When I bought my Canon T1i, it came with the "kit" lens, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens. As kit lenses go, it's not bad but I always figured I could do better.
That's the thing about SLRs - there is always a better lens out there, if you are willing to spend the money. The thing I always wondered was whether the difference would be noticeable.
I did some research recently and decided that I would like to purchase the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. It has good reviews and is known to be a fast lens with good optics.
I went on Kijiji and found one for sale here in Winnipeg for about $30 off retail, and less than 6 months old. Lenses don't depreciate much so this was a pretty good deal. The seller was also selling a battery so I figured I'd get that too... always good to have a spare.
We met at the Forks and I had a look at the lens. It's tiny! I was satisfied with it so we exchanged cash and I went on my way. On the way out, I noticed that VIA 693 was backing into the station at 16:30, "only" about 6 hours late!
I headed over to CN Subway, and on the way shot CN 111 rolling past Canwest Park with CN 8932 and CN 2307 on the head end. This was a grab shot.
As I went down toward Osborne I saw CN 8948 was the DPU unit in CN 111. I also saw an eastbound with CN 2663 and CN 2651 on the north track going by CN 111.
At Subway, there was an eastbound train waiting to head out. I think it was either 302 or 306. As an experiment, I decided to shoot it with both the 18-55mm lens and the 50mm lens. At first glance, the pictures look pretty much the same.
The top one was taken with the 18-55mm zoom lens, and the bottom with the 50mm lens. No editing was done on the images other than to crop the 18-55mm shot a bit and resize the images.
However, the devil is in the details. I shot both in shutter priority mode (1/200s) and the EXIF details show a little difference. For the 18-55mm lens, the camera used an exposure of f/5.6 and ISO 200. The 50mm lens earned an exposure of f/4.5 with ISO 100, showing the greater light sensitivity of the 50mm lens.
If you look closely at the images, the difference in detail is quite apparent.
Again, the top one was taken with the 18-55mm zoom lens, and the bottom with the 50mm lens, with no editing. You can see that the 50mm lens was quite a bit sharper when the image is magnified.
This is definitely a better lens than the 18-55mm lens. I don't think I will be using the 50mm exclusively, of course, since it doesn't have any zoom and is therefore less versatile than the zoom lens. However, I think for "whole train" shots the 50mm lens may become my preferred lens. Stay tuned.