Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II

25 Sep, 2010


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Nowadays DSLR’s are becoming as common as Japanese guys wearing make-up. You see them everywhere and they allow you to take great pictures with shallow depth of field. I am not going into the technical stuff because I just don’t know. But what I do want to share is my experience with the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II.

Having used Pui-Yuk’s camera the Canon 450D (Digital Rebel XSi / Kiss X2 Digital) with the standard kit lens for quite some time now, it wasn’t satisfying any more. The thing with DSLR’s is that the lens has a lot of influence on what the pictures look like. So it was time to get a different lens, but it had to be cheap, because we are students. In the end we bought the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 for about 9000yen (80 euro’s).

Canon EF 50mm F1.8

For that kind of money (it’s about as cheap as a lens gets) you actually get a lot. Although you are not able to zoom in because it’s fixed to 50mm, the depth of field is really shallow (1.8 the lower the shallower). From my personal opinion this makes the pictures look so much better.

The fixed 50mm (effectively 80mm on a non full-frame camera) makes it more of a challenge to take a good picture, because you have to stand quite far away from the subject. But this really trains you to better think about taking pictures. Which makes this even more worth the investment.

So what do the pictures look like with the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II.

Canon EF 50mm F1.8

The pink washing line is clsoe to the camera blurry but sharp further up, this is the shallow depth of field.

Canon EF 50mm F1.8

So we went to Asakusa and took some pictures. The focus is on the leaves and the people standing on the right. With the blurry background, this makes them more the subject of the photo.

Canon EF 50mm F1.8

As it’s slowly becoming dark, I notice that this lens captures a lot more light. This enables you to take better pictures in the dark.

Canon EF 50mm F1.8

Even when it was getting really dark, the shutter time was kept to a minimum and it was really easy taking good pictures. No insane high ISO needed either.

Canon EF 50mm F1.8

It’s also possible to take pictures without a lot of blur. This is done by focusing on something further away rather than really close. The closer the object you focus on the more blur occurs.

Canon EF 50mm F1.8

Oohw and just end up with a picture of a nice dog :P

The lens is great for portrait’s and as shown above also for scenery. On the down-side it’s harder to shoot moving objects, due to the shallow DOF and shooting in small spaces, because of the zoom. In the end I’m really happy with the lens and can recommend it to anyone. If you use a different brand of camera, there is probably something similar out there for you too. If you have a bit more money to spend look into a 35mm F1.4 lens, for even better quality and less zoom.

If you are in Japan buy it from

I also bought it from Amazon, it’s way cheaper than Big Camera, Yodobashi etc. Haven’t found a place that sells it cheaper.

Not in Japan:


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3 Comments to “Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II”

  1. 6 October, 2010

    Love that lens, got a second hand one from marktplaats and it kick ass!
    Plastic fantastic al the way!!!

  2. 23 November, 2010

    Hey Remi,

    Welke camera instelling gebruik je? P of A-dept?
    En hoe focus je op een object/ persoon als je niet kan inzoomen.
    Foto’s zijn erg mooi….

    Maar dit is geloof ik meer een portret lens toch?
    Zelf ben ik op zoek naar een groothoeklens met vast brandpunt, heb je daar ook tips voor?



  3. 23 November, 2010

    As for camera settings I use A-dept or Manual. I really have to get used to Manual so I don’t use it that often.

    The lens canon 50mm ef1.8 has auto focus, but you can of course also do it manual, which I use for video. Zoom you do with your feet ;)

    People do say that this is a portrait lens but I don’t agree with that, it’s very good for doing portraits but does not limit to that. I use this lens for everything.

    I am not camera expert by any means so I would love to give you some advise on lenses, but I don’t know yet. I’ll keep learning as well.

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