"The Yongnuo 50mm and Canon 50mm lenses"
Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a fan of the Canon 50mm f1.8 prime lens, and whilst it does have its bad points (poor build quality, slow auto focus and cumbersome manual focus) the good points (super image quality, creamy bokeh, low light capability and price) make this an excellent lens and one I recommend.
There was a time when I would have recommended the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens to anyone looking for their first prime lens without hesitation but things have changed, and I am not so sure I would anymore and the reason is because of the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 lens……..
Youngnuo is a Chinese manufacturer that is best known for making speed lights, external flash lights, studio strobes, radio triggers and other flash related accessories. It seems that Yongnuo have decided to diversify and have a crack at the camera lens market too, and one lens they launched is a 50mm f1.8 lens. Okay, this lens has been available for a while now and I have only now got around to having a go with it.
It has taken me such a long time to have a go with this lens because I have had my Canon 50mm f1.8 lens for several years, and a long time before Yongnuo entered the lens market. Since I already had a 50mm f1.8 lens (and a good one at that) I didn’t see the point in spending out on another one, not to mention a cheaper budget version at that, so I ignored the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 and had forgotten about it – until recently that is.
My nephew has recently turned his hand to digital photography, and given he is still at school, has no regular income to speak of other than a little pocket change each week and can’t afford “decent” lenses his father (who has no idea about photography) decided to treat him to a 50mm prime lens, which turned out to be the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8. Since my nephew owned a lens I had never seen, let alone tried out before I simply had to have a go with it and put it through its paces.
Other than the Yongnuo branding the Yongnuo 50mm lens looks identical to the Canon 50mm lens. Not only does it look identical it feels identical (cheap and toy like) and had I been blindfolded I would not have been able to tell the two lenses apart. All things considered, this is a good thing and Yongnuo have managed to produce a lens you could easily mistake for once costing twice the price.
Like the Canon 50mm f1.8, the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 is basic, has no distance scale and has a single AF-MF switch on the barrel. The Yongnuo lens also has a 52mm filter thread and is just as cumbersome to focus manually. The Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 lens is an exact replica (some may say rip-off) of the Canon 50mm f1.8.
Attaching the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 lens to camera I thought there was no way this lens could produce images that were the same quality as the Canon, however I was totally wrong. The image quality between the two lenses is identical and whilst it is sharp in the centre of the frame it tails off towards the edges. The Yongnuo produces the creamy bokeh (which is the selling point of the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens) and it has a sweet spot at f8 – f11 too. Like the Canon lens the Yongnuo’s auto focus struggles at times, but learning to focus manually sorts this out.
Had I not known I had a Yongnuo lens attached to my camera I would have thought it was my Canon 50mm f1.8. Seriously, there is no difference in the look of the lenses, the feel of the lenses, the way the lenses behave or the image quality of the lenses either.
Looking at images on the camera’s LCD screen is one thing, and viewing them on the computer is totally different so to double check the image quality it was only right to compare photos taken with the Canon 50mm to photos taken with the Yongnuo 50mm on the Mac – surely the Canon would come out on top here?
Once again, I was totally wrong and the images looked identical on the Mac too. Undeterred I zoomed right in at 100%, 150% and then 200% and had exactly the same answer – there was no difference in image quality what so ever.
To say I was impressed with the Yongnuo lens when I compared it to the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens is an understatement. The two lenses are identical but the Yongnuo around half the cost, which makes it top value for money. If you don’t mind the Yongnuo branding on a lens (i.e. if you aren’t a Canon snob) the Yongnuo is the lens I recommend between the two. If I didn’t already own the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens I would snap up a Yongnuo right away. I know my Canon 50mm f1.8 lens will give up the ghost one day, it is only a matter of time when using a lens made from inferior materials, and when it does I am going to go and replace it with the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8. I mean, what’s the point in spending just over a hundred quid when I can spend fifty quid and get the same images?
The Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 lens is an excellent buy and if you are in the market for a cheap 50mm f1.8 lens for your Canon (or Nikon for that matter) camera you need to take a look at this lens.
Buy the Yongnuo 50mm f1.8 from Amazon.com (US citizens) or buy from Amazon.co.uk (UK citizens);
Buy the Canon 50mm f1.8 from Amazon.com (US citizens) or buy from Amazon.co.uk (UK citizens)
OTHER CANON LENS REVIEWS
Below are other lenses I own and have reviewed. To see the pros and cons of each lens simply click on the title. Please feel free to check them out.
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.