23 May 2007


Lens like a jewel

50mm 1.8 (cameraporn) at Flickr.comYesterday was not only my last day of radiation and the day I found out that, "Dude! I'm gettin' a colostomy!" It was also my father's 68th birthday—we're mere weeks from being exactly 30 years apart in age.

My wife and daughters and I dropped by my parents' place for the occasion last night and had some cake with them. My girls handmade cards, plus some extremely cool presents: little plasticene models of my dad, one on his own (from my seven year old) and one with his telescope (from my nine year old).

I wasn't that creative, but unlike last week, when I was totally out of it for Mother's Day, I did manage to buy him something: a nice basic 50 mm prime lens for his Canon DSLR camera. If you have a DSLR and don't have at least one prime lens (with a single focal length like 24 mm or 50 mm or 105 mm, which does not zoom), get one. They are much nicer for the money and let in more light than equivalently priced zooms. In fact, I wish DSLRs came with 50 mm lenses like film SLRs used to for decades.

For those of you who aren't photo geeks, understand this: when he opened the wrapping, he was just as delighted as a woman opening a surprise gift of jewelry. Yup, we guys really do like our gadgets that much.

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I just picked up a Nikon Coolpix L12 as a handycamera (have a proper D-SLR too, but it's not as convenient for having around all the time).

It's NOT a gadget. It's a tool. (Hey that rationale has worked SO well recently...)
Actually, I didn't own any prime lenses until recently (well any 35mm primes - all my other lenses are primes) but I was really happy with how much faster, brighter, easier to focus, lighter and all round better it is to a corresponding zoom. Best $$ I've spent in a while.

Hope your dad can put it to good use.
yeah i luv that lens! i agree! highly reocmmended!
I've actually been meaning to write a blog entry on the 50mm for a while. It's easily my favourite lens in my kit. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is around $100 CAD, so you really can't go wrong for the price. Plus, I think having a prime is a great way to improve your photography skills, since it forces you to think about composition.
I find I've been using my Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 (very similar to what I bought my dad) more than all my other lenses -- which include a Quantaray/Sigma 24 mm f/3, a Nikon 35-70 mm f/3.5-4.5, and a Quantaray/Sigma 70-210 mm f/4-5.6 -- because it's so much faster and gives such lovely shallow focus and available light shots. I'd like an f/1.4 or even an f/1.2 lens, but those are so ridiculously much more expensive I can't justify it.
I actually have the f/1.4, and it's really awesome. The Canon 1.8 is nearly as good optically, but the 1.4 has more blades do you get more realistic bokeh, and of course, works in lower light. I can almost take a shot in the dark with it without a flash.
Duane, do you find it difficult to get accurate focus at 1.4?
I do love my 50mm (and my 21mm -- I hardly ever even put on a zoom, anymore, and when I do, I invariably grumble at the slower speed). It just feels so good to use the fixed-length lenses.
hmmm f1.8 - nice.