5
The Nifty Fifty

Bill Bumgarner:

I have been wanting a new lens for a while (what SLR photographer — amateur or otherwise — doesn’t?) and had been eying up some serious pieces of glass.

After doing a bunch of research, I ended up with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. Complete opposite end of the spectrum from the various L series bits of glass linked above. Instead of dropping $1,500 or even $5,000, it cost me all of $76.30.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens is the best deal in photography. Everyone with an SLR should have one — even if you already own the $310 50mm f/1.4 (which is both technically and optically superior to the f/1.8), it’s worth buying the f/1.8 for $80 because it costs so little and weighs so much less. The f/1.4 weighs 290g; the f/1.8 weighs just 130g — the difference is very noticeable. (A Canon Rebel XT body with no attached lens weighs 485g.)

Nikon makes a very similar lens for just $110.

Friday, 12 October 2007