Looking for simplicity and sharpness? There are 4 Canon 50mm lenses to choose from. This simplified 50mm lens comparison will help you decide if one of them is right for you.
These 50mm lenses 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 (crop factor of 1.6x), like the Canon EOS 70D, 80D, 90D, and Canon t7i, t8i, SL2, SL3 cameras. Okay let's dive in to the comparison of these Canon lenses.
Here is a simple table comparing the four versions of the Canon 50mm lenses. Only the specs that matter most are included; price, weight, advantages, and disadvantages of each lens.
|F/2.5 MACRO||$200 (USED)||9.9 Ounces||Bargain Priced
|Not that fast at F/2.5
Older Discontinued Model
|F/1.8 II||$125||5 Ounces||Super Affordable
Good Maximum Aperture
|Plastic. Limited Durability.|
|F/1.4||$400||10 Ounces||Very Fast
|Not Close Focusing|
|F/1.2||$1400||19 Ounces||Incredibly Fast.
Although these 4 different 50mm lenses all have the same focal length and angle of view, this comparison post will help you decide which is the best lens for you.
This is the most popular and most affordable of this group of Canon lenses. The clear reason that this one 50mm lens outsells the other three combined is because of its super low price tag.
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 f/1.8 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. This is a great lens for beginners on a budget.
With that said, it still has a high customer rating and outsells the other three 50mm 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. This is the version of the Canon 50mm lens that I chose.
The Canon f1.4 version of the 50mm focal length gives you an additional 1/3 stop of low light level shooting over the f/1.8 and more pleasing 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 lets you do a quick auto-focus and then manually adjust (It's called Full-Time Manual Focus) without having to switch the lens to a manual focus setting. The Canon f1.4 investment is about 3 times that of the f/1.8 but is still quite reasonably priced for such a sharp lens. The f/1.4 is the choice I bought and love to use in low light environments.
I categorize the f/1.2L version as one of the Canon specialty lenses. It's for pro photographers with a healthy budget for the best lenses money can buy.
You gain only a fraction of an f-stop over the f/1.4 and you gain a lot of weight and size.
It weighs more than twice as much as the Canon EF f/1.4 lens 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 f2.5 Macro is the shortest macro lens that Canon offers. It's physically quite a bit longer than the other 50mm lenses.
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 100mm 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.
These 50mm lenses are good for general purposes. They're all good for you to use as an introduction into the world of prime lens photography. They can be described as a good walk-around lens.
Why buy one of the Canon 50mm lenses?
No matter where you decide to buy your 50mm Canon lens, Amazon is a great way to get the reviews and opinions from real everyday photographers like you 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:
As an Amazon affiliate Canon Camera Geek receives a small commission from qualifying purchases, at NO added cost to you.
Because of the the common benefits on each of these lenses, I recommend you save your money and get the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. If you're looking for a 50mm lens for a Canon mirrorless camera, the RF 50mm lens is included on the prime lens list.
Have a blast. Shoot your Canon!