A 50mm manual lens is an essential tool in the world of photography. If you don’t have the best 50mm manual lens in your camera bag, you can’t say that your kit is complete.
To save you the stress of looking around for a 50mm manual lens, here is a review of the 10 best 50mm manual lenses. Read on.
What Is A 50mm Lens Good for?
A 50mm manual lens has a classic focal length that is very close to what the human eye can see.
They can help you capture fantastic images in low-light situations – thanks to their excellent performance. They’re great for capturing portraits and have a focal length that is almost equivalent to that of the human eye.
Also, 50mm manual lenses get you close enough to your subject and can produce an extremely shallow depth of field, ensuring that all focus falls on your subject and disguising unflattering backgrounds.
The Best 50mm Manual Lenses You Can Buy Today
1. Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM
This is an essential lens for EOS R series owners. It is more affordable and compact than the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM. It weighs just 160g. it is fast focusing and gives an impressive image quality.
Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM uses an STM ((Stepping Motor) focusing motor, which helps to keep both the sound and price down. It captures an angle of view that is close to that of a human eye and has a large aperture that gives lots of control over depth of field.
Also, it has a minimum focusing distance of 0.3m, which is 5cm shorter than the current EF 50mm f/1.8 lens. A notable downside is that it’s not weather sealed.
2. YONGNUO 50MM F/1.8
This is a Chinese-made, nearly all-plastic manual lens. It is affordable (about $50) and offers good value for your money – though you shouldn’t expect a razor-sharp quality. Although its auto-focus is okay, its manual focusing is a bit dodgy. Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 is not a lens for you if you have an APS-C camera.
3. Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 Asph. Power OIS
This manual lens from Panasonic is small and lightweight (weighs just 130g). Though the Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 Asph. Power OIS fits in your pocket, it packs a powerful punch. Its fast f/1.7 aperture means users have enough control over shallow depth of field effects. This makes the lens ideal for portraits.
The lens also boasts of inbuilt power Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which can be easily enabled using a switch on the lens barrel. The power OIS compensates for camera movements and helps users to achieve sharper images in low light.
The maximum aperture makes the lens incredibly sharp. Also, fringing and distortion are well controlled. Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm f/1.7 Asph is an absolute bargain at just about $300.
4. SAMYANG 50MM F/1.4 AS UMC
This is one of the best manual focusing lenses when it comes to bokeh quality. It features a large front element, which guarantees a lot of light captured and less vignetting. SAMYANG 50MM F/1.4 AS UMC is a really sharp lens and better than some of the f/1.8 and the f/1.4 lenses out there.
It also has a good quality build and smooth operation. Nevertheless, it has its downside, which is the absence of auto-focusing.
5. CANON 50MM F/1.4 USM
This CANON 50MM F/1.4 USM lens is better than some 50mm f/1.8 lenses out there. It is 66% faster than an f/1.8 lens. That is, the lens allows in about 66% more light, which is a big advantage in low light situations, and also increases background blur.
The lens is the cheapest f/1.4 lens on this list and costs just about $300. Although you may feel a bit disappointed if you’re looking for razor-sharp images and great bokeh quality, the build quality is awesome and the auto-focusing is also acceptable.
Overall, the CANON 50MM F/1.4 USM lens is a bit pricier than its features.
6. SIGMA 50MM F/1.4 DG HSM ‘ART’
The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art ‘Art’ is well known for its sharpness. It is an amazing lens to shoot with wide open and stopped down. The lens also lacks discernible vignetting and distortion. More so, the build quality is acceptable and its auto-focusing is very good too. However, the quality of the bokeh doesn’t seem to live up to the expectations. Its size and high price (about $900) are also scary.
7. CANON 50MM F/1.2 USM ‘L’
CANON 50MM F/1.2 USM ‘L’ is very expensive and isn’t among the cheapest 50mm manual lens by any means. But at f/1.2, this lens prides itself as the brightest. Though it’s the brightest, it’s not the sharpest.
The corners at f/1.2 aren’t sharp at all as some amount of barrel distortion and vignetting can be seen. The build quality of the lens is excellent and the contrast and out-of-focus effects that users can achieve with CANON 50MM F/1.2 USM ‘L’ are much better than that of most other lenses.
8. Sony FE 50mm F1.8
This lens weighs just 186g and is extremely portable. Its large f/1.8 aperture and seven-blade circular aperture enable users to create beautiful background bokeh that makes their subjects stand out.
The Sony FE 50mm F1.8 features a DC motor drive, which helps it to focus quickly and precisely. This coupled with the fast aperture enables this lens to perform excellently in low light.
The Sony FE 50mm F1.8 lens’ aspherical element helps in minimizing distortion, and the metal mount gives a reassuring build quality. So expect sharp images all through.
9. Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
This first-rate lens is specifically designed for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. It’s designed to get the most out of a high-resolution full-frame sensor like that found in the Sony A7 R IV.
The lens has a max aperture of f/1.2, which enables a very limited depth of field for selective focus images and fast shutter speeds with low ISO settings in poor lighting. All these make the lens suitable for portraits and wedding photography or videography.
It features an 11-blade circular aperture, which aids smooth bokeh. The optical construction is also fine-tuned to minimize spherical aberration.
The lens is sealed against dust and moisture, making it suitable for shooting in bad weather. It also has a fluorine coating on the front element that protects it from oil, water, dust, and fingerprints.
10. SIGMA 50MM F/1.4 EX DG HSM
SIGMA 50MM F/1.4 EX DG HSM is specially made for Canon cameras. It’s very similar in build and features to the Samyang 50mm f/1.4 with the inclusion of auto-focusing. The build quality is great, the out-of-focus effects are superb, and the overall image quality is very sharp.
Vignetting is controlled and the quality of the bokeh is also impressive. Nevertheless, the biggest downside is its auto-focusing, which is inaccurate and can leave you angry after a day of hard work.
I hope you had a wonderful time reading this fascinating post on the best 50mm manual lenses. Do you agree with these reviews? What’s your favorite 50mm manual lens? Tell us in the comment section.