Twas maybe ten years ago in camera years I shifted back to using my DSLR after a run of using a compact digital camera. My go to lens, the one used for easily 90% of my photos, has been the Canon 50mm f/1.4 aka “The Nifty Fifty”

But because of packing up, the 1700 mile long road trip this month to Canada, the DSLR has been dormant for almost two weeks, zipped inside the backpack. All my photos in that time done on the iPhone.

With more time the last 2 years spent outside dog walking, I’ve increased the percentage of photos done with the iPhone (I have 6s and no plans to upgrade), and quite often these are ones that get flickr explored.

In fact that just happened last week, more or less a short of Felix sitting calmly on the patio of the Little Red Cafe in Mortlach, BC.

Heck, Felix seems to make it alot, in fact one time two photos of him in a row got in explore (suspect algorithm)?

But back to the nifty fifty lens, it finally came out of the bag yesterday…

2018/365/140 Wave Chaser

2018/365/140 Wave Chaser flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

In The Breeze

In The Breeze flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

I’m actually up to my third Canon 50mm lenses. I seem to drop them about every five years. In April in happened again, at open mic night at THAT Brewery in Pine, AZ, the camera flopped out of my backpack hitting the floor with a bad sound. It worked for a while, but the autofocus mechanism started sticking, and I knew from past experience it was the focus rings in the camera I had mangled.

I had such a reliance on that f1/4 50mm lens and my finger was hovering on the $300+ purchase price on Amazon. But I went back for a bit of research, and found an interesting review from f/stoppers:

Don’t worry, you’re not missing out. The EF 50mm f/1.4 USM has been surpassed in almost every way by its little brother, the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. At a price point that’s about one third of the f/1.4 version, it’s a far better value, featuring a newer, more up-to-date autofocus system (STM vs. an older form of USM). The older lens also extends and retracts during focusing, so it’s easier to break. Canon basically cannibalized themselves by releasing such a good lens at such a low price in 2015. I used the 1.4 lens a lot as my first prime, and it’s not one I’d recommend anyone get as their first prime in 2018 when the STM version exists.

I had always thought the plastic and cheaper f/1.8 was inferior but this article suggested it had a more advanced focus system, and also, as I read elsewhere, it had now a stronger metal attachment ring. I got it on Amazon for less than half the price of the f/1.4

It’s lighter, a bit shorter than the f/1.4, and so far I’m pretty damn satisfied with the quality.

A New Fifty

A New Fifty flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

But lens, shmens, just get out there, chase light, and take lots of photos.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Dude. I don’t know about you and your fancy-schancy glass. The real nifty fifty is the Plastic Fantastic! Cheap. Almost as fast. A workhorse I don’t have to sweat about having on my over-a-decade-old DSLR body. Which is safely packed in its backpack, under my desk in the basement.

    Wait! I just went searching for a link to the Plastic Fantastic – looks like they might not make it anymore! The 50mm f/1.8 now has a metal mount, and costs double what the plastic one did. AAAH! Now I have to be careful with mine! 😉

    This Sigma 10-20mm is my all time favourite lens – and the price has come down a bit since I got mine. It’s slow, but super-wide, without the barrel distortion other lenses have.

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