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Thread: Getting a 50mm f/1.8

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    Member Hayaku's Avatar
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    Getting a 50mm f/1.8

    I'm thinking of getting my first new lens and the one I'm thinking of getting is a 50mm f/1.8.

    Honestly, I'm looking for any opinions for or against if this is a good or bad buy and do have a few questions about it.

    My current cam is a 60d with a 18-135mm kit lens. Usual subject are anything that catches my eye really. Maybe a slight tendency for more nature/landscape/architecture shots

    1) Is it really as noisy as people say when it is focusing? How does it compare with my kit lens in terms of focusing noise?

    2) Would it be a good idea for me to buy this lens for practice with a prime lens? Do I even need to practice with a prime?

    3) How does it perform under low light conditions? I'm thinking I'll end up using this more for dinner with friends and family or for some posed family pictures.

    4) How much better is the 50mm f/1.4? Should I just skip this and use the money for a 1.4 even if I'm still learning about primes?

    5) Is my reasoning for this good enough to get the lens? I like to think I have thought this one through, but I know I still have a lot to learn in terms of photography.

    Unrelated to the above,
    Any recommendations for a good general use/travel lens? This is still a long way for me, but I would like to know if there is any one particular lens I should save up for/target later on when I know what I'm doing. Also so I can save up a budget for it. Preferably an EF lens and not an EF-S lens since I can see myself buying a full frame eventually.

    I'm thinking maybe one of the three below:
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
    Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L

    Thanks in advance for any help

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    Ausphotography Regular paulheath's Avatar
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    where to start..... the "nifty fifty" is a very cheap lens, but cheap does not mean not good, all primes are great and if im honest the 1.8 is a very nice little lens, yes it is noisy compared to USM lenses and not as robust. BUT it will give a very sharp image and lovely bokeh. if it was me and iv had the 50 f1.8 and it didnt last long before the auto focus mechanism went, i would jump straight into the f1.4 or if money is no object f1.2
    great for low light situations, parties outdoor , portrait.... so go on treat yourself to the 50mm u wont be disapointed

    24-105 is great lens 24-70 f2.8 is faster some say sharper.... 24-105 gives you that little extra reach when needed
    long live
    www.paulheathphotography.com.au
    Canon 7D, and a lot of other bits and bobs


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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    You really cannot go wrong with a f1.8 prime lens that you pay under $100 for. It will do everything you mention you want it to do - plus more. It is light and can produce some magical shots.

    As for your travel lens - from my experience I recommend the 24-105 if your budget will stretch that far. It is the best value "L" lens around today. Four years ago they were selling at over $1200 but now you can buy a new one for around $750 or the second hand market has them around $500 - $600.
    www.kjbphotography.com.au

    1Dx, 5DsR, 200-400 f4L Ext, 100-400 f4.5-5.6L II, 70-300 f4-5.6L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, 24-70 f2.8L II, 16-35 f4 IS, 11-24 f4L, 85 f1.2L II, 500 f4L IS, 300 f2.8 IS, ∑50 f1.4 A


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    I would also recommend the 24-105 lens. I bought it several years ago and have hauled it through Europe, India & Indonesia. I have rarely used any of the other lenses I have taken on these trips as this one has met my needs every time. Although the composition of my photos is often average, at least the quality is always there!
    Last edited by Katt; 07-04-2013 at 5:03pm.

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    While the 50 f1.8 is cheap, it's cheap for a reason.
    I was using mine last week and it literally fell apart in my hands, never been dropped, never been mistreated in any way.
    The entire inner mechanism separated from the external casing, only thing holding the 2 pieces together was the aperture ribbon cable.
    Googled it and soon had it back together again, seemingly as good as new.

    Having no intention of ever going to a full frame sensor, I haven't used any of the L zooms you mentioned, but have been very happy with the build and image quality of the 15-85. Only downside is the variable aperture across the zoom range , f3.5-5.6.
    Mark

    Canon 70D w/Grip l Canon 60D w/Grip l EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L IS USM l EF 70-200 f4L IS USM l EF-S 15-85 f3.5-5.6 IS USM l EF 100 f2.8 USM Macro l EF-S 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS STM l EF 50 f1.8 II l Canon EF-S 10-22 f3.5-4.5 USM l 430 EX II Flash l Rode Stereo VideoMic l Manfrotto 055XPROB + 498RC2 Tripod l Benro MP-96 M8 Monopod l Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Backpack l Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW Backpack l PS CS5 Extended l Lightroom 4.3

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    I'll add my vote of praise for the 50mm f/1.8, but I'll also say that I'd used mine intensively for nine years before it finally fell apart, after one too many knocks. Sure, it's very cheaply made, but if you're careful with it, it *should* hold up quite well.

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    I will point at a Sigma 35mm 1.4 just to buck the trend.

    35 on an APS-C is much closer to a "normal" lens then a 50mm lens is on a 35mm frame.

    That and the new one is brilliant.
    Greg Bartle,
    I have a Pentax and I'm not afraid to use it.
    Pentax K5
    Sigma 10-20 | Tamron 17-50 F:2.8 | Sigma 50 F:1.4 | Sigma 70-200 F:2.8 Plus a bunch of Ye Olde lenses


    Would you like to see more?
    http://flickr.com/photosbygreg

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    Thanks for the advice. It gives me confidence that I'm doing the right thing.

    @Rattus, It's a bit much out of my budget.
    Part of the reason I'm willing to get the 50 is because I'm still starting out on things and the thing is relatively dirt cheap

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayaku View Post
    I'm thinking of getting my first new lens and the one I'm thinking of getting is a 50mm f/1.8. Honestly, I'm looking for any opinions for or against if this is a good or bad buy and do have a few questions about it. My current cam is a 60d with a 18-135mm kit lens. Usual subject are anything that catches my eye really. Maybe a slight tendency for more nature/landscape/architecture shots

    ***

    1) Is it really as noisy as people say when it is focusing? How does it compare with my kit lens in terms of focusing noise?
    It is not noisy in most situations; it is noisier than some other lenses in a quiet room; your ears will hear that noise before any of the subjects will, even in a quiet room. The noise doesn’t affect the performance though, the noise makes it appear to sometimes focus more slowly than the 50/1.4 - I think because the AF buzzing attracts one's attention - but in reality, side by side, they achieve auto focus at the same time - that is so when I have used them side by side on a table.


    ***

    2) Would it be a good idea for me to buy this lens for practice with a prime lens? Do I even need to practice with a prime?
    You can practice using ONLY 50mm with you zoom: just set it at 50mm and don’t move it for a month. What you cannot practice with your zoom, is shooting at very large apertures. Yes it is fun practicing that. BUT I suggest you really choose the PRIME you might want based upon the Focal Length you see yourself using the most. IF you want to shoot friends, in low light inside, then a 50mm lens might generally be a bit too long for that – so you should practice with your zoom set at 50mm, for a month.


    ***

    3) How does it perform under low light conditions? I'm thinking I'll end up using this more for dinner with friends and family or for some posed family pictures.
    The lens performs well. Some Photographers who use it, sometimes don’t perform as well, though. If you are thinking about shooting without Flash in low light then you will have a learning curve. Again I’ll mention that if you are thinking inside in low light – the 50mm will be a tad long, I expect – 35mm or 30mm will more than likely be of more use for that quest.


    ***

    4) How much better is the 50mm f/1.4? Should I just skip this and use the money for a 1.4 even if I'm still learning about primes?
    How much better the 50/1.4 is (or not) depends upon what YOU value as “better”. I bought the 50/1.4 and not the 50/1.8, because:
    I do use F/1.4 and F/1.6
    The 50/1.4 has 8 blades; the 50/1.8 only has 5 blades
    The 50/1.4 is heavier and stockier and has better balance (physically) on my cameras, in my hands.
    The 50/1.4 has a 58mm filter thread; the F/1.8 has a 52mm thread.
    When I bought the 50/1.4, I had four options for a (canon) 50mm prime: 50/1.0L; 50/1.4; 501.8MkII and 50/2.5 and I chose the 50/1.4: if I were buying now I would probably buy the 50/1.2L as my first 50mm Canon Lens. I am NOT suggesting you buy the 50/1.2L – I am merely pointing out that ‘value for money’ - is a personal issue.


    ***

    5) Is my reasoning for this good enough to get the lens? I like to think I have thought this one through, but I know I still have a lot to learn in terms of photography.
    No. Your reasoning is NOT good at all.
    Your reasoning lacks a purposeful set of outcomes and uses, for the lens you want to buy.
    I suggest you list exactly and comprehensively what you want to achieve, that you cannot achieve with your kit lens that you have presently.
    The list does not need to be technically articulate - but it does need to be comprehensive. Doing so would be the first step to ‘good reasoning’.


    ***

    Any recommendations for a good general use/travel lens? This is still a long way for me, but I would like to know if there is any one particular lens I should save up for/target later on when I know what I'm doing. Also so I can save up a budget for it. Preferably an EF lens and not an EF-S lens since I can see myself buying a full frame eventually.
    I'm thinking maybe one of the three below:
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
    Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L
    Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L


    I would not suggest any of those three lenses for a good “General use and Travel Lens”, as all are not wide enough.
    I believe that limiting the purchase to EF lenses because “sometime in the future” one is “expecting” to buy a ‘Full Frame’ camera, is also, NOT good reasoning.

    WW

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    Interesting view.

    Maybe an additional question. How does this lens compare to a kit lens for image quality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayaku View Post
    Maybe an additional question. How does this lens compare to a kit lens for image quality?
    I am not sure if your supplementary question is because you are now contemplating buying the 18 to 55 “kit zoom” – OR perhaps your question meant “how does the 50/1.8 compare to the 18 to 135 zoom lens that I have at the moment?”

    I’ll respond to both -

    I haven’t used the EF-S18 to 135.

    I have used all but one version, of the EF-S 18 to 55 series of “Kit Zoom” lenses.

    If we set the 18 to 55 to FL = 50mm and then compare and contrast that with the EF 50 F/1.8 MkII at around F/7.1 to F/11, I’d expect one would be hard pressed to notice any appreciable IQ difference.
    If one were to note anything it would be that the Kit Zoom has more CA (Chromatic Aberration) and General Lens Flare and also susceptible to Veiling Flare – the latter mention of Flare, is mainly only noticeable when shooting toward light sources. The CA is noticeable mainly because the zoom is an EF-S Lens (smaller Image Circle) whereas the EF50/1.8 will not show the edges of its Image Circle when used on an APS-C Body.

    If you want a comparison with the 18 to 135 you have - then we could confidently assume that YOUR 18 to 135 would be about the same or perhaps better at 50mm, than the 18 to 55. This opinion is predicated on the fact that 50mm is about in the middle of the 18 to 135 zoom’s compass i.e. (18 + 135)/2 ≈ 76: and zoom lenses tend to be at their best, in that mid-compass area.

    If you compare either of the aforementioned ZOOM lenses at F/5.6 to the 50/1.8 set at F/5.6 then I believe a sharp eye will be noticing minor differences in IQ in for example an 11 x 14 print – apropos acutance; contrast; sharpness – these factors would (should) be noticeable as “better” in the Prime Lens – but that is understandable as the 50/1.8 Prime is down 3⅓Stops at F/5.6 and the zooms are wide open at F/5.6 when they are used at FL = 50mm - (maybe you can squeeze F/5 out of the 18 to 135 when it is at FL = 50mm?)

    In any case if you were asking for a comparison of the 50/1.8 with the 18 to 55, with a view to buying the 18 to 55, I would not suggest you do that; as you have an equitable zoom lens, already.

    ***

    What we cannot compare is how the two ZOOM lenses compare to the 50/1.8 at apertures larger than F/5.6. Obviously, (the uses of) a large maximum aperture is one reason for considering a Prime Lens in the first place.

    WW

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    Sorry my mistake and should have specified it better.

    Bad thinking on my part cause my kit had the 18-135 so when I think "kit lens" for my cam, that's what I think about. I have no interest on buying a 18-55.

    IIRC it should be around f/5 or f/4 at 50mm. I just can't verify it right now cause I don't have it on hand.

    If IQ differences can only be seen on at least a 11x14 print, I'm really reconsidering this. I don't normally print out my pics. Maybe around 8x10 at the very largest. Also going back to your original reply, maybe I should start looking at a 35mm or 30mm. It might fit my needs better.

    Needs being a lens I can use in lower light situations without a flash.
    Last edited by Hayaku; 10-04-2013 at 10:01am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayaku View Post
    Needs being a lens I can use in lower light situations without a flash.
    If “Low Light without Flash” is the main criterion – then comparative analysis of how the Prime lens will perform at F/5.6 compared to the Zoom lens at F/5.6, is not all that relevant.

    ***

    I’d suggest the considerations for the attributes of the Prime Lens might be thought-out along these lines:

    “What’s the best Focal Length that will allow me to be the most flexible in the typical shooting scenarios I expect?” i.e. remembering that you can always CROP a bit in post production to make the shot tighter – but if (for example) you are inside a room and you want a wider shot, you can only move backwards until you hit the wall – and you cannot move back any farther.

    “What’s the ball park of the fastest Aperture I require, to arrest Subject Motion and also Camera Shake at the typical ISO I will be using?”

    “If I have to use that fastest Aperture – will I generally have enough DoF for the typical shots I want to make?”

    Now these last two questions then go to asking:
    “Does my camera have sufficient High ISO to allow me to make the shots I require at the Aperture and Shutter Speeds I will likely be using?”

    WW

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    I've got the Sigma 50 & absolutely love it.Give it a look against the Canon 1.4 & I think you will be surprised.

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    I have battled away for a while with the 18-55 and 55-250 kit lenses and recently took the next step and purchased a 10-22mm. Given your subject preferences it may eventually be worth considering for landscape and architecture and there is an improvement in picture quality over the kit lenses.

    I too have been researching lenses for general use/travel and am undecided between a 24-105L and a 15-85. Not sure that the 24-105L will give me enough width when needed and the 15-85 gets good reviews especially for a non-L lens (and is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper).

    The good thing is that I don't have enough money at the moment so I have lots of time to research.

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    The 24-105L is a good lens

    They have fixed the ribbon problem with the aperture mechanism
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    On my 5d2 the 24-105 is my go to walk around lens.BUT...on the 450 you cannot get more bang for buck than the 15-85.IQ is very very good.Basically L guts in an EFS shell.Google it & there isn'ta bad review.

    - - - Updated - - -

    On my 5d2 the 24-105 is my go to walk around lens.BUT...on the 450 you cannot get more bang for buck than the 15-85.IQ is very very good.Basically L guts in an EFS shell.Google it & there isn'ta bad review.

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    Not really for me, but does anyone know of a good 17-55mm lens? also does the 17-85mm have a better IQ?

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    1) I find it very noisy when focusing. To me it is a distraction and I don't like it. I think kit lenses are definitely quieter in this regard.
    2) I don't think you need to practice with a prime as such. You just need to be aware that your standing at the subject is what you make it. You obviously can't zoom so your composition needs to be much better.
    3) It performs well in low light, obviously f/1.8 is a very narrow DOF and may not be appropriate for all situations. Something to consider which has probably already been mentioned is the fact that 50mm is pretty narrow for indoor shots. I use a Tamron 28-75 for this purpose and you really need the width in my opinion. I also use a 430EXii flash when needed. Was a great investment and I have used it a lot for family parties when light is low or indoors.
    4) The f/1.4 has a great reputation. Probably wish that I had gotten one instead of the f/1.8 at times. However I'm not too much of a fan of the 50mm iteself. The length doesn't suit my style at all. I've used it with some portraits but I'm not much of a portrait photographer, more landscapes and nature like yourself where a wide lens or macro is more suited.
    5) In terms of getting the lens, it is a very minimal outlay for you so I don't think it will be a waste. I really havne't used mine much at all, it is not a go-to at all. Is it possible to borrow someone's so you can see if you enjoy it? Again, for less than $100 it is probably something that will be fine for you.
    Travel lenses are an interesting one because it really depends on what you are shooting. I would think the reach would be necessary for some things and then width would be good for others. You already have the 18-135mm. Is there a problem with this? Because you have mentioned lenses that have less scope. Yes I realise they are L but that doesn't mean they will necessarily do a better job in snapshot conditions. I'd be tempted by the 24-105mm if I had to choose but don't discount the one you have. They are capable of great images.
    My gear: Canon 450D, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS, Canon 430EX II. My Flickr


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    Even though the "nifty fifty" has cheap build quality mine lasted over 8 years before breaking...and thats only because i knocked my tripod over and the lens caught the corner of a table full force.

    IMO it's a great little lens and is an essential purchase of somebody starting out.
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