Review: Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM by TDP

degos

EOS RP
Mar 20, 2015
420
354
This is a fine lens for what it is

No, it's like a trashy third-party lens from the 80s. Look at that coma, it's hilariously bad:


Though you might have missed that because the TDP author insists on copying and pasting vast tracts of text into each review.

Here's the Tamron 45 1.8 for comparison:

 

Romain

Click by chance, everyday...
Dec 20, 2016
27
28
You also have to factor in the cost of an EF-RF adapter if you don't have one yet.
Every EF shooters with decent lenses having an R body have an EF-RF adapter, unless they sold all of their EF lenses.
 

JustUs7

EOS RP
Feb 5, 2020
235
426
If I want f/1.8 at roughly 50mm (56mm) for indoor snapshots, I drop my RP into Crop mode using the RF 35mm f/1.8 and shoot at roughly 10 megapixels. For stuff that will stay on the computer or land in the photo album, that works.

I’ve been watching for this because I read too much that says one is supposed to own a nifty fifty. But having the 35 f/1.8 and 85 f/2 already, I’d rather spend $200 on a couple filters or a bag or something.
 

BBarn

EOS M50
Nov 2, 2020
47
29
It's a small mundane 50 in an RF mount. They could have made a proper RF lens with a control ring, IS, and perhaps better close focusing. For an RF 50, this one isn't very nifty. I'll just use my EF.
 
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Frodo

EOS RP
Nov 3, 2012
416
99
This is not a fine lens - its only really usable from f/4 if you want reasonable image quality. The low price is not an excuse for such an embarrassment to the RF line. I'd pay more for a small 50mm lens with good quality at f/2.
 
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JPAZ

If only I knew what I was doing.....
CR Pro
Sep 8, 2012
1,109
346
There is a role for less than perfect lenses. For example, I'm still holding on to my EF 40 f/2.8 "Pancake" but only 'cause it is a great lens cap that takes pictures. I've used it on 5 series DSLRs, on the M series with an adapter and now, maybe it will go on the R5 or RP. Of course, it will now need the EF-RF adapter so it is an adapted lens cap ;).

But, despite the limitations, there might be a spot for this RF 50 f/1.8 when I want a small and light lens on the RP. It might become the new lens cap.
 
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ctk

Refurb EOS R Kit
Mar 25, 2020
65
66
Brian's section on autofocusing didn't specifically mention focus consistency - which was the main complaint for the EF 50 f/1.8 II (less so the newer STM version). I take that to mean he didn't find it notable, which would imply a pretty big improvement. But looking back to his previous reviews of those lenses, it didn't warrant much mention either, so maybe that's not something that comes out during a review period.
I think that might have been due to the issues with thin DOF on DSLRs. Shouldn't be a problem on MILCs.

That said I'm super disappointed in this lens. Canon just flipped the design 180 degrees, made a small change to an element, added a control ring and called it a day. Big missed opportunity here. To be fair none of the similarly priced nifty 50s are much better, but I would have figured they'd have tried something new after 30+ years
 

Sporgon

5% of gear used 95% of the time
CR Pro
There is a role for less than perfect lenses. For example, I'm still holding on to my EF 40 f/2.8 "Pancake" but only 'cause it is a great lens cap that takes pictures.
Actually the EF40/2.8 appears to spank the RF50/1.8
I find the 40 to be a charming lens although it has quite bad field curvature (which never seemed to be picked up in reviews) but that can be used to advantage.
 

Sporgon

5% of gear used 95% of the time
CR Pro
That said I'm super disappointed in this lens. Canon just flipped the design 180 degrees, made a small change to an element,
Actually Canon didn't flip the double gauss design, they used the configuration that they and others had used on rangefinder cameras. The 1964 Canonet rangefinder camera has a 45mm lens which is very similar to this RF one in its optical diagram. That design of double gauss was able to be placed closer to the film which suited mirrorless rangefinders of the day and is perhaps why Canon went down this route with modern mirrorless. So basically the RF 50/1.8 is a rangefinders version of the EF 50/1.8, so it was never going to be much different.

Please be aware, I said 'very similar' to the 1964 Canonet, not identical, lest forum member ace, that omniscient of lesser Canon lens design comes flying in on her broomstick again to bereate me for spreading false information !
 

JPAZ

If only I knew what I was doing.....
CR Pro
Sep 8, 2012
1,109
346
Actually the EF40/2.8 appears to spank the RF50/1.8

Yeah, I get that and have always liked the 40mm. That lens with an adapter on my M bodies in the past was a real nice option and using it on a FF DSLR was always a street photo alternative. My point was more about the size of the 40 with the EF-RF adapter.........

Might be better to have this RF 50 on the RP for more casual snaps, especially if not going to use any extra lighting.

Thanks. I appreciate your input.

Happy New Year to all.
 
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CanonFanBoy

Purple
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,639
4,050
Irving, Texas
Actually Canon didn't flip the double gauss design, they used the configuration that they and others had used on rangefinder cameras. The 1964 Canonet rangefinder camera has a 45mm lens which is very similar to this RF one in its optical diagram. That design of double gauss was able to be placed closer to the film which suited mirrorless rangefinders of the day and is perhaps why Canon went down this route with modern mirrorless. So basically the RF 50/1.8 is a rangefinders version of the EF 50/1.8, so it was never going to be much different.

Please be aware, I said 'very similar' to the 1964 Canonet, not identical, lest forum member ace, that omniscient of lesser Canon lens design comes flying in on her broomstick again to bereate me for spreading false information !
There's always somebody looking for a "gotcha!". ;)
 

Frodo

EOS RP
Nov 3, 2012
416
99
Actually Canon didn't flip the double gauss design, they used the configuration that they and others had used on rangefinder cameras. The 1964 Canonet rangefinder camera has a 45mm lens which is very similar to this RF one in its optical diagram. That design of double gauss was able to be placed closer to the film which suited mirrorless rangefinders of the day and is perhaps why Canon went down this route with modern mirrorless. So basically the RF 50/1.8 is a rangefinders version of the EF 50/1.8, so it was never going to be much different.

Please be aware, I said 'very similar' to the 1964 Canonet, not identical, lest forum member ace, that omniscient of lesser Canon lens design comes flying in on her broomstick again to bereate me for spreading false information !

Might need to buy the RF 50/1.8 out of nostalgia reasons! The Canonet QL19 was my first camera - I photographed the Apollo 17 launch with it! Hmmm, showing my age here!
 

Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
1,241
1,315
I really hope the lack of improvement in this lens (as compared to the direction Nikon went with its 50mm f/1.8) means an RF f/1.4 IS slotted right in the middle of the 2 products is forthcoming. I bought the f/1.8 because I own and love the f/1.2 but it's just too big and expensive for the purposes I need, but I could justify something bigger and more expensive could be justified if it got me f/1.4 and IS along with higher IQ at the wider apertures. My fear is that they WILL come out with a 3rd RF 50mm, but if will be an f/2 IS macro like the 85mm, and that's not at all the configuration I'm looking for.
RF 50mm f2 macro?
Yummy yummy!
Just what I'm waiting for !
 
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ctk

Refurb EOS R Kit
Mar 25, 2020
65
66
I really hope the lack of improvement in this lens (as compared to the direction Nikon went with its 50mm f/1.8) means an RF f/1.4 IS slotted right in the middle of the 2 products is forthcoming. I bought the f/1.8 because I own and love the f/1.2 but it's just too big and expensive for the purposes I need, but I could justify something bigger and more expensive could be justified if it got me f/1.4 and IS along with higher IQ at the wider apertures. My fear is that they WILL come out with a 3rd RF 50mm, but if will be an f/2 IS macro like the 85mm, and that's not at all the configuration I'm looking for.
IDK. An F/1.4 IS would be massive, expensive and probably not far off from the 1.2. I don't think any stabilized 1.4 lenses exist- just too many elements. An F/2 true macro would actually cover the gamut really nicely. Zeiss makes a 50/2 Makro and it's amazing. Sharp corner to corner (as macro requires) with really nice rendering. For me, if they made it 45mm with an L designation and super smooth bokeh rendering I'd be in for under a grand.
 

Random Orbits

EOS 5D Mark IV
Mar 14, 2012
2,445
328
This video made me rethink my views....

I agree with him and a lot of what TDP wrote. It's a new lens that came out at 200 USD. In a few years, that price will drop significantly. This lens was not designed to compete with Nikon's 50mm f/1.8 S, which started at 600 USD, or triple the RF 50mm's price. The RF line used to be synonymous with great optics and high prices, but the RF lineup is filling up and becoming what the EF range still today, with something for a wide range of photography and prices. Not many people in this forum are going to go for the RF 24-105 f/4-7.1 either, but Canon is going sell lots of those 24-105s and a lot of the these 50 f/1.8s.

When the RP came out, people ridiculed Canon for not having cheaper lenses although it was a less expensive option for those with EF lenses already to see some of the benefits of MILCs. To maintain its market position, Canon needs a wide range of lenses catering to pros, enthusiasts, beginners and those on a tight budget. The RP with this RF 50 f/1.8 can do a lot of types of photography for a low price. Canon will also have better bodies and lenses for those that want to continue developing their craft with better tools. Maybe Canon will come out with a third RF 50mm lens, which is another discussion but does not diminish the role that this lens serves in the RF lineup. Most of the people buying and using this lens will not sport R5 camera bodies like the photographer in this video.

Will I buy this lens? Definitely not now, but maybe a refurbished one on sale. I have other options, so I'd really only use this to serve as a "pancake" normal when only carrying a telephoto like the 100-500 (the same role that my EF 40mm did).
 
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twoheadedboy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jan 3, 2018
235
336
Kenosha, WI
IDK. An F/1.4 IS would be massive, expensive and probably not far off from the 1.2. I don't think any stabilized 1.4 lenses exist- just too many elements. An F/2 true macro would actually cover the gamut really nicely. Zeiss makes a 50/2 Makro and it's amazing. Sharp corner to corner (as macro requires) with really nice rendering. For me, if they made it 45mm with an L designation and super smooth bokeh rendering I'd be in for under a grand.

I have the EF 85mm f/1.4 IS and it's great. Seems unlikely they will replace it on the RF mount but that's ok, it's going to remain one of my two long-term adapted lenses (the other being the Sigma ART 28mm f/1.4, which I would love a first-party replacement for, stabilized or otherwise).
 
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Absolutic

I'm New Here
Feb 6, 2019
12
3
I bought this lens the day it came out because I wanted a small 50. It does not take much space. On vac I brought 35rf this 50 and 85Rf 1.2. 85Rf f2 i owned for little bit by upgraded to f1.2. I used the 50 the least but nevertheless it is so small and light you can put it in your bag or pocket and forget about it. 85Rf f2 (and Nikon 50 1.8z that someone mentioned here early which I also used to own) are excellent lenses but much more bulky. Sony made a shitty 50 1.8 fe lens that is small too and is the same price as canon rf. If you want better lens optically it will be larger and heavier.
 

ctk

Refurb EOS R Kit
Mar 25, 2020
65
66
IMO a lens being easy to carry is meaningless if I don't like the way it renders photos. I don't buy the idea that a good, small, affordable 50 isn't feasible either. The Samyang 45 1.8 only weighs 2g more than the RF 50 1.8, and while it's bigger and more expensive its rendering and performance make all that worth it IMO. Really hoping Samyang ports that and more of its other lenses over.
 
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