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Budget lenses - The Canon EF50mm f1.8

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

The ultimate budget lens

“Budget lenses” and “great photographs” are two phrases not usually found in the same sentence. Good quality interchangeable DSLR lenses that take great photographs are expensive, fact. By contrast, budget lenses are inferior and do not produce any decent photographs but they are a cheap and affordable solution. 

I was one of the many photographers who thought that budget lenses were next to useless and not worth buying. I also believed that in order to capture those stunning shots I needed to spend a lot of money on a good interchangeable DSLR lens. However, my opinion soon changed when I discovered a budget lens that produced stunning images. In addition, this budget interchangeable DSLR lens that many professional photographers throughout the world use on a daily basis. 

The budget lens I discovered is the Canon EF50mm f1.8. This budget lens is a fixed 50mm focal length prime lens. With a maximum aperture of 1.8 many photographers consider this budget lens “fast”, i.e. it is possible to keep fast shutter speeds even in low light conditions. 

The Canon EF50mm f1.8 budget lens may look like a child's toy rather than a piece of serious photography equipment, but don't let its looks fool you. This budget lens is capable of producing some exceptional images.

Canon EF50mm f1.8 prime lens

First off the Canon EF50mm f1.8 looks cheap, nasty and inferior and compared to the build quality of other interchangeable DSLR lenses it is. This budget lens looks and feel more like a child’s toy than a serious piece of photographic equipment. However, don’t let the poor build quality put you off trying out this lens. The build quality is pretty much to be expected given the low price, so you can’t really mark the EF50mm f1.8 lens down for this. 

Provided you look after the EF50mm f1.8 lens the poor build quality should not give you any problems at all. I have had my EF50mm f1.8 lens, and used it extensively, for the last three years and I have had no problems at all. Besides, if something does go drastically wrong and you end up breaking the EF50mm f1.8 it is so cheap you may as well buy a new one. 

The image quality of the EF50mm f1.8 is simply stunning. Some photographs appear soft around the edges when the EF50mm is shot wide open at its maximum f1.8 aperture, but step it down a stop or two and images get much better. Stopped down, the EF50mm f1.8 is capable of producing photographs that are crisp, clear and tack sharp from the centre of the frame all the way to the edges. The colours produced by this lens are accurate but vibrant and punchy, giving the photographs the “wow” effect. The “bokeh”, i.e. the area of the photograph that is put of focus, can only be described as smooth and creamy which is very pleasing to the eye. 

The Canon EF50mm f1.8 budget lens is great on the Canon EOS450D digital camera. The result is a small, neat and highly portable combination that is capable of capturing some stunning images.

The Canon EF50mm f1.8 on an EOS450D

One of the best things about the EF50mm f1.8 lens is the cost. This is a seriously good lens for little money, and is an interchangeable DSLR lens that is in the reach of most people. You can pick up the EF50mm f1.8 for under £90 brand new, which is astonishing compared to the cost of other interchangeable DSLR lenses. If you are unable to stretch to a brand new EF50mm f1.8 you can sometimes get used ones on Ebay although the EF50mm f1.8 doesn’t appear to be a an interchangeable DSLR lens that photographers seem to want to part with.


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