Review Yongnuo EF YN 50 mm f/1.8


The Yongnuo EF 50 mm f/1.8 is for sale for about 55 euros. This is a 50 mm f/1.8 fixed focal length lens with AF, which can also be used on a camera with a full-frame sensor. On a camera with an APS-C sensor, this is an ideal portrait lens. The high brightness makes this suitable for photographing in the dark without a flash as well, or for playing with background blur/bokeh.
If, as a starter or amateur photographer with a Canon SLR camera, you want to buy your first lens with a fixed focal length, then you cannot go wrong with the Yongnuo 50 mm f/1.8. For half the price of a comparable Canon lens with a fixed focal length, you get a one-ounce camera device with surprising image quality.


For many, Yongnuo is an unfamiliar name. Yong Nuo Photographic Equipment Co. Ltd. is part of ShenZhen YongNuo Photographic Equipment Co. Ltd. It is a Chinese company, from which you can also, for example, buy flashes or a 35 mm f/2.0 lens for an attractive price.
 MG 6298Yongnuo EF YN 50 mm f/1.8 + Canon 760D @ f/5.6, 100 ISO, 1/100 sec (hand held). 
Click on the image for a version @ 100%.

Build and auto focus

The exterior of the lens is strongly reminiscent of an old Canon lens. There is one switch on the lens, with which you choose between AF and manual focus. I was surprised when unpacking the lens: there was a plastic film on the front and rear lens elements for protection against possible scratches. I had never come across that before. If you immediately started shooting without removing the film, then the image quality would probably be disappointing.
This is a light, but not very compact lens. The lens consists of 6 lens elements in 5 groups, just like the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 (II and STM). The front lens element is deeply recessed in the lens housing, so that you do not really need a lens hood. One is not included, either. The Canon 50 mm f/1.8 II had a plastic mount. Hence the nickname “Plastic Fantastic.” The Canon 50 mm f/1.8 STM has a metal mount, but the Yongnuo still has a black plastic lens mount.
Manual focusing is not a snap with the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 or f/1.8 STM. The same applies for the Yongnuo: at the front of the lens there is a very narrow ring, with which you can focus manually. It works, but for me the focus ring could be broader. When you turn the AF on, then the focus ring turns as well. That feels strange, if you hold onto the focus ring during focusing. But you get used to it quickly.
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Distortion, vignetting, flare and chromatic aberration


Distortion is practically absent, as you might expect from a 50-mm fixed focal length. The lens elements are fitted with a coating with multiple layers, so that reflections and glare are reduced and the light transmission is increased. This creates contrast-rich shots with true-to-nature colors, but flare can still occur with bright backlighting. If you photograph directly against the sun, then even if the sun is just outside frame you can encounter green ghosts. The Yongnuo is as good on this point as the Canon 50 mm lenses.
Lateral chromatic aberration, green and red edges at sharp contrast transitions in the corners of the image, will rarely appear, even though the Yongnuo did not do as well in our test as the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 STM.
You do not need to worry about vignetting, if you use this lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor. At full aperture, you can still find vignetting in critical situations, but that is resolved after stopping down a bit. This is also, of course, simple to correct with software (Photoshop, Lightroom or another photo editing program).




As far as sharpness is concerned, there is no difference from the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 STM that we just recently reviewed. At full aperture, the sharpness is far from optimal. You get a dreamy picture, which can create a unique mood for portraits and low-light shots. After stopping down two stops, the highest sharpness is reached, and the Yongnuo (just like the Canon, by the way) gives nothing up to much more expensive lenses with the same focal length.

 MG 6289Yongnuo EF YN 50 mm f/1.8 + Canon 760D @ f/1.8, 100 ISO, 1/320 sec.


 MG 6282

If, as a starter/amateur photographer with a Canon SLR camera, you want to learn to play with background blur/bokeh, then the Yongnuo 50 mm f/1.8 is a winner.

As can be seen in the practice shot above, a bright light source in the background produces a beautifully round bokeh at full aperture, with a small, colored intensified edge. Thanks to a larger number of rounded lamellae, the bokeh is visibly nicer than that of the first Canon 50 mm f/1.8 version, which is sometimes still offered for sale at a low price.
The bokeh is better than that of most zoom lenses for APS-C, which are much less bright and sometimes also have trouble with a restless onion-ring structure.

With bright lenses (< f/2.8), longitudinal chromatic aberration or “color bokeh” can be visible. At full aperture with the Yongnuo 50 mm f/1.8, you sometimes see purple edges at sharp contrast transitions that lie in front of the focal point and green edges at sharp contrast transitions (as shown here) that lie behind the focal point. This might look dramatic, but this phenomenon is usually much less clearly visible, and it’s a snap to resolve by stopping down one stop. On this point, too, the Yongnuo gives nothing up to the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 STM that we reviewed previously.


Conclusion Yongnuo EF YN 50 mm f/1.8 review with Canon 760D

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Look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses.

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, where you have applied all available in-camera lens corrections. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: “What you see is what you get”.

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ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you make use of Photoshop, Lightroom or SilkyPix for converting RAW files, then the RAW scores are the same as the jpg scores. {insertgrid ID = 309}


  • Large aperture of f/1.8 with associated dreamy look
  • Surprisingly good image quality after stopping down a couple stops
  • Weighs just 120 grams
  • Is 50% or more less expensive than the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 (II/STM)


  • Less sharp at full aperture
  • Noisy with AF

Too long/didn’t read (TL/DR)? A 50 mm f/1.8 for a Canon SLR camera, which costs half as much as a Canon 50 mm f/1.8 (II of STM), sounds too good to be true.
It isn’t. It’s true.

The Canon 50 mm f/1.8 lenses (versions II and STM), with shop prices of around 100 euros, are certainly not expensive. And the Yongnuo is another 50% less expensive. As far as image quality is concerned, there might be small differences to discover between the Canon and the Yongnuo, but you will also see those differences if you test different copies of the Canon or the Yongnuo. They are differences that you do not have to worry about as an amateur or starting photographer with a Canon SLR camera.

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