canon ef 50mm f/2.5 compact macro

canon ef 50mm f/2.5 compact macro

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

Lekki i kompaktowy obiektyw, doskonały jako uniwersalny obiektyw makro lub jako elastyczny obiektyw standardowy.

  • Standardowy kąt widzenia 46°
  • Minimalna odległość ogniskowania: 23 cm
  • Odwzorowanie obrazu w skali 1/2 rzeczywistego rozmiaru
  • Układ autofokusa AFD
  • Rozmiar filtra: 52 mm
  • Powłoki Super Spectra zmniejszają efekty zjawy i odbicia światła

Cechy szczegółowe

Przyjrzyj się dokładniej produktowi Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

Uniwersalny obiektyw makro

Lekki i kompaktowy obiektyw makro do fotografowania z małej odległości w powiększeniu 0,5x (połowa rzeczywistego rozmiaru). Ruchoma konstrukcja układu optycznego umożliwia skuteczną pracę niezależnie od ustawienia ogniskowej. Duży otwór przysłony f/2,5 pozwala uzyskać piękne rozmycie tła. Ten uniwersalny obiektyw jest doskonały do portretów i innych zastosowań oprócz makrofotografii.

Duży otwór przysłony f/2,5

Maksymalny otwór przysłony wynoszący f/2,5 umożliwia szybkie fotografowanie bez użycia lampy błyskowej w warunkach słabego oświetlenia, a dodatkowo oferuje doskonałą kontrolę głębi ostrości.

W pełni elektroniczny uchwyt obiektywu

Należący do uznanej rodziny EF obiektyw jest wyposażony we wbudowany silnik AF, który zapewnia szybkie i bezpośrednie działanie funkcji AF. Obiektyw ma także elektromagnetyczną przysłonę (EMD), która umożliwia niewiarygodnie precyzyjną regulację i gwarantuje dokładność i stałość ustawionej przysłony przy każdym zdjęciu.

Powłoka Super Spectra

Powłoki Super Spectra pomagają uzyskiwać dokładny balans kolorów i wysoki kontrast, a ponadto redukują odbicia światła i efekt zjawy poprzez pochłanianie światła, które może odbijać się od wewnętrznych elementów obiektywu lub cyfrowych matryc EOS.

Dane techniczne produktu

Więcej informacji o produkcie Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, jego cechach i możliwościach.

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens Review

The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens is Canon’s shortest (in both focal length and physical length) macro lens.

Although designated and classified as a macro lens, the 50 macro natively offers only 1:2 (.5x) magnification (vs. 1:1 (1x) in most true macro lenses). Coupled with the expensive (it costs about as much as the lens itself) optional accessory Canon Life Size Converter EF, the 50 macro can focus down to 1:1 lifesize.

Build quality for the 50 macro is mid-level for Canon. The mount is metal — the focus ring is a bit loose. The front element extends a bit during focusing but does not rotate.

Pictured above from left to right are the 50 macro, the 50 macro extended and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Lens.

The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens does not feature USM (Ultrasonic Motor) focusing. The result is somewhat noisy and medium-fast focusing. FTM focusing is not part of the feature set.

Canon does not provide a lens hood for the 50 macro, but it is not so important for this lens as the front element is recessed deep into the lens. As it is, the 50 macro shows good resistance to flare.

Distortion is very well controlled even with close subjects (important in a macro lens).

The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens is very slightly soft wide open, sharp at f/3.2 and very sharp after f/4-5.6. Color and contrast are very good. Full frame body users will see some vignetting wide open.

In addition to macro application use, the 50 macro can be used as a normal 50mm lens. Compared to Canon’s other 50mm lenses, the 50 macro is slightly longer/narrower/lighter than the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens, and both are larger/heavier/have better bokeh quality than the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens. The 50 macro has a 6-blade aperture while the 50 f/1.4 has an 8-blade aperture.

If you are in the market for a 50mm normal lens, my personal recommendation is to spend a little more money and get the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens. I think the additional f-stops (nearly 2) the f/1.4 lens provides are very worthwhile and add versatility to your 50mm. The f/1.4’s somewhat better (slightly faster, quieter) focusing motor is worth something to me as well.

If you are in the market for a macro lens, I recommend the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens. The extra working distance this lens affords is very nice. Of course, the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L USM Macro Lens is really nice if your budget can handle it.

If you need both (50mm normal and macro) in one lens — the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens is for you! If 1:2 macro is good enough, the 50 macro is a good value lens. Image quality is very good.

There are many uses for this lens, but semi-close-up photography is a good candidate. Product photography is one example. Small non-living items such as jewelry, fashion accessories, documents . are more examples.

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Canon ef 50mm f/2.5 compact macro

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On smaller sensor cameras this almost entirely goes away, even in this test, because they only use the middle of the image. See Crop Factor.

On my full-frame 5D I can use four regular 52mm screw-in filters with no vignetting.

Five filters vignette at infinity and work fine at close distances.

There’s no need to worry about filter vignetting even with a full-frame camera. Smaller sensor cameras are even less subject to it (see Crop Factor).

This is a dangerously blinding California midday sun exposed two stops more than I would for daylight, against a deliberately dark growth of bushes. Only an idiot would do this, and the flare is still minimal. I’m not going to worry about flare; I’m going to worry about my eyesight!

Crap Tree. 50mm Macro, Canon 5D, f/5.6 @ 1/125, ISO 50.

Even at the closest focus distance of a few inches I get no shadows from the built-in flash of my Rebel XTi.

The XTi’s built-in flash exposes as well at close distances as it does at far.

The biggest problem in macro is that for everything to be sharp, everything has to be flat, since there is no depth-of field. Most macro pros shoot everything at f/32 with strobes. The shot above was at f/10, hand-held, so only the yellow is reasonably in focus.

It goes to half life size. That means the photo will cover double the dimensions of your film or image sensor.

at closest focus, full image on a 30D.

100% crop from above, no extra sharpening. f/6.3 @ 1/250, ISO 100, 30D.

These snaps are from a 1.6x 30D. You won’t be able to get as close an image with a 1.3x or full-frame or film camera. (see Crop Factor.)

The serial number is on the bottom rear of the barrel, engraved and filled with white paint.

Sharpness is always excellent, as you’d expect for a macro lens.

When I compared it directly to the f/1.4 at infinity on a 5D Mark II, this inexpensive macro is clearly superior.

When shot on the 5D Mark II, it’s always sharp in the center.

At f/2.5, the sides can be a little lower in contrast due to a tiny bit of coma, but they improve at f/2.8, improve even more at f/4, and are perfect at f/5.6 and at f/8. The sides are sharp, even at f/2.5, which is a lot better than the 50mm f/1.4 if you’re counting pixels.

By f/11 and smaller, this lens is so sharp that diffraction is the limiting factor.

Most older models have 5-bladed diaphragms, and beget 10-pointed sunstars on bright points of light.

The current model has a 6-bladed diaphragm, and makes 6-pointed sunstars.

Survivability performance top

It feels pretty tough, but it’s not sealed against the elements.

I suspect what will kill this lens is ingress of dirt and grit.

TIP: In dim light, fire several shots and pick the sharpest. Blur is a random event, so if you fire enough shots, you’ll eventually get a sharp one even at speeds of 1/4 second!

I shot this f/2.5 macro directly against the 50mm f/1.4 USM at the test range on a 5D Mark II. The f/1.4 lens is much softer at every aperture, especially from f/2.5 — f/8. At 100% on-screen, the f/1.4 lens looks broken by comparison at the larger apertures.

This less expensive macro was much sharper at large apertures. By f/11, the f/1.4 lens improved to be about as good as this macro, where most lenses have the same sharpness due to diffraction anyway.

This macro also had much less distortion, and of course could focus much more closely. The macro had a slightly larger angle-of-view than the 50mm f/1.4.

If you split pixels, this inexpensive lens is clearly superior to the f/1.4 version.

The 50mm f/1.2 L might be about as sharp, but has much more distortion.

The Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact-Macro is a superb choice as an all-around 50mm lens. it is the sharpest and the least distorting of any Canon 50mm lens.

It may not be expensive, but this is Canon’s best 50mm lens optically.

It’s not the fastest, but with the high ISOs of DSLRs, still works great in low-light, and gives a much deeper depth-of field and often higher AF accuracy than Canon’s faster lenses.

As a standard lens, this lens also focuses immediately to any close distance you might want; you never hit a stop at 1.5 feet (0.45m) as you do with Canon’s other 50mm lenses.

For dedicated macro use, longer lenses are far more practical since you won’t be so close that you’ll bloch your light or annoy your subjects, as you are apt to do with any 50mm lens. For serious macro use, I’d get a Canon 100mm f/2.8 or Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS instead, just to open up the distance between the front of my lens and the subject.

I first published this review on 06 December 2006, and rewrote it on 29 April 2010 with new data from a newer sample of this lens on the 5D Mark II.

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Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

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Buy the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

(From Canon lens literature) A superior-performance lens offering excellent optics and focusing from infinity down to one-half life size (0.5x). Its nine-element design features a floating optical system, which ensures top-notch performance even at close focusing distances. Light and compact, it functions beautifully as a general-purpose normal lens. The optional accessory Life Size Converter EF enables focusing down to life size (1:1), and actually increases working distance — very desireable in close-up shooting.

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro

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Canon EF — Black

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro User Reviews

Perhaps quality varies from sample to sample with this lens as it seems to others. My one seems to be a very good one. From the first time I tried this lens, I was surprised almost to the point of being shocked at how good it was compared to what I was expecting from a roughly $200 new cost lens. I’ve not seen the quality of this lens exceeded in any lens costing anywhere near it.

The lens is decently sharp at 2,5 and once at 4,0, it’s terrific all the way up. I have successfully used this in macro shots as well as general 50 mm use on my FF camera.

If given a choice between saving some money and the f 1.8, I’d go with this lens. If it was between this and the f 1.4, it’d depend upon my choice of low light or macro. I also think my example is better than the f 1.4 I had for a loan a while back.

Personally I’m very pleased with this lens. As my new 5d2 can shoot high ISO’s well unheard of only a short time ago, the roughly 1.4 stops from here to the f 1.4 isn’t relevant to my needs where the macro is of great use.

Of course, if you can have it all, then the 100 mm or 200 mm macros with the 1.2 are the way to go. For us, who are on a budget, this lens does a heck of a lot. | |

reviewed November 11th, 2015 (purchased for $239)

This lens is optically simply excellent. Sharp, clear, good contrast and colour. And because it goes to 1:2 macro it is much more versatile than the other fast 50s. I like it, but it just doesn’t fit my needs. I really wanted 1:1 macro so have gone with a 100mm. But if you don’t need to get super close to your subject (flowers, for example) it really is great. And f/2.5 is quite fast, especially because the 50 1.8 and 1.4 don’t really get sharp till around f2 or 2.5. It has great bokeh for close ups and good bokeh for more distant subjects like portraits.

The lens’s construction is good. Solid plastic with metal mount. The negative – it’s showing its age – is its focus motor, which is loud for a Canon lens. If you’re comparing to all the Pentax or Sony-Minolta screw driven lenses, then it’s the same deal. If you are on a budget, and want a really versatile normal length lens, this is recommended. Or if you just want a really sharp 50 that’s just a bit slower than the rest, get it. But probably not your best bet for a quiet wedding shoot.

reviewed July 24th, 2014 (purchased for $250)

I’ve had this lens more than a decade, and I still use it more than any other (though I have a EF-S 60 on the way, so that may change tomorrow). When used alone, this is a superb lens for still subjects. It’s not a true 1:1 macro, but it is great for photographing smaller items (coins, jewelery, etc) and perfect for copy work. It’s tack-sharp across the frame between F/4 and F/8, and has negligible vignetting, CA or distortions.

What’s not so great about this lens is its very slow focus motor speed. The little noisy motor can be frustrating when the lens AF decides to hunt in low light.

If you buy this lens, use it for what it is, don’t waste money on the «life-size converter». Adding the converter gets you effectively 70mm f/3.5 but reduces sharpness and contributes significant chromatic aberration. Not only that, but you lose the ability to focus at infinity, but that’s not the dealbreaker, the purple fringing is. Put the extra money towards a longer focal length macro lens instead of the converter. Canon’s 100mm USM macro and Sigma’s 105mm both seriously outperform the 50/2.5+converter, FYI.

reviewed December 7th, 2010 (purchased for $250)

See pros and cons .
The lens is actually not a real 1:1 macro but a 1:2 macro. You would need a converter. Therefore the Sigma 50mm macro might be a better buy.
I think this lens severely need an update. It’s build quality is not up to modern standard.

reviewed January 6th, 2007 (purchased for $440)

This is a great lens from canon, Well built and sharp as a tack.

The only thing to keep in mind with this lens is that it does not focus to true 1:1 macro, only 1:2. This may or may not be an issue, but most 50mm macros competing with this lens will go to 1:1.

Overall I would easily recommend this lens though, its great if you are in need of a 50mm lens.

reviewed January 1st, 2007 (purchased for $280)

A workhorse lens for use on a copy stand. I also used this lens hand held for nature details. Often used in manual focus mode when the focussing ring can be spun round with a fingertip, it is so light. Sometimes used with a 25mm extension tube for 1:1. Well shielded front element so no flare problems. Was used to take a photo that appeared in Nat Geo.

One of the sharpest lenses I have used.

reviewed November 7th, 2006 (purchased for $476)

I use this lens for underwater macro work, most of the time with its life size converter. The photos are amazing, but this lens makes taking them hard work (with the lifesize converter). The AF is so slow in low light that I have extra focus lights strapped to the camera housing to give this lens something bright to look at while the motor is pumping. Some shots were missed because the lens hadn’t found the focus yet.
Without the converter it’s much easier to work with, as the AF is faster.

We really need this lens with quiet USM focussing, as it makes an annyoing whirring sound when focussing. Small wildlife get often scared and scurry off before you can press the shutter.

But even with all the handling problems you can’t beat the results : Incredible photos!

reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $240)

The build of this lens is very good. it has a very long travel focusing mechanism that is smooth and precise throughout the entire range. The front of the lens extends about the entire length of the lens, making the lens double the length when focused to its closest distance.

The image quality is top notch. Wide open it has great sharpness from corner to corner. stopped down it gets even better. i spent a week in Yellowstone / Grand Tetons and this was the lens i found myself using the most.

I have used this lens with extension tubes and the mt-24EX twin light. With tubes you have to get really close to your subject but i had no problem, even when photographing bugs.

1. Blossom — this one was done with 68mm of extension and was very hard to focus, however the look worked. this is not a good example of wide open sharpness

# Shutter Speed: 1/100 second
# F Number: F/2.5
# Focal Length: 50 mm
# ISO Speed: 100

2. Fruit Fly
# Shutter Speed: 1/60 second
# F Number: F/4.0
# Focal Length: 50 mm
# ISO Speed: 100

3. Tetons
# Shutter Speed: 1/400 second
# F Number: F/8.0
# Focal Length: 50 mm
# ISO Speed: 100

4. The Tetons
# Shutter Speed: 1/320 second
# F Number: F/8.0
# Focal Length: 50 mm
# ISO Speed: 100

Great lens for walkaround purposes. it combines the popular 50mm length with great focusing and macro abilities. however if you need lowlight then this may not be for you.

reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $250)

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews the compact, lightweight, Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro lens.

Canon’s 50mm f/2.5 macro lens offers a compact, lightweight half life size macro option for EF and EF-S cameras, which costs around £230. An optimal converter is also available for this lens, which costs around £250 and provides life size magnification with the lens at its closes focus.

Owners of EF-S compatible camera bodies may also consider Canon’s 60mm f/2.8 macro optic, which costs around £340. This lens provides life size magnification without a converter, along with silent internal focusing.

The closest equivalent from third party manufacturers is Sigma’s 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro lens, which costs around £255. This optic provides life size magnification without a converter also.

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Handling and features

Weighing only 280g, this lens is relatively compact and lightweight. Despite the light weight, the build quality is excellent, with much of the barrel being constructed from high grade plastics and the lens mount from metal and it balances well on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II used for testing.

Focusing isn’t particularly fast, as is common with macro lenses, but it does hunt back and forth quite a lot before locking onto a target, even in ideal conditions and at normal distances. The lens extends by about an inch at its closest focus distance of 23cm, but the filter thread does not rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. The filter thread accepts 52mm filters, which is not a standard size for Canon, who normally use 58mm filters for many of their other lenses. Manual focus is smooth and reasonably well damped, making it easy to make fine adjustments.

A clear distance scale window is located on top of the lens, providing information on the focused distance, magnification and hyperfocal markings are provided for f/16 and f/32. No focus limiter switch is provided, which is a shame as this could speed auto focus, especially at normal distances. A magnification scale is provided on top of the lens barrel as it extends for use with the optional life size converter.

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Performance

At f/2.5 sharpness in the centre is already excellent, and the quality towards the edges approaches good levels. Stopping the lens down improves sharpness across the frame until f/5.6, where the clarity exceeds excellent levels from edge to edge.

50mm $299
average price

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II using Imatest.

MTF at 50mm

Chromatic aberrations are very well controlled, with fringing reaching half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame at f/8. This level is very low and shouldn’t pose any issues, even for highly critical applications.

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II using Imatest.

Chromatic Aberrations at 50mm

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is quite pronounced. At f/2.5 the corners are 2.94 stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination isn’t achieved until the lens is stopped down to f/5.6.

A virtually negligible level of distortion of 0.811% has been detected by Imatest. This low level of distortion should make this lens the ideal optic for critical applications, such as copy stand work.

The deeply recessed front element is very well protected from extraneous light from outside of the frame. Even when shooting directly into strong light sources, contrast holds up well and flare is a very rare occurrence.

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Sample Photos

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Verdict

Optically this lens is excellent, producing sharp images with low levels of chromatic aberrations and distortion.

Being priced at around £230 makes this an excellent value choice, so long as you don’t require life sized magnification for which the optional life size converter will be required.

The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens produces sharp images with low distortion, with excellent value for money.

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Pros

Excellent sharpness
Negligible distortion
Good build quality

Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Cons

Slow autofocus
No focus limiter switch

Writer’s Favorite Lens – Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro


Sometimes, picking a favorite is hard. If you ask me to choose a favorite song or movie, it just can’t be done. Lenses; however, are different beasts. Ask most photographers what their favorite lens is, and you’ll probably get little hesitation before they start gushing and waxing lyrical.

At least that’s how I am, and when it comes to picking my favorite, all you have to do is ask which lens is probably on my camera body right now. That is almost always the Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro.

This lens is a gem that offers great quality in terms of sharpness, ease of use, durability and versatility, and even though I’ve acquired some fairly serious glass since I bought it 12 years ago, it’s still my go-to lens.

Making the choice

Regarding lens choice, one of the most common things new photographers are told is to start with a 50mm f/1.8, often referred to as “thrifty fifties”. The logic here is more or less irrefutable. These lenses are cheap, reliable, versatile, and their large aperture makes them much faster than anything else in that price range. Their versatility makes them perfect for portraits and most other subjects outside of the extremes such as landscapes, which favor wide-angle lenses, and sports, which favor telephoto lenses.

When I was starting out, I spent a lot of time photographing things like food, flowers, toys, and other small things with fine details. I had little interest in other types of photography, and no interest in portraiture.
As such, the biggest limitation I got from my kit lenses was the focusing distance. I was forever trying to get closer to my subjects using the long end of kit lenses, and falling short every time.

When it was time to consider upgrading that first lens, research made it clear that neither the thrifty fifty nor the 85mm f/1.8 would do much good towards those aims. On the other hand, a dedicated 100mm macro lens was far out of my price range. Because of all this, I put off upgrading my kit lenses for a long time.

It was only by chance that I eventually found the 50mm Compact Macro while browsing through Canon lenses on a retailer’s site. To be honest, there wasn’t a lot of research involved. I saw the lens, the price, and the focusing distance of nine inches, and I bought it within the week.

Pros and cons

The Canon 50mm Compact Macro is the workhorse of my camera bag and it’s certainly been put through its paces over the past decade. For my purposes, there are no flaws; however, it does have a few qualities that may make it unsuitable for some photographers.

Pro – Build quality

It can’t be helped that the first thing you notice about this lens is the build quality. This is particularly true if your previous experiences are with kit lenses. The solid metal casing makes it feel sturdy and the extra weight feels great in your hand.

It may be worth mentioning that when I did get to use a 50mm f/1.8 a few years ago, I thought that I was being handed a Holga lens. This isn’t in any way an attempt the demean the 50mm f/1.8, but rather as an illustration of how far apart these lenses are in terms of build quality.

Pro – Durability

Durability may fall under build quality, but experience makes me feel it’s worth mentioning separately.

This lens has been dropped on concrete, cobble stone, and Tarmac, and it has been in the ocean. It has been in ash storms, torrential rain, hail storms, and there was one terrifying incident where it was left to stew in a half litre puddle of shower gel for a few hours. Despite all of this, this lens has not once shown any performance issues.

Pro – Sharpness

As should be expected from a lens created for the purpose of macro photography, the Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro cannot be faulted in terms of sharpness. While I’m unable to compare it to the other 50mm offerings from Canon, I can compare it with the excellent 85mm f/1.8 and 70-200 f/4 L IS USM. The differences are almost indistinguishable.

Pro – Large aperture

The compact Macro may have a smaller aperture than Canon’s other 50mm lenses, but it is still a fast lens and works well in all but the dimmest of settings.

In terms of background blur, if you take into account that depth of field is also affected by the distance of the camera from the subject (the closer you are, the shallower the depth of field) you can see that you will achieve a comparable amount of blur to the faster lenses.

Pro – Focusing

Whether it’s in auto focus or manual focus, it’s really hard to find fault with this lens. In normal situations, the auto-focus is fast and accurate. The large aperture of f/2.5 allows for a bright image in the viewfinder, making manual focus easy and quick.

Pro – Focus distance

With a focusing distance of just nine inches (23cm), you can get extremely close to your subjects. Yes, this may be the sole reason for this lens’ existence, but the versatility this adds is wonderful. For example, you are able to take a close-up of someone’s eye, then move a few steps back and take a normal 50mm portrait seconds later.

As mentioned, it wasn’t easy to come up with any negative aspects of this lens. There are; however, a few considerations that could mean this may not fit your specific photographic needs.

Con – Weight

At 9.88 ounces (280 grams), the Compact Macro weighs more than twice as much as Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 lens (4.6 ounces/ 130g). If you’re trying to keep your kit bag as light as possible, and the macro functionality isn’t that important, then you may want to consider the alternatives.

Con – Price

While I will attest that this lens offers tremendous value for the money, at $299 it is a big jump in price from the 50mm f/1.8 at $125. If you’re just starting out, and do not yet know what subjects you’re interested in, or whether or not you will stick with photography for long, it may be worth considering a more wallet friendly option.

Editor’s note: at the time of this article the 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro lens is listed on Canon’s site as Out of Stock. You may be able to find it used on or go for the even higher priced 60mm f/2.8 Macro at $419 USD.

Con – Light

There is a slight downside to the lens’ closest focusing distance. When you’re standing that close to your subject, you and the camera effectively block any light coming from the front. Often, this is easily countered with side lighting techniques, or by using a dedicated macro ring flash, but it can be tricky to overcome at other times.

Con – Magnification

What may be considered as a deal breaker for a lot of photographers is that the 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro is not a true macro lens. With a magnification ratio of 1:2, it only creates images at half life-size. This can be rectified with a converter that allows for 1:1 magnification.

In the end

I know I’ve been gushing quite a bit, but my experiences with this lens have been outstanding, despite the heavy use and torture I put it through. If you’re in a position where you’re deciding to buy a 50mm, and you like the idea of getting really close your subjects, do consider the Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro. It really is a treat.

Canon ef 50mm f/2.5 compact macro

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published August 2005

Special thanks to Markus Stamm for providing this lens!


The lens features a conventional micro motor without full-time manual focusing. The AF speed is reasonably fast unless the camera thinks that it needs to hunt through the focusing range. In this case be prepared to wait quite a while. The lack of a focus limiter doesn’t help here either. AF accuracy could be better on the EOS 350D.

The lens uses a linear extension system for focusing (similar to extension tubes) so the length of the lens changes according to the focus distance. The front element does not rotate during focusing. The minimal focus distance is 0.23m resulting in a max. magnification of 1:2. Using a dedicated but optional life-size converter you can achieve a magnifications between 1:4 and 1:1 at increased working distances. Using the converter you loose 1 f-stops (f/3.5) and the combination does not focus to up to infinity.
Manual focusing feels Ok. The focus ring is not exactly the smoothest around and typical for lenses of that era the focusing action feels a little scratchy but at the end of the day it does the job.

In case you wonder about the magnification numbers on the inner lens barrel: this refers to the life-size converter combination (1:4 — 1:1).

The optical construction is made of just 9 elements in 8 groups without any special elements. The lens features 6 aperture blades. Typical for all true macro lenses it features a floating system in order to achieve a constant performance throughout all focusing distances. The filter size is 52mm.
At just 280g it is a very light-weight lens and with a dimension of 67x63mm it’s also quite compact. That said it’s still a little bigger than conventional 50mm lenses. Here’s a comparison to the EF 50mm f/1.8 II.

The build quality is decent with a metal mount and an outer barrel made of good quality plastics. As mentioned the focusing ring could be a little better though.

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