New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

Gear & Apps

The Battle of the Nifty Fifty vs The Clone | Digital Rev

By Hanssie on March 31st 2015

nifty-fifty-clone-2It was bound to happen. As soon as word came out that Chinese manufacturer Yongnuo had set their sights to copying lenses (specifically the infamous Canon 50mm F/1.8, also known as the ‘Nifty Fifty,’) people wondered how the two would stack up against each other. Canon’s 50mm comes in at a budget-friendly $115, while Yongnuo’s version can be bought for half that price, from the change found under your couch cushions.

A few weeks ago, Kish posted another comparison article of the two lenses done by Tony and Chelsea Northrup and now a new comparison has surfaced, this time from the guys over at DigitalRev. Using their trademark humor (and some strong language), Kai compares the two lenses on the busy streets of China, fittingly, the copycat capital of the world. He begins by putting the lenses side by side. Now, if you’ve owned the nifty-fifty (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?), you’ll know that the plastic build is lightweight and not very sturdy, but the Yongnuo is actually even lighter. The real question is, though, how does it perform?


nifty-fifty-clone-1Not bad actually, though quite noisy, like “Johnny 5 with constipation.” (If you’re a child of the 80’s as I am, that quote should’ve made you chuckle a little, at least). Kai then compares the sharpness, speed and bokeh of the two lenses, as well as their “insides.”

Whether or not you’re in the market for a nifty fifty, this video is a fun watch. The choice, of course, is yours, Should you buy the original and know that you have a very solid lens to work with or save a few bucks and get the copy, which has its positives and negatives.

This quote from the 90’s movie, Multiplicity, sums it up quite nicely, “You know how when you make a copy of a copy, it’s not as sharp as… well… the original.

Watch Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 vs Canon 50mm F/1.8 II

What do you think? Would you buy the Yongnuo over Canon or Nikon’s “Nifty Fifty?” Tell us why in the comments below.

[Via DigitalRev]

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. desmond chislom


    | |
  2. J. Dennis Thomas

    Even if I was a Canon shooter I would not buy a Chinese rip-off made in a sweatshop. Then again, they’re probably made in the same factory on the same machines…

    | |
  3. Daniel Thullen

    Since I don’t currently have a 50mm of any type, I’d probably grab the Canon without giving it much thought. Perhaps I should. Thank you Hanssie. I always laugh at Kai’s humor.

    | |
  4. Michael Burnham

    I took the plunge (and a cheap plunge considering we are talking about an AF lens) and bought a YongNuo 50MM F/1.8 from a dealer in Hong Kong because a despised the thought of paying $125.00 for the plasticy Canon and this was going to be a back-up for my Canon 50mm F/1.4 anyway. The total was $68.00 including shipping. since the bar was set pretty low it cleared it without a problem. I”ve taken about 200 shots with it since it arrived a month ago. The Canon 50MM has I believe the loudest AF in it’s line-up and the Yongnuo was just a touch louder when I compared it with a friends lens. Optically it was good enough for street-shooting and portrait work where critical sharpness isn’t needed. But the Canon is sharper but not by a lot. It IS definitely better optically than the Canon 18-55 IS kit lens, or at least my copy is, plus you have a much wider aperture. This lens is going to be great for going into a situation where there is good chance it could be destroyed/confiscated or while street shooting in rough neighborhoods. Besides that it will serve just fine as a back-up, for the money I’m not disappointed.

    But still waiting for an updated Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM with 7-9 bladed circular aperture!

    | |