Fresh. Contemporary. Modern. Photography for the fashion-inspired bride.

Goodbye Plastic Fantastic: Canon 50mm 1.8 vs 50mm 1.4

I remember speaking with Chris from La Brisa once about it. The 50mm 1.8 lens. He described it perfectly.

“That’s such a funny lens. When you first get it, it is the most amazing lens in the entire world. And then, not so much.”

He’s so right. It took me only a few weeks after purchasing my Canon Rebel and 18-55mm kit lens to realize I needed something better. So, for $100 (give or take), I purchased the 50mm 1.8. Quick and dirty. And BAM. My whole world of photography was opened up by beautiful bokeh, lens flare, and downright pretty images. But soon I realized…

It was loud.

It wasn’t heavy enough to be a good paper weight.

It clunked every time it tried to focus.

I had to shoot at f/2.5 or smaller if I didn’t want soft images.

I recently had the opportunity to upgrade to the 50mm 1.4, and WOW. Night and day difference. It feels durable in my hands. It’s nearly silent when focusing. The colors are fabulous. And I almost shot an entire wedding with it.

If you’re considering a 50mm lens, save up. Buy the better one. Heck, if you can, go straight for the 50mm 1.2L. It’ll save you disappointment in the end.

So goodbye, Plastic Fantastic. It was great while it lasted. We learned a lot together, and made a lot of great memories, but I’ve moved on. I’m moving up in this world, and I can’t have you holding me back.

And no, we can’t be friends.


7 responses

  1. ahahaha! “and no, we can’t be friends”

    July 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm

  2. Jealous! The 50mm f/1.8 is good for the price but is not great glass. I hope to upgrade soon. Again, JEALOUS!

    July 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

  3. Pingback: Gear Review: Canon 28mm f/1.8 USM «

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  5. You shouldn’t discourage people from buying the 1.8. It is the lens that teaches people what a better lens can do. The 50mm is the gateway lens. Otherwise people just wonder why other photographers would spend $600 on a new lens when they just spent $600 on a new camera that came with a perfectly good 17-55mm zoom that takes the best pictures they have ever taken.

    The plastic fantastic is the “but wait there is more” lens the “I am going to start play with depth of field” lens, the “I want to know what f-stops are” lens. But most importantly it is the “what should I get next” lens. Without it people will deem the $350 1.4 too expensive because they can’t understand it’s possibilities and stick with the kit lens. Friends don’t let friend shoot kit lenses.

    So if you don’t have the plastic fantastic 50mm 1.8 get yourself one. You will probably outgrow it. And I hope you do. Sell it and buy something better. You won’t regret having moved on.

    September 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    • spot on comments. I got my 50 mm 1.8 for ‘free’ through a credit card rewards program. Worth every cent and more. Actually love the little thing but wished it were made better.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    • Raymie

      @Noah – You are right on the money here. The 1.8 50mm is what really opened up the world of photography to me. I learnt so much from that lens and while I still want to move on to the 1.4 I currently do not see a need to.

      “It was loud.

      It wasn’t heavy enough to be a good paper weight.

      It clunked every time it tried to focus.”

      I have never had any of these issues.

      I am sure the difference between the 1.8 and the 1.4 is “night and day” and I would love to shoot with the 1.4 one day. But the plastic fantastic is a brilliant lens and very cheap, I would urge anyone that has just bought a canon DSLR to buy this lense, because the learning potential, the cheap price and also the great shots you can take with it make for instant gratification.

      January 16, 2013 at 4:52 am

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