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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #1
watson76
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Default My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

This is strange, this is the 2nd 50 1.4 I have owned. The first one I bought as an upgrade to my 50 1.8 II over a year ago, but found that images didn't have the contrast and detail that my 50 1.8 had so I sent the 50 1.4 back to Amazon.

Recently thinking that maybe it was user error or a bad copy, I purchased the 50 1.4 again. Same results. With both lenses set @ 1.8, the 50 Mark II delivers a better image (fine detail like the lashes of the eyes are crisp, colors seem to pop), the 50 1.4 is a bit softer (marginally so) and contrast is a bit flatter (again it's marginal). Has anyone else experienced this ? I really want to love the 1.4: Focusing is faster, the build is nice, and of course it's 1.4.

I also have noticed that the 50 1.4 produces brighter images than the 50 1.8. At the exact same aperture and shutter, the 50 1.4 image is about a 3rd stop brighter. Strange ?

Maybe I just need to give the lens more time, anyone else experience this ?
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #2
rick_reno
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

the 50 1.8 is a great value in the canon lens lineup. mine was great until it (literally) fell apart.
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #3
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

Unless you need the slightly wider aperture, FTM and faster focusing, the 50mm f/1.8 II is better in image quality in my opinion. FWIW, both lenses need to be stopped down for sharp results.
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #4
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

My 50 1.8 is so awesome.

IMO, all 3 have fairly similar IQ.
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #5
watson76
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick_reno View Post
the 50 1.8 is a great value in the canon lens lineup. mine was great until it (literally) fell apart.
I read on photozone that the 50 1.4 has low contast until 2.8, so maybe that's what I am seeing. A Digital Picture also states that the 50 1.4 lens has low contrast due until f2. So I guess what I am faced with is better wide-open performance on the 1.8 vs faster focusing and aperture on the 50 1.4
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #6
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

going lens shopping today.

I'm either going to upgrade my 50 1.8 to the 50 1.4 or buy a 28mm f/1.8 or 35 f/2.

Decisions, decisions.
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #7
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

50 1.8's biggest knock has always been the build quality. The glass itself is really nice.
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #8
Mike Deep
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

Generally speaking, slower lenses tend to perform better than faster lenses (This is not always true, so don't read too much into it). Ultra-fast lenses are a compromise, as are most things in photography.

Consider also that the 50/1.4's optics date back to at least 1968, while the 50/1.8's optics were designed in the late 1980s.
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #9
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

I've just bought a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk2, can't believe the quality it produces for the low price, shot this image a couple of hours ago on my 5D/1, would the f/1.4 be better I wonder?




hand-held - 50 iso setting - J-Peg - shot @ f/4
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #10
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

I was underwhelmed by the 50 1.4 coming from the 1.8, got the 50L (and eventually, a new 1.8) instead.
Both the 1.8's has been stunningly good, for the price. The 50L is spectacular.
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Old 14th of May 2012 (Mon)   #11
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

That wouldn't be strange.

Designing a lens is balancing among many factors.

For wider aperture, better bokeh, they have to sacrifice some other things.

For me, sharpness of any 50mm is decent enough,but 50 1.8's bokeh is unacceptable.
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Old 15th of May 2012 (Tue)   #12
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

Quote:
Originally Posted by maplewoods View Post
That wouldn't be strange.

Designing a lens is balancing among many factors.

For wider aperture, better bokeh, they have to sacrifice some other things.

For me, sharpness of any 50mm is decent enough,but 50 1.8's bokeh is unacceptable.
+1. Bokeh and is why I upgraded to 1.4. Love the 1.8 $/IQ , but geez, the 1.8 sounds so cheap, literally. zzzzzzzzech.
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Old 15th of May 2012 (Tue)   #13
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

After I upgraded to Sigma 50 1.4, I sold my 1.8. But I'm gonna buy it back one day. They are of different use.
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Old 15th of May 2012 (Tue)   #14
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

Quote:
Originally Posted by watson76 View Post
This is strange, this is the 2nd 50 1.4 I have owned. The first one I bought as an upgrade to my 50 1.8 II over a year ago, but found that images didn't have the contrast and detail that my 50 1.8 had so I sent the 50 1.4 back to Amazon.
This is a well-known characteristic of f/1.4 and f/1.8 50mm lens pairs from the same maker. The softness of various 50mm f/1.4 lenses wide open has often been described as "halation", although of course it isn't really that. It's simply the type of aberrations produced by the traditional f/1.4 design.

Canon fix it with the f/1.2. It'll cost you. Knowing the characteristics of traditional 50mm designs and the poor build quality of Canon's f/1.8, it was the only one I considered.

Quote:
I also have noticed that the 50 1.4 produces brighter images than the 50 1.8. At the exact same aperture and shutter, the 50 1.4 image is about a 3rd stop brighter. Strange ?
This is most likely different fall-off between the two lenses which the camera's metering is not exactly compensating for. Remember, the camera meters wide open, so if metering mostly from the centre of the frame through a lens with severe fall-off it will need to reduce exposure stopped down.

Last edited by melcat : 15th of May 2012 (Tue) at 04:28. Reason: clarify remarks are not Canon-specific
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Old 15th of May 2012 (Tue)   #15
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Default Re: My 50 1.8 is better than 50 1.4 ????

I've had a 50 1.8 MkII for a few months and have been happy with the results, but I bought a 1.4 version last week and I'm completely blown away. At 1.4 it's as sharp as the 1.8 at 2.4 and stepped down to 2.8 it's razor sharp, as good as my 100 2.8 L macro. I must of just got a good one I suppose.
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