here. Manual focusing isn't overly convenient because the tiny focus ring is positioned at the very front of the outer lens barrel.

Optical construction6 elements in 5 groups
Number of aperture blades5 (non-circular)
min. focus distance0.45 m (max. magnification ratio ~1:6,6)
Dimensions68 x 41 mm
Weight130 g
Filter size52 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodoptional, barrel-shaped, snap-on type
Other features-

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