The Sharpest and Best 50mm Lenses We’ve Tested


Lots of folks love the nifty 50. But those aren’t the best 50mm lenses. Some folks consider the ratings to be based on sharpness. And while we know that’s not all that makes a great lens, we’re happy to say that we’ve tested pretty much all of those lenses. And more importantly, we’ve got enough authority to help people figure out what the sharpest and best 50mm lenses are on the market. So dive into this roundup with us to see our favourites!

How We Chose the Best 50mm Lenses for This Roundup

These are some of the best 50mm lenses you’re going to get. And here’s what to know about this roundup!

  • This roundup of the best 50mm lenses contains 50mm lenses tested by us. But you’re in luck because we tested the vast majority of modern 50mm lenses available and of note. All the product images and sample images were shot by our staff.
  • The best 50mm lenses that we’re featuring in this roundup are the sharpest for each mirrorless camera system. We’re very much in love with them.
  • Some of the best 50mm lenses are massive. That’s just the result of what happens when things have image quality that’s that good.
  • Shoot with these lenses wide open or stopped down, and you’ll like the results. We surely did!
  • The best 50mm lenses are well worth it for anyone to step up to if they want better 50mm focal lengths.
  • No matter what lenses you use, you’ll need to keep them clean to get the most out of them. Take your lenses out and inspect them before every shoot and give them the once over. Remove any excess dirt, grease, fingerprints, or dust that you can. This will prolong the life of your lenses and will save you time during post. You don’t need an expensive cleaning kit either? This one has everything you need.

Panasonic 50mm f1.4 Lumix S Pro

50mm primes

Pros

  • Very sharp
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • nice colors
  • Sharpimages
  • With Panasonic’s latest firmware updates, it focuses surprisingly quick.
  • Well built
  • Super well weather sealed

Cons

  • Deserves better autofocus camera bodies
  • That price, oof!
  • It’s very big

In our reviewwe said:

“The Panasonic 50mm f1.4 Lumix S Pro is a truly exceptional lens. It really delivers where it counts with image quality. This lens is not only very sharp but also delivers beautiful bokeh. Portrait photographers will appreciate the colors, as will wedding photographers and photojournalists.”

50mm primes

Buy now: $2,097.99

Leica 50m f2 Summicron APO

In our reviewwe said:

This is one of the sharpest 50mm lenses I have ever had the pleasure of photographing with to date. At f2, the sharpness extends from the center and remains in focus from edge to edge. This sharpness is only improved upon by stopping down. Frames that I barely miss focus prove to be sharper than a lot of the usable images I have captured on DSLR 50mm lenses over the years.

Buy now: $2,595

Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM

50mm primes

In our reviewwe said:

All of these lenses have a beautiful look to them, but I’d argue that the Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM has a bit more pop and beauty to it. (Then I’d highly rate Sony’s Alpha lens.) The bokeh on all of them is nice; but I’ve seen that the Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM’s bokeh isn’t always perfectly round.

50mm primes

Buy now: $2,299

Fujifilm 50mm F1 R WR

50mm primes

PROS

  • Stunning bokeh
  • While big for a Fujifilm prime, it handles very well
  • For as much glass as there is to move, it focuses quickly in most situations
  • Nice, natural color renderings
  • Weather sealing
  • It’s not cheap ($1,499.95), but it’s well priced for an innovative f1 lens.

DISLIKES

  • The autofocus motors are quite loud
  • At f1, the center is sharp, but the edges are a little soft
  • Some flaring and contrast issues when shooting into the sun

In our reviewwe said:

Wide-open at f1, you’re going to get some of the best bokeh you’ll ever see on the APS-C platform. It’s a must-have for portrait photographers. Sharpness at f1 is great in the center of the frame, but stop it down a hair, and you’ll get edge-to-edge goodness. Portrait photographers will love the way the lens renders colors too.”

Brett Day – Gear Editor

50mm primes

Buy now: $1,499

Nikon Z 50mm f1.2

PROS

  • Excellent balance between sharp and sterile
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Accurate colors
  • Weather-sealed
  • Digital lens info display

CONS

  • Long and heavy
  • Autofocus is slower than the competition.

In our review, we state:

Like other Z mount lenses, the Z 50mm f1.2 S is impressively sharp, even wide open. At f1.2, I could capture enough sharpness to differentiate individual eyelashes, which quickly gives way to a soft blur for the nose and ears. I thought the sharpness level was just right — not overly sharp or too soft.

Buy Now: $2,097

Sony 50mm f1.2 G Master

50mm primes

PROS

  • Fast to use on both the Sony a7r III and the Sony a7r IV
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice render
  • Very sharp
  • Wow, Sony actually listened to us and allowed a little bit of flare in. Bravo!
  • I actually think that over $2,000 is a fair price.
  • Pretty lightweight

CONS

  • A few autofocus issues with strong backlighting
  • Two different hard function buttons are a bit odd.
  • Still has this render that’s nowhere as gorgeous as Canon’s

In our reviewwe said:

“The Sony 50mm f1.2 G Master is a fantastic lens overall, objectively speaking. The autofocus performance is quick and accurate in lots of cases. It will serve street photographers, portrait photographers, and any other professional or passionate photographer as well. As we saw, it’s going to also stand up to the elements pretty well. Within the FE lens lineup, it’s the fastest aperture lens. It also has incredibly smooth bokeh, sharp optics, and decent color.”

Chris Gambat – Editor In Chief

50mm primes

Buy now: $1,999.99

The Photographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed in these roundups. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.





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