When it comes to lenses, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens is one of my all-time favorites. It’s the perfect combination of picture quality, sharpness, versatility, and affordability. Which has made it Canon’s best-selling lens.
Personally, I think every photographer should have a 50mm lens in their camera bag. It’s a fun walk-around lens that can be used for a wide variety of photo opportunities. For many photography hobbyists, this might even be the only lens you need. Mine is usually on the camera itself. But of course, as a lens junkie… how could we possibly have just one?
That being said, if I had to choose just ONE lens to use for the rest of my life, this would be it.
Here’s a quick video review with sample images….
The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is a prime lens. Meaning it has a fixed focal length with no zoom option. One of the big benefits of prime lenses versus zoom lenses is that they often have better image quality. Prime lenses also tend to be faster and sharper than zoom lenses.
The “Nifty Fifty” is also an extremely versatile lens. While many photographers use the 50mm lens for portraits, it’s also great for landscapes, street photography, cityscapes, seascapes, documentary and more.
It can also be used for long-exposure photography.
You can even add some macro extension tubes and make your way into the world of macro photography.
It’s a fun little lens that allows you to shoot all day without ever changing lenses.
It’s also super light. So it’s not going to weigh you down. Making it a great lens when you’re traveling or on the go.
Plus, this lens is honestly one of the best ways to learn photography.
Since you don’t have the ability to zoom, you have to think carefully about your composition. Meaning… if you want to get closer to your subject, you’ll have to literally move in closer to get the shot.
If you want to capture a larger frame, you’ll have to move back.
This forces you to get creative, think on your feet, and frame up your shots until you achieve your desired “look and feel”.
That’s one of the things that I think is so interesting about photography. You can take 100 photographers to the exact same spot, and you’ll get 100 different photos.
Each photograph it’s own little snowflake.
But what many people love most about this little lens is the beautiful bokeh effect. The ultra-wide aperture allows more light to reach the imaging sensor, which reduces depth of field. Creating a pleasantly blurred background. Getting in close on your subjects will maximize the bokeh.
The wide aperture and fast shutter speeds also allows you to “freeze” motion even in low-light conditions. This is perfect for sports photography and any action shot.
And finally, the large aperture on the Canon 50mm f/1.8 means that it takes in a huge amount of light. Which makes for great photos even in low-light situations. It also means higher quality images.
Here are some sample photos from the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Lens
This photo was taken by Tomos Kay. It was shot on a Canon EOS 60D with the 50mm lens. A shutter speed of 1/160. An aperture of ƒ/2.8. Focal length of 50mm and ISO 500.
This photo was also taken by Tomos Kay and the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Lens. He used a shutter speed of 1/200. An aperture of ƒ/2.8. Focal length of 50mm and ISO 640.
This gorgeous black and white photo was captured by Tomos Kay using a shutter speed of 1/200. An aperture of ƒ/2.8. Focal length of 50mm and ISO 400.
This photo is called Bobby Boy. It was shot on a Canon EOS 60D with a shutter speed of 1/250. An aperture of ƒ/2.8. Focal length of 50mm and ISO 400.
This gorgeous black and white photo was captured by Davide Rindori on a Canon EOS 40D. He used the 50mm lens with a shutter speed of 1/60. An aperture of ƒ/8 and ISO 100.
This long-exposure photo was shot on a Canon 5D using the 50mm f/1.8 II lens. Jonathan Singh captured this photo using an aperture of f/8 and ISO 100.
This photo is a great example of the versatility of this lens. From portrait to landscape.
The Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens is also great for video. It creates an impressive bokeh effect and a cinematic shallow depth of field. Perfect for the aspiring YouTuber or fun family videos.
It’s also great for travel footage and shooting in low-light conditions.
Canon launched an updated version of this lens in 2015. Which now includes a new focus ring for smooth manual focus. An updated STM stepping motor for smooth autofocus. Updated aperture blades for even better bokeh.
They improved the minimum focusing distance at just over 1 foot. And they added a metal mount for increased durability.
With these updates, they managed to make an already spectacular lens even better.
At this price and incredible image quality, it’s hard to find a better bang for your buck.