Canon 50mm Lenses
Comparison of f/1.8 - f1/4 - f/1.2 and f/2.5 Macro Lenses

Looking for simplicity and sharpness? There are 4 Canon 50mm lenses to whet your appetite.  

They give you a "normal" perspective on a full-sized sensor cameras and a medium telephoto equivalent of an 80mm lens on an APS-C camera link the Canon EOS 70D.


The Canon 50 f1.8 II

Canon 50mm f1.8 II lens

This is the most popular and most affordable of this group of Canon lenses.  

First of all, it's the smallest, uses the least amount of glass and the mount is composed of plastic.  

The 50mm f1.8 II lens replaced the original f1.8 lens in 1990.


You have to decide if this is a good direction to go or not. There have been a significant number of buyers who have had this lens literally fall apart after not much use.  

With that said, it still has a high customer rating and outsells the other three lenses combined because it so so affordable. It is a great way to return to shooting with a prime lens at an entry price level.


You do run a slight risk of getting an economy lens that might have durability issues even though the large majority of photographers have a great experience with this lens.  

If you are a more serious photographer, you might consider the Canon 50mm lens with the f1.4 maximum aperture and USM-Ultra Sonic Motor.


The Canon 50mm f1.4

Canon 50mm f1.4 camera lens

The Canon f1.4 version of the 50mm focal length gives you an additional 1/3 stop of low light level shooting and increased bokeh (pleasing out of focus background).  It's moderately priced and of high quality build.

It has superior smooth focusing over the f1.8 and has more aperture blades, 8 instead of 5 for the f1.8.  For Bokeh Geeks, this means even smoother, rounder out of focus highlights.


The Canon 50mm f1.4 USM also let's you do a quick auto-focus and then manually adjust (It's called Full-Time Manual Focuswithout having to switch the lens to a manual focus setting.

The Canon f1.4 investment is about 3 times that of the f1.8 but is still quite reasonably priced for such a sharp lens.


The Canon 50mm f1.2

Canon 50mm f1.2 lens

I categorize the f1.2 version as one of the Canon specialty lenses.  

You gain only a fraction of an f-stop over the f1.4 and you gain a lot of weight and size.  


It weighs more than twice as much as the Canon f1.4 and costs about four times as much.

It is only an appropriate buy for those Canon shooters that require or desire shooting at those very low light levels frequently or need the ultimate in shallow depth of field and bokeh capabilities.


The Canon 50mm Macro f2.8

Canon 50mm f2.5 macro lens

The Canon 50mm f2.5 Macro is the shortest macro lens that Canon offers.

The 50mm Macro doesn't don't get true 1:1 macro without an adapter, but it does get real close.


The magnification is not as good as if you fork out the extra money for a longer macro lens like the 60mm Canon f2.8 or the Canon EF 10mm f2.8.

Most macro photographers prefer to manually focus and an f2.5 lens isn't ultra bright for critical focusing.  It's minimum focusing distance is about 9 inches which is twice as close as the other three Canon 50mm lenses discussed in this article.


It's also of course the most affordable Canon macro lens you can own.  The biggest advantage of using  a lens like the macro f2.5 is that you have a good general purpose 50mm lens that doubles as an adequate "almost macro" lens still quite capable of shooting some great close-up photos.


Benefits of Using a Canon 50mm lens

Why buy one of the Canon 50mm lenses?  The 50mm focal length gives you a very similar perspective to the one you get naturally with the naked eye. Prime (non-zooming) lenses get you out of the lazy photographer mode of standing in one spot to compose your photo.


A 50 mm lens forces you to move around and get creative with perspective and angles.  Amazon is a great way to get the reviews and opinions from real everyday people who have purchased these lenses and given their opinions too.

You can get detailed opinions of hundreds of photographers on these lenses by visiting any one of the links below:




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Written by Bruce Lovelace



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