Why This Lens Rocks
The Canon 50mm f/1.8 II EF lens is comparable to a Yanagi ba knife (very sharp sushi knife) inside a Ford Pinto (cheap car from the 70's). The build quality and "feel" won't win any awards, but like your mama says...it's what's inside that counts.
Things I'm Crazy About
The EF 50mm f/1.8 II, also known as the "nifty-fifty", is a super sharp prime lens that'll allow you to shoot at an aperture of f/1.8.
Ok, so what's so great about shooting at f/1.8?
Well, lower aperture f-numbers allow you to achieve faster shutter speeds with lower ISO's. Faster shutter speeds help eliminate camera shake and subject blur (sharper images), while lower ISO's lead to less image noise (cleaner looking images).
Lower f-numbers also shorten the depth of field and minimize the area in focus.
This effect produces lovely portraits, food and product shots against silky backgrounds that help the subject "pop" off the screen or print.
If you've only shot with a kit lens thus far, you'll be amazed at the difference in the "look" of your photos.
Beginner filmmakers will also appreciate the shallow depth of field produced by the 50mm f/1.8, which helps create that indie film look.
Things I'm Not Crazy About
This being a prime lens, you can't zoom in or out. You have to physically move around in order to compose and frame your shot. For beginners, this takes some getting used to.
While this isn't really an issue outdoors, it can be a problem indoors...especially in tiny spaces where you don't have enough room to backup.
When mounted to an entry level Canon APS-C format DSLR, you'll actually end up with a field of view equivalent to a 80mm lens on a full frame DSLR. If you're curious as to what you'll see in the viewfinder, just attach your kit lens and zoom to 50mm.
This is one of those lenses where once you try it, you'll be hooked.
Whether you're looking to improve your family photos, experimenting with food and product photography or looking to do some street and fashion shoots, you just can't beat it's versatility.
This lens holds its value really well. If you were to buy this lens brand new and sell it a year later...you're probably looking at a loss of $10 to $20 which is far less than renting this lens for a week.