My favourite lens: A quick review of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II


Well, it is official, my favourite lens is also the cheapest that Canon have ever made. It is the all plastic (well, except for the contacts) and a couple of multi coated glass lenses  EF 50mm f/1.8 II. Also known as the “nifty fifty” and “plastic fantastic”.

Optically, it is excellent. Almost every review I have read waxes lyrical about the spectacular colours and detail that this lens can capture.

It is also Canon’s lighted lens, being all plastic. And herein lies the first bad point. The lens mount is easily cracked or broken if misused. And by misused, I mean do not pick up the camera by the lens. No ifs or buts.

The second on a very short list of bad points is the lack of full time manual focus. Then again, it is so small it barely has a focus ring at all. Luckily, the AF is so fast and accurate, your rarely need to manually adjust.

It has a 52mm filter thread that does not rotate (so those wanting to use polarising filters will be smiling).

Being an EF lens, it will fit happily onto an APS-C or full frame camera. Then only issue I see putting this onto the likes of a 5D mk3 is that it looks ridiculously small on my 500D, on a large frame camera, you would battle to see it.

Having only had an EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS to play with before, the 50mm’s abilities at f/1.8 were truly spectacular for me.

IMG_5175 IMG_5166


Incredible bang for the buck. I paid ZAR700.00 for this lens at a Canon show. Regular prices run around ZAR1100-1300.00 (U$120).

Fantastic optics for the price. According to some reviews, superior to far more expensive lenses.

Fast and accurate AF


Plastic mount means lens will not take much of a beating if misused often. Light weight construction.

No full time manual focus. You must a switch to go manual focus.

On an APS-C, the focal length is 80mm which can be just a bit long at times.


Quite simply put, if you were to open my camera bag right now, chances are, the lens in use would be the “nifty fifty”.

Is there a better lens at twice the price?


4 thoughts on “My favourite lens: A quick review of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II”

  1. I just think it should come standard with all kits on all cameras. The 2nd lens I got for my Sony NEX was a fifty f/1.8 and I can’t remember how long I’ve had my Canon 50. Fast 50’s – this one on the Canon range – just make sense and makes you look good too 😉

    1. I see that quite a few retailers are now boxing the 50mm f/1.8 with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm or 75-300mm combo’s in “triple lens kits”. The right way to go if you ask me.

      I never dreamt I would be such a “prime” fan until I used your 50mm f/1.4. I was sold that day.

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