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  • Canon 50mm f1.8 II Tips

    I recently purchased a Canon 50mm f1.8 II lens to use on my 500d. I started off with big expectations as I have only heard good things about using these lenses, but find that I battle to get good shots. I generally use my camera on aperture priority. Please give me some tips on how to use this lens to its full potential. Some "DO's" and "DONT'S" if you will. What apertures to use for different kinds of scenes etc.

    Thanks
    Tinus van den Berg
    Canon 500d
    18-55 IS
    55-250IS
    EF50mm f1.8 II

  • #2
    Ok, here are mine:

    1) Only use the lens wide open (at f/1.8) if you really really HAVE to. Stopping down the lens to f/2 or f/4 will make the lens sharper, and give you more DoF to work with. Don't worry, you'll still be blurring out the background. Using f/1.8 is an extreme. The lens's sweet spot is f/4-f/5.6.

    2) You probably still have to increase the iso if you're shooting inside the house without flash. Don't worry, it' s a big sensor. iso 800 won't hurt as much as you might think it will.

    3) Try using a single AF point if you're having trouble locking focus where you want it. Telling the camera where to focus is better than letting the camera choose. Make sure you get AF confirmation before hitting the shutter button. Focusing is more critical when you have a thinner DoF.

    4) Remember the 1/focal_length rule. This lens doesn't have IS. Your shutter speed should probably be at 1/60s or faster to eliminate camera shake if you're handholding. And that assumes you know how to hold your camera (don't laugh. Every time I go to the zoo I see at least a half dozen SLR shooters who have it wrong).

    5) Aim for an area of high contrast (ideally a black-meets-white edge that's sharp). The autofocus works better with high contrast than with low.

    6) Don't forget you don't have to use this lens to get a blurred background. You can stop this lens down to f/16 for landscape or street shooting, too.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks

      Hey inkista,

      Wow, I did not expect such a good response so soon. Thanks very much, I will try keep all of the above in mind when I shoot again.

      I have put my 18-55mm kit lens back in the box to force me to try figure out the 50mm, as the wide angle of the kit lens is very tempting and I keep switching back to it.
      Tinus van den Berg
      Canon 500d
      18-55 IS
      55-250IS
      EF50mm f1.8 II

      Comment


      • #4
        Exposure

        I have found that I need to underexpose about 2/3 stops, do you have to do anything like that ?
        Tinus van den Berg
        Canon 500d
        18-55 IS
        55-250IS
        EF50mm f1.8 II

        Comment


        • #5
          Very helpful tips! I've been shooting with my 50mm a lot lately and I'll definietly be implementing some of that advice.
          Canon 450D
          Canon 18-55mm | Canon 10-22mm | Canon 70-300mm | Canon 50mm

          "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words." - Ansel Adams

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          • #6
            I also just got this lens and my biggest problem is remembering to move back far enough so that I don't cut off the top of my subject's head. It is difficult to do in small rooms. For example:

            IMG_2043

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah, that's what people mean when they say that a 50mm lens is long on a crop, or too long on a crop body for portrait shooting indoors. It all depends on your personal preference in terms of working distance. You might be more comfortable with the EF 35mm f/2, EF 28mm f/1.8 USM or Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM instead, but all of those lenses are more expensive than the 50/1.8 II, which is why they typically don't get recommended to a newbie who isn't sure a prime is for them.

              I keep hoping Canon will eventually come out with a $200 EF-S 35mm f/1.8 USM lens for crop shooters, like Nikon did.
              I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

              Comment


              • #8
                I currently have my SECOND copy of this lens as I was a bit clumsy one evening and shattered my first one.

                While the current copy I have is very sharp I feel my first copy was better; especially wide open.


                For example; this is a wide open hand held shot with my first one....


                Camera Model: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS
                Image Date: 2009-04-17 13:55:36 (no TZ)
                Focal Length: 50.0mm
                Aperture: f/1.8
                Exposure Time: 0.0003 s (1/3200)
                ISO equiv: 200
                Exposure Bias: +0.67 EV
                Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto)
                White Balance: Manual
                Flash Fired: No (enforced)
                Orientation: Normal
                Color Space: sRGB
                GPS Coordinate: undefined, undefined
                -- 05 Mustang GT-Whipplecharged !! -- 87 5.0 Trick Flow Heads & Intake - Custom cam - many other goodies - 3100Lbs http://www.flickr.com/photos/v8demon/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would have expected the background to be completely blurred ? When I shoot at 1.8 the dof is REALLY shallow. I mean If I remember correctly the photo below was taken at f/4 and the background is blurred a lot.

                  IMG_5936
                  Tinus van den Berg
                  Canon 500d
                  18-55 IS
                  55-250IS
                  EF50mm f1.8 II

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Focus distance plays a factor in DOF.
                    -- 05 Mustang GT-Whipplecharged !! -- 87 5.0 Trick Flow Heads & Intake - Custom cam - many other goodies - 3100Lbs http://www.flickr.com/photos/v8demon/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by inkista View Post
                      I keep hoping Canon will eventually come out with a $200 EF-S 35mm f/1.8 USM lens for crop shooters, like Nikon did.
                      So they don't? Dang it. I'm in the market for a new lens to use in my small living room 'studio' and just tonight talked to a friend who has the Nikkon 35mm and loves it. After I got done trolling here I was gonna go shopping for the Canon version. Thanks for saving me some disappointment.
                      As a well spent day brings happy sleep, a well spent life brings happy death.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Guys I too have the nifty fifty. I also purchased the Sigma 30mm f1.4. Love the focal lenght as I always found i generally can get closer but sometimes it is hard to get room indoors. As mentioned prior when you get these types of lenses with f1.8 ect we tend to do all our shooting using this aperture. Experiment and use different apertures to find what suits the shot you are trying to do.
                        Canon 60D + Sigma 30mm f1.4 + Canon 50mm f1.8

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AdrenoJunkie View Post
                          So they don't? Dang it. I'm in the market for a new lens to use in my small living room 'studio' and just tonight talked to a friend who has the Nikkon 35mm and loves it. After I got done trolling here I was gonna go shopping for the Canon version. Thanks for saving me some disappointment.
                          Hey, look at it this way: if you were shooting Nikon, the only two fast primes that would autofocus for you on a D3100 or D5000 that are under $500 are the 50/1.4 and the 35/1.8. On the Canon side of the fence, you've got the 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 28/1.8 USM 35/2, 50/1.4 USM, 50/1.8 II, 85/1.8 USM, 100/2 USM, 135/2.8 Soft Focus all of which are under $500 and autofocus on any Canon dSLR.

                          You, at least, can grab an 85/1.8 USM for shooting a stage performance or basketball game in the gym. An entry-level Nikon user would have to manually focus with the Nikkor 85/1.8, or blow big bucks on the 85/1.4G or a 70-200 f/2.8 VR instead.

                          And, aside from that, the EF 35/2 is only 1/3 of a stop slower than a 35/1.8, and you can still use the lens if you eventually move to a 5D.
                          I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by inkista View Post
                            Hey, look at it this way: if you were shooting Nikon, the only two fast primes that would autofocus for you on a D3100 or D5000 that are under $500 are the 50/1.4 and the 35/1.8. On the Canon side of the fence, you've got the 24/2.8, 28/2.8, 28/1.8 USM 35/2, 50/1.4 USM, 50/1.8 II, 85/1.8 USM, 100/2 USM, 135/2.8 Soft Focus all of which are under $500 and autofocus on any Canon dSLR.

                            You, at least, can grab an 85/1.8 USM for shooting a stage performance or basketball game in the gym. An entry-level Nikon user would have to manually focus with the Nikkor 85/1.8, or blow big bucks on the 85/1.4G or a 70-200 f/2.8 VR instead.

                            And, aside from that, the EF 35/2 is only 1/3 of a stop slower than a 35/1.8, and you can still use the lens if you eventually move to a 5D.
                            I just posted a thread in the Other Gear section and I would really love for you to weigh in on it. Especially the part about the lenses I wanna get. I wanna get two but I'm not sure if I'm being redundant or if it would be beneficial. You've always given sound advice so your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
                            As a well spent day brings happy sleep, a well spent life brings happy death.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sorry, I don't do any studio shooting, so I'm not sure I would be of much use to you on that thread. Good luck on figuring out what you need!
                              I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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