Posted by: musiclovesfashion | September 9, 2008

Lens heartache

I love my 50mm 1.4. Or ‘Fiddy’ as I call it.

It’s a brilliant lens. It’s a prime (meaning it has a fixed focal lenght) and its big 1.4 aperture means it can shoot even in really low light; seriously, practically in the dark. However, being a 1.4 means focusing is very important – I could take a picture of your face and while your eye would be in focus, your ear or you hairline may not, that’s how soft it is (if this is all gibberish, but if you would like to learn more about aperture, check out Natalie Norton‘s great piece on the topic).

So yes – focusing is REALLY important. Canon’s auto focus feature is great – you can either let it decide on where to focus, or select a focus point. Most photographers stick to autofocus, unless the shot you’re after is a bit fiddly (for instance, on the below Ha’Penny Bridge shot, manual focus was needed to prevent the camera from focusing on the closer objects – the twinkly lights – and blurring out the bridge).

Bokeh bridge

So this all leads me to the very sad news that Fiddy’s focus is broken. I press the shutter half way, and it makes this sad little sound, like it’s really TRYING to focus, but can’t. I have to stick it on manual focus, which means I have to constantly check the monitor to make sure the right bits are sharp and often end up with sharp noses and blurry eyes 😦

It’s incredibly frustrating as none of my other lenses come close – I had to bring my kit lens (18-55mm, aperture of 3.5-5.6, boo!) to Castle Palooza, making taking night time gig shots a good bit tougher than usual. While I learned a lot and realised by kit lens wasn’t really as bad as I had thought, it also made me realise how much I appreciate Fiddy, and how much I want another prime – maybe an 85mm?!

Anyway, Fiddy has been brought to the hospital for sick lenses (i.e. the Canon offices in Sandyford) to get fixed. But, in honour of its awesomeness, here are a few shots that show the versatility of this great little lens – you really can take it anywhere and shoot anything:

Baby Ethan

Fight Like Apes

Traffic on Pearse Street

Cute pup



Docklands Maritime Festival

Seven months and counting

Gemma Hayes, Converse

Kel & Iulian

Any body else got a favourite lens?



  1. 1.4 really sounds good. Well, if I had read this a few month ago I wouldn’t really have understood a lot, as I only own an point&shot camera. But since I started using my father’s old analog SLR recently I know at least a little bit about lenses. The best one we have for this one is a 55m 2.1…

  2. i gotta get out more with my 50mm 1.8
    these are beautiful pics.
    my fav is my 24-70mm f2.8

  3. Gorgeous photos as usual, Nathalie.

    My 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Micro Nikkor (that’s a mouthful). Always come home thrilled after taking shots with it. I don’t always use it for macro work.

    I’m currently eying the 85mm f/1.4 Nikkor. Just wished it wasn’t so expensive.

  4. Well as everyone knows I am not in the same league as a lot of you guys out there so feel honoured to have been asked.

    I have spent very little on lenses compared to most photographers although Paula thinks I have spent far too much, but my favorite lens I suppose would come down to my most used lens the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, an old cranky gem of a lens and the one I keep mainly on the camera.

    I also have the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8II but just have not messed around with it much although I hope to change that this weekend with a present I am proposing for my sister!

  5. @ Thomas; Isn’t it great when something that confused you before just clicks (excuse the pun – it was genuinely unintentional!)? I love that feeling.
    @ Phil; A few people have really recommended that lens, I must looking into it, it sounds so versatile. Do you take most of your shots with that? I adored by 50 1.8 it was my first lens buy, but it broke after 2 months!! So I invested in the 1.4 and I, so glad I did.
    @Darren I would LOVE to get a macro lens. My Sigma 70-300 has a macro function that isn’t atrocious, but I would love a proper one. Gingerpixel has the Canon 85mm and loves it.
    @Mcawilliams Get away out of that! I’ve only been at this a year. You’re just as enthusiastic as the rest of us. Do the IS lenses make a big difference? I’ve never tried one. Do mess with your 50mm, it’s a great portrait lens, and lovely for kid shots.

    Thanks for replying everyone!.

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