The Bottom Line: If you want sharp lens for both macro and portraits, this is it. Two thumbs up.
I diligently scoured the reviews on many lenses here on epinions before settling on this particular 50mm lens. It was purchased for my Canon Digital Rebel body, so keep that in mind as you read farther into this review. For myself, the main function of this lens is to shoot portraits, nature and macro work. It has yet to let me down, and has yielded some surprising results.
Recommend this product?
Though it is only an f/ 2.5, I have found that it produces nice results for me in low lighting situations. I don't notice that much noise, or rather, much less noise compared to my f/2.8 lens.
The auto focus works well for me, and the manual focus is smooth and consistent. I find neither hard to work with.
Here is a sample of a portrait taken with this lens with an accompanying polarizing filter:
Notice the detail in the hair, and the nice depth of field. This is one of my favorite lenses for portraits.
Primes tend to produce sharper photos than zooms, as evident in the results found with this lens. I notice no loss in sharpness when using it for macro photography.
Here is an example: http://www.tiensivu.com/patternsofice2.jpg
The lens was coupled with some magnifying filters for this shot, and I've read reports that the use of these kinds of filters tend to make your images soft. This is not what I have come to find in regards to this 50mm AF Macro. The results are just as sharp as images I attained without the special filters. For the photographer on a budget that wants a lens that can produce razor sharp imaging both for objects afar and up close, perhaps this is a lens you ought to take a look at. It is cost effective and can produce beautiful images, without the photographer having to be a pro. I myself am just an amateur.