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Customer Review

2,147 of 2,177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, fast, inexpensive, April 10, 2005
This review is from: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens - Fixed (Camera)
Once upon a time the 50 mm lens was THE standard camera lens and was THE optical benchmark by which manufacturers were judged and compared. Although the basic lens focus has now shifted (at least at the low to mid amateur level) to zooms - you can still benefit from years of research and development that went into designing the 50 mm lens and this here lens may be the best lens, dollar for dollar, that you can ever buy. The question is can you afford not to own this lens?

Years of development have brought us a lens that has a fast aperture of 1.8 - far faster than any consumer zoom lens - and that is sharp as a filed tack. Be forewarned about the sharpness . . . if you are taking pictures of people, this lens is unyielding in its sharpness and may well surprise you and your subjects whose every blemish is captured. The lens has a fabulously shallow depth of field if you want to use the 1.8 aperture to blow out a background. This lens is also ridiculously inexpensive. It is not USM - so it is a little loud. It does not have a moving focus scale. For the money though - this is heaven.

As to the build quality - yes, it is plastic. No, it's not built like the Rock of Gibraltar. If you are going to give this lens extensive use as your everyday lens and you shoot a lot, it may not hold up all that well as one reviewer suggests. However, I've now had this lens and used it fairly regularly (although not as the primary lens) for about 8 years and it is still in great condition. In my mind, spend the $$ on this first before you go and drop $330 on the 50mm 1.4 USM lens and I think you'll find it gets the job done nicely and that the extra $250 on the 1.4 may not be worth the difference in build (major difference), speed (minor difference) and image quality (minor difference).
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Tracked by 14 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 22, 2008 4:56:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 22, 2008 5:23:26 PM PST
Spanky says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2009 12:52:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2009 12:54:00 PM PST
Eric T says:
Wow. I have no idea what that previous post was about. The 50mm f/1.8 is a great bargain. Far better lens than most any point and shoot has, and works great even with a full frame Canon 5D. Not to mention comparing a point and shoot camera to an SLR lens is like comparing an entire car to a truck engine. The diesel engine in the truck costs how much?!? I can buy an entire car for that! But if you need the truck, good luck with that, you only get a car. If you are looking for an engine to a truck and someone tries to sell you a Kia, it might be kind of annoying and irrelevant.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2009 4:58:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 16, 2009 4:59:14 AM PDT
Reuben Black says:
Annoying and irrelevant is certainly how I would describe Spanky's post. I wouldn't touch a point and shoot camera with a barge pole, as being a photographer rather than a tourist, I like to control the shot, not have some dinky little toy do it for me. I have shot with this lens only once (borrowed) and on the whole it was a positive experience. It takes a quality picture at a budget price.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2009 5:58:43 PM PST
Gatorowl says:
Spanky's comment is hilarious!

The irony is that he put it next to the most affordable, value-for-the-dollar DSLR interchangeable lenses. Why not complain about the 35mm 1/4L, which has increased $400-$500 in the last year or so? OK, now I'm ranting.

Anyway, this was the first or second lens I purchased for my Canon 40D. The 40D came with a 28-135mm zoom that has decent image quality. After failing at getting a decent portrait shot of my daughter for a professional school application, I knew that I needed better glass if I was going to get true value from my $1000+ purchase. I purchased the Tamron 17-50mm (an excellent value zoom), which became my main lens. I bought this lens as an afterthought because it is cheaper and is quite a bit faster than the Tamron (f/1.8 to f/2.8). the Tamron became my regular lens.

When I finally got around to using the 50, I really thought I had made a mistake because it was so, so sharp and the color was excellent. I checked the exif data to be sure.

I have used this zoom to film portraits in the Musée D'Orsay in Paris and welcome its compactness. Its bokeh (background blur) is not nearly as nice as my 85mm f/1.8 or my 135 f/2.0 (which has an otherworldly, creamy bokeh). However, those lenses are many times more expensive (the 135 retails for over $1000. What would Spanky rant about that?).

If you're like me and hate using flash indoors, but you have a limited budget, this is the lens for you. Especially, if you're not sure whether you're willing to accept the tradeoffs required when using prime lenses, this is a low-risk investment to help you make that determination.

Posted on Apr 6, 2010 2:27:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 6, 2010 2:28:53 PM PDT
I agree with his review... I however opted for a used EF 50mm F/1.8 I. I paid more for it but it is built like a tank and the quality of photos are excellent.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2010 8:59:06 AM PDT
This is not a zoom lens, Gatorowl, it is a "prime" or fixed perspective lens. I assume that that was just a mistake, though. Good comment, especially about Spanky (great name with which to get up on a soap box and be taken seriously).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2010 11:28:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 14, 2010 11:35:31 AM PDT
Uppenatom says:
Read Gatorowl's last sentence, Mat. You wouldn't have to make assumptions if you didn't jump to conclusions. Read the whole comment next time.

Posted on Sep 22, 2010 12:00:30 PM PDT
Billy says:
I had purchased this lens from Amazon 2 1/2 years ago. It was a nice lens but it barely made it to a year. I dropped my camera and this lens was smashed. I replaced it with the 1.4 USM. I've compared my 1.8 images with my 1.4 images and I find the bokeh to be harsher with this lens (5 blades) than with the 1.4 (8 blades).

Posted on Jan 25, 2011 4:16:15 PM PST
J. Randall says:
Is it true that this lens can be used with a film SLR? (i read that somewhere, i do not know if it's true)
p.s. I own a Canon A-1 and would love a great lens so I can take spectacular photos like the ones I see in the gallery.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2011 7:50:57 PM PST
J. Randall, this is an EOS system lens and can be used with any Canon EOS body - which includes film bodies like the Elan, Rebel, A2, 1n, etc. However, the A-1 is an older FD body that uses a different type of lens from the EOS lens. While there are adapters that allow FD lenses to be used on EOS bodies, there are no adapters that allow EOS lenses to be used on FD bodies. This is because the connection between EOS lenses and bodies is electronic and not mechanical. An electrical signal and motor is required to set and execute the closure of the lens aperture - this cannot be achieved with the mechanical FD bodies. (In theory someone could build an adapter that would convert the mechanical signal to an electric one, but no one has and I doubt the market is there for it.) On the other hand, because FD lenses can be mechanically, manually focused and stopped down, they can be used on an EOS body with a proper adapter and some adjustments to your workflow.
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