Canon Portrait and Travel Two Lens Kit with 50mm f/1.8 and 10-18mm Lenses
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- EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is a compact, lightweight fixed focal length lens ideal for everyday photos, and with a large f/1.8 aperture, a perfect lens for low-light photography and creative background blur.
- EF-S10-18mm F4.5-5.6 IS STM is an EF-S ultra-wide zoom lens with an impressive starting focal length (16mm in 35mm equivalence).
- A stepping motor (Gear-type STM) supports the Movie Servo AF function in providing smooth and quiet continuous AF during video recording, as well as when shooting photos.
- EF 50mm f/1.8 STM:Minimum focusing distance of 1.15 ft. (0.35m); maximum magnification of 0.21x. EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM:Full-time manual focus allows manual focus adjustment while in AF Mode.
- EF 50mm f/1.8 STM :Circular aperture (7 blades) helps deliver beautiful, soft backgrounds
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The Canon Portrait & Travel 2 Lens Kit includes the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM and EF-S10-18mm F4.5-5.6 IS STM.A stepping motor (STM) and newly-designed focus mechanism support the Canon EOS Movie Servo AF function to provide smooth and quiet continuous AF during video recording, as well as when shooting photos.
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CONSTRUCTION: Slightly smaller and heavier than the prior model, EF 50 1.8 II, aka nifty-fifty, but with significantly better build quality. Improvements include metal mount, sturdier barrel and AF/MF switch, larger focus ring, grippy matte finish and stepping motor (STM). Unfortunately, it has an odd filter size, 49mm, rather than 52 or 58mm common to small Canon lenses.
OPTICAL QUALITY: It's the same optical formula as the nifty-fifty, but with tweaks to lens coatings and improved close focus ability. Wide open it's tack sharp center frame, sharper than my nifty-fifty. Corners on full frame, e.g., 6D, are darker and softer than center but equalize by F2.8. On APS-C cameras, e.g., 70D and Rebel, there is little corner darkening or softness since nearly half the image circle is cropped out. Optimal sharpness is at F5.6. Chromatic aberration (CA) is mild and reduced over the nifty-fifty. In short, image quality is excellent open wide, even better stopped down and one ups the nifty-fifty in both sharpness and control of CA.
BOKEH: I love the soft whirl of a defocused background, and this seven-blade diaphragm does not disappoint, rendering smooth bokeh and pleasantly round specular highlights. The smooth bokeh combined with pin sharp center frame really make subjects pop at larger apertures. This a great portrait lens!
AUTO FOCUS speed and reliability is markedly better than the nifty-fifty. It's accurate and rarely misses focus even in low light. Focus is achieved by front element extension (nested barrel. The STM motor is quieter than the prior model, albeit not completely silent.
VIDEO FOCUS on a 70D is not as fast as STM zooms but buttery smooth and great for touchscreen pulls and Movie Servo. Focus noise, while low volume, was recorded by my 70D's built-in mic during quiet video clips. The workaround is to use an external mic or prefocus.
MANUAL FOCUS is focus-by-wire: the ring merely activates the focus motor and is not mechanically coupled to the lens. Manual focus is smooth, but control isn't as good as a mechanical ring. The MF ring is thin but wider than the nifty-fifty's ring and better positioned. Like USM lenses, it has Full-Time Manual (FTM), allowing AF override without flipping a switch: simply turn the MF ring. Unlike USM lenses, FTM is only active when the shutter button is half-depressed.
HOOD: The groove on the barrel is for the Canon ES-68, locking bayonet hood. It attaches to the outer barrel, protecting the protruding inner barrel from frontal impact and flare. It's pricy but a worthwhile investment. Update (8/16/2015): The JJC LH-68, a clone of the ES-68, is now available at less than half the cost of OEM.
FINAL BLURB: The natural perspective and fast aperture make the EF 50 1.8 STM ideal for low light, travel and street photography with a full frame camera (6D). On a cropper, e.g., Rebel or 70D, it's a short telephoto and perfect for portraits, indoor sports and stage. Canon got everything right with this redesign: accurate and snappy AF, sturdy build and, most significantly, vivid and sharp images wide open.
On the rear of the lens we now have a metallic mount, something I’m so glad to see. Moving up from the plastic mount has increased it’s weight slightly, but also hugely increases the longevity of this lens. On the front we’ve now got a 49mm filter thread, which is even smaller than the old 52mm thread.And even the little things like the AF/MF switch has gotten an upgrade. It’s no longer a little button that seems like it could break easily. Which is just great to see.
FOCUS RING: One of the old nifty fifty’s worst parts was it’s focus ring. It was small, fiddly and in the wrong posititon at the end of the lens.
And fortunately on the new 50 stm it’s all been changed. The new focus ring is fantastic. The new focus ring is very similar to the ones used in the 24mm STM and the 40mm STM, and is wider now making it very easy to pull focus with. Something that was almost impossible to do on the old version. It’s still a focus by wire system, but I quite enjoy that these days. Not only that, but it’s now also full time focus which means no more breaking the lens when you forget to take it out of Autofocus.
MACRO: Now this is definitely not a macro specific lens, but one area in which they did upgrade this lens is it’s minimum focus distance, which means you can get a little closer to your subject. Where as on the old nifty fifty the closest you could get was 45cm away, now the new model you can take photos from around 35cm. And paired up with a crop sensor body like the Canon 70d, you can really get some nice close up shots with lens before investing in a dedicated macro solution.
BOKEH: Now even though the nifty fifty was a cheap lens, it still produced some fantastic images with a very shallow depth of field. It’s bokeh was a little funny though because it only had 5 aperture blade. On the new 50 stm this has now been upgraded to 7 rounded aperture blade and I’ve found that it produces some lovely bokeh. It’s very smooth and very creamy, and because it’s not a funny shape, it’s also not so distracting. Now to me it’s not a huge deal because I didn’t mind the old 50’s bokeh shapes, but I guess it is a nice upgrade.
AUTOFOCUS: Of course one of the biggest new changes to this lens is the inclusion of an STM or stepping motor. Now I’ve used the 24 stm, 40 stm, 18-135 stm and I’ve been impressed with them all. And I can safely say the 50mm STM is just as good, it's very fast and snappy and a massive upgrade from the old version.
IMAGE QUALITY AND SAMPLES: So it’s all well and good to talk about the lens, but I always think it’s good to take a look at a few sample images to see just how good it is. Please take a look at the attached images on this review to see. From my testing I’ve got to say I’ve been so impressed with this lens. Especially for $125.
The bokeh looks fantastic, chromatic aberation has been greatly reduced compared to the old version, and vignetting if almost no existent.
Once you knock it down to around f2.8 this lens is about as sharp as you’d get for any lens around this price range.
Colours are handled very well as well and can really pop if you get them in the right conditions.
So overall I've loved the new 50 STM, what a brilliant lens.
P.S. - Drop a comment down below with any questions. I check for comments on my reviews regularly!