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The Best 50mm Lenses for Canon in 2020

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The 50mm lens is a classic focal length, perfect for many styles of photography.

Ahh, the good old nifty-fifty–such a classic lens! The 50mm prime is a quintessential piece of equipment every photographer should own at least once in their lifetime. And, today we’re looking at the best 50mm for Canon mount cameras:

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art OUR PICK
Very sharp at F1.4, Pro level all-around performer, Fast & accurate focus;
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM ALSO GREAT
Creates sharp images with high contrast, Large Aperture, Very affordable;
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM BUDGET PICK
Wide f/1.8 aperture, Continuous AF for movies, Great for portraits, action, and nighttime photography;
Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 ZE
Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 ZE
Very sharp lens, Manual focus design, Weather-resistant construction;

Let’s have a detailed look at the best 50mm lenses for Canon:

  1. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art (Best 50mm for Canon, overall)
  2. Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 ZE (Best manual focusing 50mm for Canon)
  3. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Canon Mount
  4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM (Best 50mm for Canon on a Budget)

If you’re a Nikon shooter, don’t worry, just check our post on the best Nikon 50mm lenses.

RELATED POST: Prime vs zoom: Which one should I choose?

1. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

After much deliberations, we decided upon the best 50mm for Canon. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens!

This Sigma gives the Carl Zeiss Milvus (listed below) a run for its money.

Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Some words on the build quality of the lens. Seriously, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A is a well-built lens. It is made out of thermally stable composite material. The dimensions of the lens stay the same regardless of the temperature in which it operates.

It consists of a total of 13 elements arranged in 8 groups. This includes three special low dispersion elements. Consists of 9 rounded aperture blades that form the nice rounded aperture diaphragm. At 815 grams it is a shade under the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 ZE.

The lens has a ring-type auto-focusing mechanism. Plus, full-time manual focusing override.

Sigma’s Art series lenses have always inspired and excited us. The 50mm f/1.4 is no different. As a matter of fact, it beats the smaller sibling to the best lens for Canon EF mount.

Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon
  • 50mm focal length
  • 75mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras, 80mm equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C cameras
  • F1.4 maximum aperture; F16 minimum
  • Ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
  • 77mm filters.Angle of View (35mm):46.8°

RELATED POST: The Best Canon Prime Lenses

2. Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 ZE

Zeiss Milvus 1.4/50 ZE, Camera mount: Canon EF-Mount (ZE) | Nikon F-Mount (ZF.2)
Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 ZE. The lens has a sleek profile and is built tough.

Let me start off by saying, this Zeiss lens is designed like a tank. The lens has a total of 10 elements arranged in 8 groups. All of which are perfectly protected by the lens’ completely weather sealed design.

Something to keep in mind, however, is this is a manual focus lens. That means no auto-focus, which could be a deal breaker for some.

Distortion is very minimal if any. If you shoot charts inside a studio you would see a slight amount of barrel distortion. But that’s negligible and easily corrected in post-production.

On the flip side, you do can exactly the same thing with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 that you could do with the Zeiss Milvus. And at a cheaper price and a less bulkiness to boot.

For many photographers, the lack of auto-focusing is the end of discussion. There are plenty of photography moments where you need accurate fast focus lock. Moments where there is no time to dilly-dolly with a manual focusing ring. This is where the Zeiss Milvus narrowly misses out on the crown of the best 50mm for Canon.

Zeiss Milvus 1.4/50 ZE, Camera mount: Canon EF-Mount (ZE) | Nikon F-Mount (ZF.2)
  • CREATIVE STILL AND VIDEO PHOTOGRAPHY THROUGH PRECISE MANUAL FOCUSING: ZEISS Milvus lenses feature a large rotation angle...
  • FUTURE-PROOF SOLUTION FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION CAMERA SYSTEMS: The excellent image performance of the ZEISS Milvus lenses is...
  • EXCELLENT IMAGERY, EVEN IN DIFFICULT LIGHT CONDITIONS: All lenses features ZEISS T* antireflective coating. In addition, all...
  • STABLE IMAGE PERFORMANCE OVER THE ENTIRE FOCUSING RANGE: State-of-the-art camera systems and high-resolution digital image...
  • DURABILITY AND PROTECTION AGAINST THE ELEMENTS: The all-metal housing has special seals for protection against dust and...

RELATED POST: Comparing The Best Sigma Lenses

3. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Canon Mount

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is great auto-focus lens for those of you who want a lens with an AF motor.

Plus, you have full-time manual focusing override. Full-time manual focusing override allows you the advantage to tweak the focus manually. This is even when auto-focusing mode is engaged.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
Sigma art lenses are an affordable way to get an art lens.

Let’s take a look at the construction of the lens.

The lens is composed of 8 elements arranged in 6 groups. This includes 1 aspherical element. The 9 rounded diaphragm blades create a beautiful round aperture opening.

The front element of the lens is quite large. Not surprising since the lens uses a 77mm filter thread. For a 50mm prime, this is quite big.

This is one of the lighter constructions on this list. Weighing just 1.1 pounds, it’s at par with some of the other lenses on our list of best 50mm for Canon mount cameras.

But the build quality is not at par. Unfortunately, this is not a weather-sealed construction.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
  • Large Aperature, standard prime lens, has superior peripheral brightness and corrects the sagittal coma fare
  • Standard lens with large maximum aperture of F1.4.
  • Creates sharp images with high contrast and ensures superior peripheral brightness
  • Incorporates molded glass aspherical lens, perfectly correcting coma aberration and creating superior image quality.
  • Super multi-layer lens coating reduces flare and ghosting.

4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

The 50mm f/1.8 is a neat little package for the budget photographer. At under $150 it is the cheapest EF lens that you could buy right now.

Aside from its great quality, one of the biggest advantages of the lens is the STM auto-focusing motor. This is one of the first lenses to have this particular AF motor. The STM technology is geared to work in tandem with Canon’s dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing. That makes this a great choice for shooting video.

In terms of build quality and weather sealing, this is not the finest. It’s primarily made of plastic, with only the lens mount made up of metal. The overall weight is under 1-pound. Which, consequently, should be a giveaway of the build quality.

The 50mm f/1.8 STM contains 6 elements arranged in 5 groups. There’s no image stabilization on the lens. The lens diaphragm is made of 7 rounded diaphragm blades, which, to be honest, is good enough. We pick this as the best 50mm for Canon on a budget.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
  • 50 millimeter focal length and maximum aperture of f/1.8
  • Minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet (0.35 meter) and a maximum magnification of 0.21x
  • Stepping motor (STM) delivers near silent, continuous Move Servo AF for movies and smooth AF for stills
  • 80 millimetre effective focal length on APS C cameras, 50 millimetre on full frame cameras. Lens Construction: 6 elements in...
  • Great for portraits, action, and nighttime photography; Angle of view (horizontal, vertical, diagonal): 40º, 27º,46º

Choosing The Best 50mm For Canon Cameras

A 50mm lens is the standard prime for 35mm format cameras. This versatile piece of optics delivers when it comes to shooting every day, street, events, and family photos. Choosing the best 50mm for Canon shouldn’t be too difficult as all the lenses we’ve listed here are outstanding.

First, just establish your budget and narrow down your choices that way. Then decide on what’s important to you. Is it build tough enough for your usage habits? Do you need autofocus and so forth? Before long, you’ll have chosen the perfect lens to add to your collection.

RELATED POST: Lenses Every Beginner Photographer Should Own

Did we miss one? Let us know what your favorite 50mm for Canon lens is in the comments below!


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1 thought on “The Best 50mm Lenses for Canon in 2020”

  1. With these kinds of lists, I’m always curious why other top lenses didn’t make it. The ones that come to mind here are EF 50mm f1.2L and Zeiss Milvus 50mm f2 Macro, both highly rated lenses. I’m not contesting your choices, but I’m wondering why great lenses were left off. Interestingly, I’ve owned both Sigmas as well as the Canon 1.8. Eventually sold all three.

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