new lens appreciation

June 25th, 2007 by Rebekka in Uncategorized


The reason my younger son (pictured above with his best friend) is smiling like that, is that i finally got around to buying myself a 50mm lens for the 5D today.

No, that’s a lie actually. He couldnt care less about my lenses, he’s just a happy kid in general. However, i myself am extremely pleased with my newest aquisition. I’d been flirting with the idea of getting the canon 50mm f/1.2, but after reading several reviews and comparisons on it and the 50mm f/1.4, i opted for the smaller, far less expensive and more compact 1.4. Its purported to be an excellent lens for the relatively low price, and i can verify, after shooting a handful of test shots today, that it is indeed a beautiful lens. Incredibly shallow depth of field at the widest aperture, with lovely smooth blurring. Also, its so lightweight and portable, compared to the 100mm f/2 i’ve been using for portraits. I’ll be shooting two weddings this summer, which is one of the reasons i decided to buy this lens, but aside from that its just a great fun portrait lens i can safely recommend.

below is a crop from another shot, shows pretty well the bokeh at f 1.4 (no additional blurring in photoshop)


you can even photograph cats with it:


what more could one possibly need in a lens?

(‘kay, enough with the sarcasm. )

Read 44 comments

44 comments for this post

馨凝 wrote on June 25th, 2007

555555,太专业了啦,看不懂了。but I like the cat!

Dominique wrote on June 26th, 2007

I’m thinking about buying the 50 f1,4 as well… good to hear from some real person that the lens is a good one, aside from all the reviews and such…


congratulations, hope you enjoy the new lens and we will see new pictures with it soon :-)

nice lens :) happy for u… i dont have any money to buy my 18-200 f/2.8 / 4
:( :( soon… soon.


Davide wrote on June 26th, 2007

Hi rebekka. I have a canon 50mm f/1.8 and it’s also a good lens (not as 1.4 ;) ). Unfortunately when I bought the 400d it’s switched to a 75mm due to the 1.6x. However it’s always a good lens for portraits :)

bruno wrote on June 26th, 2007

That indeed makes a perfect combination with the full frame 5D, with my 350D, the 1.6 crop factor takes away some of the nice edges.

very nice glass,i’v got the Nikons 50 mm1,8 and i’m thrilled with it . i’d like to thank you for this inspirational blog and lovely pics on it.

Interesting… Here’s a thought. If you have lenses compatible with the 350D that you might think of getting rid of or selling, let me know, I might know people who are interested, or even I might be interested ;)

About the photos, you could start making faces in your shots like your boys. That ought to be fun :D

albeJTD wrote on June 26th, 2007

Wow! Very nice lens!
And beautiful photos! (As always)

Do you really have time during a wedding to change your lenses? How I envy you… :-)

who said anything about changing lenses during the wedding? I highly doubt i’d attempt that (not that i’ve ever shot a wedding before.. this will be my first time) .. i imagine however that there’s not much chance of yelling “hold it.. wait.. do the kiss again… didn’t have my lens on yet!”

i’m doing both formal portraits of the people getting married, and shooting the weddings & parties, so i’ll have plenty of opportunities to use more than one lens. Im thinking this one will be great for the portraits, while the 100mm will come in handy so i don’t have to get as close in the church.

Oh, so you use two or more cameras, with different lenses on, arent’you? I’ve been thinking about that, carrying my 5d with the 24-70 mm and then some wonderful lens like your 50 mm 1,4 on another camera for portraits and high ISO for indoors (church) without flash.

Nice mini review. On my 400D it will work out at 80mm F1.4 which I prefer for portraits. I do find this whole trying to work out which lenses to buy very frustrating. I have a 10-22mm on the way for landscape stuff as I won’t jump to a 5D for a while and then I’m trying to weigh up getting the 24-105mm for general use. Weddings and Portraiture however is what will pay the bills initially.

I was recently best man at a wedding and spoke with the photographers throughout the day. They let me work with their gear too and I intend to speak to them again for some tips on getting started. Two of them worked throughout the day from about 12pm through to about 10pm. The principle photographer had two bodies on the go at all times. He was armed with a fantastic 70-200mm f2.8 ISM which gave him the flexibility to work well in varying light and allowed good portraiture qualities with the added length to capture those special candid shots from distance. For the staged shots you have plenty of time to decide on how to approach them and what to use. I think they shot about 2500 images throughout the day. The hardest element was working with the Best Man and Ushers to get people in the right places at the right time especially for the reception where they did the majority of the formal photos once the alcohol has started to flow.

They chopped and changed lenses throughout and mentioned that the two bodies allowed for greater flexibility and also covered for canging memory cards etc. Battery grip for extended battery life essential. I’m going to unofficially shadow a wedding in August and take some notes. I’ll hire a 70-200mm f2.8L for the day so I can trial it and keep out the way.

SophieMuc wrote on June 27th, 2007

congrats on your new toy! :-)
Looking forward to seeing your new photos!

Of course, Rich, carrying two cameras is the best option in order not to lose the least oportunity to take a good picture, but for those photographers that don’t have the physical strengh to carry them and move free all around just like me, it is compulsory to think a lot about the subject :-( . I wish I could see the day in which I will be able to hire an assistant to help me with the equipment.


I have had this lens since last Christmas and I love it!

Bliss I’ll happily be your lacky for a day.

Rich, maybe you can arrange a trip to Spain just to help me, you can bet I’ll be delighted :D

Hey Rebekka,

I just learned about the horrible recent events that occurred and feel incredibly bad about all that’s happened. It must have been a very emotional time. I’m sorry.

However, I didn’t want to dwell on that, but rather the future. I’m commenting on this post because I’m glad to see that you’re trying to do what you can, but also move on in your life with your family and your career and not let it drag you down. I hope that you definitely keep your fans updated through this website and flickr because I know that I definitely admire all that you do from learning photography, being a mother, expressing in a fantastic way your mind and your creativity, and so much more. I love seeing your work and the ideas behind them. I wrote this post to give what courage I can and to ask you not to let this drama pull you down.

Thanks for everything!

P.S. I attend Stanford university and I found the recent commencement speech about artists and thinkers very interesting and thought-provoking.
Artists and the related definitely need more respect.

Lightlimner wrote on June 29th, 2007

It is definitely a decent lens. Very nice bokeh too.
I also added it to my equipment recently and am very happy with it…

I´ve got same camera and same lens and I just love it!

love that you got this lens… I just got t a couple weeks ago.

Lars aka GoSo wrote on July 1st, 2007

Congrats! Two cameras, two primes, flash and one of the ultra-wides should serve you well at the weddings. Happy shooting! :-)

I added the Sigma 30mm f1.4 to my bag last month and it opened up new possibilities. The 30mm and my 60mm macro (after conversion ~50/100 mm fov) team up quite well, so that’s my main kit right now.

To be honest, your photos are very kitschy.

rebekka wrote on July 2nd, 2007

since you’re throwing around that word, i’d love to hear you define just how, exactly , my photos are “very kitschy” …

Amal wrote on July 3rd, 2007

I just got my 5D (today) and was REALLY thinking about getting a 50 mm like yours… I got the 24-105 mm instead. I’m regretting it for some reason, but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to.

Any thoughts on that?

Amal: You probably wanted a versatile lens – and the 24-105 surely is.
Still it is no alternative to the 50/1.4 at all. Playing with DOF is limited (at least at the shorter focal lengths) with the 24-105.
Eventually it all depends on your intended use…

I love that Lens, Was me second lens, you will also love the 85mm in the same price range!

Mmmm… I know what you mean about a 50mm f1.4. I got one for my Nikon and I’ve been loving it ever since.

My brother roped me in to take the photos of his wedding earlier this year. The individual portraits of him and the bride were easy enough, but the group portraits are a pig. As Rich says above, you need to get the Best Man and some ushers to help marshall people into position, and have a prepared list of all the different groups – family, friends etc.

I also made the mistake of keeping the camera in full manual mode during the party afterwards. Would have been much more sensible to have it in shutter priority mode to make sure the movement was not blurred, and used the Nikon’s ‘auto-iso’ function to vary the ‘film speed’ to compensate accordingly.

Anyway, now I’m off to count my pennies and see if I can afford a 10-20 mm lens! Good luck with the wedding shoots.

Patrick wrote on July 9th, 2007

I actually just bought this lens as well for my canon 20d — i achieved some really incredible results in a very low light situation where flash was not allowed (well actually “not encouraged”) — I was shooting some very active sea otters at an aquarium in Va Beach, Virginia (USA) and was still able to get a low fstop to blur the background — the clarity of the pics were truly amazing. It definitely pays to get quality glass, and I totally agree with Rebekka; this is an excellent lens for the price.

Rebekka, a special note to you: I have been so inspired by your work on flickr. You have totally renewed my passion for photography, and its possibilities as a medium to achieve great art. Thank you so much.


That’s the lens I’m buying this week too.

I’m going on a trip all around europe (unfortunatelly Iceland is not on the interrail course), and I want to do portraits. For the price it costs, from what I’ve read and seen, its a must buy.

Did I already say I’m a fan of yours? :)

Stay well

I’ve been debating buying a new 50mm lens over the past few days too! I’m not very happy with the quality of the one I have atm so I might splash out today seeing as I just got paid, but methinks more research is needed between the 1.2 and 1.4!

I have the same lens.. yea, it’s a cheapie, and feels so plastic, but it takes such AWESOME pictures that it’s hard to believe how cheap it is.

congrats on your newest addition. i too have the 50mm and it is just a wonderful piece of glass.


Hulda Emilsdóttir wrote on July 18th, 2007

how can i get to you ?
i think your photos are fantastic.
i want you to take pics for me :)

Adrian wrote on August 2nd, 2007

Rebekka rules photography, ‘nough send!

WOW.. i was just looking at some of your work and i have to admit it is AMAZING, i wish i could take great pics like that.. anyway.. keep up the awesome work

Peace Out

Congratulations on getting a quality wide aperture lens, which will no doubt give you even better photos than before. The build quality and bokeh is so much nicer than the nifty fifty (50mm 1.8).

Hey rebekka, love the website.

I bought the much cheaper Nikon 50mm f/1.8 a few months ago, cheap as chips, great fun but not as smooth bokeh as your 1.4. To be honest, I never find myself using it much wider than 2.2 because the dof is so shallow, and it’s hard to make a meaningful portrait.

So for the wedding you should really try to get yourself an assistant, I did one this summer and it’s very stressful and tiring, luckily my wife is extremely good at organising (and shooting) so I had backup. The 50 might come in useful later on for candids.


you’re right about the stressful and tiring bit. Already shot both weddings, one in july and the other in late august, and im never doing anything like that again, ever.

i got the same lens 3 months ago in the USA (even cheaper there) and it’s become one of my fav lenses too..
would love to see how you wedding pics came out..

the bokeh is amazing while the image is sharp in the focus
however i bought a sigma 30mm f1.4 last month
come and see my works
any comments are welcome

Good article! We are linking to this great content on our website.
Keep up the good writing.

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