It's well made - but then all Canon lenses are good qualityCons
This lens is a "jack of all trades and master of none". This lens is OK but there are better macro lenses available, there are better 50mm prime lenses available and there are better portrait lenses available.Verdict
If you are seriously considering buying a macro lens give this one a wide berth as the focal length isn't enough, the image quality isn't good enough and there are far better lenses out there.
Canon 50mm f2.5 macro lens - Best avoided
When you look at the Canon 50mm macro lens it appears a nice lens that is well made and solidly built. It is not weather sealed, but then it is not an L lens so this is to be expected. That said, this lens feels solid and you wonít have any problems with it if you donít abuse it of course. Canon is renowned for making top quality products and this lens is no different.
A true macro lens will record an image at life size, i.e. at 1:1 reproduction however, the 50mm macro lens will not do this, unless you use the optional Canon life size converter EF, which is a very expensive accessory. Without the life-size converter, this lens will only record subjects at a maximum of half their size, so I do struggle to see how Canon can market this lens as a macro lens.
The picture quality of the Canon 50mm f2.5 is acceptable, and you can capture some nice images with this lens however there are alternative Canon 50mm lenses that are optically better. The main problem with the Canon 50mm f2.5 macro lens are the colours, which always seem a bit washed out and faded compared to what they should be. You can sort this problem with some computer software during the editing process, but you shouldnít really have to do this, especially when Canonís other 50mm lenses donít have the same problem. When it comes to image sharpness I have no complaints at all, and images are tack sharp from the centre to the edges. Some people argue this lens is a bit soft when shot wide open at f2.5, but if you stop it down a bit image sharpness becomes exceptional. Ghosting and flaring are well controlled and there are no issues with vignetting or pin cushioning either.
In my opinion, a 50mm focal length is too short for macro and close up photography. The shorter the focal length the closer the working distance, i.e. distance from the end of the lens to the subject, which creates other problems, such as lighting and composition. To make matters worse, the front of the canon 50mm f2.5 macro lens extends and pokes out when focusing, which reduces the working distance further. There are times when you have to be careful not to actually hit the subject with the lens when you are photographing it.
If you want to capture macro photographs of insects and mini beasts a 50mm macro lens is going to be next to useless since you will find it almost impossible to get close enough to the subject without scaring it and making it fly away or scarper to the nearest hole for safety. If you only want to capture macro and close up images of flowers and still life subjects, you can get away with a lens with a 50mm focal length, but you will need to be clever and creative when it comes to lighting. Rather than struggling with a small working distance I would always recommend buying a macro lens with a longer focal length as one of these is going to be much more useful and versatile. If insects and mini beasts are your chosen subjects I would recommend adding a bit more money and buying the Canon EF100mm f2.8L IS USM macro lens, which is an awesome macro lens packed full of features and technology, including image stabilisation, which is essential for pin sharp hand-held photographs.†
Despite being branded a macro lens the Canon 50mm f2.5 macro lens can be used for other types of photography including landscape, portrait or as a general walk about lens to name but a few. The 50mm focal length is considered to be one of the most useful and a 50mm prime lens is something that all photographers should carry in their bag. Just because all photographers should have a 50mm prime lens it doesnít mean you should go out and buy the canon 50mm f2.5 macro lens though.
The Canon 50mm f2.5 macro lens is not the best 50mm Canon lens available and it definitely is not the cheapest either. For less than half the price of this lens you can buy the awesome canon 50mm 1.8, a lens which has a wider maximum aperture, is faster, smaller and lighter, and has better image quality. Alternatively, you can opt for the 50mm 1.4 for a little more money than the 50mm f2.5 macro lens.
Would I recommend this lens? Definitely not. There is no way I would ever recommend the Canon 50mm f2.5 macro lens since it is a halfway house lens. It will do an OK job at portrait and macro photographs but it will not do an excellent job, and when you are looking to take the best images you want an excellent lens and in my opinion that is the Canon EF100mm f2.8L IS USM macro lens.
But as you saw in my review, I don't recommend it.
To see what I do recommend, click the button to the right:
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