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:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.