One of the biggest stories to hit the world of photography this year was about a Chinese manufacturer creating cheap camera lenses. Now, this wouldn't be a a big story as many discounted or cheap products can be found on the web. While this company in question focused on lighting equipment and various accessories up to this point, the company is now branching into a bigger and better market: lenses.The company named Yongnuo is ripping off the designs of lenses made my respected camera companies.
The first product announced is the Yongnuo 50mm f/1.4 and the 50mm f/1.8 which are shown above side by side with the Canon version of both lenses.
Of course, the Canon lens is a great (although plasticy) lens at a decent price. However, the Yongnuo has priced all their lenses at about half the price of the Canon versions. At first glance they might seem exactly the same, performing similarly in many tests including autofocus times.
However, the optical quality is just not there in the Yongnuo. In a sense you get what you pay for, and if you opt for the cheaper version you aren't going to get the sharpest images. That being said, the Yongnuo does perform and is extremely affordable.
If you would ask me though, save for the Canon lens. Not only will you be getting higher quality images, you have the Canon warranty and repair services that are just not available on the Yongnuo. If there is anything to spend money on in the photographic world, it's nice glass. Save the money for a good lens, don't try to find a deal in knock off lenses.
If you are really in a bind and you can't spend the money, used and refurbished lenses are typically a great deal and there is usually isn't much concern with buying used.