This lens is one of canon's "nifty fifty" lenses geared at consumers.
I originally purchased this lens without much research on recommendation from a friend who said "get a prime lens" for amazing photos. I ended up with this f/1.4 version not knowing there was a cheaper f/1.8. In hindsight, I could not have been happier.
This lens is so fantastically versatile for all those normal life situations we find ourselves in:
indoors with low light (f1.4 - no flash necessary!)
outdoors in variable light conditions
quick candid portrait shots of family members
action shots at parties from a reasonable distance
and many more.
As my first lens purchase for an XSi/450D (see my review here on lunch), the image quality was immediately noticeable when compared to the kit lens that came with the camera(18-55 IS).The clarity and sharpness from this wonderful lens is incredible. Every properly focused shot was just amazing and really takes you to another level of photography. I've since tried a few other lenses (borrowed and rented) but can't take this lens off my camera. Its just so much fun to shoot with!
Differences between the 1.4 and 1.8 versions:
USM - The f/1.4 has an ultrasonic motor that makes auto focus modes much more quiet than the f/1.8 version.
A friend recently purchased the f/1.8 (fantastically priced) but it just felt cheaper to me. The quality of product is noticeable when actually held in your hand. The f/1.4 felt much more solid.
f/1.8 = $100 vs f/1.4 = $350
I can't speak enough about it. If you're considering a prime lens for your canon, you should consider purchasing the 50mm f/1.4.
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