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Canon EOS 50/1.8

by Philip Greenspun, 1995 (updated March 2011)

Nick Gittes and Alex. 1998. This is the lightest cheapest-feeling lens I've ever used on an SLR. It is all plastic, right down to the lens mount. The optical performance of the glass inside is fine, but manual focusing isn't much fun. Auto focusing isn't much fun either, because this lens does not contain a USM motor, but rather an ancient Canon EOS lens motor. Because of this primitive motor, simultaneous manual/auto focus isn't available with this lens.

Eric Jordan, brilliant young computer scientist. 545
Technology Square, 4th floor So why do I own this lens? It only costs about $80. It is incredibly lightweight. It takes vastly better pictures than a mid-range mid-priced zoom. It can take a photo without flash in light that is one quarter as bright as the light required by a consumer zoom (usually these have max apertures of around f/4).

If you intend to use manual focus often, you'd be better off with the 50/1.4 USM, which is a much more modern design and has a wider manual focus ring. It also has the USM so that you can do simultaneous manual/auto focus, the best feature of the Canon EOS system (though Nikon has begun to compete with their S range of lenses).

Note: the Nikon 50/1.8 AF lens is also rather cheesy but it has a somewhat smoother and better-damped manual focus ring.

Where to Buy

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Technical Data

Construction: 6 elements, 5 groups Angle of view: 46 degrees (diagonal), 27 (vertical), 40 (horizontal) Diaphragm Blades: 5 Focus motor: cheap old-style AFD Closest focusing: 0.45 m (1.5 ft) Filter size: 52 mm Lens Hood: ES-62 (screw-in, not outside bayonet) Length and diameter: 41 x 68.2 mm Weight: 130 gm

Text and pictures copyright 1995 Philip Greenspun

Article revised March 2011.

Readers' Comments

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Russ Arcuri , December 24, 1997; 09:25 A.M.

I called B&H about a year ago to order the 50/1.8 mark II (the lens Philip reviewed here). The salesperson said, "Hey -- I've got the mark I lens here for $65 - do you want that instead?" I didn't think the mark I was sold any more, so I assumed this must have been a factory refurb. I didn't bother asking, though, because I would much rather have a refurbished mark I than a brand new mark II.

Why? Because the mark I has a metal lens mount, a real manual focus ring, and a distance scale. The mark II has none of these things. If you can find the mark I version of the lens, it'd probably be worth getting. I've been very happy with mine.

Huang Shao Hui , December 29, 1997; 10:07 P.M.

I've got this lens a few months ago, and it costs only RM200!(I am from Malaysia), and if you know how the currency changed for the last 4 months then you will know that it's only U$ 55!!! Personally I'd say I got no complaint on the lens, because the 'what you paid is what you get' rule is always right. But I think the motor in the lens is the micro-motor and not the better (although consider obsolete) arc form drive mentioned by the reviewer. I'd say that the lens optical quality is top grade, at least for my standard, or enlarge to 11 X 14 inches. It is really sharp after f/2.8. And you can play with the close up fileter (in my case a hoya +4) to get 'cheap' macro option to about 1:2.7. The edge is not good but it's because of the close up filter and not because of the lens. If you stop down to f/8 or f/11, it would be no problem for 11 X 14 enlargements. Beside that I've got tremendous head and shoulder potrait with this lens. Every part of the face that is within the focus plane is pin sharp (you can see the hair piece by piece, the pimples on the face, and the eye brow very very sharp). But it's need to stop down to f/2.5.

Mike D. , January 03, 1998; 10:30 A.M.

I have the 50/1.8 mark I and love it. I shoot prints only, but the quality of this lens over zoom lenses is remarkably apparent in 4x6 and 5x7 prints. The prints I have shot with a Sigma 28-200 zoom have never quite looked like what I thought pictures would look like when I bought my Canon Rebel XS... but the prints I get out of my 50/1.8 look like the prints you see in the sales brochures and magazine ads. Very sharp, very colorful and bright, very clear. The lack of USM doesn't bother me much. I'm so pleased with the lens that I may even try shooting slides. In fact, I'm selling my zooms and replacing them with fixed focal lenses such as 28/2.8 and 85/1.8. If you are looking for an affordable example of how the results of fixed focal length lenses compare to those of consumer grade zooms, buy a 50/1.8.

George Agasandian , March 02, 1998; 02:13 P.M.

The only thing I don't like in this lens is its hood screw-mount. But I had found my very old 52mm hood for Russian "Helios" lens. It easily fits to EF50 f/1.8 as outside bayonet. I believe everyone can find some non-Canon hood which will be suitable for this lens.

Paulo Bizarro , March 23, 1998; 11:17 A.M.

I have just unpacked my new 50 1.8 II, which I ordered from Germany in a part exchange deal, but that's another story. I don't understand George's oint above on the hood. You have to screw an adaptor ring on the lens which stays there for ever, and then the hood clips on it. same as other EF primes, except for the adaptor ring. The lens is plasticky, it has no distance scale (I wonder how often people use it though, I know I will miss it only for flash photos in manual), no metal mount, and no proper focus ring. BUT optical quality is excellent, and that is the decisive factor to keep it or buy it. I was planning to sell this lens, as I also have the 50 1.4, but now I am going to keep it. Mount it on the camera and you hardly notice it's there, it's the perfect travel lens with a lighter body (my EOS 630), much better hand held shots than with slower zooms. And it came with a 2 year warranty, I reckon that in 2 years time the lens will have payed itself a couple of times...

Paulo Bizarro , March 25, 1998; 06:23 A.M.

Just another comment on the lens hood issue. The ES65 is the one for the 50 1.8 I. For the 50 1.8 II the hood is the ES62AD. It comes with an adapter which screws in the lens, and then the hood itself is bayonet type (it can be reversed for storage). Canon recommends to put any filter on the ring adapter, not on the lens itself. personally, I do not use any filter with this lens, as the ring and hood provide enough protection, and the front element itself is within easy reach for cleaning.

Doug Braun , May 18, 1998; 07:09 A.M.

A couple of observations: Since the front element of this lens is pretty deeply recessed, it doesn't really seem to need an extra hood.

Also, this lens seems to auto-focus almost as fast and decisively as my USM lenses (28-105 and 100/2). It's just noiser.

Bobby Downes , May 19, 1998; 03:26 P.M.

This lens is punishingly sharp. It makes the prints from my Canon compact look spongy and almost blurred, even the ones taken on a tripod.

The speed means you can use it indoors hand- holding, or outdoors at ridiculously fast shutter speeds. The focussing will not keep up with moving objects, but static objects will be locked in less than half a second, even if going from macro to infinity.

This lens is a great perspective for environmental portraiture, but I wouldn't recommend it for head-shots or half-body portraits.

Whatever you use it for, you won't get better quality for the price.

Gareth Ingram , July 26, 1998; 12:58 A.M.

I bought this lens (Mk II) mail order and took it on a short trip. It was light and inexpensive with a fast aperture. But lack of distance scale was a real nuisance when I wanted to do some landscape and needed to set hyperfocal or just read off DOF. The AF let me down. It didn't work. I think the AF/MF switch was dodgy. The lens hood attaches via a step ring and isn't very convenient - in fact it was a real pain becuase it attaches via the filter ring. I have a step up ring so that I can use my 58mm polarizer (to suit my 24/2.8) and you can't add the hood when you add a step up ring. In the end the good optical performance wasn't worth the hassle so I got rid of it. This doesn't mean that I don't recommend this lens - just be aware of the tradeoffs when you buy a cheap lens.

Verbeeck Giovanni , November 07, 1998; 12:06 P.M.

I own this lens (the mkII version) for a year by now. It's very sharp and almost as fast focusing as my 28-105 USM and even faster than my 75-300 IS. I really love this lens since it's fast and crispy. Does anyone know any optical changes from the mkI model, which is rated better (metal bajonet, focusing scale, better focus ring)? Thanx

Roger Wong , December 21, 1998; 10:23 P.M.

I don't think the 50mm 1.8 Mk.II is sealed well against dust. Perhaps it's because the lens moves in and out like a piston when you focus.

Inside my 5-month old 50mm 1.8 MkII, there's a 1mm diameter bit of fluff, three 1cm long strands of fiber, and at least a dozen other (but less significant) dust particles.

This leads me to believe the following: 1. My camera bag might not be the most ideal place for "long-time" storage of this lens. 2. The 50mm/1.8 is very cheap. If I'm this bothered by the particles on the glass, I probably ought to replace it.

Wenyao Ho , December 30, 1998; 03:45 A.M.

this is my first upgrade lens to my EOS888 (EOS5000) and I say hey! I'm glad I bought it lens! the standard 38-76 lens that came with the 888 sux real bad, and I am really happy with the large aperture of 1.8 on the 50/1.8. I use it as my primary lens (can't afford the rest) for portraits and landscapes now and I'm very satisfied with the pictures I get. one quirk is that the autofocussing for me is rather slow, although other users say it is fast. I dunno why, but it's a good lens overall.

Skip Wallin , February 20, 1999; 07:58 A.M.

The best thing about this lens, I think, is the freedom allowed by it's low cost and light weight. Being far from rich, I'd be afraid to take the risks with pricier gear (shooting inches from salt water, climbing rocks) that I take with the 50/1.8, when it's coupled to my old EF-M. And I'm always amazed that a lens this cheap could be so sharp!

Also, this rough-and-ready combo is very easy to travel with--not much bigger or heavier than some point-and-shoots.

Piaw Na , March 04, 1999; 01:59 A.M.

I carried both the EF 28/2.8 and the EF 50/1.8 on a 2 week cycling trip in France. I found myself running around with the 50/1.8 mounted on the Elan IIe 90% of the time. For sheer weight control, flexibility, and quality this is the lens to get.

Colin Barschel , April 02, 1999; 02:36 P.M.

I own the mark II for 5 years and it's the only "non L" I have. But every time I use it, I'm amazed about the sharpness and the contrast of this "cheep and all plastic" lens. It is as good as my 70-200L or 20-35L if you use it at f 5.6 or higher. The auto focus is loud but very fast, and it is true that it is difficult to use in manual focus but not impossible.

wayne chiu , April 17, 1999; 07:27 A.M.

First, I want to say 50mm(f1.7,f1.8,orf2.0) is always better on resoltion than 50mm(f1.0,f1.2,orf1.4). Why?? This is because that the more larger aperture lens design should be caused the more difficult to correct the image errors. Nowaday's technalogy has been growing for designing such like EF 50f/1.0L. BUT,image qulity is not as good as 50/2 around this range. When 1976,the best 50mm lens had been produced by every manufacture and that was 50/2 or 50/1.8. But 50/1.4 has always been treated with good multicoated condition that improves better color detail and anti reflection. That is because manufactures want to have the products to be classfied by demanding users and to make more money(50/1.8 does not earn more for cost). And the 50/1.0L is the technology showing, not for a really best image lens showing.The other same products such as NIKON58/1.2 NOCT,Leica-M-50/1.0, Canon FD55/1.2AL and Contax 55/1.2Planar .All these lenses have the same fuction that is for Noct.Also because of the difficult to correct so such large aperture lenses, the more special materiales and glasses should be devoloped. So the COST for these lenses are so high!!!! Noct lenses have always best coating to prevent strait light(freedom from flare),so they always have the characty of being best color differiential ability which is another special good point for them although their optic is not corrected so completetly like 50mm/1.8 or50/2 . Anyway, choose what you want for three types of 50mm lense and they have different taste!!

Chris Grantham , May 12, 1999; 11:24 P.M.

As mentioned above, this lens is VERY decisive with its focusing. Almost as fast as USM. Philip seems to live and die by whether or not a lens has USM (trying to justify his switch from Nikon, mebe? =) ), but I don't see the big deal. Actually, USM rather bothers me. First Canon pulled a Cambridge (as in Cambridge Camera Exchange..) when they started putting "USM" focusing on their midlevel zooms. I'm speaking specifically of the 75-300. I knew what Canon was up to when I bought it though, but I always get this sickening wrenching sound when I hand it to one of my pro buddies who takes a turn on it without realising it's a micro motor not a ring. But that's a different lens.

I like the AFD drive BETTER BECAUSE it's noisier. I judge composition by eye, but sharp focus by ear. If it's still hunting back and forth I can tell with the 50/1.8, but USM is TOO quiet!

Everyone who talks about enlargements forgets that 99% of the consumer film.. hell, 95% of Pro film as well.. will flatline on sharpness before the lens. It's not the lens limiting you to 11x17, it's the film. Don't believe me? Shoot a roll of tech pan developed in technidol.


Leo Der Stepanian , June 20, 1999; 11:46 P.M.

I've been shooting with this lens (mk II) for almost 6 months now, and the the picture quality is pretty good. Today, I barely knocked the front (the lens shade) against a wall--I mean very lightly. but I guess shock was too much for the lens and the whole thing came apart into two pieces (the lens mount and the barrel separated). That sucks, but I guess that's what I get for buying a cheap all-plastic lens. The moral of the story is, you get what you pay for, so be very careful with it.

Maxx Hogan , July 13, 1999; 08:58 P.M.

The 50mm f/1.8 is a great lens. Yes, it's cheap. No, it doesn't have USM. Optically, I find that it is probably one of the best lenses out there (among all the other 50mm lenses). As mentioned before, though, it doesn't seem to be very well sealed against dust, etc. After 2 weeks of using this lens, I noticed that there were particles of dust, etc. in the lens. Anyone have any suggestions about how to get them out?

James Hicks , July 18, 1999; 10:48 A.M.

A recent advertisement from a well-known used photo equipment reseller said it very well. Some of the items for sale have a brief blurb about their quality and performance.

The comment about a used EF85mm 1.8: fast and great focal length f/portrait, general use.

The comment about a new EF50 1.8 II: extremely flimsy $99(!)

Sure makes me feel glad about forking over $50 for a used 50 1.8 mark I. It's been said many times, but it's worth repeating - buy the mark I if you can. You won't be disappointed. I can tell you that it is not extremely flimsy!

Bob Atkins , July 23, 1999; 07:40 P.M.

Having a few frames left on the end of a roll of Sensia 100, I shot some resolution test slides with the EF50/1.8 II (plastic).

I only measured center resolution, but at f1.8 it was 75 lp/mm and didn't change much at f2. At f2.8 it was around 85 lp/mm and by f4 it was over 95 lp/mm. I was very surprised, both at the performance wide open and stopped down. The numbers are higher than I expected to see, especially at f1.8.

Jim Erhardt , December 12, 1999; 06:12 P.M.

I found a mint Mk l version last year as well as a new ES-65 lens hood and I have been very pleased with its performance. What I really like about the Mk l version of this lens is its lack of discernable pincushion/barrel distortion. Straight line remain absolutely straight, even at the edge of the frame. With a 25mm extension tube, I have taken some very satisfying macro shots. While I have often considered the newer and faster f/1.4 version, I find it hard to justify spending nearly $400 when the Mk l version does so well, all for an investment of under $80, including the hood.

As others have said above, if you can find the Mk l version, it's an excellent performer and investment.

James Lipman , January 05, 2000; 02:10 P.M.

I bought the mark 2 about 1 Year ago. It was my most used lens and I use my camera a lot, but not harshly. So when my 50mm broke in two, about 6 months after purchase, I was quite annoyed and returned it to them fo repair. It came back, three weeks later, and normal service resumed...until the lens started to autofocus really forcefully, so forcefully, in fact, that It chipped an internal lens element and snapped in two again. I duely returned it to Canon UK stating what had happened, and my lens was returned to me 3 weeks later - still broken. I got rather annoyed and after hours of trying to speak to them on the phone, returned it and asked for a refund. I've got another two weeks to discover the outcome :)...

Iori Suzuki , February 10, 2000; 11:18 P.M.

Like others who have lamented the accumulation of dust between the elements of this lens, I was bothered enough to actually take it apart and clean it (The low price of the lens did not justify a professional cleaning). It's not complicated but you'll need nimble fingers and not-quite-surgical skills.

First, with the rear element facing you, unscrew the two phillips head screws holding the electrical contacts. With the screws removed, carefully push down on the contacts. With the contacts out of the way, gently lift on the plastic surround until it pops out. Next, turn the focusing ring (in manual mode) until the element is at the rear-most position. Now for the delicate part. Grasping the rear element at the sides, gently but firmly twist counter-clockwise until loosened. It should now come right out. Clean the elements and reverse the procedure and you're done.

The operation has had no discernable effect on my lens performance other than to improve clarity, but a disclaimer nonetheless: Do not try this at home if you are fumble-fingered, mechanically-challenged, or this is the only lens you own and can not afford a replacement.

rav rav , March 15, 2000; 07:22 P.M.

This lens represents great value ! It is one of the best price V performance lenses out there ! Yes i know it is all plastic and feels somewhat tacky, But you can't really knock its optics, It enables you to hand-hold for shooting indoors, Or use very slow/fine film outdoors, And when stopped down to f/4 it has sharpness to rival lenses costing 1000's of pounds/dollars, At this price it should be in every EOS users camera bag (Unless you already own the mk1 or 50mm f1.4 !)

sefrioui reda , May 14, 2000; 08:14 A.M.

I noticed differences in sharpness of the 50/1.8 (mark 2).The comment comes from a pure amateur/beginner and may only concern my lens.I compared different slides and negatives and my c/c is :the lense is plain bad at 1.8, the best results i got where at f2.8 ,f8 & f16&22 . f5.6 was ok but not geat. Pictures of the same subject (statue),with a tripod from f1.8 to 22 showed me that. So if i do a portrait i try to stick at 2.8, a landscape f22, a midle range f8.

For the solidity off the mark2 i will see,i am going to Egypt this summer and the lenses are going to be tossed aroundin a backpak all the time...so i will tell you when i come back(aug 2000)

Little rant though, the switch AF/MF. Grrrrr i tend to do mostly manual focus, it's a pain in the ass because i leave it on AF in case i don't have time to focus...(trying to justify the expense?) :). Maybe i should just switch to canon FD (i would love contax but i can afford only one or two lenses and i find nikon overpriced). hard times for students :)

Armin Schweizer , August 18, 2000; 10:58 A.M.

I had some sleepless nights before buying an EOS-300 and an EF 50/1.8 Mk II: I had an all-metal Yashica 'hardware' before and the all plastic Canon made me nervous. But surprise: These plastic gems are pretty tough! I'm often in the mountains: The equipment is shaked quite a bit and the temperature range is significant. The resulting sharpness, contrast, vignetting and distortion are very good to excellent.

Nick Roberts , December 23, 2000; 11:19 P.M.

Flimsy, yes. But the optics! When I managed to utterly destroy mine (don't ask how!) I bought another - without even thinking of the 1.4. The sharpest lens I've ever owned.

paul r , January 17, 2001; 07:31 P.M.

A great lens, the MK1 that is. I found a dealer who had them in a closet for 75$. I looked at the newer plastic one, no thanks. As mentioned, the focus ring is sad and I expect the AF/MF switch to break real quick. Maybe I'll go back and get another and put that in my closet.

Chris Sullivan , February 09, 2001; 04:24 P.M.

I recently got back in to photography after buying a Rebel G camera at Wal-Mart on a whim. I was so completely unimpressed with the lens the camera came with (a 35-80mm f/4), I went looking for anything that would have been an improvement. I was going to groan and complain about the fact that Canon has apparently "gone cheap" on the optics of their consumer lenses.. but then I found the 50mm f/1.8 lens.

For a street price under $100, there is no better lens as far as the image quality. I'm constantly amazed at the images it produces. As noted, though, Canon spent all the money on the glass: the plastic housing and mount don't leave you with a lot of confidence.

One thing not pointed out in the reviews I've seen is the seeming difficulty the motor has of focusing properly. I've now had two, and both seem to cause the camera's AF system to never quite be able to get the lens in perfect focus. It bangs the focus ring around, tries desperately to fine tune it.. and then apparently gives up. I thought it was just an anomoly associated with the camera, but a good friend who is a "real" photographer said the same thing. In short, the non-USM motor is really sloppy, sloppier than other lenses in the price range (including the cheap zoom the camera came with).

But, at a price under $100, who cares? It produces stunning pictures in low light, and it's cheap enough that you can forget the 1A filter and use it naked. Thanks, Canon, for not forgetting that some photo geeks don't have wads of money.

Ho-Joon Lim , July 31, 2001; 07:04 P.M.

I have started the photography in about a month ago. I have bought Canon Elan 7e (very nice camera!!), 28mm-90mm (default one from the kit.. bad investment.. should have read photo.net before the purchase), and 50mm f/1.8 MkII. I have just finished shooting 5 rolls of Fuji Superia 400 and after the first roll, I have tried to avoid the zoom lens as much as possible. 50mm produced the most beautiful pics!!! (I think it does better job than my father's old rollei 35 SE) It is really cheap lens which every photographer can afford without thinking twice, but I think it is worth more than its price. ^^ I would recommend this to everyone who starts the photography.

Evrim Icoz , August 31, 2001; 06:38 P.M.

The very first pciture I took with this was of my manager. He looked at a print (4x6), and his first words were - Wow, this is sharp.

Autofocus is not that bad, manual focusing is a bit bad though. But for the money, you HAVE to have this lens. Sharp, low light, and very light!!!

Jim Cheesman , December 24, 2001; 10:12 A.M.

A word of warning, though, to those switching from a cheap(ish) zoom lens to one of these. Don't take photos of your wife/husband/S.O. with it! I did, and the pin-sharp resolution really shows up all the flaws in a way that my soft-focus Sigma zoom doesn't.

Alan Cuellar , February 22, 2002; 04:52 A.M.

I am really happy to use the canon 50mm 1.8, I was all the time changing the exposure settings of my slow zooms (4-5.6) to get a decent more clear shots, or using fill in flash. My wife asked me last year! Why the other Photographers at our chrismas party not even use a flash fill in, and they are using very old 35mm SLRs.

My answer was that they are using Old 50mm f1.2 and to get this days a similar optics I need to spend "mucho dinero" for my EOS system.

and the worst part was that at the end of the party she bought a foto from one of those paparazzis, very clear and crisp for $3dlls.

then after checking photo.net reviews and ratings i decided to buy the 50mm 1.8 in one of my business trip to Budapest Hungary.

Prices are lower in Europe than Mexico. specially Film.

David Magradze , April 04, 2002; 04:24 A.M.

January 10, 2002

I’m very glad with this lens. Photos are pin sharp. I can take photos with handholdable shutter speed in low light situations. But Aperture below f/3.5 is not sharp. But above it it’s superb (see photo on my first comment). My advice would be to use wide-open aperture only if necessary. Chasing blurry background might ruin your photo.

Motor is rather noisy, but it’s not a problem for me. If I need silent action I switch to MF. BTW, focusing ring is not such a pain as it was described above. My camera has Depth Of Field preview function, so DOF scale problem is solved. I don’t have plasticophobia, so metal bayonet problem is solves. I’ve never heard that someone had problems caused by plastic mount. Front element is not rotating, so polarizers are working fine. Mounting hood is a bit of problem, but you can solve it. It’s very light. Price: it costs at least four times less than f/1.4, so problem of durability is solved. Good lens for the money! I posted some pictures in my Photo.net portfolio. There you'll find a photo of a goat I took in a Zoo. look at in and you'll see how good this lens works.

April 4, 2002

I love this lens but it's so poorly made. I fell apart after I hit front element (with cap on) against my car door. It should've handled such a light hit. I understand that 80$ lens can't be very strong, but Canon SHOULD have made it better after all it’s Canon. Anyway I'm going to take it to repair and if won't help I'll by a new one, because I love this lens.

hater hates , July 06, 2002; 05:46 P.M.

Guys.....Stop talking about all these mark one and mark two's...if you want a sharp,contrasty and color-correct lens get the 50/2.5 macro.It has the USM,the meter scale,DOF scale and all the stuff you'll want from a normal lens PLUS its a macro down to 1:2 ratio.And it costs lower than the 50/1.4(I think about $300 and about $340 for the 1.4).I have mine and use it for portraits(although its TOO sharp to shoot portraits,so I use an additional DUTO-lens(the ones that softens your lens,macro in this case.The macro is supposed to be extremely sharp,and a portrait lens is supposed to be NOT),macro,lanscapes and a whole bunch of other stuff.That's my Humble Opinion:)And just an addition,there was a guy who said :"Everyone who talks about enlargements forgets that 99% of the consumer film.. hell, 95% of Pro film as well.. will flatline on sharpness before the lens. It's not the lens limiting you to 11x17, it's the film. Don't believe me? Shoot a roll of tech pan developed in technidol.

Testify." And he's damn right!

Tom Farr , April 18, 2003; 10:34 P.M.

I bumped my 50/1.8 with the lens cap on and it fell apart like others have experienced. After a little observation about the way this lens is made, I carefully aligned the two pieces and snapped them back together. The lens now works again. It's cheap, and cheaply made. But it can be repaired in some cases.

Sean Leslie , December 10, 2003; 01:09 P.M.

This is one of those cases of more for your money. Yes its cheaply made, yes its basic (no scale, small manual focusing ring) by the glass is awsome. For a 139.99 CDN lens its worth every penny. I have it along with my 28-105 USM II lens, and I intend to get the 100mm Macro for those portrait shots and Macro. Yes its cheap, but for such a low price why not have it.

Cheers, Sean

Vincent J M , January 21, 2004; 05:13 A.M.

It's cheap and flimsy but it's optically one of the best lenses I own. At one point I'd saved up enough to "upgrade" to a 50/1.4, and finally bought it. However my sample suffered from horrendous barrel distortion and when I was focusing close up, it was too obvious to ignore. I then sold my 50/1.4 at a loss and bought another 50/1.8, and have been happy ever since. Now if Canon made the next version of this lens with a metal mount, more solid construction and a USM, and at $90-100, this would be the killer.

Christopher Russell , August 11, 2004; 03:26 A.M.

I have been using this lens as a primary lens for months now, and i have noticed one thing that really bugs me (aside from the ungodly flare). It can be seen here.

Carsten Dreesbach , October 26, 2004; 04:30 P.M.

I have just bought this lens a week ago for my 10D and shot a fair number of indoor photos with it since then. It seems the pictures I get from this lens are a lot warmer than the ones I've been getting from my one and only other lens so far (just starting out on the equipment park... ;] ), a Tamron 28-200.

Has anybody else noticed this, or is my Tamron just "cool"?

Joshua Szulecki , January 14, 2007; 10:38 P.M.

I've had my 50/1.8 Mk II for about a year now, and I have a few reflections. This is a wonderful lens for the price. It gives more than acceptable image quality in a small and affordable package. It is a wonderful lens for any kit, amateur or professional, but while it usually won't disappoint, it does have some flaws. It is constructed VERY cheaply. Everything but the lens elements is plastic, which makes for a light lens, but might make you uncomfortable. It has a loud, slappy AF motor, and tends to hunt, sometimes even in good light. I've seen some dust collect inside the lens, probably due to the piston action of the lens, but on the plus side, the focus movement does allow use of a CPL or Grad-ND without re-adjustment after focusing. The manual focus ring, while better than the one on my 18-55mm kit lens, is still overly sensitive and too small. But, considering the price, it is a pretty decent lens. If you can afford the 50/1.4 or find the 50/1.8 mk I, do so, but otherwise don't think twice about this lens.

Raghu Rachuri , July 25, 2007; 07:09 P.M.

Can we use this lens with the Rebel XTi ? Thanks.

Iván A. Tamayo , July 31, 2007; 02:12 P.M.

Yes, you can use this lens with the Rebel XTi.

But note, because of the 1.6X crop factor, it will show like a 80 mm lens

david wignall , December 03, 2007; 09:12 P.M.

This lens offers great image quality & speed at a very low price. That's the bottom line. It's very light weight & compact too. What more could you ask for ? On your D40/30 or XTI DSLR this lens is 80mm equivalent & becomes your cheap portrait lens par excellence. I wish Canon offered more primes like this. Don't be put off by snobs telling you it's flimsy/plasticky & not like a Summicron. Who cares ? your pictures will look good.

check out this article about light, cheap lenses. http://www.dantestella.com/technical/lightcheap.html

Brian Young , April 14, 2008; 08:15 P.M.

I have just purchased my first two prime lenses. The first is the 50/1.8 and the second is the 35/2. Both are to use on an EOS Rebel XTi. The 35/2 is a great lens and if it was my only prime I'd be quite happy but I also purchased the 50/1.8.

There is a good reason why they call this the 'Plastic Fantastic'. I love this lens. The plastic mount and cheap(?) build are perfect with this small, light lens. Possibly I don't know any better but I still like it.

It will be on my camera all of the time. I will change lenses when I need to and I will likely look for a new long lens to complete my primes.

I may keep my zooms, maybe, we'll see.

Nielson Assa , July 24, 2008; 11:24 P.M.

I just got this lens (50mm f/1.8 II) this afternoon and got the chance to try it out at dusk with my Canon XSi on my backyard, picture below. Not bad for $84 lens (bought it from adorama). In low light conditions outside, this lens does it job.

Gavin Irving , August 02, 2008; 08:57 A.M.

Bought this 50/1.8 for my 40D this week, (my first prime), got it home to discover a small piece of plastic stuck internally. Took it back to the store and the salesman found 2 other NEW ones with the same problem. Just lost a bunch of respect for Canon QA.

Apart from that I love it. Cheap yes, nasty maybe?

Zogy The K-vm[n] , October 01, 2008; 01:00 P.M.

This lens is absolutly great in my opinion. U get very sharp pictures at f7.1-8. Some pictures are so sharp that even my pc whont show them with smooth edges even on 100% zoom. It's incredible. The depth of field at 1.8. is allso great. I recomend it to all photographers out there. At firs, when i read the rewievs i thought the focus may be a little slow, but i am pleased to let u know that it runs very good and very fast for a stock focus system. I havent had any problems with it since i bought it a couple of months ago. Even if will break someday, i whont think twice and buy another one. At this price it's simply very very affordable.

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Robert Scrivener , November 29, 2008; 12:48 P.M.

Just be careful when you use the lens hood on one of these babies. All the broken 50mm's you see on eBay are the result of an impact to the front of the lens, breaking one or more of the three plastic tabs that hold the front lens focusing group to the focus gear. The front lens will pop off in a heart beat if you're not careful, so I'd think long and hard about attaching a lens hood (a convenient lever for applying more force to the front lens hood in case of impact!) to the already-gimpy front. I am anti-flare and pro-contrast, but refuse to use a lens hood on this lens because of how much likelier it is to break it with a hood on.

Michal Rosa , December 14, 2008; 06:25 A.M.

The perfect budget “telephoto” lens for a 1.6 crop camera. I bought it for my 400D since I was not happy with the kit lenses and fell in love with it – I honestly don’t think it’s possible to buy a better lens for that little money. The build quality sucks, the whole lens just screams about how cheap it was made but it’s not about how it looks, it’s about the pictures it takes and the optical quality of this lens (considering the price) is brilliant. Best bang for buck. Ever. It works as a wonderful portrait lens on the 1.6 crop cameras where it becomes something like an 80mm portrait lens, I took some really great, low-light candid shots with this little beauty. Recently I have discovered a pretty inexpensive way to make into an even more interesting lens – Tamron 1.4 teleconverter. It actually costs more than the lens itself but it’s still the least expensive way to get a 112mm f2.5 lens! Of course it’s a little slower with the teleconverter but the image quality is still great and the lens becomes even more versatile. Get yourself one of those if you already don’t have one.

Lloyd Willson , March 06, 2009; 08:58 A.M.

I agree that this lens has good optics, but it handles in a most flimsy manner. If you do a lot of portrait, landscape, or other non-action work, my suggestion is this: I bought an adapter ring for EOS to M42 screw mount. I then proceeded to shop Ebay for older M42 lenses. I own a Practika Super TL that my Dad gave me when I was 11, and it uses that mount (also known as the "Old Pentax mount" I'm showing my age here, I guess). Obviously you give up all automatic features, but I have learned an awful lot being forced back to working manual, and it sure takes me back to the old days, too! There are a LOT of very fine old screw mount lenses out there to be bought for a song. As an example I bought a Mamiya-Sekor 55mm f2.0 for $ 8.00! It is in perfect condition optically and mechanically, cosmetically banged up, but that doesn't matter to me because it gives Unbelievable sharpness and color rendition. f2.0 isn't as fast as some may like, but for $ 8.00 it's more than good enough for great portrait work. I've bought almost a dozen lenses this way and only 3 of them were unacceptable, but I paid no more than $25.00 for any of them. I'm supremely happy with these lenses. I have a Canon Xti with the 17-55 IS and the 55-200IS and I carry those for "general use" they are barely satisfactory but they were very cheap. You get what you pay for so I have no gripe about them. They are fine for 80% of what I do out of the studio, and they are very light and easy to live with. I've even begun using my Practika again for B&W work!

JDM von Weinberg , June 16, 2009; 03:04 P.M.

Recently, Photozone.de has begun testing Canon lenses on 24x36mm (35mm) sized sensor cameras. It's worth a look, but their retest of this lens on a 5D mkii suggests that it is a little less of a "bargain" on so-called full-frame where some edge softness and vignetting are a problem. There's no question that this is a superb lens for the money on the APS-C (15x22.5mm) cameras, and I will simply say, IMHO, that it is still a dandy. low-light, low-weight lens even on a 5D.

Ooi Michael Avaloke , June 23, 2009; 01:10 P.M.

I agree that this is a good lens, its sharp and light. Do anyone know which countries is your 50/1.8 made in? Mine is from Japan.

Skylar Woodman , November 13, 2009; 04:50 P.M.

I just bought one of the 50 f/1.8 MK1 metal mount lenses- I'm very new to shooting and it was to replace a broken stock lense on my Canon EOS rebel. I found so far that this lens doesn't zoom in or out? Should I look into buying a zoom lens to switch to as well?

Mike Williams , December 05, 2009; 03:48 P.M.

For Skylar Woodman - regrettably, the Canon 50mm f1.8 is a fixed focal length lens, so no, it will not "zoom", which is a term used to describe lenses with more than one focal length. The "standard" zoom lens on my 40D is a 17-85, that is, the focal length ranges from 17mm (wide angle) to 85mm (short telephoto) Incidentally, the term "standard" lens was used on film cameras before zooms were invented, to describe a lens that gave an image in the viewfinder (and on the film) approximately equal to the image size seen by the human eye - in other words, it gave the same perspective. Wide angle lenses obviously allowed more of a scene - a wider angle of view - into the camera, and obviously got that appendage. Telephoto lense are physically shorter than their actual focal length, and if not, are properly called long focus lenses. Hope that helps....

Jane Rickard , March 04, 2010; 08:11 A.M.

I had to buy this lens for a class, two years ago. It was a great class but basically I do not like this lens, it was cheap, feels cheep and I'm surprised Canon would put their name on it.

Yes, after taking the class and struggling with the lens for two years, I can't wait to upgrade!

Sara Lipowitz , April 01, 2010; 12:05 P.M.

I have the mark II and the quality of the optics is remarkable for the price. My biggest issue with this lens is the focus. I have lost great shots because the autofocus locked up and although the image seemed to be in focus it wouldn't let my camera take the picture. When the autofocus does work it is not really reliable for the portrait work that I do. As a result I have learnt to use the painfully tiny manual focus ring, which most professionals would think is ridiculous, but I'm still saving for an upgrade...so I make do. Not really a reliable lens, but fabulous for the price.

Graham Goodenough , September 26, 2010; 08:56 A.M.

I got this lens (MK 1) in 1987 with the purchase of the new EOS 650 SLR and I am now using it on my EOS XS and it still out performs almost any of the new lenses on the market today. Yes the motor is a little noisy compared to the newer lenses and it is a little slower focusing in low light but the quality of the optics is so super sharp that the little set backs are meaningless in comparison. If anyone want's a clear true to life image then this is the lens to go for not the cheaply made MK 2. I ran a side to side comparison of the MK1 and MK2 and believe me when I say the MK2 has the optical quality of a cheap compact and the build quality of an early Yugo and considering my MK1 is 23 years old I don't think that the MK2 will last half that time. As I said I got this lens new but you can pick them up used on eBay at a good price and because they are full frame you can use them on any EOS camera with full functionality. Just remember the 1.6 multiplier on non full frame cameras like the XS, XS i, T1I, T2I and so on giving a focal length of 80mm. Happy photographing.  

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paul langereis , August 19, 2011; 09:46 P.M.

I have had my 50 1.8 mk 1 for some time now, and love it for clean imagery.  This is a sharp lens, and fast enough to blow out backgrounds etc.  It is reliable as well in all aspects.  Sure, the AF is a bit noisy, but pretty minor in my books.  I can see why this focal length could be a standard on anyone's camera.  I think the fixed focal length is a blessing in that it forces you to be a little more aware of perspective.

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