50 1.8 thoughts

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by bagley_crowder|2, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Thanks in advance for comments/suggestons!!
    My thought on my lens is this (please critique or comment)-- I have a cannon 40d and purchased a 50 1.8 to really learn how to shoot without a zoom. I am now thinking about portraits (and considering another lens) BUT...my thought is to continue using the 50 1.8 and milk everything I can out of it-- technique wise. Thoughts?
  2. I don't shoot Cannons, but if I remember right, to equate 35mm focal length you multiply the lens length by a factor of 1.6. This would make the 50mm the equivalent of an 80mm on a 35mm camera...a very nice length for shooting portraits. If the 40d happens to be one of the full-sized sensor cameras, ignore my comments.
  3. No, the 40D isn't full-frame. Only Canon's 5D and 1Ds models are full-frame.
    But yes, the crop factor is 1.6, which makes 50mm a perfectly decent "portrait" focal length on a 40D, if what you want is a very conventional sort of portrait. There's nothing stopping you from doing portraits with any focal length you want to, and sometimes people get very interestingly different results that way.
    The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens is very cheaply made, and it autofocuses slowly and noisily compared to many better (and more expensive) lenses, but optically it's surprisingly decent. There's no reason you couldn't make good portraits with it.
  4. Bagley
    The "problem" with portrait lenses is there isn't ONE lens, but MANY lenses (or focal lengths for a zoom). The selection of focal length would depend on many factors such as: format (tight head, head & shoulders, waist up, 3/4, full length, group), how much space you have to backup which defines distance to the subject, indoor/outdoor, etc. So consider these factors also.
    What you are considering with your 50 is exactly what many of us did when we first got started. We only had the one lens that came with the camera, so we learned to use it as much as we could. So if that is a "challenge" that you are giving yourself, it is a good one. I makes you think differently than if you have a zoom to use.
  5. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    “I am now thinking about portraits . . . my thought is to continue using the 50 1.8 and milk everything I can out of it-- technique wise” Thoughts”​
    Then as a start - get the woman in the Beach Portrait and sit her up; shoot at about 6ft - 10ft (that will be an Half Shot); ensure the background is at least 20ft beyond her; work the 50/1.8 at an aperture F/2 to F/2.4; try backlight and then side light, and then front light; use a LARGE WHITE Beach towel as a reflector; shoot front on, ½ Profile and Full Profile . . . and learn and have fun. These Shallow DoF Half Shots could keep you going two days, just to get the basics in three different lighting conditions and the different Lightimg Fills and the three basic different pose positions.
    Then do the same Portraiture Half Shots, such the whole torso is in acceptable focus: changing nothing except the aperture (and shutter speed and or ISO to suit the exposure) – you’ll need about F/11.
    These four days will milk about 3% of what you can do with this lens . . . and we haven't looked at its sports capacity, or landscapes, or theatre, or macro or . . .
    1. Also if you haven't - get a lens hood for the 50/1.8 lens - and use it.
    2. Two other relatively inexpensive and very good Prime Lenses, which are very useful FL for Portraiture when used on a 40D are: EF35/2 and EF85/1.8
  6. The nifty fifty is a fine lens. Are there other lenses that can be used to good effect in portraiture? Sure. Could you spend a lifetime with 50mm and never come close to reaching its full potential. Sure

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