Lens woes

In case I’ve never mentioned it, I’m in love with my nifty-fifty – my canon f1.8 50mm lens.  It’s cheap plastic without image stabilization, but I use it 90% of the time because I love the way it works and it has great bokeh.  It’s served me well on film cameras through college, and now it’s chugging along on my digital camera.  Granted, since I own a crop-body (the camera sensor is smaller than 35mm film) the lens itself is no longer a 50mm.  I’m not sure exactly what the difference is, but it’s probably closer to a 75mm on the digital.  Or a  40mm.  Not sure which way it goes.

It’s a great lens, and it’s dying on me.

I found out the hard way (isn’t that how I find out everything?) that the focus is slipping.  It’s really only bad if you hold the camera facing straight down, but I’m sure things will only get worse.   It simply will not hold focus unless you actually hold it still – and that rather messes up my long exposures because I inadvertently wiggle the camera.

I guess I can’t complain too much.  As lenses go I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth out of it.  I could get it repaired, but I’m sure that’s just as pricy as a new lens.  

Now that I’m in the market for a new lens, I’m eying the prime lenses and drooling.  Gear envy is easy enough to ignore when you have a set of glass that does the job, but now, I’m going to have to actually buy something.  For those not interested in camera gear, a prime lens is one without zoom.  It’s set at one focus point, and you “foot-zoom” the lens until you get what you want.  Sounds primitive?  Not at all – prime lenses are better quality than “normal” lenses, and that’s a big difference on digital cameras.  The camera body is only half of the equation – having good glass is almost more important than the body type. 

For now, it still works enough to use.  That gives me time to do the research and decide what I want to replace it with.  At least now I know I’m not going insane – I did focus on fill-in-the-blank subject – it slipped before I took the picture.  All those blurry pics aren’t my fault after all!


2 thoughts on “Lens woes

  1. Hey again,

    I’m a nerd, and love to point out stupid technical details, so sorry in advance, lol.

    Anyway, Canon APS-C sensors have a 1.6x crop factor, so 50 x 1.6 = ~80mm equivalent Field of View.

    Still though, totally can’t beat primes, I’m dying for a micro 4/3 setup with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, they have a 2x crop factor, so that makes it ~40mm FoV, just about normal, =).

    Anyway, if you can afford it, check out the Canon 28 f/1.8 (roughly ~45mm FoV on your camera), you can usually find it for $350-400 used or refurbished at Adorama, Keh, etc.

    And of course, love the photo too, you have an amazing eye, cheers.


    ~ Jocelyn

    • Nerd is good! I didn’t bother to look up the difference, so I wasn’t totally sure. Thanks for the details – makes much more sense now. I’m currently trolling Ebay drooling over all the different lenses that I was steadfastly ignoring before now. Somehow I think this is going to get me in trouble… 😀

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