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Old Mar 23, 2009, 11:57 AM   #1
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I've read the reviews and I think this is the 50mm prime I want. But I'm looking for some input before I make my final decision.

I haven't been able to hold it or test it out... it's a hard lens to find where I live and I'll have to order it online. But I have handled the EF 50mm f/1.8 II and it feels like a piece of junk. I realize it might take good enough pictures for my purposes, but I'm hesitant to buy this toy-like lens.

I'm looking for a 50mm prime to compliment my 18-55mm IS kit lens that came with my XSi. I'd be using it to take pictures of people at social gatherings (weddings, cottage parties, holiday functions, etc.), and pictures of my black Labrador Retriever. Indoor and outdoor photos for both.

My kit lens has worked okay so far, but I'm thinking this prime might produce much better results. Any thoughts?

I'm looking to get away from using the flash as much as possible during hand-held photography. I know I can bump up the ISO, but I'm curious to know people's opinions on the difference this lens would make.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 8:22 PM   #2
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The f/1.8"nifty fifty" may feel like a piece of junk, but it is an amazingly good deal and great buy with amazingly sharp pictures. You cannot go wrong with it as long as you are not a professional using and abusing it all the time.

However, if you are going to really USE a 50mm, then the f/1.4 Canon is a bit beefier with similar IQ, if not very slightly better, and a bit "brighter" for lower light situations. Further, IMHO, the f/1.4 ismore consistant in accurate focusing than the "looser" f/1.8.

Both lenses are very good!
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 8:59 PM   #3
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If you can afford it the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX is actually a better lens especially at wide open where it exceeds all others 50mm in sharpness

-> The extra cost is justified by its largest optics of any 50mm (i.e. works very well on full-frame without vignetting) plus I believe in Canada the Sigma warranty is 8-years for the EX (5-years in the States) vs only 1-year for the EF !
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Old Mar 24, 2009, 9:08 AM   #4
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Hello Boldstart,

I also have a Canon Rebel XSi and I bought this lens mainly for shooting basketball in low lit gyms like the first shot below.
As others have said I have found it not as easy to focus for action shots as the 85mm prime but I really do like this lens a lot.

On Sunday we had a small family get together and we were taking pictures and image 2 below is an example. I was barely able to get everyone in the frame and had to back all the way across the room and into the edge of the hall to get the shot. Others with their point and shoots just zoomed out and looked at me funny. I have read since that I should have used a smaller aperture like 4 or 5 for a group photo like this. I don't really like the results using the built in flash (but i need to experiment more with it) and here I used f/2.5 and ISO 800. If I had used a lower AV it may have meant higher ISO. The lighting in this case was good around 3:00 pm. I think it is a great lens. But again this was my first time taking group photos indoors.

Andy

1.





2.


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Old Mar 24, 2009, 11:26 AM   #5
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I keep trying to convince myself to buy the 1.8, because the price is right and at best I'm somewhere between a hobbyist and amateur photographer... But every time I pick it up in the store, I can't get past the feeling that I'm holding a very breakable toy. Maybe that's dumb, but I just can't bring myself to buy it.

Then, reading the reviews that say it doesn't always focus well and that the 1.4 produces brighter pictures in low light... I almost feel stuck having to go the more expensive route.

I think this lens would see a lot of action. A large percentage of my photography centres on people, and quite often they're indoors. I'm really looking for an alternative to using the flash and I wonder if this might (often) do the trick.

I'm considering the purchase... I can buy it online for about $500 (CDN), taxes included. It'd be coming from a very reputible store (Henry's) and I'd have a 14-day return, 30-day exchange option. So I suppose I could buy it, try it out, and then return it if my results are less than what I expected.

griffina6... did you take that family portrait with your 50mm? Or your 85mm? I'm not sure I understood which you were referring to. Regarding the apature in that shot, it looks fine to me. Subjects in focus, background slightly blurred.
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Old Mar 24, 2009, 11:45 AM   #6
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Sorry about that, I was not very clear.

Both of the above photos were taken with 50mm F/1.4 EF which I got in January from BHPhoto for $325 USD. My comment about having to back up so much was to highlightadownside to using a prime lens - having to frame with your feet instead of the lens. I have not tried the cheaper "niftry-fifty". Just from what I've read I wanted something that I thought would be more durable andlast longer.
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Old Mar 24, 2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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No problem griff... I sorta thought you were talking about your 50mm.

I'm not worried about that myself. I don't do very many group portraits... mostly I'm thinking about candid shots of people where I'd be somewhat close to them already. Right now, using my kit lens, I end up dialing down to 18mm and getting in close for lighting reasons. Zooming from far away might make for a cooler DOF effect, but with indoor, low-light photography it just won't work.
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Old Mar 24, 2009, 1:59 PM   #8
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Since picture brightness is a function of contrast, processing, printing technique, etc... it is a bit of a misnomer to say that a 1.4 lens takes "a bit brighter" picture than a 1.8 lens.

Also realize that, unless you have a full-frame sensor camera, 30 is the new 50. Sigma makes a fantastic 30mm 1.4 lens for under $400. That will be MY next purchase.

I can't stand having to find the furthest corner of the house to stand in to get a photo of one small group of people!

I have a nifty-fifty and am very happy with it. I don't feel like I've lost a whole lot if I ruin it by using it in "the weather"... $80 at the most. It's almost 3 years old now and still looks like new. The polycarbonate shell is light but tough. The bokeh is beautiful and depth of field is way better than any kit lens.

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Old Mar 24, 2009, 3:14 PM   #9
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Weird... Two people have commented now about having to stand far back from a subject to take an indoor shot using a 50mm lens. I've tried one out before (a buddy's 1.8 lens) and it really didn't seem ridiculously close.


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Old Mar 24, 2009, 4:36 PM   #10
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50mm x 1.6 = the equivalent of an 80 mm lens on a film or full-frame digital camera. 80mm is very tight with my old film camera.

Because sensor sizes are all over the map, manufacturers still use full 36mm film sizes as the references for focal length. EVEN if the lens is made specifically for 1.6 crop factor cameras.

So... either your buddy's camera was full frame sensor (or film) OR the room you were in was larger than average....
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