A simple lens: the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM

Panos Voudouris
5 min readDec 18, 2022

I do like a normal lens. I really do. The majority of my photos are with one. Across all the formats I have used (35mm, 645, 6x6, 6x7) the one lens that served me the most was the standard lens. 4x5 is a bit of a different story though, let’s leave that out.

Here’s a list of normal, or near-normal in the 40–60mm range, lenses I have used with 35mm cameras in the last 20+ years:

  • Canon EF 40/2.8 STM, 50mm f/1.8 I & II & STM, EF 50/1.2 L
  • Nikon 50/1.8 D & G, 50/1.4 D, 50/1.2 AIS, 58/1.8G
  • Olympus OM 50/1.8
  • Pentax Takumar 55/2
  • Zeiss ZM 50/2, ZM 50/1.5C, ZF & ZE 50/1.4
  • Leica 50/2.8 Elmar-M
  • Tamron 45/1.8 VC
  • Voigtlander 40/2 SL (SLR mount) and 40/1.4 VM
  • Plus a bunch of zooms that cover 50mm though I cannot remember the last time I owned a standard zoom any more

So you can see I do like a normal lens. Normal lenses come in many sizes and prices: from a £20 55/2 Takumar to a £1000 Nikkor 58G. Let’s see then how one of the cheapest options, the sub £100 50/1.8 STM does.

On the EOS 1N.

The specs

This is one of the smallest and probably the lightest lens Canon makes in EF mount, after the 40/2.8 STM (another little gem). It is plastic but not as fantastic as the previous MkII version, which was absolute garbage build quality (but still great image quality). The STM has a nice metal mount and there is nothing wobbling.

In Andalucia with the 50/1.8 STM and a Canon EOS 30 loaded with Portra 400

Interestingly, the lens focuses down to 35cm instead of the usual 45/50cm most 50mm lenses do, which does let you get pretty close (0.21x magnification).

Getting closer, Portra 400

The opinion

In one line: for the price this lens is perfect. While it won’t give you the amazing colours an L lens does (like the 50/1.2) out of the camera, it does really well. It has great…