Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Still Loving the 50mm f1.8 Lens!

A bird on the shoulder is better than two in the bush.

Imp and the bird we saved from Tractor, our killing-machine cat. :-)
Nifty 50 lens (50mm f1.8)

You might have noticed that I love taking photos of my kids. And I love messy hair. Imp took a nap and came running in to me with this amazing curly mess on top of his head and I had to run and get my camera.

Luckily I had my trusty Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lenson my ol' Canon Rebel XT (yeah, still no new camera, this one is the Timex of the camera world, ... it keeps on taking lickins' and still goes on tickin'). It was a rainy dark day but I had some window light and a moment when Imp did not move and I captured the image seen above.

Oh, that is the BEST bed hair. And in case you are interested, here are my numbers: 50mm, f2.5, 1/30s, ISO 400, Av Mode. I processed it in LightRoom2 (and cropped it and added rounded corners in Photoshop CS4 using my action Web Rounded Corners). Not bad for a $100 lens, a semi-dark room and a wiggly Imp!

So if you haven't purchased this baby yet, go check it out. It is a light little plastic lens, but it take great photos. Especially for portraits and those low light situations. You don't have to go broke to take beautiful photos (or photos of your son's messy hair). :-)

Natural Light Child Photography (a very informative group on Flickr) had a thread on this lens running today if you can believe it! You can read it here if you need any more convincing.

If you can spend a little bit more, check out the 50mm f1.4 version. It is much more sturdy ... and is even better in low light. This is on my list of things I would like to buy when I have some extra money. Extra money; I can dream, right? ;-) But for now I am perfectly happy with its cheaper brother.

I always like to tell people that to take a great image you don't need expensive equipment. I have photos that I took with a 110 camera as a child that I cherish. You don't always need perfect tack-sharp focus, just check out some of the great photographer's work back before digital cameras and you will be shocked by the soft focus on many of their greatest artistic achievements.

There are even entire Flickr groups dedicated to those less than perfect and even blurry photos. Check out the Blartsy group. Blur + Artsy = Blartsy!!! Or this amazing set.

I think we sometimes get too caught up with the excitement of technology and the newest and greatest equipment out there (if only I had THAT camera and THAT lens and my images would be perfect...). I fall into that trap myself even though I have a perfectly decent camera that takes perfectly decent photos.

If you are a professional, you might need expensive equipment. But for those of you out there like me, photographing just for your own pleasure, concentrate on taking those photos you will pull out when you are old and gray that will melt your heart and make you laugh.

Bring your camera with you as much as possible (one reason you might not want to buy those huge heavy professional cameras!) and take photos of your "normal boring" life, because those are the priceless images. The photos of mud or paint on your child's face, your dog sleeping with the cat, your husband or boyfriend working out in the yard with his shirt off :-), your grandmother laughing over coffee, and your father reading the paper in his favorite recliner are what photography is all about. Those are the photos you will cherish in the future, more than the technically spot-on gorgeous photo of that perfect rose or sunset.

Technically perfect images are nice, but the photos that invoke emotion and memory are the ones that are most important. And there will be those amazing times in your life you will have forgotten your camera or been too busy to pull it out. Don't fret, because sometimes you just need to enjoy the moment. :-)


  1. I have the 50mm f1.4 and I love it! It is my go to lens!!

    Thanks for all you do Rita! You really do rock!

  2. I have the same gear. :) Great shot!

  3. I have a Canon T1i, and the f/1.8 lens was my first lens purchase (besides the kit lenses that came with the camera). I love it for portraits. Great dof, so light, and the right price :) Maybe someday I'll invest in its more expensive cousin, but I've got others on my priority list first (e.g., 10-20 mm Sigma lens; 18-200 mm all-purpose lens).

    Thanks Rita. I enjoy your blog.

    Best wishes, A Canuck.

  4. I have the Canon D50 and the f/1.8 and LOVE It!!! Happy New Year! :)

  5. Oh you just inspired me, I have the XT and just got the 50mm f1.8 lens. I won't feel too sorry for myself now.

  6. I have the 50mm 1.8 that I use with my 30D and really like it as well. The only thing is I wish it had image stabilization because I have incredibly shaky hands.
    I also have what someone else mentioned--the 18-200 and it's a great travel lens. I took it to Chicago and it was the only lens I took and it was great!

  7. I just got my 50mm f/1.8 for Christmas & am sooo loving it! And rather excited to hear that others love it too - makes me feel like I've got great things to look forward to. :)
    Happy New Year!

  8. I read your old post where you mention the 50 mm f1.4. You had me sold and I ordered it for myself last week as a christmas gift. I can't wait to get it!! Thank you for the tips and tricks. I love your blog!!!

  9. I also have an older Rebel XT with the kit lens and a 70 -300 zoom lens.. and I still adore it! This lens is actually on my "I want it list", maybe for my birthday this year. I've said I wanted it this whole last year, but we've had 3 (yes, count them 3) health problems in the family this year and all my extra money seems to have gone to the pharmacy and Drs. Le Sigh!

  10. Thank you so much for this post. I have been wanting to get the 50mm lens for my camera. I am looking forward to purchasing and using it. Thanks again.

  11. Oh goodness!
    I ordered this lens (and the T1i camera body) yesterday!!!
    I'm so glad that you love it; I hope I will, too! :)

  12. YES! My Nikkor 50mm f1.8 is my all-time favorite! People are impressed when I put my huge 70-300mm on my camera and they laugh at my "dinky little" 50mm; but you can't beat the little prime! It's the best!

  13. Amen to everything you said. :)

  14. I have the Nikon 50mm f1.8 and it almost never leaves my camera. I am always amazed with the images I capture with it. Thanks for posting :)

  15. You absolutely can't go wrong with this little inexpensive lens!
    Great lens for the money!
    I've used it on my Canon xsi for quite awhile.
    I wouldn't turn down a 1.4 though :)

  16. I'm a Nikon girl, but I do have Nikon's version of this lens, and it is absolutely fabulous! Hands down my favorite lens (I currently have 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 28-80mm, and this nifty fifty). And thanks for posting a great picture of your adorable little boy!

  17. I just got the 1.8 for my XT and I love, love, love it! Love your blog, by the way!

  18. I have the 1.4 and it's so great! Everything's so clear.
    And off the subject, I was wondering how to make a blog button. I looked at all your old tutorials and I couldn't see that you've done one. Could you possibly do one about that? I've googled it and just can't seem to get it to work! Maybe I'm just not smart enough. ;)

  19. Thank you Rita!

    I visit your blog almost every day (sometimes 2 or 3 times a day!) Although, I love new actions (like everyone else) it was really nice to see your photography angle!

    When I first started coming by I was a newcomer; had absoluely NO idea what the heck I was doing. I have learned so much from your actions/tutorials - and I owe it all to you!

    Just an idea for 2010, how about some photography tips? Like apeture, fstop, shutter speed, iso, creative modes,ect.

    I love the blog! Happy New Year! -Kari

  20. I too got the (Nikon Version) of the 50 1.8 and LOVE it!
    If I thought that cam should be surgically attached to my eye before, I should be planning the surgery now!
    So worth it!

  21. I have this lens and LOVE IT on the XSI, I use it for a lot of my photo's including the ones that I took yesterday that are on my blog right now.....
    I want the 1.4 but that is on the long wish list.. I want an a good L zoom I think first.

  22. Perfect words!!
    I love your photos and admire a lot your way of thinking...

  23. I love my 50mm but do you shoot both of your kids with the 50? If so, what is your aperture set at to get both in focus? I have 3 kids I sometimes TRY and get together for a picture...almost all the time one of them is OOF.

  24. I have this lens with my Canon T1i, and I have gotten some marvelous portrait shots with it> I love love love this lens