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Gear Announcements

New Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM Is Now Available! | First Impressions

By Anthony Thurston on May 21st 2015

As some of you may, or may not, know, in addition to my duties here at SLR Lounge, I also work a few hours a week at my local camera store here in Oregon. Yesterday afternoon we received our first shipment of the new Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM, and I was able to open one up to get some quick initial impressions.

New Canon 50mm STM

A photo posted by Anthony Thurston (@anthonythurston) on

First off, it does not feel like as much of an upgrade in build quality as I was expecting. The plastic body still feels really cheap – though it is a definite improvement over the previous model. This sort of explains why they were able to keep the price point the same.

The focus ring, specifically, is a HUGE improvement over the old model. It is amazing how moving the ring back a few mm can make such a difference. Manually focusing the lens is sooooo much nicer than the previous model.

I did not get to shoot with the lens a ton, other than a few test shots which were not worth sharing here, but I can say that the lens focuses quickly and accurately. A welcome upgrade in my book. Also, in my preliminary testing, it compares well against the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and the Canon 50mm f/1.2 at F/1.8.


We will have a full review of the new 50mm F/1.8 STM coming soon. But suffice to say, if you are a Canon shooter, for $125, this lens NEEDS to be in your kit. Even if you already have a 50mm, and especially if you have the old 50mm F/1.8.

You can get your Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM over at B&H now for just $125. The lens is now shipping, so depending on what sort of shipping you choose, you could have yours as soon as tomorrow!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Herm Tjioe

    Focus ring is a main improvement to me. But this might be the time to get the f1.4 instead

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  2. Nashaine Johnson

    Cant believe I just bought the old one about a month ago.
    Almost the same price.

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  3. adam sanford

    The bad news? From Canon’s Chuck Westfall, this new lens has the SAME optical formula as the 50 f/1.8 II. If that’s the case, it’ll be a nice lens, but I wouldn’t shoot it wide open.

    The good news? It comes with better stuff *around* that same glass: STM focusing will be faster and much quieter, the focus ring looks to be a nice improvement, and there are two more blades to make the 50 f/1.8 II’s nasty pentagonal bokeh a thing of the past.

    I’m sure it will be a fine lens, but I’m still holding out for the 50 f/nooneknows IS USM that must be coming before too long.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I briefly compared (don’t have the shots handy) the new 50mm and the old 50mm, and can say without a doubt the new one is an improvement in IQ. So if chuck is right, and the optical formula is the same, maybe they used better glass this time around?

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    • Lars Joreteg

      I think the optical formula was fine – if you got a good copy. If the new lens production is more consistent, the lens could be a useful upgrade for many.

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  4. Raoni Franco

    Focus speed, accuracy and consistency, that´s all I need to know (considering that this new lens has the same or better image qualitty as the old one).

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  5. Jeff Morrison

    I might just have to get one to try….

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