Weapon Of Choice

Weapon Of Choice

Every time I hear the words “weapon of choice,” I think of Christopher Walken dancing around like a fool in Fatboy Slim’s music video. And to be honest, the first time I slapped the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens on my camera body, I felt like dancing like Chris too.

For years, I have shot with a wide variety of lenses, however, none of them were prime (a lens that does not zoom, and set at one focal distance). I knew that they were supposed to be a bit sharper than zoom lenses, but man… this baby is sharp. And not only can you shave with this thing, it is super fast glass, at f 1.4. Which means it can shoot much faster shutter speeds in much lower lighting conditions. And set all the way down to f 1.4, the depth of field is amazing. Your subjects pop and are completely separated from the blurred background with a beautiful bokeh.

Yes, being a prime lens, you have to use those things called legs much more often, walking back and forward, to get proper framing of your subject(s), but I assure you, the extra couple steps needed are well worth it. Having to adjust to work without zoom capabilities will most likely improve your photography skills and awareness, and framing your shots will be much more selective. With that said, this wouldn’t be what you’d call a great ‘walk-around lens.’ Well, unless you want to do A LOT of walking, but you’ll find you will not get the shots you could with a nice zoom lens walking around town, or any other shooting situation where your composition is constantly changing.

I use a variety of different lenses in my work, from wide angle to super zoom. I’ve used qualities from the very basic kit lens to the best “L” glass Canon makes, and I’m here to tell you that this is my favorite lens. At a fraction of the cost of my L glass, it’s picture quality is amazing. If knowing what I knew now when I was first getting into portraiture, this would be the first lens I would buy. Don’t let the word “prime” scare you away from buying. This and the 70-200mm L are the ideal portraiture lenses.

Canon also makes a cheaper 50mm lens (Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II), it can be yours for 85 bucks! The build and picture quality is lower, but hell, at that price you can’t go wrong!