I shoot primarily with the only prime lens that I own, the 50mm f/1.8 II which I think is the cheapest lens in the Canon prime lens round-up, yet performs way past it’s price point and is tack sharp. Coming from the combination of GF1 and 20mm f/1.7 prime lens, I’ve always been more comfortable shooting with primes than zoom lenses. That and, prime lenses are well known to give sharper and better quality images due to the fact that it is easier to make a prime lens excellent than to make a zoom lens excellent as there isn’t as much glass involved. If you’re looking to buy your first prime lens without breaking the bank, you can’t go wrong with the 50mm f/1.8 II and it will probably stay with you for a long time unless you decide to upgrade to better 50mms such as the 50mm f/1.4L or 50mm f/1.2L.
However, I’ve always found that the 50mm on a crop factor a little limiting; the focal length is too tight and the MFD is too long so that it’s quite difficult to get a decent shot of someone sitting opposite me on a table, or taking landscapes. After extensive research and EXIF peeping into one of my favourite photographer’s – Olivia Rae James – flickr account, it seemed that 35mm was the sweet spot for focal lengths and after trying out the 35mm f/1.4 at a camera shop and seeing how beautiful the pictures were, I decided that my dream lens would be the Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens which costs a hefty RM4,800.
The next best option was the Canon 35mm f/2 which sadly was discontinued and extremely hard to locate (asked around at 3 camera shops) but very luckily for me, I got a good deal on a used lens seller’s Facebook page. Traded in my 18-55 kit lens (hardly touched it since the picture quality always disappointed me and made my pictures look extremely bland) for a used copy of the 35mm f/2.
I asked the seller to bring along a copy of the 28mm f/1.8 USM to try and I loved the build quality. Since my GF1, it’s been quite some time since I touched a lens/camera of good build on account of my 60D and lenses all being made out of plastic. I was almost tempted to get the 28mm based on build and that extra wideness alone but after playing around with both lenses, the 35mm turned out to be the winner in sharpness and I save RM400. I suppose image quality and sharpness outweighs build quality any day.
Now I’m seriously looking forward to testing out my new lens! I’ll save the 50mm for street shooting or when I can’t get too close to the subjects (like candid shooting at weddings so I won’t embarrass myself).
I can’t believe that after getting my camera in April this year, I’ve already bought 3 lenses for it. I jokingly told the boo that I fail as a girl, instead of spending my money on new clothes/shoes/bags I blow big amounts on gear and tech stuff instead. I could seriously be a man.
This has got to be my last lens for the year, but I think for my next lens (next year) I might go for either a wider or more telephoto prime just to widen my total focal lengths a little bit. Any recommendations for budget wide/telephoto primes?