Customer Review

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much chromatic aberration for the digital age, but the lens is of a good value, February 25, 2010
This review is from: Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens (Electronics)
For less than $300, this is a pretty decent 50mm lens, but it's not the best choice unless you do simple, straight-macro work. Why? In my experience, for 1:10 or smaller magnification (focusing distance of about 0.6m or 2 ft), Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras provides better contrast and image sharpness than this lens at any aperture value. So, the only time this lens is the better choice is close distance macro work.

Now, when I use this lens at 1:2 to 1:5 magnification range, the resolution and contrast are good, but I noticed a bit too much chromatic aberration (CA) with shiny objects such as jewelries and silverware. The color is magenta and green, depending on the distance of the object in relation to the focusing distance. The CA decreased to some extent by stopping down. A significant drop of CA was seen at f/8 for 1:5 and f/11 for 1:2 magnification, although CA was still noticeable at those f-stops. Sure, at such magnifications, you would stop down to about that range anyway, due to very thin depth of field, but I would be happier of CA was lower from wider apertures for a bit more creative flexibility. Meanwhile, it's not impossible to correct for CA in professional image editing softwares, but that just means more editing work.

The lens is excellent for non-shiny small product shoots, such as hair accessories, cosmetic products, food, etc., although tilt shift would be useful whenever the image uses creative styling. Therefore, for creative macro work, TS-E90mm, possibly with extension tubes, would be more useful, although there is a price to pay in terms of dollars, pounds, and more demanding manual work. Whether 100mm macro is better or worse is not so much of an issue as other people say. EF100mm f/2.8 macro provides more working distance and flattens perspective (which may or may not be good for product photography), but not as different as what you can do with TS-E 90mm as a macro lens. The 90mm TS-E is a truly excellent lens, even if you combine with an extension tube for 1:2 magnification.

About the only thing this lens is superior to Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras at non-macro work is that this macro gives more pleasing bokeh than f/1.4. But for that matter 85mm f/1.8 or TS-E90mm is better, and so this isn't a good reason to buy this lens.

In short, EF50mm f/2.5 macro lens is good for simple, straight-forward macro work. If you don't do macro, buy Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras or Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens. If you use more elaborate styling or creative work, buy Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift Lens for Canon SLR Cameras or Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift Lens for Canon SLR Cameras. If you do macro work of jewelry or any other shiny or high contrast objects, be careful about chromatic aberration and stop down as needed.
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