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Customer Review

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best photography bargain in the world right now, 24 Sept. 2012
By 
This review is from: Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens (Camera)
Yes, it looks cheap. Yes, it feels light and plasticky, and would probably shatter into fifty-three-thousand smithereens if you dropped it. Yes, it draws dust like a discarded bag of chips draws tramps. Yes, the focus ring is narrow and fiddly, and started making a nasty, mutinous grinding noise in AF mode just a few months after I bought it. And yet, in spite of all these things, I cannot bring myself to give it anything less than five whole stars.

Why?

Because nestling inside this ugly, £70 lump of low-grade plastic are some of the highest quality optics you can lay your hands on for under £500. The sharpness of the shots it produces, and the rich, detailed colours, will be a revelation to any beginner thinking of moving on from an 18-55 kit lens, or from pretty much any low-to-mid range zoom. In particular, this is a fantastic portrait lens, and would still be considered good at five or six or seven times the price. I have also used it for urban photography with surprisingly impressive results.

The generous minimum f-stop of 1.8 allows for impressive low-light performance and beautiful narrow depth of field, in fact too narrow for most subjects, but it's nice to have the option even if most of us will rarely use it. The sweet spot (varying depending on subject/distance, etc.) seems to be the range between f2.2 and f8, which reduces the minor distortion visible at 1.8 and makes the focus deep enough to squeeze your subject into the sharp zone, while retaining a pleasingly creamy "bokeh", so details pop out in pristine sharpness against an ambiently blurred background. If you know what you're doing, you can do some amazing things with this lens; it can produce shots that, in terms of image quality, could hang on a wall at a gallery or nestle within a coffee-table art book next to photographs taken by professionals on professional-budget glass, and no one would ever think it came through a bargain-basement lens such as this.

In this day of inbuilt obsolescence, feature-limitation and aggressive upselling, such a bargain should not exist. But, happily, it does. I suggest you take advantage of it. :)
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Nov 2012 13:13:31 GMT
Stuart says:
Great review sir

Posted on 5 Apr 2014 20:24:42 BDT
Pe James says:
Good review but many including myself think the sweet spot is F5.6/f8 I did some test shots even at f3.5 the shots were not as good at 100%.
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