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50mm f/1.8 is said by many to be a great lens for its price, and finally one worth buying. On the other hand with a APS-C sensor it is rather long for my taste.

Is there some cheap lens around 30mm or below that is worth buying and has the good value like the 50mm 1.8?

I would consider also some old manual lens if its quality justifies it.

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I'm a big fan of old manual focus lenses, but two things to be aware of: First, wider than 35mm means relatively (starting around $100) expensive (since those were really wide in the film days, so there's less of them out there, especially faster than f/2.8, and they can command higher prices... have a browse around to see what's out there). Second, older lenses won't have the coatings of modern lenses and won't be as sharp as something you buy new. Still, they tend to be well-built and focusing with them is a joy! –  drewbenn Mar 23 '12 at 18:30
+1 on what @drew said. Plus, most Canon crop sensor cameras have focus screen that are terrible for manual focus. On some models, you can change to a focus screen with some manual focus assist (micro prism, etc.) but you need to include the cost of the focus screen in your budget. –  Pat Farrell Mar 27 '12 at 3:21

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you are looking for a fast prime that is the equivalent to 50mm on APS-C, you are looking for the Sigma 30mm 1.4. There is also the Canon 28mm 1.8, but it is slower and slightly softer than the Sigma, while being a tad more expensive.

The downside is that the Sigma runs about $450, so not really cheap. Unfortunately, there is no fast, cheap, wide angle prime like the nifty fifty.

But I think the Sigma is what you are looking for.

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I would also recommend the Sigma 30 f/1.4. I've heard so many good things about it. On a Canon APS-C it would be the equivalent of 48mm (more or less your fifty!) –  Mike Mar 25 '12 at 13:17
+1 for the Sigma 30mm. I've used it as my only lens for the last ~8 months and been very, very happy with it. –  Matt Ball Feb 21 '13 at 16:26

Canon 40mm 2.8 STM is your answer. I used to have a 50 1.8 which I also find very long and slow&loud focusing. 40 2.8 STM is focusing fast silent and has a wider FOV. Also has a great build quality and resoably priced. To see my shots visit my page:

I love my 40 2.8 STM :)

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The 50 F1.8 is about $100. There are no Canon lenses that are wide, say 30 or even 24 that are fast (say F2.0 or better) and that inexpensive.

Most folks on crop bodies go for the 10-22 zoom, or one of the third party equivalents.

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Nothing for a $100 bucks. Personally, and this is only a matter of personal opinion, I find the bokeh on this lens very noisy; to me it looks as cheap as the lens feels.

If you don't mind all manual you could try one of the Rokinnon/Samyang lenses:

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED MC Super Wide Angle Lens for Canon $349

Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 Wide Angle Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras $499

Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC Wide-Angle Lens for Canon $699

Or the oh so extreme:

Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Aspherical Fisheye Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras $299

These are B&H prices. Things don't really get cheaper than this.

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At least two of those don't qualify as "cheap" in my book. At those prices, you might as well go for the Sigma 30 f/1.4 and have auto-focus too. –  khedron Mar 23 '12 at 16:29
True, if AF is important and if you are planning on staying with a cropped sensor then the Sigma makes sense. The Rokinnon manual lenses are not for everyone (manual aperture, diaphragm) However, aside from the autofocus, on paper, the Rokinnon 35mm 1.4 seems better in just about every department. –  Jakub Mar 23 '12 at 17:02

Not mentioned, but one of the cheaper options is slightly more mm then 30mm. It is the canon 35mm f2. Not the new version with IS, but the old one. Actually very comparable to the nifty fifty in build quality as well, then again, you get what you pay for. I would save some extra money and get the sigma 30mm f1.4.

Among the cheaper options there is also the 28mm f2.8, but this is not really a fast lens anymore, so i don't see an advantage over say the tamron 17-50mm.

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