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-   -   Take advantage of Canon 50mm f/1.8 on holiday (

alexellisuk Jun 27, 2006 3:34 AM

I just received the mentioned lens this morning. I mounted it straight away and tried to take some photos. I noticed immediately that it doesn't seem to focus as close as the (non usm) kit lens does at 50mm. It is also pretty noisy in comparision and makes scary clunks when hunting. That over..

I'm going on a trip to the lake district (big green landscapes, lakes, old pubs, hiking) in a couple of days and want to take this lens with me. I don't have any experience with it other than a few people shots in the shop.

Can anyone give me some advice about how to get the best out of the lens in this situation (or in general)? I'd like to try and use the low aperture but f/1.8 probably wouldn't look so good if I was photographing a cow 20 meters away.

What if it starts pouring down with rain -- are a couple of plastic carrier bags wrapped around the 350D enough to protect it? What to people use?

Hope to hear from you soon, thanks.

pj1974 Jun 27, 2006 5:46 AM

Hi Alexellisuk,

I have the Canon 350D and a number of lenses including both the kit lens and the 50mm f1.8 lens you write about. A quick answer. I would say that you should ALSO take along the kit (18-55mm) lens (it's not clear to me from your post if you'll also take that too).

The 50mm f1.8 lens is a handy lens for low light (e.g. inside shots without flash of the pubs you wrote about) or portraits (e.g. people). But for general travel / landscape photography I think you'll find the 18-55mm lens more versatile as it's wider and a zoom. The 50mm f1.8 lens is more of a specialist lens, for specific purposes (e.g. low light, portrait, or when you need lots of background blur).

Yes the focus on the 50mm f1.8 is rather loud and slow compared to the kit lens (or my 2 other USM / silent focus lenses). And the focus on the 50mm is not as mature (seems to hunt more as well as occasionally miss in lower contrast / low light situations). My other lenses focus better. The f1.8 can produce fantastic results (sharp from about f2.5, quite acceptable below this). But not the lens for all situations.

I notice you wrote another thread about a 28-200 or 28-300 lens options you were looking at (a few weeks ago). How did you go with this? Maybe they're more versatile for your time in the lakes district. (I've been there and know what it's like).

If it's raining (quite likely in Britain at any time) - I always keep my camera OUT of the rain. OK, the occasional rain drop on it might not destroy it, but I do know it's not "weather sealed" (that is water / moisture CAN get inside). So I don't take the risk. I use a specially designed DSLR camera bag (Lowepro) which is waterproof and has it's own little "rain cover". You can find many (other) brands and models on the internet. I'd not trust wrapping a few plastic carrier bags around a camera for protection (whether using or storing / travelling!)

Hope this is helpful!


alexellisuk Jun 27, 2006 7:03 AM

Thank you for your feedback, that really helped me.

On the Telezoom

I will get the Sigma 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 next month -- should wait until my birthday but was tempted to get it early for the lakes. I found out how difficult it can be to decide on a lens. Like you say it would be a great focal length for shooting there.

The lenses
Yes I will take along the kit lens, this is a no brainer for me. I've really got used to it and the 18mm will be very useful for landscapes. It seems like you say the 50mm is very much a specialist lens although I am going to see how far I can push it.
As for low light, I suppose it's still a compromise because the lens only performs better in low light if the aperture is wider open and that means a shallower DOF. Still 3.5 at 50mm should provide a good amount of detail.

Keeping dry
I have a Canon bag for the camera but I don't think it's waterproof -- it's the standard one you can get in a kit -- although I bought it separately. I would put it away if it started raining but my worry is if we went out for a day's walking/hiking the weather can be very unpredictable. Any waterproof bags you can recommend for cameras?

BoYFrMSpC Jun 27, 2006 8:16 PM

Just to add-on with some of my experiences:

-large apertures on the 350D have a tendency to miss critical focus on far away objects. I have the sigma 30 f/1.4 and ef 85 f/1.8 (the sigma is worse). In your particular situation, you're probably going to use lower aperture settings- and when that happens, the kit lens can perform just as well (the tele side is sharper than the wider side)

-I've taken out my 350d (with the kit lens) in the rain. It wasn't crazy rain, but it was enough to get a few drops on the camera and lens now and then. At one time a HUGE drop fell right in the crack of the dial so I was a little nervous. But the camera's still working... I know a number of lowepro bags have an additional cover for rain (only a few bags are ACTUALLY waterproofed). I just use a hiking bag that's waterproofed - if it's really raining badly. Otherwise I just use my Velocity 9 bag (not waterproof, but it'll keep out a decent amount of rain before I start worrying)

pj1974 Jun 28, 2006 3:16 PM

Well, a bit of an addition...

Let me know how you get on with the Sigma 28-200zoom lens. It has a useful zoom range.

OK, I'm glad you realise taking the kit lens along is a no-brainer, I just wasn't sure from your first post.

The 50mm f1.8 hasa shallow depth of fieldand if it misses focus (due to low-light difficulties, camera ability, user error, e.g. moving closer / further away) it will easily show up. I find the 50mm at f2.5 and f2.8 upwards has a good sharpness.

Have you considered buying / taking along a TRIPOD? (that will help for steady shots in low light too!) An alternate option to trying to use f1.8. I do use f1.8 when I need to of course...

I have a Lowepro bag, as boyfrmspc says, it has its own little waterproof cover, which I have experienced keeps it dry in an hour's solid rain. Now I understand your predicament. If it really were to pour with rain for a whole day I'd probably put my Lowepro bag ina waterproof daypack... that should keep it dry AND safe for sure.

Let us know how you go at the Lakes district, and share your favourite photo/s.


alexellisuk Jul 3, 2006 4:01 AM

Thanks for the advice.

The lake district was amazing, there were so many great natural compositions and photo opportunities. I got back yesterday uploaded a few in my flickr account the last two pages.

In the end I didn't really use the 50mm other than for a few portraits and some low light on the beach. When I did use it, it was usually at about 2.8 unless I had some explicit bokeh idea..

I met a few EOS users on the hikes and talked them into letting me try their lenses.. it worked every time. I tried a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 -- it took some nice photos. The range would have been really very useful there although it's quite a bit heavier than the kit lens.

As for lugging the camera around it was quite a nuisance while hiking. We went on some really tough routes. I had a backpack, telescopic pole and then a camera at my side. I found the best way was to put the camera so it faced behind me then it didn't get in the way. Best of all it didn't rain at any time when we were outside -- what provision!


pj1974 Jul 5, 2006 4:29 AM


I like a lot of your photos on your flickr account. Really captures the feeling of the area and your time there.

I sent you a personal message (PM) check your "new messages" (at the top right of the Steve's forums pages). I realise you're new so youmight not have used this before.

Thanks for sharing. Good selection of photos


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