Is the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM Right For You?

If you’re in the market for a lens and are considering the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM, keep reading.

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Iwill go ahead and say it right off of the bat. I believe every photographer and videographer should own some version of a 50mm, and in my travels as a videographer I’ve hardly come across one that doesn’t. If they don’t, I strongly suggest they get one asap!

If you’re in the marketing for photography or videography gear, you probably know how quickly things can add up. The stuff is not cheap. Finding a lens under $1000 can sometimes be a challenge, anything under $500 is a diamond in the rough. The Canon 50mm 1.8 STM is only $125.00, that’s just insanity.

Some might even think it’s too good to be true. But honestly, this lens has been a mainstay in the photographer/videographers gear bag for years. With good reason.

Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon lenses, reviews

Before we get started

If you are new to DSLRs and their respective lenses, there is some terminology you should know to help you make the best decision on the right lens for you. I will briefly explain some of them in this post, but I do have another post explaining focal length, aperture and full frame versus crop sensor. If you don’t know what those terms mean, check out my in-depth post on those topics here.

I’ve also got an in-depth post explaining DSLR lens abbreviations across some of the most popular brands. In that post, I explain what EF, EF-S, STM, UD and many other abbreviations stand for. If you are also confused by the seemingly random letters in lens titles, check out my in-depth post on that topic here.

Canon 50mm f/ 1.8 II STM Overview

Not to be confused with the Canon 50mm 1.8 II (which has been discontinued), the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM is the updated version of that lens, and it has some awesome features and improvements.

It is an EF mount, which means it is compatible with both crop and full frame cameras. This is a huge plus because if you start out with a crop camera and decide to upgrade later, you won’t have to upgrade your 50mm.

It has a special coating on the glass called Super Spectra coating, which helps to prevent unnecessary glare or distortions in your images.

The improved autofocus includes STM, which in Canon language means Stepper Motor Technology. It allows the lens to autofocus quickly with little, to no noise.

They have updated the aperture blades, which allows for better bokeh, or that gorgeous blurry background everyone loves.

It also has lightweight construction, which is for great for portability.

Best Uses

So is the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM the right lens for you? Here are some of the best uses for this lens

  • Portraits and Interviews- A 50mm focal length is best used for portraits. Whether you are doing model shots, corporate head-shots or school photos this focal length is an excellent choice. For video, it’s great for interviews or even youtube videos where the subject will be sitting in one place and talking for a majority of the time.
  • Food or Product Photography- A 50mm focal length is also a great choice for food or product photography. You will be able to get a nice, standard close up shot with this lens that doesn’t compromise on it’s focus, which is very important for product and food photography.
  • Low Light Situations- This lens has an aperture range of 1.8 to 22. The smaller the number, the more light comes through. 1.8 is an excellent aperture. If you ever find yourself in a low light situation that you can’t control, you can still walk away with bright well exposed images if you have this lens. But of course, I always suggest having some back up lighting with you at all times just in case!
  • Travel- The Canon 50mm 1.8 is a great lens to travel with because of its light weight construction. It’s very versatile and will cover you in most situations. I have known travel photographers to take only this lens out of all the others they have. And let’s not forget how extremely cost effective it is (only $125 bucks, seriously!) so if the worst happens, you haven’t just lost a ton of money!

Canon 50mm 1.8 STM, A Great Lens

So long story short, this lens is an excellent choice for anyone at any stage of their career or hobby. The Canon 50mm 1.8 is packed with great features and will likely be one of the most used lenses in your bag.

It’s truly the most  bang for your buck. You will not be able to find another lens that is as cost effective and produces a high quality image. If given the chance, I recommend this lens to anyone that is trying to stay on a budget but wants good quality.

Every other 50mm lens out there is more expensive.I’ll be writing a posts about the other Canon 50mm lenses in the near future. But if you are thinking about getting this lens, I say go for it! You can buy it on Adorama for only $125!!

Olivia J

Olivia J is a video producer, writer, and director specializing in corporate video, events, documentaries and film. To see some of her work visit