Canon Introduces New EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Autofocus Lens

Canon has introduced a New and Improved EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Autofocus Lens, making it the third generation of their very popular EF 50mm f/1.8 Autofocus Lens; only now with the latest STM ("Smooth Transitions for Motion") Stepping Motor design for quieter Autofocus, with improvements in Aperture Design, Lens Coatings, Minimum Focus Distance, Build Quality and more.

As many Canon owners know, the original EF 50mm f/1.8 Autofocus Lens that was introduced in 1987 had a metal lens mount and a reputation for being very sharp at an affordable price. It was replaced by a newer EF 50mm f/1.8 II model in 1991 with a plastic lens mount with very little change in optical design except for a non rotating front element that made it better for use with Polarizing Filters.

Unlike the first generation EF 50mm f/1.8 AF lens with it's metal lens mount, the EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens introduced in 1991 uses a plastic lens mount and construction, and was sometimes referred to as the "Plastic Fantastic", offering a very sharp lens at an affordable price point.

The EF 50mm f/1.8 II is often one of the first lenses purchased by a new photographer using a Canon DSLR, in order to have a lens more suitable for low light shooting, and for use with portraits on a tight budget. Its simple design, sharp optics and wide aperture helps to isolate subjects from distracting backgrounds due to the narrower depth of field that you have when shooting at a wider f/1.8 aperture setting, also allowing for faster shutter speeds in low light.

On a camera with an APS-C size sensor, a 50mm focal length is also good for portraits, since it has about the same angle of view (apparent magnification) that you'd have using an 80mm lens on a camera with a larger 35mm film size sensor.

Now, Canon has introduced a new and improved 3rd generation EF 50mm f/1.8 Autofocus Lens named the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. Canon has upgraded build quality by replacing the plastic lens mount found in the EF 50mm f/1.8 II model with a metal lens mount. The optical design still uses 6 elements in 5 groups, as found in the previous generations. But, the new STM design also uses the very latest lens coating technology to reduce flare and ghosting.

The STM feature gives this new lens what Canon refers as "Smooth Transitions for Motion", thanks to the use of advanced Stepping Motor Technology. This allows a lens to focus smoothly and quietly when capturing video, versus older autofocus motor designs that may be louder with noise from them picked up by microphones during video recording. Learn more about STM technology by clicking here.

The new EF 50mm f/1.8 STM also includes a feature Canon refers to as FT-M, or Full Time Manual Focus. This allows a photographer to use the focus ring on the lens to manually fine-tune focusing as soon as auto focus is complete, without having to switch to manual focusing mode first.

Canon also upgraded the aperture design on this new model to a 7 blade rounded aperture. In contrast, the first and second generation EF 50mm f/1.8 Autofocus lenses used a 5 blade aperture design that was sometimes criticized for the appearance of out of focus highlights in images, as compared to the more expensive lenses in some conditions.

In addition, the new lens design allows for a closer minimum focus distance of only 14 inches (versus 18 inches for the previous generation Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II).

Bottom Line: The new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Autofocus Lens should be a big hit with Canon owners thanks to the new STM Autofocus design, upgraded build quality with a metal lens mount, upgraded 7 blade rounded aperture design for more pleasing background blur, the addition of full time manual autofocus, plus the very latest lens coating technology for reduced flare and ghosting.

To make it even more attractive to users, Canon managed to keep the suggested retail price of the new EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Autofocus Lens at the same $125.99 price point as found for the last generation EF 50mm f/1.8 II Autofocus Lens. See the full press release about this new lens below:



Compact and Lightweight EF Lens Features Stepping Motor (STM) Technology and is

Ideal for First time DSLR Users as well as Advanced Amateur Photographers

MELVILLE, N.Y., May 11, 2015 - Canon U.S.A., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is proud to announce the new lightweight and compact Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM standard lens. Featuring a large maximum aperture of f/1.8, this single focal length lens (which has an effective focal length of 80mm when attached to an EOS camera with an APS-C sensor such as the EOS Rebel T6i) is ideal for creating portraits with beautiful, soft-blurred backgrounds. It's also ideal for low-light photography and night scenes. Now incorporating Canon's proprietary STM stepping motor technology, this new lens supports Canon's EOS Movie Servo AF* (autofocus) function to provide smooth and quiet continuous AF during video recording, as well as when capturing still photos.

"Canon's optical heritage of creating high-quality lenses is something we are very proud of ," said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO of Canon U.S.A., Inc. "Regardless of skill level or budget, all photographers and videographers should have access to superb creative tools that enable them to capture not only beautiful images but images that tell the story of their lives. This new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens, will provide photographers and videographers with outstanding images they will want to share for years to come."

The new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8mm STM lens is excellent for entry-level and advanced amateur photographers, as well as users looking to capture video. Featuring an improved exterior design, including a new focus ring placement, it provides photographers with the most compact Canon EF 50mm lens ever, at just 1.5 inches in length. In addition, this new lens uses a metal mount providing additional stability and ruggedness compared to its predecessor.

Composed of six elements in five groups, the new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8mm STM lens features an optimized lens placement and Super Spectra Coating (SSC), translating into less ghosting and flaring than the previous model, while at the same time helping to enhance light transmission and optimize color reproduction accuracy. The new lens features a seven blade circular aperture, improved from the predecessor's five blade non-circular aperture, helping to deliver a more visually appealing blurring effect, and producing sharp images of subjects that truly stand out against beautiful, soft backgrounds. The minimum focusing distance for the lens has been shortened to 1.1 feet from 1.5 feet with a maximum magnification of 0.21x, allowing for more creative close-up photos and videos.

Pricing and Availability

The new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8mm STM standard prime lens is scheduled to be available by the end of May for an estimated retail price of $125.99. For more information please visit

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Standard Telephoto Prime Lens Specifications Summary:

  • Compact, lightweight, fixed focal length standard lens for EOS cameras

  • Large f/1.8 maximum aperture

  • 80mm effective focal length when attached to EOS cameras with APS-C sensors

  • Canon STM gear type stepping motor technology provides quiet autofocusing to support Canon's EOS Movie Servo AF function

  • Improved exterior design including new focus ring placement makes it the most compact Canon EF 50mm lens ever

  • New metal mount for stability and ruggedness

  • Super Spectra Coating for minimized ghosting and flaring

  • Circular seven blade aperture

  • 14-inch minimum focusing distance

  • 0.21x maximum magnification

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean (excluding Mexico) markets. With approximately $31 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranked third overall in U.S. patents granted in 2014† and is one of Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies in 2015. In 2014, Canon U.S.A. received the Readers' Choice Award for Service and Reliability in the digital camera and printer categories for the 11th consecutive year. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. In 2014, the Canon Americas Headquarters secured LEED® Gold certification, a recognition for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance green buildings. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting and follow us on Twitter @CanonUSA.

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*When attached to a Canon EOS camera that supports Movie Servo AF.