Canon has announced an all new 50mm f/1.8 lens, the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. The previous generation, the 50mm f/1.8 II, was a favourite for many to get into as a cheap, large aperture lens. Its claim to fame was in its price, as it was usually anywhere from a quarter to a third cheaper than comparable Nikon or Minolta or Pentax. Not surprising, given its all-plastic construction, and a very very noisy internal focus motor.
The new lens is going to change all that: The STM version has the silent and swift stepper motor, which means it will be good for video use as well, in particular with the Dual Pixel AF cameras, and the lens mount is now metal. There aperture diaphragm now uses seven blades, so the old pentagram bokeh at moderately stopped down apertures should be gone too.
At US$130, it is a bit pricier than the last generation, but I think the improvements will be well worth it, if you ask me. I could never stand the high-pitched motor of the 50/1.8 II, and the amount of slop and play in the plastic construction didn’t help my perception of it.
Canon’s latest updates of their kit lenses into STM variants have actually been quite good, and they certainly help contribute to the fact that kit lenses don’t suck anymore. With the update of the EF-S 55-250mm to a STM version, hopefully it lives up to its cousins, the 18-55mm and 18-135mm STM lenses. Both lenses received significant upgrades in image quality, along with the quiet AF for video work the stepping motor brings. Arrives in late September in the USA for US$350.
Canon’s answer to the mirrorless camera revolution? Shrink down the EOS 650D way down to a size even smaller than the original (and uncomfortable) EOS 300D.The new EOS 100D (or Rebel SL1 for you North American folks) is mainly about its smaller size. The rest about it is basically a EOS 650D, minus a button or two and the articulated LCD. Which is to say, it will sport that same 18 megapixel sensor, 9 cross point autofocus system, 5 FPS continuous shooting, and 3″ touchscreen LCD.
Canon is pretty smart, I have to say. The greatest advantage in mirrorless cameras really comes from the smaller lenses (as an example, the Panasonic 12-35mm f2/.8 is the same size as the ubiquitous 18-55 kit lens), but I bet Canon marketing has figured out that many of the compact camera upgraders who buy a mirrorless camera usually stick with the one kit lens that comes with the camera. Ergo, build a smaller and lighter camera, and they will flock to it. Come up with some small light lenses to entice them to build a small system, and voila! Addic- I mean, locked-in users.
Do you like playing those Spot-the-Difference games? Because Canon has just released their own version, and it involves trying to find the difference between the new EOS 700D and the previous 650D. It has that same old 18 megapixel sensor from the 650D which packs the phase detection bits, same 5 FPS frame rate, same 9 cross point autofocus system, same 3″ LCD, well, pretty much everything is the same. Oh wait, it comes with that new snazzy EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM kit lens, which is a nice upgrade, and there is the ability to preview effects like Olympus’s Art Filters, and… well, there is that new mode dial.
To add, the 650D/Rebel T4i is not even a year old. New products can create a bang when introduce, but remember, they have to be new, not warmed-over leftovers. That 18 megapixel is going to break the Panasonic 12 megapixel Live MOS sensor’s record of years in service and the Sony IMX071 (D7000’s 16 megapixel sensor) in number of cameras featured at this rate.