It has two nick names, the ‘nifty fifty‘ (t-shirt link) and ‘fantastic plastic’. Certainly not high on build quality, but if you take care of it, it will treat you well.
At NAB a Canon rep told me when they released the 1.8 version II they were blown away by all the reviews that came in saying how sharp it was.
It’s great lens to travel with and limit yourself to. It is also a great lens to learn on as your first lens.
I wanted to compare it to the Canon 50mm 1.4. [read]