How Much Better is Canon’s New 50mm f/1.8 STM?

by Hugh BrownstoneLeave a Comment

Canon’s earlier nifty fifty (better known as “plastic fantastic” to some of us) offered tremendous bang for the buck, but had become long in the tooth. The latest update headlines with STM and a metal mount. Is it worth it?

We’ll spare you the suspense: yes, the STM is a better lens, especially for videographers – and as it is essentially the same price (cheap), so yes, it’s worth it.

But is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM [B&H | Amazon] a dramatically better lens than its 25 year-old forebear?


But this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it remains a value champion.

The review by Carsten Schlipf in PetaPixel is a well-balanced, informative piece, and especially interesting when it comes to his take on STM loudness and manual focus.

If only our general news media in the U.S. were just as balanced and informative.


Battle of the Nifty Fifties: Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 Lenses

Canon’s 50mm f1.8 Lenses

Via Petapixel:

So here is my comparison of the old Nifty Fifty versus the new one: is it worth the higher price? Should you buy it if you already have the old version? Should you buy the STM version, or is the old version still a good choice?

It’s said that both lenses contain the same optical formula with the same number of optical elements. However the test results show much more differences than expected.

First Impressions of the STM

First Impressions of the STM

The very first impression you get when you hold the new STM lens in your hand for the first time is its less plasticky feel. In fact, it feels more like the polycarbonate top plating of my Canon EOS 6D. It’s great.



The new STM has a metal mount (Yes!). One thing people often criticize the old EF 50mm II about is its plastic mount. Fear no more: The new STM version offers a robust metal mount.

Lens Hood


You can argue how useful a lens hood is in combination with the Nifty Fifties, as the front glass element is already deeper inside the lens body, but it offers an additional level of protection. This is very welcomed especially for external focusing lenses for which the front element extends when focusing on close objects. And to be honest: in my opinion lens hoods just look good.

The old EF 50mm II was never designed to work with a lens hood. There are a few third-party offerings, however you have to screw these hoods into the filter thread.

For the new STM version, Canon began offering the new ES-68 lens hood. Of course Canon users know the notorious Canon problem: only L-lenses come with lens hoods included. Therefore you have to order the lens hood separately and as usual they come with a hefty price tag.

I’m sure that there will be much cheaper third-party offerings soon. But well, I wanted it. Now. And it looks so much nicer with a lens hood in my opinion. I cannot name any other rational justification for ordering this piece of plastic for more than $30 right now when there will be options for around $10 available soon.

Read full article at Petapixel “Battle of the Nifty Fifties: Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 Lenses”

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from Petapixel)

Leave a Comment