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Old Sep 30, 2008, 7:25 PM   #1
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I am looking to get the 50mm 1.8 (as it goes for like $80-$100) and I want to take some portrait shots etc.

Now a buddy of mine has the 1.4 he's willing to sell to me for $200-$250 and I cannot (at this time) justify going down to 1.4 and spening almost twice as much. Though new the lens is closer to $300-400.

How much is a difference of the 1.8 to 1.4. I'm pretty much just starting out with my EOS 450D and I would like to get something I can use indoors and still take a decent portrait type photo.

Most people I talk to say I should go for a 50mm. I also do product photography for product reviews and was told I should get a 50mm prime for that as well.

Currently I have the kit (18-55mm IS) lens and the 75-300 USM.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 6:40 AM   #2
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nifty-fifty (50mm f/1.8) is a great lens for the price. It's a bit soft wide open, the build quality is so-so (but what can you expect for a $80 :-)), AF is noisy and hunts a lot in low light and sometimes misses the focus completely, manual focus is difficult to put it mildly. 50mm f/1.4 has better build, better AF and is sharper at f/1.8. At f/2.0-2.2 and down both lenses are about equally sharp. Both will bring you great results.
If you don't mind a cheap plastic build of the f/1.8 lens, go for it. Indoors it's good for half-length and head and shoulders portraits with it's 'classic' portrait FOV of 80mm on a crop camera. You will need a lot more space to shoot full length portraits with this lens. If you can afford $200-250 now, go for a used f/1.4 lens - you will be happier in a long run. Another option is to buy a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro for about $260 new (used are quite a bit cheaper) - macro lens will work both for your portraits and product shots. Since I got Canon 60mm f/2.8 macro I rarely use my nifty fifty, YMMV
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 9:25 AM   #3
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What I learned in this game of buying lenses for a DSLR is to wait and save money for a better lens, you will not regret it. I had the 50mm F1.8 and it was a hit and miss with AF. I have since sold it and now have the 85mm F1.8 and its is now one of my favorite lenses to take portrait photosright next to my 70-200mm F2.8 IS.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 10:08 AM   #4
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85 f/1.8 USM lens is a different beast both quality and price wise. For indoor use it's also a bit long, unless you only shoot head portraits.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 11:35 AM   #5
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algold wrote:
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85 f/1.8 USM lens is a different beast both quality and price wise. For indoor use it's also a bit long, unless you only shoot head portraits.
I know I was just bringing it up as something to look at.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 4:25 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies!

I agree with the save up and buy later so perhaps I'll just play around with my 18-55mm for now and see how well it does when I tinker around at a wedding next week.

Yea no I won't be the photographer for the wedding but I will get to go around and take hundreds of photos! lol


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Old Oct 1, 2008, 5:07 PM   #7
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Note that the 1.4 also has a manual focus ring, which can be really handy sometimes.

I have the 1.4 and absolutely love it. If price weren't an option, I'd upgrade to the 50 1.2L in a heartbeat.
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Old Oct 2, 2008, 12:25 PM   #8
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Think because i am on a tight budget I'll pick up the 1.8 and play around with it at the wedding I am going to for the week. If I don't like it I can return it when I get back.

I just can't justify the $200-250 at the moment and since I have not used the lens, I don't know if I'll continue to use it! lol so we'll see.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old Oct 4, 2008, 8:46 PM   #9
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See if your friend will let you borrow his 50 1.4 to try out, then you can compare the two.
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Old Oct 8, 2008, 10:27 PM   #10
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The nice thing about the 50mm F1.8 is you can probably own it a year and then sell it later and lose very little money on it.

Personally I prefer zooms. I have a sigma 10-20mm which I love. I've sold off a few lenses and am now looking for a zoom in the 17-?? range as a walkaround lens.

I also have the Canon 70-200 F/4 lens, however I wish I would have gotten the Sigma 70-200 F2.8, however I couldn't justify the cost at the time, so the Canon 70-200 F/4 is a nice lens at a nice price.

I used to own the 50mm F/1.4 prime but I hardly ever used it. Very sharp and "contrasty", but for me, walking around with a 50mm prime just didn't do it for me.

I've found that having an extremely wide lense like the Sigma 10-20 is very cool. You can walk right up to people, chat with them, and just raise your camera and get a half body shot without having to take a step back. It's very cool interactive "people journalism".
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