One of the first recommendations from nearly every photographer I know was to buy a 50mm lens and just keep it on all the time. They said the f/1.8 was a great value, and i have to agree. It was the first lens I purchased and I paid around $85 on Amazon.
While this lens works great in most situations, I found three issues that got in my way.
- When shooting in low light, it hunts for focus. As it’s not a USM lens you have to flip off the auto focus to go manual. That is a pain in the ass. The switch is tough to find while looking at it, let alone feeling for it.
- I felt like the colors were a bit subdued and needed more saturation. Yes, I could easily correct for it in the camera, but that was something else to think about instead of the image I wanted to capture.
- The focus would be off just slightly from time to time and I caught myself grabbing multiple captures to be safe. This was much more typical to see in low light.
As I’ve been consuming numerous blogs and a few podcasts (TWIP, Tack Sharp), the next level of the 50mm kept coming up: the 50mm f/1.4. The “nifty-fifty” as it’s known. It’s sharper, more quiet, and allows me to free focus. I borrowed one for a few shots and fell in love.
Last Wednesday I picked up a Canon 50mm f/1.4, lens hood and polarizing filter from Roberts. The lens was just $325 (was $319.95 on Amazon). I’ve yet to take it off my 40D.
Should you choose to buy this lens, you must get the lens hood, and always use it. This lens can be fragile as it partially protrudes from the barrel. If you set it down wrong you’ll damage the motor and be out $125+ to fix it.