Thursday, May 21, 2015

Finally, Spring!

Green Energy

And finally, I feel like taking photos again. My body is so out of shape, given that I got very little exercise during one of the worst winters on record here in Eastern North America, and also given the problems I have with Dystonia, a neuro-muscular problem I've been suffering with for over fifteen years - I can't walk very far, but I did manage to get a few exciting shots.

For these, I dug out a lens which I bought years ago, but seldom ever used - the Canon EF 50mm f1.8 ii, otherwise referred to as the "Plastic Fantastic". This is a super economy lens which is Canon's best value by far, if you don't mind a plastic mount, and absolutely no controls or scales of any kind on the lens body. Canon has just announced a replacement which should be in stores soon, called the EF 50mm f1.8 STM. Reading about this made me curious about the old version, seeing as the new one is said to have exactly the same optics, but some physical improvements, like a metal mount and a seven blade aperture, instead of five.

I much prefer the 40mm f2.8 STM lens, which i keep on my EOS 5D Mk-1 body, and, aside from the advantages of the moderate wide-angle, now I remember why I don't use the EF 50 very often - it's because of the colors. Don't get me wrong - color is bang-on accurate with the EF 50 - so accurate that it's boring, and 50mm lenses tend to be boring enough, simply because they're so close to normal human vision and depth perception. I realized this is also the first time I've ever used the EF 50 on the EOS 5D, so it's the first time I've ever experienced it with a full-frame camera. The results are very satisfactory, and this lens, in spite of it's slightly fragile construction, always gets amazingly good reviews for the price. Everything is as it should be, including the coolness of the colors. I could always warm things up with film emulation, but this time, consider this more like a lens review.

Football in the Park
Yes, everything is as it should be - very sharp, very accurate color rendering, and very low distortion. This really is a good lens - but not one I'm particularly fond of, mainly because of the color. That being said, perhaps it's attributes are better expressed in B&W:

Pedestrians With Reflections

(Original Color File)
Yes, in my opinion, the B&W works very well here- everything is so natural, it needs something different, like a low-key B&W treatment, to add a little sense of wonder.

Film emulation certainly goes a long way with this lens, and if you really want to warm up the coolness, nothing does it better than Agfa Ultra Color 100, which is one that I seldom if ever use with other lenses:

Sackville at Dusk - DxO Film Pack  Agfa Ultra Color 100 Emulation
(Original Color File)

This is much more to my liking. Again, it shows how, using a camera's RAW file and good software, you can single-click many variables in until you find what scratches you where you itch.

So, Canon's little bargain, the EF 50mm f1.8 ii really does live up to it's great reviews - it just needs a little something extra to boost the mood, when compared with most other lenses.