"Focal Length – Full frame/APS-C:- 50mm/80mm/ Aperture:- 1.8 - 22/Min focus:- 17.7”/ Dimensions:- 3.15” x 3.27”/ Weight:- 4.2oz/ Image stabilization:- No/ Price (approx.) $USD/£ GBP:- $58.00/£50.00"
Many photographers choose a 50mm f1.8 lens as their first lens after the camera’s kit lens, and it is easy to see why. 50mm f1.8 lenses are small, light and fast, and the 50mm focal length is versatile and can be used for many different subjects. If there is one lens all photographers should own at some point it is a 50mm f1.8 lens.
50mm f1.8 lenses are cheap, and this is reflected in the overall quality and the sharpness of the lens. I have read comments from 50mm f1.8 lens owners saying the lens is “tack sharp”, which isn’t true. Sure, the 50mm f1.8 lens is sharp compared to kit lenses, but compare it to other lenses and the softness soon becomes apparent.
Just because a 50mm f1.8 lens is a little soft it doesn’t mean you should discount one of these lenses. There are times when slightly soft focus enhances the photo and is a good thing. For example, photographing babies, infants, young children and women often requires a slightly soft lens to capture the most flattering photos. Super sharp lenses highlight every spot, pimple, blemish and variation in skin tone, which doesn’t result in a flattering photo. When taking these types of portrait shots a 50mm f1.8 lens is a cracking lens, and one I highly recommend.
Canon and Nikon both have their own 50mm f1.8 lenses, and whilst in the big scheme of things they are affordable compared to other 50mm prime lenses they are very expensive and, in all honesty no better. There are cheaper, and by cheaper I mean much cheaper, 50mm prime lenses out there for both Canon and Nikon cameras that are just as good as the Canon and Nikon branded 50mm lenses, and the best budget 50mm prime lens is the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 by far.
The first thing you will notice about the Yongnuo 50mm is the build quality and that it feels, for want of a better phrase, cheap and nasty. The Yongnuo 50mm lens is made mostly from plastic and feels more like a child’s toy than a serious bit of photography equipment. I should point out that the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens is made in exactly the same way and feels just as poorly made, and from what I have read online and in magazines etc. the Nikon 50mm f1.8 is no different – although I cannot confirm this as I have never used Nikon before.
Whilst this lens may feel like a child’s toy and that it will fall apart in five minutes I can vouch for its longevity. If you treat this lens with a little care and respect, and don’t bang it around too much or use it in adverse weather conditions without some kind of cover it is a lens that will serve you well and last. Surprisingly, it is quite a tough and robust lens.
The build quality may be a little suspect but then you do have to remember it is a lens costing around £50, and you don’t get a lot for £50 nowadays. In fact, all things considered I am amazed this lens is as robust as it actually is for the low price.
The image quality of this lens is very good and the same as the Canon 50mm f1.8. I have read claims the Canon has superior image quality, however I am struggling to see this. I have tested both lenses and compared the photos side by side, and they look identical printed out. I have even gone pixel peeping on the computer to look for fringing, check colors etc. and I still struggle to see a winner in the image quality stakes. There are subtle differences in the images but neither lens produces an overall better image.
Compared to the Canon 50mm f1.8 the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 is virtually identical in every respect, and if you remove the Yongnuo branding you would never tell the two lenses apart, unless you took a lucky guess that is. Both lenses have the same build quality, both lenses have the same image quality, both lenses have the same auto focus performance and both lenses feel the same on the camera. From what I have read and heard the Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens is exactly the same too.
The only difference between the Canon 50mm f1.8 and the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 is the price, and there is huge difference here. The RRP of the Canon 50mm f1.8 is c. £110 whereas the RRP of the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 is c. £50. The yongnuo is less than half the cost, which is one heck of a saving.
You will find any Canon shooters out there claiming the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens is superior to the Yongnuo and that the build quality/image quality of the Canon is the best. In my experience, and yes I have extensively used both of these lenses, this is utter rubbish. There is no difference between these two 50mm f1.8 lenses and I think it is just the Canon users trying to justify why they have the Canon lens.
If I had to buy another 50mm f1.8 lens it would be the Yongnuo without hesitation. In fact, I wouldn’t even bother with the Canon 50mm f1.8. The Yongnuo and the Canon are identical in every way except for price. If you are on a budget and want a 50mm f1.8 prime lens (and it is a lens I highly recommend) the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 is the lens for you. If you want the best value for money 50mm f1.8 lens on the market the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8.
The Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 is available in Canon fit from Adorama, Amazon (US), eBay, Amazon (UK)
The Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 is available in Nikon fit from Adorama, Amazon (US), eBay, Amazon (UK)
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.