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Yongnuo 50mm f/1.4: The Chinese Knockoff You’ve Been Waiting For

Caleb Ward

If you can’t beat ’em, create an exact copy and sell it for less?

As far as Chinese knockoffs go Yongnuo is about as good as it gets. We’ve had some experience with shooting with a Yongnuo Speedlight and for the price you aren’t really going to find a better deal. Youngnuo products are primarily geared around lighting for photography. However, a recent announcement affirms that Yongnuo is expanding it’s product line by getting into the lens manufacturing business.

One of these is a Canon Lens and the other is Yongnuo. Can you tell which one?

Yongnuo has announced a 50mm f/1.4 that fits Canon EF lens mounts. The lens is a shameless ripoff of the similar Canon lens, but the specs are still pretty darn good. Most notably this cheap lens has 8 aperture blades making it a near replica of the Canon 50mm 1.4. The biggest difference comes in the form of the autofocus. The Canon has a patented Ultrasonic motor but the Yongnuo has a DC motor, so this might be a potential weak point in the Yongnuo lens. Here’s the rest of the specs:

Yongnuo 50mm f/1.4 AF Lens

Focal Length 50mm
Lens Construction 6/7 Groups
Aperture Blades 8
Aperture Range f/1.4-22
Closest Focusing Distance 0.45 m
Drive System DC motor
Filter Diameter 58mm

It’s no secret that photography and filmmaking is an expensive industry, so any opportunity to save a little money on quality is well received by consumers. This may shed some light on a shift in the gear industry…

There will always be a demand for cheap equipment, but if more entry-level people begin purchasing less expensive ‘knockoff’ lenses, name-brand manufacturers may be forced to make lenses cheaper, effectively compromising quality for price.

We’re going to be interested to see the quality of this lens. We are clearly not expecting it to be as good as the Canon 50mm, but eagerly await user tests.

As of right now Yongnuo has not released a price or a release date for the 50mm f/1.4 lens. However, considering the price of the Canon is $400, we can probably expect to see the Yongnuo 50mm priced below $300.

Is this lens going to be a good alternative to the Canon 50mm f1.4? Share your thoughts in the comments below.