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New Canon 50mm f1.8 STM

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Sean MacDonald

Canon 50mm f1.8 STM is now in stock! Click here! The "nifty fifty" as many people have called it over the years has been one of the most popular lenses ever made. For many people, this was the very first lens they bought that didn't come with their camera from the factory. Anyone looking for a great portrait lens on a low budget at least took a look at the older version 50mm f1.8 II and many people ended up buying it. So how do you improve on a great classic? Well the Canon 50 f1.8 II was not without its flaws, Let me highlight some of them and then we will look at the updates Canon has made in the new version.

The first flaw was the cheap build quality. The lens body was made from a very cheap plastic, and felt like a toy. If dropped, it was very easily broken (I have at least 3 broken ones in my store at the moment). Not nice, but many people are willing to look past this as long as the lens functions well and if it was cheap to replace.

The second, and more serious flaw was the focus motor. It was noisy, slow, and just not accurate many times. I have had consistent problems with accurately auto focusing the Canon 50mm f1.8 II on at least 4 different camera bodies and multiple copies. It would seem to focus great from 20' and closer, but farther than 20' I could never depend on it.

The third flaw that bothered me more than most other non-photo nerd people, was the fact that it only had five aperture blades. This means that all of the great bokeh (out of focus highlights) would be in shapes of little pentagons if the lens was not shot wide open (f1.8). I prefer as close to round out of focus highlights as I can get. Once again, this was not a deal breaker, but annoying.

The last flaw, being the manual focus ring. It was almost non-existant at only 1/8" wide and made of plastic. It was very difficult to manual focus this lens and many people just gave up. It is do-able, but not enjoyable.

 

When the new Canon 50mm f1.8 STM was announced, I was excited to see if they had addressed the long standing issues many people had with the lens. And it looks like they have. The build quality is much better and feels like a quality product in your hand. It is very similar to many of Canons other STM lenses in that aspect, such as the 40mm STM and 24mm STM.

The focus ring is larger (still not very large) and is much more usable. The new lens also features eight curved aperture blades! Meaning, those out of focus highlights will look much more like circles and not like little pentagons.

The best part however is the new focus motor. It features the new STM motor, which is quick, quiet and accurate. Overall, I am super excited for this new and improved version of the Canon 50mm lens. I think it was way overdue for an update, and will continue to be a popular seller for many years to come.

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