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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

ef85mmf_18usm_1_
Review Date: Apr 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything you need for portraits
Cons:
Can't think of any

If you have a portrait to take on a crop sensor or FF just buy this lens, don't use you zoom. The lens may only be beaten buy the 100mm f2.8 macro in terms of price/performance/quality. Its a pleasure to use when I take pictures of my daughter.

 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

3029ef_50_18_1_
Review Date: Apr 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Inexpensive, good for beginners to experiment
Cons:
Bokeh, focus speed and build quality

I just upgraded to the 50mm f/1.4 and I cannot believe I put up with the 1.8 lens for so long. The 1.4 is nearly as great as my 85mm f/1.8 but the 50mm f/1.8 is not in this class. Get the f/1.8 only if you are truly watching your pennies. In fact the filter and the hood cost nearly as much as the lens.