…I went “all the way” on my 50mm lens purchase.
In an attempt to really get excited about switching to digital, I went “all the way” on my 50mm lens purchase. I bought the most expensive and rare 50mm Canon lens, the 50mm f/1.0. Previously I had used the 50mm 1.4 and 1.2 and couldn’t really differentiate between the two, they both were really amazing lenses. Even the 1.8 I know is a great lens. The 50mm focal length has been such a flagship focal length for most 35mm brands over the years that they’ve been able to make really good ones that are inexpensive. After hearing back from a well known commercial photographer through email about his experience with the lens over the past 8 years I decided I had to give it a go. A decent price seemed almost impossible to find as I began my search. I checked internet forums and had seen complaints about faulty “soft” versions of the lens that existed as quality control apparently wasn’t up to par on the lens. The consensus seemed to be it just wasn’t worth the money. Most comments seemed to be from people who didn’t own the lens though, so I wasn’t deterred and kept the search going.
I ended up making the move and dropped a little over $3,000 to get a bargain on one that I found that was in impeccable shape. It came to the price of two nice “L” Lens essentially, but I feel like I got something really special in the lens. Having a full extra stop of light and the quality of the high ISO’s on the new digital cameras has made shooting in the lowest of light possible. Actually getting one in focus at the razor thin depth of field of 1.0 or 1.1 has made me want to bring my camera out at night, something I rarely did before. Street lights, candles, neon signs, and iPhones have become fun new light sources to use. The ghosting and flaring is also obnoxious at this aperture but I can’t get enough of it. Rainbows begin to appear from bright light sources at 1.0, an effect my friend Grant calls “throwing bows.” There is no doubt the lens has a vignette effect as well but personally I think it works in a lot of situations. I use the lens at all kinds of apertures but below are all shots using the Canon 50mm f/1.0 lens at 1.0 with either a 5D Mark II or the 5D Mark III.