There are effectively 3 different types of 50mm prime lenses I had to choose from, and these are the f1.2L, f1.4 and the f1.8. Since the 50mm was my first upgrade, and fist prime lens from the kit lens that came with my camera there was no way I could justify the stupidly high price tag of the 50mm f1.2, and I wasn’t sure whether I would actually use a 50mm prime or not so I didn’t want to potentially waste more money than necessary so I decided against the 50mm f1.4 and bought the bargain basement 50mm f1.8, and boy am I glad I did.
Before I bought the 50mm f1.8 I did a bit of research so I knew that it was a small and light lens that was made out of plastic, and I had read several reports that it was more of a child’s toy than a serious lens however I was advised not to let the poor build quality put me off buying one, and since the 50mm f1.8 is less than a hundred bucks (which is basically pocket change when it comes to photography equipment) I thought it was worth a punt.
The 50mm f1.8 lens is everything I had read about. It is made of plastic, it does feel cheap and nasty but the image quality exceeded all expectations. Yep, this lens has enabled me to capture some absolutely stunning photos. Canon’s f1.8 nifty fifty is a versatile lens that I use for many different things, such as:-
Using a 50mm 1.8 to capture indoor portraits
The Canon 50mm f1.8 is one of my favourite portrait lenses, and it is particularly suited to indoors where light levels aren’t too good. With the wide maximum aperture and the short focal length it is possible to get shutter speeds to prevent camera shake in all but the darkest of conditions.
It takes a bit of time and practice to learn how to get the most out of the 50mm f1.8 however it is well worth it. Used wide open the 50mm f1.8 is a little soft, which makes this the perfect portrait lens. I mean, you don’t want a super sharp lens for portraits and a little softness does make a more pleasing photo. I also use the 50mm f1.8 for outdoor portraits too.
The bokeh of the 50mm f1.8, i.e. out of focus background, is smooth and creamy and it is this feature that makes it such an awesome portrait lens.
Using a 50mm 1.8 for low light photography
The best lenses for low light photography have wide maximum apertures and are short focal lengths, and this is pretty much the Canon f1.8.
Okay, there are lenses out there with wider maximum apertures but not all of these perform as well as the 50mm f1.8. Personally, I prefer a lens with a widest f1.8 aperture that has awesome image quality rather than a lens with a widest 1.2 aperture that has mediocre image quality, and the 50mm f1.8 produces high quality images.
I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical using the 50mm f1.8 for low light photography, because I didn’t think f1.8 was going to be wide enough however I was totally wrong about this. I was surprised by the low light images I was capturing with this lens, however it has since become my go to low light photography lens unless I need a longer focal length than 50mm of course.
Using the 50mm 1.8 as a walkabout lens
The 50mm focal length is focal length that gives the sort of perspective you see with your eyes, which makes it an ideal focal length for a general walkabout lens.
It is not only the perspective of the 50mm lens that makes it ideal for general photography, it is also its size. The 50mm f1.8 is a tiny lens that is unobtrusive and doesn’t attract any unwanted attention, unlike large zoom lenses.
One area where the 50mm f1.8 lens struggles is moving objects because the auto focus is slow and clunky. It can deal with very slow moving objects although it sometimes struggles with these. Stationery subjects are not a problem, but add a little movement and it’s a different story.
Is the 50mm f1.8 worth buying then?
The Canon 50mm f1.8 is a useful and versatile lens that, once mastered, is capable of capturing some exceptional photos. If you want to take macro photos, the 50mm f1.8 is no good. If you want to take sports and action photos, the 50mm 1.8 is no good. If you need to zoom in nice and close, the 50mm f1.8 is no good. Other than that this is a gem of a lens.
Links to other Canon lens reviews
The lens above is just one that I own and use for my photography. I, like all photographers carry many different lenses around with me and other lenses that I use include the following:-
Canon lens review - 100mm f2.8L IS macro
Whilst it is possible to do macro photography on a budget and use close up filters, reversing rings or extension tubes if you want to capture the highest quality macro photos you need a designated macro lens.
Having used a Canon macro 100mm f2.8 in the past I was impressed with it but once the 00mm f2.8L IS lens was released I simply had to have one.
_This lens is absolutely awesome and not only can it record levels of detail you can’t see with the naked eye, it is tack sharp and it also has image stabilisation to enable sharp hand held shots at slower shutter speeds.
For an honest and unbiased review of the Canon 100mm f2.8L IS macro lens (yes I had to part with my own hard earned cash and buy it myself and wasn’t lucky enough to get given one to road test for free) and to see what it can do you may wish to take a look at this article. If you want a macro lens forget about the rest and go for this, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Canon lens review – 24mm -70mm f2.8L
The 24mm – 70mm focal range is useful for many things including landscapes, portraits, seascapes, travel and for general walkabout photography, and if there is one zoom lens every photographer should have in their lens bag it is a 24-70 zoom.
I originally bought the 24-70 for portraits because I had read about (and seen) the high image quality and the smooth and creamy bokeh.
It wasn’t until after I had the lens for a few weeks that I realised just how versatile it is, and I now use it for many different types of photo. The Canon 24-70 f2.8L lens is my workhorse and a lens I couldn’t live without and if you haven’t got a 24-70 lens I have to ask the question “why not?”
For a quick and honest review of the Canon 24-70 f2.8L lens (once again, it is a lens I had to buy myself and didn’t get gifted one to road test and report on) this article is something you should read.
Canon lens review - 70-200 f2.8L IS
Every photographer needs a standard zoom in their kit bag and a 70-200 fits the bill perfectly. The Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS lens is Canon’s flagship 70-200 zoom (it is also available in f4L, f4L IS and f2.8L versions, which are obviously cheaper) and quite rightly so.
This 70-200 is a top quality lens and is the choice of many professionals. Okay, it is expensive but then you do get what you pay for.
With a maximum f2.8 aperture this zoom lens is ideal in all conditions (both indoor and outdoor as well as in good light and low light) so you will never struggle again.
For an honest and unbiased review of the 70-200 f2.8L IS lens (this is a lens I wish I was given for free to test out and report on – unfortunately I had to part with my own money, although I am so glad I did) you need to take a look at this article.
Canon lens review - 16-35 f4L IS
If you are serious about landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes and interiors you need a wide angle lens and the Canon 16-35 f4L IS should be top of your list. I chose the f4L IS over the f2.8L because the image quality of the f4L is better, the f4L is smaller, lighter and more manageable, the f4L has image stabilisation and the f4L is cheaper (you get a lot more bang for your buck).
The Canon 16-35 f4L is an awesome lens. The image quality is second to none and since it is built like a tank (i.e. very tough and durable) it is more than capable of being able to deal with whatever weather conditions Mother Nature throws at it.
For an honest and unbiased review of the 16-35 f4L IS lens from a long term user (once again, I was not blessed by any camera store for a free lens to put through its paces and report on) this article may be something you want to take a look at.
Canon lens review - 100-400L IS
The Canon 100-400 is, without a doubt, the best value for money super zoom lens on the market and I am stunned how Canon can sell such a top quality lens at such a great price. Okay, there are cheaper alternatives out there, and these cheaper alternatives go longer than 400mm but the image quality of the cheaper alternatives is absolute rubbish.
Combine that with the speed of the lenses (narrow maximum apertures of f6 or more) and it is easy to see the cheaper lenses simply aren’t worth buying. The image quality of the Canon 100 – 400 is awesome, the build quality is awesome and it is also affordable.
The Canon 100 – 400 is the ideal lens for motor sports, wildlife, bird photography and all other situations where you need to get up close to the subject whilst standing far away from it. I even use my Canon 100 – 400 for dragonfly photography! If you need a super zoom lens, and let’s face it who doesn’t? this is the lens you need.
For an honest and unbiased review of the Canon 100 – 400 from a long term user (this is one lens I didn’t have to buy because it was a gift from my wife. Strictly speaking, I guess I did buy it then – D’oh) you need to take a look at this article.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.
More photography related videos at "Photography Tips & Tricks TV"