Thursday, July 31, 2008

Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II

The Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II is the smallest, lightest & cheapest lens available from Canon. Although I was not a big fan of this lens on film as I did not find the 50mm focal length very exciting, I am very impressed with the performance of this lens on a digital SLR with 1.6X FOVCF. Mounted on my EOS 400D, for example, this lens becomes a 90mm F/1.8 lens which is perfect for portrait and low light photography.

Rathi @ Krip & Pari's engagement party
Canon EOS 400D, Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II
1/20s @ F/1.8, ISO 400, Fill-in flash

Although there has been negative reviews about the poor bokeh (image quality of out of focus areas) of this lens due to usage of five non-rounded aperture blades, I found the bokeh of this lens to be quite satisfying. In the shots taken at Krip & Pari's engagement party, the tiny bulbs illuminating the surrounding were rended as nice, rounded, out of focus highlights that formed a nice pattern on all the portrait shots.

The Image Quality (IQ) of this lens is one of the best, and belies its rather modest price. This is currently my preferred portrait lens, with its sharpness, fast aperture, good low light performance and nice background blur possible with F/1.8. I just wish it had better macro capability rather than the uninspiring .15X maximum magnification at a closest focusing distance of 1.5 ft (.45m).

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