What is the best 50mm Lens – Canon, Sigma, Samyang, Yongnuo or Zeiss?

Photographer Christopher Frost published an interesting video comparison of no less than 10 different 50mm fast prime lenses from different manufacturers and different price ranges – all tested on 3 different Canon bodies. Who came out first and why – check it out in the video.

50mm was for many years the classic focal length for 35mm cameras. Although these days APS-C cameras are much more common than they used to be and the 50mm focal length does not have the same angle of view (it is now closer to 75mm on a full frame body), it is still a very popular focal length and because of its price/value it is still one of the most used (and purchased) focal lengths around.

So if you are a Canon shooter and want to know which 50mm to get, there is a huge selection of both modern lenses and some very good (and in some cases not that expensive) old lenses around. Of course there isn’t a review that can really cover every option around (there have been hundreds over the years) but this comparison is a very good place to start with 10 pretty popular choices – ranging from the very cheap Yongnuo (basically an inexpensive Chinese copy of the old Canon 50mm f/1.8 design) and up to the very expensive Canon 50mm f/1.2. There is an even more expensive 50~ for Canon users which at least when it comes to performance tops all of the lenses in this review and that is the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 (which we have reviewed – on Nikon mind you – a few months back).

At the end of the day the conclusions (although not necessary surprising) are pretty interesting:

  1. If you are super short on money, you can go for the Yongnuo however for not too much more you can get the much better Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM).
  2. If you are O.K. with manual focusing you can get the very sharp Samyang 50mm f/1.4 (don’t get the Zeiss ZE 50mm f/1.4 though).
  3. If you want the best value for money for an f/1.4 lens (with AF) go for the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX (the older – non ART version).
  4. The best all around is the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART (the Otus 55mm f/1.4 is sharper but has no AF and is much more expensive).

This isn’t the first time that we have been looking at different 50mm lenses – you can check out “lens comparison: Canon 50mm f/1.2L vs Canon 50mm 1.4” video by Matthew Gore and “Canon vs. Yongnuo: 50mm f/1.8 – Which is The Better Lens?” by  Tony Northrup for more specific hands on.

More guides and comparisons of photographic gear can be found on our photography gear guides – here on LensVid.

VIA: picturecorrect.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.


  1. I have canon 50 f1.8 recently bought samyang 50 f1.4 very disappointment both are same even samyang is costly. Not recommended samyang its wate of money..

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