Well, it is official, my favourite lens is also the cheapest that Canon have ever made. It is the all plastic (well, except for the contacts) and a couple of multi coated glass lenses EF 50mm f/1.8 II. Also known as the “nifty fifty” and “plastic fantastic”.
Optically, it is excellent. Almost every review I have read waxes lyrical about the spectacular colours and detail that this lens can capture.
It is also Canon’s lighted lens, being all plastic. And herein lies the first bad point. The lens mount is easily cracked or broken if misused. And by misused, I mean do not pick up the camera by the lens. No ifs or buts.
The second on a very short list of bad points is the lack of full time manual focus. Then again, it is so small it barely has a focus ring at all. Luckily, the AF is so fast and accurate, your rarely need to manually adjust.
It has a 52mm filter thread that does not rotate (so those wanting to use polarising filters will be smiling).
Being an EF lens, it will fit happily onto an APS-C or full frame camera. Then only issue I see putting this onto the likes of a 5D mk3 is that it looks ridiculously small on my 500D, on a large frame camera, you would battle to see it.
Having only had an EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS to play with before, the 50mm’s abilities at f/1.8 were truly spectacular for me.
Incredible bang for the buck. I paid ZAR700.00 for this lens at a Canon show. Regular prices run around ZAR1100-1300.00 (U$120).
Fantastic optics for the price. According to some reviews, superior to far more expensive lenses.
Fast and accurate AF
Plastic mount means lens will not take much of a beating if misused often. Light weight construction.
No full time manual focus. You must a switch to go manual focus.
On an APS-C, the focal length is 80mm which can be just a bit long at times.
Quite simply put, if you were to open my camera bag right now, chances are, the lens in use would be the “nifty fifty”.
Is there a better lens at twice the price?