The Canon RF 50mm f1.Eight STM is a low-cost normal prime lens that’s set to turn out to be a best-seller within the EOS R mirrorless system. Introduced in November 2020 and costing round 200 {dollars} or kilos, it turns into the successor to the EF 50mm f1.Eight STM launched simply over 5 years earlier. This assessment is all about these finances lenses, so when you’re within the a lot fancier 1.2 mannequin, try my Canon RF 50mm f1.2L assessment – however at over 10 occasions the value, it’s a really completely different proposition. So let’s get again to finances.

Canon’s 50mm f1.Eight lenses have at all times been enormously widespread because of their flexibility and likelihood to discover shallow depth-of-field results at a low value, and whereas the brand new RF 50mm f1.Eight could value roughly double that of the newest EF model, it’s nonetheless the most affordable mannequin within the RF catalogue to this point whereas additionally claiming a variety of enhancements. To learn the way it measures-up in opposition to the older EF model, I in contrast them side-by-side for sharpness and rendering in landscapes, portraits, close-ups and extra, so maintain watching to search out out if the brand new RF lens really deserves the honour of changing into the following nifty, thrifty fifty! All the things is within the video beneath, however when you favor to learn a written model, maintain scrolling for the highlights!


Above: right here’s the older EF 50mm f1.Eight STM on the left, joined by the brand new RF 50mm f1.Eight STM on the fitting, and at first look they’re similarly-sized and styled. Measuring 69x41mm and weighing 160g, the RF mannequin is basically the identical measurement and weight because the EF model.


Above: however bear in mind with a view to use the older lens on a mirrorless physique, you will have so as to add an adapter which makes it noticeably longer. As finances lenses, neither mannequin is climate sealed and lens hoods are non-obligatory extras, however at the very least each have steel lens mounts.


Above: The RF 50mm f1.Eight STM employs six components in 5 teams, has seven aperture blades and a closest focusing distance of 30cm, a bit nearer than the 35cm of the older EF model, however in any other case so-far so-similar. Canon has nonetheless shrunk the filter measurement from 49mm on the EF lens to 43mm on the RF.


Above: Each lenses make use of Canon’s STM focusing motors with inside barrels that stretch and retract throughout use. They’re additionally fairly audible. I’d say their velocity is just about the identical and regardless of occasional hesitations, the general focusing efficiency appears to be like and feels related. You’ll be able to see and listen to each lenses whereas focusing for stills and films in my video assessment on the prime of the web page. Since each are audible when focusing for motion pictures, you must use exterior microphones the place attainable.


Above: When it comes to controls, the RF 50mm f1.Eight STM has a single ring in direction of the top of the barrel that turns extra easily than the typically scratchy model on the EF model. Like different finances RF lenses, this ring performs double-duty with a swap setting it to both guide focus or adjusting a customized management set within the menus.


Above: If you wish to manually focus this RF lens although, you possibly can’t simply set the swap to Focus and switch the ring. You’ll additionally have to enter the digital camera AF menus and swap the Focus mode from AF to MF. While you return to the stay view, you’ll be greeted by focusing help together with a distance scale, however having to enter the menus to change between auto and guide focus can turn out to be annoying. I can also’t discover a solution to customise a button to immediately toggle between AF and MF with out first coming into a menu.


Above: Examine it to older fashions just like the EF 50mm f1.Eight STM right here the place a easy flick of the swap on the barrel units it to guide focus, after which you’ll be able to flip the ring to regulate the gap. EF lenses could lack the digital distance scale on the EOS R our bodies however you possibly can nonetheless make use of peaking and magnified help.


Above: Now for some picture high quality comparisons, beginning with rendering and bokeh blobs at shut vary. I used an EOS R5 for all of the checks on this assessment. Because the RF 50mm f1.Eight steadily closes its aperture from f1.Eight to f11, the preliminary oval blob shapes shortly turn out to be heptagons, revealing the seven-sided form of the aperture blade system. Right here’s the RF 50mm f1.Eight on the left and the EF 50mm f1.Eight STM on the fitting, each from the identical distance and at f1.8, the place you possibly can see they share basically equivalent rendering kinds. So at their most apertures, you’ll see blobs rendered as oval shapes, notably in direction of the sides and corners, whereas the blobs themselves largely handle to keep away from onion-ring textures and harsh outlines. You could nonetheless discover the picture from the RF model is a fraction tighter than the EF mannequin, indicating both a barely longer precise focal size, or some cropping after geometric correction. It’s not an issue, however price mentioning as you’ll see it in my different comparisons coming-up. PS – on some our bodies, videographers can set the aperture increments within the menus to very advantageous eighth-stop intervals if desired.


Above: Now for portraits, with the RF 50mm f1.Eight STM and EF 50mm f1.Eight STM, each once more at f1.Eight the place you possibly can see that minor distinction in magnification. Place them facet by facet and I’d say the newer RF 50mm f1.Eight on the left appears to be like a bit sharper, particularly for advantageous element round my eyes and beard that are a bit crisper and higher outlined than the EF model on the fitting. In the meantime the background blurring model appears to be like fairly related.


Above: In the event you favor a barely broader depth-of-field, right here they each are once more however now with their apertures closed to f2.8. Once more I’d say whereas the background rendering is analogous, the main points on the RF model on the left stay a bit crisper than the EF on the fitting. Each lenses are additionally ideally suited to filming items to digital camera, with Canon’s face and eye detection doing an ideal job at monitoring and refocusing on a shifting topic. Each lenses are efficient for this type of job, and whereas the newer RF model is a fraction extra assured at occasions, I might be completely completely satisfied utilizing face-detect AF to current a bit to digital camera with the older EF mannequin.


Above: Now for a extra distant panorama scene, right here with Brighton Pier angled in order that particulars go into the far corners the place lenses battle probably the most – don’t fear, I wasn’t drunk. Like all my pictures on this assessment, every little thing was taken with an EOS R5 physique and also you’re JPEGs straight out of digital camera with the default settings.


Above: Let’s begin with the RF 50mm f1.Eight STM wide-open at f1.Eight and taking a detailed have a look at the center of the body exhibits a excessive degree of resolved element – even from the demanding R5 sensor. Stopping-down the lens has no important affect on the standard within the centre, so that you could be assured of excellent ends in the central space from the get-go.


Above: Returning to the f1.Eight picture and shifting into the intense corners reveals softness as you would possibly anticipate from a decrease value lens. There’s a fuzziness and general lack of sharp element.


Above: As you shut the aperture although, the corners steadily enhance, having fun with a visual increase in sharpness by f4, and arguably match the sharpness of the center between f5.6 and f8. So if you need sharp particulars throughout the body proper into the far corners, I’d advocate closing the aperture to f5.6 or f8.


Above: Now again once more to the RF lens wide-open at f1.8. Earlier than evaluating the efficiency in opposition to the EF lens although, I needed to examine one different a part of the body, roughly mid-way between the centre and the nook. Apparently throughout my briefing with Canon I used to be instructed this space was now improved in sharpness over the older EF lens, and taking a detailed look definitely exhibits it to be as sharp as the center of the body.


Above: Likewise when you transfer to the other facet you’ll see the RF 50mm f1.Eight continues to ship sharp outcomes on this areas when wide-open. The large query then is how the RF lens compares to its EF predecessor – is it optically any higher, let’s see!


Above: first let’s take a detailed look in the course of the body with the RF on the left and the EF on the fitting, each at their most apertures, and I’d say each delivering roughly the identical element and sharpness. Neither improves within the center as you close-down the aperture, so a draw at this level.


Above: Subsequent let’s transfer out to the intense nook, once more with the RF on the left and the EF on the fitting, beginning at f1.Eight the place each lenses look gentle. As you steadily shut each lenses down, there’s seen enhancements, and as seen earlier than a giant enchancment by f4 and arguably the utmost between f5.6 and f8. So once more, so-far-so-similar.


Above: However wait, when you look intently on the mid-point between the centre and the nook, you’ll discover the RF lens on the left is certainly noticeably sharper than the EF lens on the fitting when each are wide-open. In reality as you shut down the aperture you’ll see the RF lens is just about delivering its most decision on this space from the get-go, whereas the older EF lens needs to be closed-down to at the very least f5.6 to match it right here.


Above: to additional cement Canon’s claims, right here’s the view midway between the center and the other nook with each lenses at f1.Eight the place the development on the brand new RF model is once more clearly seen.


Above: Coincidentally this larger space of sharpness on the RF lens roughly corresponds to the APSC imaging circle, so if Canon have been to make an EOS R digital camera with an APSC sensor, or when you’re taking pictures in a 1.6x cropped mode, you’ll get pleasure from sharp outcomes from this lens throughout your entire body even at f1.8. This represents a welcome improve over the older EF mannequin which shortly softens past the center at f1.8.

Examine costs on the Canon RF 50mm f1.Eight STM at B&H, AdoramaWEX or! Alternatively get your self a replica of my In Digicam guide or deal with me to a espresso! Thanks!

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