In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall


CRW_01136.CRW: Digital Rebel, EF 50mm 1:1.8 II @ 1/50, f/1.8, 100 ISO

CRW_01136.CRW: Digital Rebel, EF 50mm 1:1.8 II @ 1/50, f/1.8, 100 ISO

Don bought himself the AF‑S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G and from everything I’ve read, it’s a kick-ass lens. He mentioned wanting to take some very shallow depth-of-field photos, for which an f/1.4 lens is certainly ideal.

This reminded me of when I bought my first digital SLR prime lens nearly six years ago now. It was the EF 50mm f/1.8 II. It’s cheaply made, but also ridiculously inexpensive and the ideal way a new photographer can get into large aperture photography without paying a lot. The photo you see here is one I took on the first day I had the 50mm f/1.8.

Looking closely, you can see some of the optical shortcomings in the lens. Most obviously, the foreground text is tinted magenta and the background text is tinted green. Also, you can see some spherical distortion, especially in the blurry text to the right, just below the focus point.

It’s far from a perfect lens, but I managed to get it on sale for less than $100. Even now, it’s available in stores for less than $150. If you don’t have a prime and you have never used one, it’s not much to pay. As a point of comparison, the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM will set you back $460, and the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is $1700. That’s $400 more for 1/3 stop and $1550 more for 1 stop … but if you need a huge aperture, there’s no other way.




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  1. Brian MG

    Nice shot.

    • Rick

      Thanks Brian! I’m thinking that I might try it again with the f/1.4 and a dictionary with a longer definition before the word ‘focus’!

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