After picking up a Canon 70d for my occasional “speed hunting” fix I was lucky to arrive back at the moment with the arrival of the upgraded Canon 50mm 1.8 stm. After previously owning the 50mm 1.8 II back when I was shooting 40d & 7d I knew straight away that this lens was a “no brainer” option, especially seeing now that it has a much nicer finish, metal mount and even better optics for basically the same price as the original plastic “nifty fifty”. The new pinch cap design tops it all off.
The lens build quality is the biggest step, it has a really nice manual focus ring now that you actually want to use. The AF/MF switch could still have a bit nicer feel but its a lot better than the original which feels broken. The lens comes with the latest STM motor which is super smooth, reasonably fast and quiet, perfect for video capabilities on the 70d with no awful clunking like the previous model.
One very important thing to note is the close focusing that you now get with this lens. It now focuses down to 0.35m which allows you to get really close for some nice detail. The old version was limited to 0.45m.
So far the optical experience has been positive for a lens at this price range. I find a great compromise for sharpness while retaining shallow depth of field is to shoot stopped down just a little at f2 or f2.8 which also allows for any slight focus shift of you or the subject as you compose your shot. Vignetting is there until about f4 but easily removed in photoshop with the lens correction. I would say at this stage the biggest downfall is the color fringing and chromatic aberrations on dark objects with strong back lighting. Also something that can be fixed in post production but requires a bit more effort. In saying that even some of the more expensive primes I’ve used can display this effect.
Flare is actually very well controlled shooting towards the sun and the bokeh or out of focus area is pleasing enough, not creamy like some of the best portrait lenses though but enough to get some subject isolation compared to the kit lens.
On the 70d or other “crop” sensor canon cameras this lens is equivalent of 80mm which is a little short of the typical 85mm “portrait lens” but this allows you to use it indoors a little easier.
People always recommend this lens as your first after buying your camera kit. I would still be happy to say that this is the case. This lens offers good bang for buck especially if you like shooting people, flowers, bugs and products. If sports, wildlife or birds are your thing I would suggest either the 55-250 STM zoom or the 70-300 4-5.6 IS which ill review the later in another post!.
Even if you own the original I would not hesitate to go out and replace it with this version. Your money will be well spent.
All photos were only slightly corrected in photoshop, mostly lens correction. Edited to suit with canon or dxo colour presets.