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Canon's must have lens - the 50mm f1.8

Updated on October 6, 2013

If you shoot a Canon dslr camera and have outgrown the kit lens supplied with the camera and are looking to buy a new lens the first lens you should look at is the Canon 50mm f1.8, or “nifty fifty” as it is affectionately known.

The first thing I have to say about the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens is that is cheap, and by cheap I mean dirt cheap at around a hundred bucks. Cheap usually means inferior but this is not the case with the 50mm 1.8 at all. The image quality of this lens is awesome and the bokeh you can get, i.e. blurred out background, is something else. It is awesome.

The Canon 50mm f1.8 is a small and light lens, which means it is a good fit for any Canon dslr camera, even the entry level models. The 50mm 1.8 is primarily made out of plastic (probably why it is so lightweight) and feels more like a child’s toy than a serious piece of photographic equipment but don’t let this fact put you off buying one. Being made out of plastic the 50mm 1.8 isn’t as tough and durable as the Canon L lenses, but I can assure you that, provided you treat this lens with care and respect (like you should with all lenses) you won’t have any problems with the build quality. I have had my nifty fifty for several years now and it is still going strong. If the worst does come to the worst and you break the Canon 50mm lens they are so cheap you can always go and buy another one without breaking the bank.

With a maximum aperture of 1.8 the Canon 50mm is a reasonably fast lens and ideal for low light photography. The lens has automatic focus but it is noisy, slow, and a little clunky, but given the cost of this lens what more can you expect? If you need a lens that is going to auto focus real quick the Canon 50 1.8 isn’t the lens for you but if you don’t need fast autofocus and need a lens for portraits, landscapes, seascapes, architecture and the like the Canon 50mm is perfect.

Overall the Canon 50mm 1.8 is an excellent lens and one I recommend buying as an all round, general purpose lens. Sure, the build quality may not be that great but you won’t have too many problems with it, unless you are a bit heavy handed of course. The image quality is awesome and you with this lens you will soon be capturing lenses that will amaze and impress your family and friends. If the 1.8 aperture is not wide enough for you I suggest you take a look at the Canon 50mm f1.4

Even though the Canon 50mm f1.8 is an inexpensive lens you want to keep the lens nice and clean and get the most out of it, right? I thought you did. One of the most important things to do is protect the front element of the lens, and in order to do this you will need a UV lens filter. Some photographers argue that a lens filter decreases the image quality, and whilst this may be the case the reduction in image quality using a lens filter is so slight you won't even notice it.

In addition to a lens filter a lens hood will also help you capture top quality images. Unfortunately, the Canon 50mm f1.8 is not supplied with a lens hood so you are going to have to buy one separately.

Fotodiox Dedicated Lens Hood (ES-62) - for Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
Fotodiox Dedicated Lens Hood (ES-62) - for Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens

This lens hood stops stray rays of light entering the lens and increases image quality. This lens hood is cheap and cheerful but good quality and is excellent value for money.

Tiffen 52mm UV Protection Filter
Tiffen 52mm UV Protection Filter

I always use use Tiffen lens filters because they are affordable and good quality, which makes them excellent value for money.


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