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Old Nov 30, 2009, 9:24 AM   #1
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Default EF 50MM f/1.8 MK I or II

I have a new T1i and I want to buy a cheap but optical quality lens for my own family portraits. I'm considering a $125 used 50MM MK I or a $80 refurbished 50MM II. They both are in my price range. The refurbished comes with a 1 year warranty. Is the older metal housing worth the difference?
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 9:37 AM   #2
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You can buy the EF 50mm f/1.8 (Mk II) brand new for around $99 now, or around $89 for a new gray market (Import) lens (same as the U.S. model, only imported outside of Canon USA's distribution network with a store versus Canon warranty). So, I wouldn't pay almost as much for a refurb. Here are some examples:


Here's a review by Bob Atkins:


Personally, I'd go for the new lens versus the used one, despite the better build quality of the older version (as you really don't know what it's been through, if it may have sticky aperture blades, etc.), since they appear to be optically identical.

But, I'm not a Canon shooter so perhaps some of our members will chime in with their thoughts about them.
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 10:20 AM   #3
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i actually own and have shot the mark I for about 15 years or so. i would not trade it for the mk II, the build quality is a step up, its very similar to the 35/2, with metal mount versus plastic and a distance scale. optically they are identical. some say the mk1 has better edge performance, but i am not really certain this is true for as far as i can tell the optics in them are the same.

however, the 50 1.8 mk1 was introduced in 1987, so you could be talking a 20 year old lens.

if you trust the vendor of the mk1, or preferably can try it out before buying, ala craigslist local, then it may be worth it.

a new 50 1.8 II is a much safer bet though.
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Old Dec 14, 2009, 12:28 AM   #4
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If you want the 50mm f1.8, MkII (USA), amazon.com sells it for the same price with free shipping. You save $5.
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Old Dec 14, 2009, 8:24 AM   #5
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The MK II is a great lens, if you are worried about it being plastic. I have had mine since 1992 and it shooting great on my t1i. If there is anything wrong with the used MK I, the repair cost will be more then then what you pay for it. At least a 100 dollar bill to have them open it up and work on it. New for 100 or used for 125. I would go with a brand new lens, it is the safer bet.
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Old Dec 14, 2009, 8:37 AM   #6
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I have a 50mm f1.8 mkII (plastic fantastic) and it's great..... there is only one problem; I just don't use it enough. I really should get it out of the bag on a more regular basis as it really does produce some lovely sharp results when stopped down a little and even at f1.8 they are very acceptable.

As has already been mentioned, if you can't get you hands on the 2nd hand one or it doesn't have some sort of warranty then I would leave it alone and get a new plastic fantastic.
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