I changed from the fantastic plastic 50mm F1.8 to the USM F1.4 50mm lens. This was an upgrade and I really didn't think Canon could improve on the F1.8 lens. How wrong was I? This lens is sharp from F2 down but at F1.4 the bokeh is creamy dream like. Its brilliant and took some shots in the dark wide open. NO VIGNETTING as previous owners reported but still handheld shots possible with my Canon 6d and high iso. Very impressed with this lens and its solidly built. The focus is fast although not as fast as the F1.8. As a standard lens for walkabout its brilliant. On a crop sensor Canon 600d it serves as a great portrait lens but seriously be careful on your focus as the bokeh can lead to eye in focus and nose a blur!
Bought this for my dad's birthday, as he's recently taken up photography as a hobby. It is brilliant for indoor shots, due to its low aperture; which basically means how much light is let into the lens through to the camera. This means that for indoor use, you can get amazing bright shots of people, or objects!
The only thing that is different for a amateur, is that you can't zoom in or out, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, as you get another perspective of the image, as the photographer is forced to move!
Brilliant lens would highly recommend for someone wanting to brighten up their indoor shots!
i spent ages reading all the reviews about this lens as well as looking at various reviews on You Tube. I am in agreement with the vast majority of reviewers - the "Nifty Fifty" is a no-brainer, Get one! It's as simple as that. Mine has not been off the camera since I bought it and although it looks a bit cheap (not that cheap though) compared to some of the L lenses, it takes darn good pictures. For the money it is hard to beat and even on E-bay the second hand ones sell for nearly as much as a new one. In other words, if you don't like it then you can always sell it and buy something like the 40mm F2,8 pancake lens. Effectively you would have had a lens to play with for a period of time and it would have cost you roughly £10. Colours are good, motor is slightly noisy ( I don't take video), but the thing with this lens is how sharp it is. At around F5 you will find the "sweet spot" and will be amazed with the pics you take. Some of mine look professional quality and it's not me saying this but my friends I have shown them too. All in all a 5 star product and wholeheartedly recommended.
I'll keep this review simple because so many people have written excellent and detailed feedback which I agree with. The optics are superb and the build quality superior to the f1.8 version. Really...if you're looking for a 50mm prime and you have half an eye on the 1.8...wait! Save. Borrow. This is so much better. The bokeh is beautifully soft and creamy. The portrait capabilities are stunning and for film use...stunning. I use it predominantly for the latter and it's changed my approach to indoor filming. The aperture allows me to work in conditions that were once difficult or off limits. It also allows you to access a level of quality from your Canon camera that exceeds that available through the stock lenses. Really…it’s that good!
It is the cheapest canon lens with 1.8, the image quality gets quite good as I close down the aperture, images are quite sharp from around 4.0.
It is perfect to start low light photography and play around with the depth of field, I can do pretty spectacular family photos even at 1.8 if the image is downscaled - its not worth sending photos more than ~1000 pixels to the family anyway, they have limited number of pixels on their monitor.
On a crop sensor camera I did not have too much luck with the 18-55 lens (too soft), so instead I bought a couple of primes, the 24/2.8, 50/1.8 and 40/2.8 covers everything I need and capable of making very sharp photos (the 40/2.8 is extremely sharp at all apertures, that is a very good lens).
My friend convinced me to buy the 'nifty fifty' (or 'thrifty fifty' as some may call it) ever since I bought my DSLR.
This lens will work on cropped sensor and full frame DSLRs, and older film EOS SLRs - it is equivalent to 80mm on my 650D.
It takes some getting used to using a fixed focal length, as you have to use your feet to zoom in and out, but the image quality is sharp and quite superb for the price. So it has an all plastic, almost toy-like body (even the lens mount is plastic - treat it with care and respect, and it should last just fine), the autofocus is a tad noisy and not superfast, and the manual focus ring is tiny (don't forget to flick the switch from AF to MF, as there isn't full-time manual focus override available) - but hey, this lens just works!
Personally, I find images at the maximum aperture of f/1.8 slightly out of focus, and the background blur is a bit harsh (probably due to the small number of diaphragm blades). Like another reviewer, I love the images I have taken at f/2.8, subjects are sharp with reasonably shallow depth of field. Of course, the aperture selected is dependent on what you're shooting, and this lens has a minimum aperture of f/22 (although on APS-C you probably won't want to go much smaller than f/16).
It is a good lens for low light photography, especially indoors. Note that the filter thread does not rotate on autofocus, so you can happily use a polarising filter.
Mounted to my 650D, it makes for a very light combination, and is a great introduction to photography with a prime lens.
I wanted a 50 mm lens for my Canon 600D DSLR. Well I bought this lens even though I wanted the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2 or the middle of the road - f/1.4. For what I paid, I am happy with the results. I did an dextensive search only especially youtube and watched several videos about it's capabilities. Even though it is out performed by the f 1.2 and f1.4, it is still a winner by price. It is great in low light when I compare it to my 18-55 kit lens. The most incredible thing it des is the bakground blur and I find that with it the Camera is lighter and smaller and I can use it for general photography except where I require zooming. I love the bokeh video effect at night. The built quility is cheap, no problem because I already knew that.
On the flip side, if you use it in Auto mode, it may drive you crazy with the noise as it tries to focus. And it is nit very good for fast moving subjects. I mos of that time use it in manual mode so that I focus manually, and that in most caes produces better results.
If you are like me, you do not have over a £1000, or about £400 for the f1.2 and f1.4 respectively, you may not have much choice in the 50 mm EF Lens. But this actually does a good job and you wont go wrong with it at that price.
Just to qualify this review... I'm a keen amateur photographer who has always used Canon gear and use a 5D (full-size sensor) as my main camera.
I bought this as I was about to become a father for the first time and I wanted a way of capturing some of those special moments of our lovely daughter. I was conscious that for a newborn you don't want to use flash (ringflash is sometimes okay but best avoided) and thus I wanted a lens with "fast glass" which would make this easy. This lens has not disappointed at all. At 50mm it is perhaps a little wide for those portraits on a full-size sensor (I find I crop the images a bit in Photoshop) but the speed and sharpness of the lens make up for that. It's reasonably quiet focussing (certainly not loud enough to disturb baby) and the results have been really good. At f1.4 you obviously get some really lovely blurring away from the focal point and it makes the photos that much more magical. I actually find I tend to use f1.8 most the time.
If I was looking to criticise the lens for this specific need, I would say an 80mm lens may have been better for a full-size sensor, since you do want to go quite close. The other thing I would highlight is that it's not a macro lens so you don't get that close (I think I was finding 50cm as being the minimum focus distance).
A final piece of advice - if you are an amateur and thus have some sort of budget for your lens and are not sure whether to go for the f1.4 lens or the considerably more expensive f1.2, I would suggest the f1.4 is plenty lens for your money. I really found the sharpness and colours of the images from this lens excellent, and never found myself wanting a wider aperture than f1.4. It also means you may have some cash left to buy some other gadgets!!
I ordered this by mistake thinking that the recommendation from Amazon was based on the macro lens that I had been looking at for a while. I know. I should have checked out the figures and was seduced by the price and rating. But, am I pleased? Not half! I love it!! Having put my dog and sick husband through a few shots in the gloom of a cloudy day and an East facing window, and finding that I had the equivalent of summer and no yellowing from a flash, I experimented. I put my less animated black and long-suffering baggy handbag with black lining, under my black binoculars. I played with adjusting the aperture to find out the limitations. The results were astounding. *****! The detail was amazing, given that one has to go with the flow and pull back half a metre.I am used to spending hours doing macro with tubes that I love! The clarity, in the shady corner of the settee is outstanding. The dark fireplace looked backlit!! It gives results that back up all the detailed reports from the other purchasers. I paid 76.00 but it was worth every penny and now it will remain on the camera for its lightweight properties and quality of image, as said by others. I wondered if I had done the right thing in updating to the Canon 500D from my beloved Nikon,Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens but, with this lens, I am truly happy. The small EOS sensor was getting to me but not any more!!!
Why buy a Canon lens that isn't an L-series? Most seasoned photographers say the glass is what its all about which roughly translates that if its a canon dslr then nothing less than an L-series optic will do.... and i've found thats pretty much true.... so why did I buy this 50mm f1.8 ? .... ... After getting a 450d with the bog-standard 18-55mm zoom I wonder just how many folk have pondered why have I bought a dslr, imo its an awful lens and must do them harm in the long run. I mostly use a 7d with some L-series lenses nowadays but in 2011 I did buy this little beauty out of curiosity of all the good reviews it has. Whilst its quite slow (to what I'm used to) to focus it is accurate more times than not and the resulting picture quality really does blow away anything that the 18-55 could do.
No point getting technical, go to dpreview or some other website for the in-depth tests, I would just end by writing that if I was new to dslr photography I would have benefited a massive amount if I had purchased a body only camera along with this lens.