Canon 50 mm f/1.8, f/1.4, f/1.2 lenses

April 29, 2013

– 50mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 50mm 1.2 L –

–  50mm f/1.8 Canon lens  –

Have you heard the phrase “nifty fifty”? That nickname belongs to the wonderful prime 50mm lens (I own Canon lenses but there are nifty fifty lenses made by other companies). I bought my first 50mm back in 2008 on Craig’s List from a college student. It was the best $80 I’ve ever spent! The lens in the image is still the same one that I bought over 4 years ago. This 50mm is a 1.8 lens, that means that the largest aperture (or f/stop) on the camera is 1.8. Shooting at 1.8 allowed a creamy, blurry background on the photo. That blurry background is called bokeh. I loved shooting portraits with this lens! I used it for a solid 4 years. It was very reliable and produced pretty awesome images. For starting photographers, I highly recommend buying the 50mm 1.8 asap. They sell for around $110-130. Such a great deal! 

–  50mm f/1.4 Canon lens  –

The next 50mm lens I purchased was in August 2012. It is the Canon 50mm 1.4. I was more than ready for an upgrade from my 1.8. I needed a lens that had better glass and a larger f/stop that allowed more light in. This lens is beautiful! I definitely noticed sharper images, and as much as I love the 50mm 1.8, this 1.4 showed a big difference in quality. If you feel like you’ve worn out your 1.8 lens and are ready to upgrade, I definitely recommend this 1.4 lens! If you only have a couple hunded dollars to spend, this is the lens to buy. But if you have really saved up and want to buy the best 50mm out there, read on….

 –  50mm f/1.2 L Canon lens  –

I have been saving up money from my photography gigs and have been able to buy two new lenses to add to my collection. One is the 70-200mm f/4 L zoom lens and most recently, I added another 50mm lens…. the BEAUTIFUL, sharp, fast 50mm f/1.2 L lens. Both of these Canon lenses are “L” lenses. The “L” stands for luxury. These lenses are heavy and quality glass. You can physically feel a huge difference while holding the 50mm 1.8 compared to the 1.2. One feels like a plastic toy, the other feels like a beautiful masterpiece. I kinda love it. This lens produces sharp, crisp images with beautiful bokeh. It also really helps in low-light situations because of the large f/stop. The larger (which, is actually, a low number) the aperture number, the more light that gets into the camera. This lens is sadly, pretty expensive. It’s around $1,500. It took me a while to actually purchase this lens because of the big price tag but I’m really glad I did. This lens will be on my camera body for most of the day in upcoming weddings.

I love my new 1.2 lens! Oh, that red ring is so pretty!! (The red ring is only on L lenses)


Here’s a picture of me holding all three 50mm lens. You can see the vast difference in sizes.  



And one last image using the 50mm 1.2 lens. Look at that creamy bokeh in the background!

 If you have any questions about these lenses or any general photography questions, feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment and I would love to help you out!!

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  • Reply julie April 29, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Great info! Would be awesome if you could take pictures with each lens of the same subject and post it, to show the quality difference.

  • Reply Emily Maric October 25, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    Finally i found an article that explains it in detail and straight to the point and compares these lenses. I recently started a fashion blog and i need my images to look professional. I just ordered the 50mm 1.8 lens. I wish i found this article before i ordered it.

  • Reply SDV November 24, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Hi! I’m pretty new to the photography world 🙂 I have a Canon Rebel t3i. I wanted to get a more advanced lens for recreational use. Is the 1.2 too advanced for someone like me? I’ve been recommended the 1.8 by 2 photographer friends but I love that creamy bokeh look and want my pictures to have a superb quality difference to what I have now. Please help? 🙂

    • Reply Michelle November 24, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Hi Stevie! It all depends on your budget. The 1.8 is a VERY affordable lens that produces pretty, creamy bokeh images. The 1.2 is a more solid piece of glass and creates sharper images with pretty bokeh but it is much more expensive. I used my 1.8 lens for a few years and it worked great every time! It’s a great lens to start with. Good luck! 🙂

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