Canon RF 50mmm f1.8 STM vs EF 50mm f1.8 STM

People expect miracles from RF-mount lenses. This is not the first time I see such an attitude in the comments on my youtube channel... To be honest, I'm like that piety I do not feel at all. But with marketing it's hard to fight ...


New Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM in the hands is almost completely similar Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM... Dimensions and weight are identical. Outside - a plastic case with a metal bayonet mount. The diameter of the filter thread has been reduced from 49mm to 43mm. The trunk still goes out. Autofocus volume is about the same (I didn't hear it). The focus ring on the new RF 50mmm f1.8 STM has been redesigned for a multifunctional control ring (common to all RF lenses). It is essentially the same electronic ring as on the EF 50mm f1.8 STM, but with bumps and can now be programmed from your mirrorless camera.

Inside is a new optical design. At this stage, everyone was holding their breath and expecting a miracle from a new penny plastic prime lens with f1.8 ...

I must confess to you no miracle happened... Yes, the image on the open one became less chromate and the characteristic glow on the open one, which the old 50mm f1.8 had sinned, disappeared. But the sharpness of both lenses is very decent. In my tests, there was no feeling that the new RF 50mm f1.8 was somehow fundamentally superior to the old model designed for SLR cameras.

I want to clarify that I tested both fifty dollars on Canon EOS-R5... In 2020, only eggs are cooler than this camera. Both lenses are good at 45 megapixels on a top-end mirrorless camera. Naturally, in order to shoot with the EF lens on the R5, I used the Canon RF-EF adapter, which I still have with Canon r.

Lyrical digression about the RF-EF adapter

Thanks to my youtube channel I have the opportunity to receive feedback and see what people think about these or those new products in photography. And this is not the first time I have come across such a delusion that an adapter for SLR optics to mirrorless cameras somehow degrades the image quality. The second version of the same idea is that SLR lenses work worse on mirrorless cameras.

I used to shoot on Canon 5D mark III and I have a lot of EF optics left. Now I have a Canon R5 and all the same optics. I was also worried that the old EF lenses would not be able to fully reveal the capabilities of the 45-megapixel sensor. The fears were in vain. The leader of my hit parade is the EF 40mm f2.8 STM pancake, which gives crazy detailing photos on the Canon R5. The same applies to the fifty-kopeck piece of the EF 50mm f1.8, which by the way at f8 even surpasses its older brother in sharpness - EF 50mm f1.2L.

See video with tests of EF-RF 35mm lenses on Canon R / R5.


Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM Is a good lens for its performance. And the EF 50mm f1.8 STM is a good lens too. The most significant difference between them is the lack of an adapter when used on Canon mirrorless cameras. Again, the adapter does not make it worse. It just takes up space and lengthens the structure a little. For the rest ... if you want a fundamentally different image, you do not need to look for the difference between RF and EF, but buy a lens with a higher aperture. Canon RF / EF 50mm f1.2L is a different picture. And the choice between fifty rubles with f1.8 aperture is a matter of increasing the budget or having an adapter.

Below you can see an overview with examples of photos and tests of autofocus and bokeh on a budget 50mm f1.8:

See comparison of 50mm and 135mm for portrait photography.

Comparison of 50mm and 135mm for portrait photography

Why isn't fifty dollars good for full-height portraits? In the examples below, you can see what a full-fledged portrait lens with a focal length of 135mm (Canon 135mm f2L) compared to the standard 50mm (Canon 50mm f1.4). All photos were taken at open apertures f2 and f1.4, respectively.

The photography took place in Mariinsky park early March, when there is still no greenery. In such conditions, the maximum blurring of the background is very important.

50mm vs 135mm

Lenses with these focal lengths convey perspective in completely different ways. At 135mm, in addition to the strong bokeh, the background compression effect is well felt. In most cases, this is beneficial. Especially here. Bare black branches, which cannot be hidden when shooting at fifty dollars, clearly do not make the photo attractive.

50mm vs 135mm3

A similar situation. Only here the background is even more complex. There are a lot of unnecessary things in the frame at 50mm. The environment is clearly distracting from the model. The 135mm frame is perceived much better. We can say that this lens saves in any circumstances. Whatever trash is in the background, you can always annihilate it.

50mm vs 135mm

Here fifty kopecks obviously loses in all respects. The girl even stopped smiling. The transmission of perspective to 135mm allows you to focus on the girl, and not on the trees above her head, paving slabs under her feet or a bench. It's hard to see here, but at fifty dollars, her sneakers are already out of focus. At 135mm, the girl is sharp from head to toe.

50mm vs 135mm2

But with a bust portrait, the situation is slightly different. The fifty dollar already blurs the background more. However, the people on the right in the bottom photo are still readable. 135mm makes a completely abstract picture out of the background with such a large size, where nothing distracts from the model.


135mm (or 85mm) are ideal lenses for portrait photography. 50mm can perform this function, but with reservations. It can give good photos when cropped to the waist and good backgrounds. You can't call him a full-fledged portraitist.

Canon 50mm f1.2L video review:

Recommend article: portrait lens test 50mm, 85mm, 135mm

Canon portrait lenses test 50mm, 85mm, 135mm

In this photo shoot, I used three great fixes:

The differences in perspective at these focal lengths, the nature of the background blur and the overall feel of the photographs will be visible below.

As you can see, all lenses give good blur in half-length portraits. A fifty dollar will give a boring and overloaded background in a full-height portrait, but in this test I did not take such photos.

Personally, I like the first series of pictures better. photo at 135mm with maximum space compression and a very blurry photo. On the second series of shots I am more impressed by first frame, made at 50mm. It conveys more volume and play of light and shade.

When photographing a girl with columns, I had to move a little. Because of this, on third frame at 135mm, the girl's face is mostly in shadow. Although in the first photo there is clearly more light on the face. 135mm limits the photographer's location more than 50mm, which is always easy and convenient to shoot with. But if you're shooting outdoors, the 135mm focal length won't be a problem.

Here is a frame at 85mm:

portrait of a girl at 85mm

Here, this focal turned out to be the most appropriate. There was about a meter away from the wall, a window to the right. If I had shot at 135mm, the background would have been washed out and lost texture. 50mm would capture a lot of unnecessary things in the frame (window frame, pipes on the wall, etc.).

Here are two very similar shots at 85mm and 135mm. In this case, 85mm looks better because allows you to more competently compose the frame. Stronger blurring of the bokeh doesn't matter here.

135mm VS 85mm

Here is a frame at 135mm:

135mm test

Here I just want to demonstrate the ability Canon 135mm f2L blur background into trash. The background was very complex and ugly. The stairs, people, columns, window frames - all these unnecessary details were washed away, while maintaining the emphasis on the protagonist.


This test presents very similarly cropped photos to emphasize perspective at focal lengths. 50mm, 85mm, 135mm... As you can see, in such portraits you can successfully use any of the lenses listed. The difference in shooting conditions and the photographer's vision.

85mm remains the most functional portrait lens... 135 helps when you want to put a strong emphasis on a person by compressing perspective and noticeably blurring the background.

50mm can be interesting under certain conditions when you want to play with the background. In most cases, this focal length can be suitable for half-length portraits, but absolutely not suitable for full-height photographs. Tests 50mm versus 135mm in full-length photo you can see here.

Video review Canon 85mm f1.8:

Video review-comparison Canon 135mm f2L VS Canon 70-200 f4L: