Home Canon Equipment Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens Review
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens Review

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens has been a long time favorite among budget conscious photographers who want a sharp, fast lens, but don't have the deep pockets that is usually required to obtain one. This Canon lens is almost a must buy for any Canon SLR owner, simply because of it's value.

Here are some technical specs on this lens.

  • 50mm - This is a prime lens, meaning you cannon zoom in or out. What you see is what you get.
  • F/1.8 - Fast lens with large aperture, YUMMY! See our article about aperture for more information. I'll give you a summary, f/1.8 is good!!!
  • Weighs 4.6 ounces - Very light weight and small size, 2.7" x 1.6".
  • 52mm filter size - If you plan on using a filter with this lens, rest assure that you'll be able to find an inexpensive one. 52mm filters are relatively inexpensive compared to 77mm.

We mention value with this lens because of it's price and image quality. This lens retails for less than $100 and it is far sharper and faster than any other Canon lens you can buy for double it's price.

Prime lenses tend to be sharper in general than zoom lenses, and this one doesn't disappoint. Super sharp images and decent color quality are the main selling points of the Canon lens. We found it was it's sharpest around f/8.0, but maintained very very good sharpness throughout it's range.

Speed is the next best quality of this lens. With a max aperture of 1.8, it's classified in my book as a very fast lens, capable of very low light photography. The large aperture is also perfect for creating very shallow depth of field, creating nice blurry backgrounds to your images.

The only drawback we found with this lens is the build quality. It's almost completely made of plastic. Canon isn't charging an arm and a leg for this lens, so we can't expect too much in terms of build quality. The build quality doesn't affect the image quality, but we did find that after 3 years of using this lens, that the plastic mount is starting to show some wear and tear on the threads. Not bad considering it's longevity and price.

If you've purchased a Canon SLR kit and you are looking for an additional lens to play with, we recommend purchasing this lens. It's so inexpensive, small and light weight. An almost must have if you're looking for a nice budget lens.


  • Portraits - This is one of the lenses I would reach for if I was asked for a portrait. It's max aperture of f/1.8 can help you take portraits where your subject is in focus and the background is blurry, a very nice effect for portraits.
  • Low light photography - If you remember from our article about aperture, a setting of f/1.8 is a large opening in the lens, allowing tons of light onto the sensor. This is very useful in low light situations.


  • Small rooms - Since this is NOT a zoom lens and it's focal length is 50mm, you won't find this lens very useful in a small room. You can use it, but you may end up with a bunch of close up photos of noses and eyes. Too much zoom for a small room.
  • Travel - Let me make sure I'm clear about this. This lens works great as a travel lens, but I would not make this the ONLY lens I bring. I found with traveling, packing light is the key, thus having a lens that zooms is more helpful than a lens that does not zoom. I would bring this lens with me when I travel, but I'd be sure to pack a handy zoom lens as well.

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