Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Canon 50 mm f/1.4 USM

In August 2005 I added a Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM to my glass collection. I bought this lens for indoor low light photography like one might encounter at a wedding. The fixed focal length lens was something new for me and framing a subject involves moving postions constantly. This may or may not be troublesome depending on the situation.

My first impression of the Canon 50mm USM f/1.4:

Out of the box the build quality seems less than desirable next to my "L" series lenses. The lense barrel is pastic and the zoom ring has some play in it but since the cost is $600 or $700 less than an "L" series lense this is to be expected. On the 20D the 50 mm is effectively a 80 mm lense because of the sensor size. A focal length of 80 mm is pushing the limits for a indoor lense unless you are in a big room like a church or hall. In small rooms it is portraits only. Also, I have notice that the 20D is very conservative at estimating the available light with this lense in low light conditions. So shooting with manual can be advantageous.

Depth of field (DOF):

One thing that caught me by surprise, at "short" to "normal" distances to the subject, was the extremely small DOF you encounter with an fstop near 1.4. Certainly the formulas to calculate the DOF predict this. However, I have never bothered to crunch the numbers until now. Try it here. If you are interested, checkout the DOF links here.

Checkout photos from this lens.


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