EF 50mm f/1.8 II

These lens tests are designed to show you what a rank amateur can do with these lenses.
Very little adjustment has been done to these images and, where indicated, actual straight-from-the-camera images are provided.
In other words, if "I" can get these results, you should be able to, as well.

Why are you here? Just go BUY this thing!

First impression

This is the “no-brainer,” the “bang for the buck” lens that every Canon shooter has to buy. Currently $125.99, this little gem will spoil you for the more expensive lenses. Results are consistently sharp and colorful, even in low-light situations. On a photo trip, whatever else you pack, throw this in your bag and have it at hand always. It will never let you down.

Note: Canon currently offers (4) different 50mm primes: an f/1.2L USM ($1,400.00), an f/1.4 USM ($400.00), a new f/1.8 STM (especially for video, $125.99), and this one.

Canon 50mm f/1.8

There is nothing tricky about this lens. There is one switch on the barrel - auto/manual focus - and a focusing ring at the end. That's about it. I use the collapsible rubber lens hood (Sensei), although Canon sells a dedicated hard plastic hood ES-62.

Canon 50mm f/1.8

People like to say that you “zoom with your feet” when using this lens (true, I guess). And I will say that you don't normally need a tripod, especially when light is no problem.

Canon 50mm f/1.8

And here are the results of this mini-photo-shoot, cropped but untouched. Click either image for the full out-of-body image.

Canon 50mm sample
f/10, 1/800sec., ISO200

Canon 50mm sample
f/10, 1/320sec., ISO200

I just went out to gas up the car and took a few photos along the way:

Canon 50mm sample
f/11, 1/400sec., ISO200

Canon 50mm sample
f/11, 1/320sec., ISO200

Canon 50mm sample
f/11, 1/250sec., ISO200

SAMPLES: See a slideshow of various images from this 50mm standard

The 50mm lens on the Rebel XT at the 2007 Valley Forge Mustang Club show

Canon User Manual for the 50mm f/1.8, for those who want it (PDF)

bottom line

C'mon. This lens is like a GIFT from Canon. Just buy it. You'll fall in love with primes. But be careful, it will set the bar very high for every other lens you buy. I highly recommend lens rentals, before you spend a lot of money on another lens. Trying a lens for a week amounts to a small expense, when you're considering a purchase of $1,500 to $2,500. Don't be misled in thinking that every more expensive lens will give you the same quality of images that this little $125.00 lens does.

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dwight munroe
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