Hi, My name is Dan and I'm returning to Ciao afresh with a mission to practice my writing evermore. My reviews do also appear on Dooyoo under the name dannylee. On rare occasion I use original material under my very old moniker, UrkiE-UK
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Using a highly adjustable Canon DSLR on the fly is sometimes more mentally taxing than we'd like it to be. Sometimes we just wanna point, click and move on to the next without wondering if there's any tricks we're missing or settings we haven't optimised. This fixed 50mm lens has the profound effect of making your more opportunist pictures consistently well presented and useable, without putting the onus on you to do anything but shoot WYSIWYG style. The reason for that is simple; no zooming means no standing still. When fitted with such a stubby and manueverable lens, the SLR goes from being a complicated and uptight beast to a user-friendly point-and-click camera that gets consistent results. It's more interesting and gets the creative juices flowing, too. My manager always comments on how his 13 year old son seems to take more interesting and intriguing photos on a cheap compact camera than he does with his SLR. Whilst he twiddles and fiddles with dials and taking great care in composing his images, his son simply sees, points and shoots. My camera worked it's way round many of my friends' hands who've never used an SLR and a lot of their photos have come out spectacularly. Not only will you find this dudey little 50mm lens in the box, but also the spirit of natural-feeling photography within.
I've had this lens for a while and have toyed around with it in the home somewhat and not quite understood why I bought it. That was before I took it to a trip to Bournemouth, and there I begun to see the appeal. Without adjustable zoom, I was moving my body about much more and found framing my images a fluid and physical task, rather than just twiddling the zoom ring and standing still without feeling like I'm really doing anything with my body. This sounds like hard work, but often you'll move about and discover a viewpoint you'd never have thought of if you'd stayed still. This is not to say that you'll be prancing about or contorting yourself to get the shot you want, but instead it merely means you discover more untrodden ground while shooting. Whilst no good for macro photography portraying the finest details of intricate objects or indoor architectural photography, it can competently cover facial portraits from 2 feet away to long landscape shots of beaches or open spaces.
Autofocusing is quick and to the point, as can be expected from such a compact lens. Zooming is not silent, but whereas my telescopic 300mm lens may take a second to go from one end of the spectrum to the other, the 50mm is there in the blink of an eye and rarely struggles to find your focus point. A curious puppy, aviary birds, tentative squirrels; all were captured brilliantly as I briskly readied my cam in no time at all with no searching or hunting for focus, reinforcing the 50mm as a direct and dependable lens. I know a certain kit lens which may have missed the shot as I paused to contemplate how much zoom I wanted, whereas the 50mm removes this line of thought altogether.
One of the standout points of this lens is the ability to go down to an aperture level of F1.8. This makes available a tighter depth of field than most entry-level equipment out there. If you are a big fan of photography using out-of-focus objects to your advantage, then this lens will be a great little toy. In addition to this it allows faster shutter speeds to minimize the amount of motion blur or camera shake, as the smaller the aperture amount, the more light floods in. However, if you rely on keeping the lens at this aperture level just to reduce motion blur then you will not get the best shots unless you specifically need this small an aperture dial. Photos taken with this lens tend to come out best when shot through at least 4.0 or about. Maxing out the aperture dial to 1.8 is useful for specific preconcepted shots where you know what you're trying to get, and I've had brilliant shots of birds and animals where getting in close on a solitary subject against a distant background has been possible. If you try to use this for normal landscape or group photography you may find a lack of clarity on anything except the exact depth you focused at.
My Canon 50mm lens is attached to my new 550D SLR and I find it very easy to keep steady when shooting stills or video, provided I ready myself as I take the shot. With such low weight there's only miniscule offset centre of gravity for your hands to keep aloft. It's a noticeably lighter lens than the kit 18-55mm pieces you may have been using if it came with your camera. It's light because it's body is made almost entirely of plastic, but it's far from cheap-feeling in my opinion. Compact and robust without resorting to artificially weighting it with steel parts.
In summary, this 50mm fixed lens is a risk reducer. Gone will be the days when you zoom in to save yourself from a few paces walking, only to find excessive camera shake or lack of depth in the photo. Get up close and consistently compose good photos. Upstart connoisseurs may comment on the lack of external steel parts, but it's neither here nor there when attached to your DSLR. It's strange to say that a camera with less features than the standard lens is an upgrade, but if you try this lens you'll see the appeal - and it won't cost all that much to do so.