Canon EOS 50/1.8

by Philip Greenspun; created 1995

Site Home : Photography : Canon EOS 50/1.8

This lens has been replaced by the Canon EF 50/1.8 STM, which has similar optics and construction, but a much better autofocus motor

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 costs only 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.

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