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Gear Announcements

Yongnuo Enters Lens Market With Clone Of Canon 50mm F/1.4

By Anthony Thurston on September 25th 2014

Yongnuo has leveraged its great success at cloning Canon speedlights and is apparently moving on to the greener pastures of the lens market. The Chinese company has announced their first ever lens, a 50mm F/1.4, which looks almost identical to the Canon 50mm f/1.4.

yongnuo-lens

According to Yongnuo, this would be the first large aperture autofocus lens made in China. The new lens, while looking almost identical to the Canon, does have one significant difference: an old DC AF motor, while the Canon has the newer ultrasonic silent AF motor technology. Another noteable difference, the Yongnuo appears to have a plastic lens mount, where the Canon’s is metal.

Yongnuo 50mm F/1.4 Lens Specs

  • Lens Focal Length: 50mm
  • Lens Construction: 6 Group 7
  • Aperture blades: 8
  • Minimum aperture: 22
  • Closest focusing distance: 0.45 m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.15 times
  • Drive System: DC motors
  • Filter diameter: 58mm
  • Maximum diameter and length: about Φ75 × 58mm
  • Weight: 239g

I am curious to test this lens for sure, but I am not going to praise this as an achievement or anything given it appears to be a complete ripoff of the Canon. I am curious what Canon will do, if anything, about this. It’s one thing to clone a speedlight, but a lens, surely that is not something they will be happy about.

yongnuo-canon

I also recently read a bit about how only Japanese companies can get AF licenses for EF and F mount from Canon and Nikon (partly why Zeiss has no AF lenses for those systems). If that is the case, then this lens would not be a “legal” EF lens. So that makes this announcement even more interesting.

Regardless, this new lens will no doubt come in at a vey affordable price, may even be pretty decent optically. I am very curious to see how this all shakes out.

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What are your thoughts on this? Would you trust a Yongnuo lens to produce a high image quality? Leave a comment below!

[via Canon Watch]

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. Phil Bautista

    There’s already a review out on the Yongnuo 50/1.8 and it compares favorably with its Canon counterpart with one notable difference – it has 7 blades unlike Canon’s 5, which provides better diffused globes in an OOF background, unlike Canon’s pentagons. I’m looking forward to seeing a review on the Yongnuo 50/1.4 too, just to know how it compares to the Canon version.

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  2. Steve Teoh

    It is a matter of time before YN ventures into lenses as part of their strategic growth and building credibility in the lower end budget segment.

    Competition is most welcome and photographers stand only to gain if they don’t violate legal issues. Personally I wish they do the same with Nikon lenses.

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    • Joe Mosher

      Competition? Is that what you call this blatant, reverse engineered, ripoff? Protection of foreign intellectual property is a joke in China. Entire cars (Fiat) were copied to the point 95 percent of the parts were interchangable. I would be ashamed to sponsor such a company.

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  3. Ryan Gentles

    YONGNUO 5D Mk Tu?

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  4. Jim Berton

    I have canon L lenses and a few Sigma lenses that i love. If Sigma can do it, why can’t yongnuo?
    I have 5 of the yongnuo flashes and 1 580exll…I use the yongnuo flashes as much as the canon. I also have the ttl flash triggers (622) and i love them and they have never misfired. I would bet yongnuo will do a pretty good job on this lens and i sure wouldn’t be afraid to try it. I had the canon 50 f1.4 lens and sold it because it was “soft”. It’s overpriced for the image quality. the canon 50 1.8 is a major selling lens and is a plastic toy compared to everything else out there….but the price is right for those who don’t have a large budget or a hobby shooter. If the yongnuo 50 1.4 is close to canons, then it won’t sell. i would bet that the image quality will be close to canons and be significantly cheaper. A cheaper alternative is always good….and for those who stick with oem brands, don’t have to buy it. I don’t see pro photographers buying a yongnuo lens unless the image quality is above a canon version……I don’t believe that will happen, but i guess we will have to wait and see!!!

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  5. red snappa

    The likes of Canon and Nikon began by copying the better European cameras of the day, so what goes round…

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  6. Eric Sharpe

    And this is where I get off the Yongnuo bus. Remotely triggering a light is one thing, but my optics though? I need for a company to have a few more years in the game before I start throwing money at a product, even if it does come in at a price considered disposable.

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  7. Alex Corona

    Zeiss lenses are manufactured in Japan, by a Japanese company aka Cosina.

    Zeiss could make EF and F mount AF lenses, they simply don’t want to, or need to for that matter.

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  8. Andrew Van Arb

    I am not a big fan of third party lenses at all, but I do enjoy the results I get out of Yongnuo’s flash gear. If they put the time, effort and research into this new lens hopefully it pays off and there will be a new player on the field. I can see them going with 50mm, it is a great setup, but with future lenses will they be somewhat original or will they stick to knock-offs like their other gear?

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  9. William Emmett

    I think this lens is a exploratory product for Yongnuo. If you notice the drive motor is of a DC motor, which the international patent has run out a few years ago. I’m not thinking Yongnuo is trying to get blazing fast focus lens, but is trying to develop the glass for lens manufacture. After all, the glass makes all the difference. Making this lens with a plastic mount, makes this slant a little clearer in the way Chinese companies think. Youngnuo didn’t start copying Canon flashes with the newest most update model, but making a older model first, then grew from there. Keep in mind, almost all the Canon line of lenses are produced partly in China. In the long run, the Canon and Nikon may have another competitor, maybe with a full frame camera with a changeable sensor, called Artillery 1, from Yongnuo.

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    • Eric Mazzone

      I agree. They’re trying to expand, which is more than some companies have been doing.

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  10. Rui Pinto

    Plastic mount? Really? Mmmm

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  11. Scottie Nguyen

    I think the Chinese can care less about legality :-)

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  12. Andrew-Knox Kaniki

    I definitely would trust them on the lens too, considering their flash has been pretty good enough to give me consistent results fairing very well with the SB700. No doubt, I would try it out.

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  13. Adrian Jones

    Plastic lens mount is an automatic no!

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  14. Barry Cunningham

    Not sure what the market is.
    The Canon f/1.4 is not that expensive, at least compared to L-series glass. The reason I got it over the Canon f/1.8 was the sturdier build quality, though, again, nothing compared to L-series glass.
    Looks to me like it is competing against the Canon f/1.8 and would have to have some significant advantage over it to find a market. If it comes in cheaper than the Canon f/1.8, there will always be people who will buy it on that basis alone.
    Naively, I would not expect better image quality than either of the two Canons. Of course, I could be totally wrong, but it wouldn’t be the first time.

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  15. Matthew Saville

    Considering the mediocre build quality and optical performance of the existing Canon 50 1.4, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that this lens is, well, not worth paying more than $75 for. And even then, it should be considered “disposable” as LensRentals puts it… :-\

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  16. Joshua Pheneger

    Given the overall poor quality of their products I won’t be holding my breath for this one.

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    • Eric Mazzone

      Overall poor quality? Have you tried their gear lately? Hell I won’t go back to OEM gear after using the 560-III flash and remote system.

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  17. claude laramée

    It was only a matter of time before this venture would come about . There is a demand for less expensive gears. China builds IPhones … They can do anything and not just cheap stuff.

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  18. Chuck Eggen

    Big jump from extraneous accessories to Lens Manufacturing. I’m curious now.

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