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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

ef50mmf_18_1_
Review Date: Feb 28, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $30.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap
Cons:
Noisy AF, Bad AF in low light, Very slightly soft. Feels like a toy lens.

Well, first off - value wise, this is up there with the best. Image quality wise - its not brilliant.

Which is odd given then reviews on here, I know. However, that said, for the money its not bad at all.

It is *very* slightly soft, compared to the 100mm 2.8 USM Macro I've got. Its probably comparable to the Sigma 18-50 DC EX Macro lens I had. Maybe very slightly sharper.

Example...

50mm: http://mgsteve.smugmug.com/gallery/4353064_MjPfN#255473934_MMiDH-O-LB

100mm: http://mgsteve.smugmug.com/gallery/4353064_MjPfN#255471328

However, the 1.8 aperture does give you remarkable freedom to shoot in low light, handheld! eg: http://mgsteve.smugmug.com/gallery/4352250_zVmZc#255529527

However, using an aperture of 1.8 does tend to test the autofocus on your camera, if they appear slightly out of focus, get the mechanism checked as it may well be the camera, not the lens. Its usually visible on subjects that are at 45degrees to the lens, the focal point appears either just before or just after the AF point the camera used. Its just because the focal plane on 1.8 is soooo thin, it shows up any miscalibration in the camera.

Oh the whole, I'll probably keep it anyway, perhaps replace it with the 1.4 version which apparently gives better Image Quality. However, its considerably more money.

It comes down to one thing really, if you find yourself shooting at 50mm a lot with a zoom, get this lens, it'll be at least as sharp as the zoom and allows you to shoot in very low light!

Gallery: http://mgsteve.smugmug.com

I've tagged all my images taken with the 50mm lens - http://mgsteve.smugmug.com/keyword/canonef50mmf18ii and they're all available at 100% for you pixel peepers out there!


 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

ef_100_28_1_
Review Date: Feb 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image Quality, Solidly built, 1:1 magnification, superb bokeh
Cons:
No IS, can hunt a bit depending on subject & lighting.

This is my first review on FM, hopefully first of many Smile

I bought this lens off eBay, shipped in from Hong Kong, was a little nervous of doing so, but given the price it was worth a punt.

And thank god I did. My previous macro, a Sigma 18-50mm EX DC Macro lens was pretty good - nice wide range as well as a decent zoom, but it pales into insignificance next to this lens. Where as the sigma is pretty soft, especially at the 50mm end, this lens is pin sharp - any blur I found was either down to me or the fact the autofocus hadn't quite locked.

There are some sample photos (available at 100%) in the link below, a couple of my cat on the fence are truly superb, only one of them was slightly tweaked in PS to correct a slight over exposure.

The only downsides really with this lens are the fact is hasn't got IS (but then if it had, it would have been quite a bit more expensive as I'm sure it would ended up being an L series as well) and the fact the focusing can hunt a bit. I used it on a 350D, 30D and 40D and it does it on all of them. Mainly when you're up close to something so it fills the frame, but this is really a factor with all macro lenses, so not really a fault of this lense, per se. That said, it definitely does tend to hunt a bit more than my other lenses in low light. is it a problem - no, not really I just use the full time Manual focus ring and give it a helping start.

If you're after a decent 100mm prime, macro or not, this has to be worth a look. The image quality - to me, the most important thing of any lens I buy is absolutely top draw.

Link: http://mgsteve.smugmug.com
Link to cat picture mentioned above - http://mgsteve.smugmug.com/gallery/4353064_MjPfN#255471942