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Canon 50mm 1.8 Review or Facts about Nifty Fifty

Updated on November 8, 2013
Canon 50mm 1.8 II
Canon 50mm 1.8 II
Food photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Food photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

Technical Details:

Focal Length Range: 50mm

Focal Length on a cropped sensor: about 80mm

Minimum focus distance: 45cm

Aperture Range: f1.8 – f22

Number of Aperture Blades: 5

Focus Adjustment: Automatic and Manual

Filter size: 52mm

Weight: 130g

Canon 50mm f/1.8 or Nifty Fifty as it also called among photographers was the first lens I bought after I purchased my camera (Canon 450D) with kit lens. I was on a tight budget at that time, but had a big desire to keep developing my skills and knowledge in photography; therefore I craved to try something new. This lens had very positive reviews on the Internet and what’s best it had a very attractive price. It didn't take me long to make my mind about purchasing the lens.

Water splash with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Water splash with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

I bought it two and a half years ago and still love it as much as at the beginning. First thing that impressed me about this lens was the great sharpness it gave to my images (in comparison to my kit lens) and shallow Depth of Field that took my photography on a completely different level. I loved to see how my objects began to pop from the background and were instantly catching an eye.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 is a great prime lens, though it has some disadvantages, (of course it has disadvantages, there is no perfect perfect lens), I will list those later. First I want to tell you what this lens can be used for.

Street photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Street photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Creative photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Creative photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Studio portraits with Nifty Fifty
Studio portraits with Nifty Fifty

 

Don’t be surprised if I tell you that it can be used almost for everything. Nifty Fifty is a very versatile lens and has more potential than it might seem at the first sight. It is extremely light weight; you can hardly feel it being attached to your camera and because of this Canon 50mm f/1.8 is excellent to be used hand held and on the go.

Some photographers prefer heavier lenses than Nifty Fifty though, for the reason it gives them better feel and kind of stability in the hand. However, for a small lady like myself I love the size and weight of this lens. When I don't wish to carry multiple lenses in my camera bag and want to go out with only one lens for a photo walk I always choose Canon 50mm f/1.8, because it's the most convenient lens of those I own.

Flowers with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Flowers with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

With this lens I was pushed to learn new techniques including being more accurate with focus and the way I held my camera. Because of the very small focusing area when shooting wide open (at f/1.8-f/2.2) this lens should be approached differently than let's say your kit lens in order to achieve sharp results.

Creative portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Creative portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

In contrast to the kit lens, (I'm talking about Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6) which is a zoom lens and has image stabilization, Canon 50mm f/1.8 is a tiny and a light prime lens therefore it doesn't have one. You need to be precise when focusing and be very still when pressing the shutter button. It takes a bit of time and practise, but once you get hold of this, you will love shooting with widest aperture.

However I want to mention another important fact and it does affect all lenses, not only Nifty Fifty. If you want to achieve the best sharpness in your images, you should stop down by between 1-2 stops as every lens has its sweet spot and it's never its widest aperture. There are different opinions on Canon 50mm f/1.8 sweet spot, but it looks like it's somewhere between f4-f8. I personally at times of shooting usually take into consideration the object and what kind of Depth of Field would suit this image the most rather than limit myself with the sharpest f-stop of this lens.

Urban shots with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Urban shots with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

Portraits

First of all it’s a great lens for portraits. With its capability of shallow Depth of Field, Canon 50mm f/1.8 gives you freedom for creativity. Taking photos of people you will certainly appreciate the way your object will become separated from the background and draw the attention. Focusing on the eyes at f/1.8 will make your portraits become special and look more interesting and professional. Also when shooting indoors it will be enough just to position your object near a window (better if it's a large one) and take beautiful portraits using just natural (ambient) light.

Female street portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Female street portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Street portraits with Canon Nifty Fifty
Street portraits with Canon Nifty Fifty
Portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

Street photography

When you take on a challenge of street photography mainly to shoot people in their day to day life, most of the time you want to stay unnoticed. With this tiny lens attached to your camera body you will hardly catch anybody’s eye.

Street photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Street photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

Close up

With Canon 50mm f/1.8 you can take beautiful close up shots of objects as well as flowers. Thanks to the sharpness of the lens, great detail is retained in your images.

Sometimes I come across a question on the Internet forums - If there was a choice of only one lens to keep what lens would it be? My answer always is Canon 50mm f/1.8, because I have shot many things with it and I know what to expect from this adaptable to many situations lens.

Smoke photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Smoke photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Conceptual images with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Conceptual images with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Selfportraits using natural light with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Selfportraits using natural light with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
4 stars for Canon 50mm f/1.8

Pros:

1. Great sharpness

2. Light weight

3. Small size

4. Wide aperture

5. Automatic and manual focus

6. Versatile

7. Inexpensive

Cons:

1. Build quality

2. Manual focus ring is small

As you can see Canon 50mm f/1.8 has much more advantages than disadvantages including affordable price, that’s why so many people love this lens. Hope, very soon you will join the club!

Portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Close up objects with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Close up objects with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Food photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Food photography with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Portraits with with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Portraits with with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Grunge style images with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Grunge style images with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
One flash portraits with Nifty Fifty
One flash portraits with Nifty Fifty
Still life with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Still life with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Creative images with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Creative images with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Close up with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Close up with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Beautiful portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Beautiful portraits with Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

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    • profile image

      Kenisha 2 years ago

      Yeah that's what I'm talking about ba-nb-yice work!

    • profile image

      Sonu 2 years ago

      Unleaaplelrd accuracy, unequivocal clarity, and undeniable importance!

    • Dina Blaszczak profile image
      Author

      Dina Blaszczak 2 years ago from Poland

      @Emilia Riera Yes, this little thing has a lot of potential :)

    • Emilia Riera profile image

      Emilia Riera 2 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      Makes me want to run out and buy one!

    • Dina Blaszczak profile image
      Author

      Dina Blaszczak 3 years ago from Poland

      @snerfu Thanks, glad you enjoyed it :)

    • snerfu profile image

      Vivian Sudhir 3 years ago from Madurai, India

      This article is very informative and it has such lovely pictures.

    • Dina Blaszczak profile image
      Author

      Dina Blaszczak 3 years ago from Poland

      @Empe photo Glad to give you the inspiration, this lens is a little "gem"! :)))

    • profile image

      Empe photo 3 years ago

      Lovely review, and very lovely photo's! I'll probably be getting one for on my EOS 350D myself.

    • Dina Blaszczak profile image
      Author

      Dina Blaszczak 4 years ago from Poland

      @laszlojaeger Hello and nice to meet you on Hubpages :) Thanks for your comment too :)

    • laszlojaeger profile image

      Laszlo Jaeger 4 years ago from Budapest

      The Nifty Fifty produces amazing photos. Image quality is great. The lens is cheap because it is a quite old and simple design which makes it cheap to produce. For like $100 it is definitely a steal. If you don't have a 50mm prime I highly recommend buying it.

    • Dina Blaszczak profile image
      Author

      Dina Blaszczak 5 years ago from Poland

      @jill of alltrades Thanks for reading and voting! This lens is really lovely :)))

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

      This is a wonderful hub about this NiftyFifty! I'd love to get this lens especially because of its wide aperture and great performance in dim light.

      Voted up and useful!

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