Lens review

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II

21 January 2015
Arkadiusz Olech

9. Ghosting, flares and transmission

First let’s check the transmission of the tested lens – an appropriate graph you can find below.

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II - Ghosting, flares and transmission

We really like the appearance of that. The graph is quite flat, ensuring the proper colours rendition. What’s more, high transmission results of around 92-93% are kept across a wide spectrum, from a bit less than 500 to over 700 nm. The maximum result of the Canon in this category reaches up to 93.5%. Still in order to check what kind of technology class was used in this construction you have to take into account not only the total transmission but rather the losses you get on one air-to-glass surface. As there are five groups of elements so ten air-to-glass surfaces the 93% transmission level means on one surface you lose about 0.7% of light. It is a decent result and nothing more than that. If the producer employed the best available coatings the losses could have been limited to about 0.3% and the overall transmission would go near 97%. Still I understand the decision of Canon. It is a cheap lens and cheap coatings did provide quite sensible transmission anyway. I guess nobody was motivated enough to slave away and increase that result by just several percent raising undoubtedly the price of the lens in the process.

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There are two factors which make dampening down the flares in the Canon 1.8/50 effective. First – it’s a simple optical construction. The lens consists of just five groups of elements; it means only ten air-to-glass surfaces. Second, the front element is not very big and it is hidden inside the casing which acts like an build-in hood. Although the performance of the Canon in this category is far from perfect you can’t really complain about its work against bright light either. The flares are present only when the sun is situated almost precisely in the frame corner and even then they are not especially intensive.

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II - Ghosting, flares and transmission