Best 50mm Lens for Canon: Full Frame (EF) & Crop (EF-S) Selections

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Are you looking for the best 50mm lens for Canon? Your search ends right here.

Best 50mm Lens for Canon: Full Frame (EF) & Crop (EF-S) Selections

The Nifty Fifty lens is probably one of the most sold lenses ever by Canon. And for good reason too. The 50mm captures the standard focal length perspective – the same viewpoint as what the human eye perceives. But beyond that, the best nifty fifty lens for Canon is a very versatile tool.

It is not surprising that for the majority of the beginners, the 50mm lens is the logical upgrade to a kit lens.

Let’s find out more about this lens and the options that we have.

Quick Summary: Best 50mm Lens for Canon

Why Every Photographer Needs 50mm Prime Lens

  1. The 50mm has a field of view that is widely considered as the same as the human eye. This is important as the 50mm prime, therefore, captures images from the perspective of the human eye.
  2. The 50mm prime does seem like a restrictive focal length. But in reality, it is a very versatile lens capable of handling a wide variety of shooting requirements including street photography, interiors, group shots, architecture, landscapes to name a few.
  3. The best thing about the 50mm is that it is a compact lens. It is also one of the lighter lenses in the business. Therefore it makes sense to have the nifty fifty in your bag at all times.
  4. The fast aperture of the 50mm prime is yet another advantage. Even the inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 is very quick. Making it possible to shoot great exposures in every kind of lighting.
  5. To top it all the 50mm prime is inexpensive. You can get a great f/1.8 lens for less than US$150 which makes it perfect for an amateur or someone who is on a budget.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
BEST BUDGET 50mm LENS

Filter Diameter: 49mm, Mount: Canon EF, Weight: 160g/5.6oz

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
BEST VALUE 50mm LENS

Filter Diameter: 58mm, Mount: Canon EF, Weight: 290g/10oz

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART
BEST ALL AROUND 50mm LENS

Filter Diameter: 77mm, Mount: Canon EF, Weight: 815g/1.8lb

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2
BEST F/1.2 50mm EF LENS

Filter Diameter: 72mm, Mount: Canon EF, Weight: 580g/1.3lb

Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro
BEST EF-S 35mm PRIME LENS

Filter Diameter: 49mm, Mount: Canon EF-S, Weight: 190g/6.8oz

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8
BEST EF-S ZOOM LENS

Filter Diameter: 72mm, Mount: Canon EF, Weight: 800g/1.77lb

Understanding EF and EF-S Lens Mounts

EF lenses are designed for cameras with the full frame sensor which has the same size as the 35mm film (36mm x 24mm). If you use full frame camera models such as Canon 6D Mark II or Canon 5D Mark IV you absolutely need EF mount lenses.

EF-S lenses designed for cameras with a crop sensor (APS-C) which is 1.6 times smaller than full frame sensor (24mm x 16mm). And if you have any of Canon Rebel models you will need lenses with EF-S mount.

Crop Factor Explained

As I mentioned before, full-frame cameras have a sensor size of 36mm x 24mm. That is the same as the 35mm film. Crop sensor cameras, also known as APS-C cameras, have smaller sensor sizes (24mm x 16mm). What it means is if you are using the EF lens designed for full frame cameras on crop sensor camera (APS-C), it uses only the center part of the lens. How much of the image will be used depends on the crop factor of the mount.

Crop factor indicates the ratio of the sensor of a camera compared to that of a full-frame camera sensor.

Canon’s crop sensor APS-C cameras have a crop factor of 1.6x. The result of that is when you mount a lens on a Canon APS-C camera the focal length gets multiplied by a factor of 1.6x.

For example, when you attach a 50mm lens to a crop sensor APS-C camera, the effective focal length becomes 80mm (50 x 1.6).

80mm is a focal length of short telephoto lens. Therefore if you are going to use a 50mm lens on an APS-C camera you will find it difficult to capture the sort of images that you originally envisioned.

Important. In order to capture a field of view of a 50mm lens when using crop sensor cameras, you actually need a 35mm lens. Because, when we apply the crop factor (1.6) a 35mm lens becomes a 52mm lens.

Best 50mm Canon Lenses (EF & EF-S)

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Aperture Range: f/1.8 – f/22
Minimum Focus Distance: 14″ / 35cm
Filter Size: 49mm
Size: 69 x 39mm (2.7 x 1.54″)
Weight: 160 g (5.6oz)
Price: Check the latest price here

Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.8 is a brilliant piece of optic designed to be a workhorse for entry-level and amateur photographers alike. It is cheap and very versatile. Anybody using a full-frame DSLR will be able to take full advantage of the lens. Currently, Canon sells only one f/1.8 lens. This also happens to be the cheapest of all the 50mm primes that Canon currently makes.

The lens consists of 6 elements arranged in 5 groups. Bokeh quality is decent. One thing to note is that this prime lens does not come with image stabilization. But that said as long as you are shooting at a Shutter Speed in excess of 1/50 you would be fine.

See the Canon 50mm f/1.8


Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed

2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

Aperture Range: f/1.4 – f/22
Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5’/45 cm
Filter Size: 58mm
Size: 74 x 50mm (2.9 x 2″)
Weight: 290g (10oz)
Price: Check the latest price here

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 is faster than the f/1.8 lens, discussed above, by 1/3rd of a stop. That means when shooting in broad daylight you will get a faster Shutter Speed. But the real advantage of shooting with the 50mm f/1.4 prime is when you are shooting in low light. The 1/3rd stop gives you that extra bit of breathing space to tackle low light exposures.

With a wider aperture, you can also capture some wonderful Bokeh effect. Bokeh denotes the quality of the out of focus effect of the lens. It is generally believed that the more the number of aperture blades forming a lens’ aperture diaphragm the better is the quality of the Bokeh. The EF 50mm f/1.4 comes with eight aperture blades and the quality of Bokeh is exceptional. A total number of 7 elements are arranged in 6 groups making up the construction of the lens.

See the Canon 50mm f/1.4


Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon

3. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART

Aperture Range: f/1.4 – f/16
Minimum Focus Distance: 1.3’/40 cm
Filter Size: 77mm
Size: 85 x 100mm (2.4 x 4″)
Weight: 815g (1.8oz)
Price: Check the latest price here

Sigma’s Art series lenses are widely revered as some of the sharpest and well-made lenses in the business. The 50mm f/1.4 Art is no different. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART challenges Canon’s equivalent – the 50mm f/1.4 lens. If you are looking for the best 50mm lens for Canon, hands down this is the one you are looking for.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART is the sharpest and the best handling unit straight out of the box. The lens consists of a total of 13 elements arranged in 8 groups. There are a total of nine rounded aperture diaphragm blades. Perfect for creating beautiful background blur. Special Low Dispersion glass elements, molded glass aspherical element, and a Super Multi Coating ensure that the lens is able to produce excellent images right through its aperture stops.

A special floating design ensures that vignette is also suppressed.

See the Sigma 50mm f/1.4


Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras - Fixed

4. Canon 50mm f/1.2

Aperture Range: f/1.2 – f/16
Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5’/45 cm
Filter Size: 72mm
Size: 86 x 65mm (3.4 x 2.6″)
Weight: 580g (1.3oz)
Price: Check the latest price here

The biggest drawback of using the EF 50mm f/1.2 would be the fast wide aperture of the lens. This is why we haven’t considered it as the best nifty fifty lens for Canon.

Yes, ironically the same reason for which one would be compelled to buy the lens makes for its lower score. The f/1.2 is a very difficult lens to focus when shooting wide open. The margin of error is very small.

But on the flip side, you get a lens that is extremely fast and extremely bright. Low light would no longer matter to you. Plus, if you are the sort of photographer who loves to capture bokeh in broad daylight you can use an ND filter and take advantage of the bright open aperture of this lens to blur out anything in the background.

See the Canon 50mm f/1.2


Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

5. Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro

Aperture Range: f/2.8 – f/32
Minimum Focus Distance: 5.12″ / 13 cm
Filter Size: 49mm
Size: 69 x 56mm (2.7 x 2.2″)
Weight: 190g (6.7oz)
Price: Check the latest price here

The Canon EF-S 35mm is designed for the smaller image circle of Canon’s EF-S mount based DSLRs. The EF-S 35mm Macro f/2.8, therefore, serves the dual purpose of assuming the role of a 50mm prime when mounted on an APS-C camera and also working as a fine macro lens.

The only disadvantage of the EF-S 35mm f/2.8 is probably the short focal length because as a maco lens the longer the focal length more is the breathing room you have and vice versa.

See the Canon 35mm f/2.8


Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM Lens for Canon

6. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8

Aperture Range: f/1.8 – f/16
Minimum Focus Distance: 11″ / 28 cm
Filter Size: 72mm
Size: 78 x 120mm (3 x 4.8″)
Weight: 810g (1.78lb)
Price: Check the latest price here

Your search for the best 50mm lens for Canon APS-C cameras ends right here. And yes, we are referring to a zoom lens and not a prime one here.

The Sigma 18 – 35mm f/1.8 is a wide zoom lens designed for Canon‘s EF-S mount camera systems. This is a hugely rated wide zoom lens effectively covering the essential everyday zoom range from 28.8mm all the way to 56mm (on a 35mm format equivalent terms). So it covers 24mm, 35mm and the 50mm on the smaller APS-C format. The lens consists of a total of 17 elements arranged in 12 groups. There are a total of 9 rounded diaphragm blades and that promises excellent quality bokeh, especially when shooting at wide-open aperture.

The optical design consists of SLD elements as well as aspherical elements. There is also a Super Multi-layer Coating which takes care of the contrast and color accuracy of the lens. Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor. This being an Art lens comes with the excellent build quality and image quality.

See the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8


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