Cannon’s 50mm f1.8 Lens; A Great Starting Point
Cannon has been known for its cameras and lens for years now. Many assume taking stunning photos costs hundreds of dollars. Cannon’s 50mm lens proves photographers wrong with its sharp image ideal for portraits and outdoor shots for only $125.
The Cannon 50mm f1.8 STM lens retails for $125.99 and uses an EF mounting system. Most of the lens is made out of plastic, except for the mount itself which is metal. The lens uses a Stepping Motor (STM) which works to eliminate the noise of the lens focusing during video recording. I found the lens to be relatively quite, but the motor often vibrated noticeably while focusing. This could be picked up by a microphone during recording and could make the video slightly shaky. The stepper motor did, however, make focusing fast, efficient, and almost seamless. At times the lens did have trouble focusing, but this never became a reoccurring problem. The lens does not have image stabilization (IS) and can be toggled from Auto Focus (AF) to Manual Focus (MF) on the side of the lens, but it should be noted that Manual Focus is always available in AF with the focus ring. The focus ring itself is better than expected on such an inexpensive lens. It is easy to find when taking photos, and is easy to be precise with to lock in on a subject. The lens does lack a distance window to help with focus, but for $125 it is not surprising.
The 50mm lens is considered a “prime” lens, or a lens that does not zoom. A prime lens has several perks over that of a zoom lens. With the aperture wide open at f1.8, achieving a sharp foreground with a soft, or blurred background is easy, also known as Bokeh. This makes the 50mm ideal for portrait shots. The f1.8 aperture also allows for great low light performance, making Bokeh shots with lights easy to capture. With an easily achievable Bokeh effect, the 50mm is an awesome option to take photos of various objects, like products, as the focus will be on the subject with a blurred background to reduce any distractions. A prime lens also forces the photographer to move and be creative when framing their photo. Because of these features the all 50mm lenses have become known as the “Nifty-Fifty”.
Overall, I would highly recommend Cannon’s 50mm f1.8 STM lens to those that are interested in picking one up, especially for new photographers. The lens is easy to use and captures professional looking photos without a lot of work. I would recommend picking up a 49mm UV lens filter to protect the lens itself long term. If you have a little more money to spend, you could purchase a 50mm f1.4 lens. Depending on what brand you are buying (Cannon, Nikon, Simga, Sony, etc.) prices will vary, but features like a distance window and a better build quality will be found. Overall the Nifty-Fifty is a tool that should be in every photographer’s arsenal, and for $125 you cannot go wrong.