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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 14 Nov 2011 (Monday) 09:38
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Canon 50 mm 1.4 or 50mm 1.8 Mk2

 
LIAM ­ HUGHES
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Nov 14, 2011 09:38 |  #1

I photograph products (amateur for the firm I work for) for printing in a small brochure that is commercially printed. I use 450d and 50mm 1.8 mk2. This I find gives better results than the standard kit lens. I use Elinchron D-Lites. Exposure is always F8-F11. Camera and lens is not used on anything else.Outside I use a Canon A630. Recently I have been photographing some greeting cards with textured finishes but when photos (RAW) are taken into Photoshop CS5 on 27" imac - no detail is showing of the finish. Another photographer/competito​r has photographed similar cards and the amount of detail he obtains is incredible. I know he uses a Sony with a Nikkor lens. My question is would the Canon 1.4 50mm give me a noticable improvement over 1.8. I have done a lot of checking on the web but to be honest I am now confused. As already mentioned camera and lens will only be used with flash at F8-11. Many thanks for any advice.




  
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wambam
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Nov 14, 2011 10:04 |  #2

No it wont, are you sharpening the photo at all?




  
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thestone11
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Nov 14, 2011 10:12 |  #3

You should get a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens....it is great for product shots. I find the 50mm doesn't provide me for close up shots due to the not so good closest focusing distance.

Here are some of the shots that I took with my newly bought 100mm macro:

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Canon 5D MK II | Fuji X100 | Canon T2i | Canon 100mm macro f/2.8 | Canon 135L f/2 | Canon 50mm f/1.2 L | 17-40mm f/4 L | 24-70mm f/2.8 L | 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM |Canon 430EX II Flash X2 | Pocketwizard TT5 & TT1

  
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xhack
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Nov 14, 2011 10:18 |  #4

Would the 1.4 give a noticeable improvement? I doubt it - not at anything over ƒ4 at any rate. I've owned a 1.4 for over four years and have been happy with it; I've never been remotely tempted to Sigma-tise. I've also had access to and fairly regularly used the 1.8. Above ƒ4 they are subjectively much of a muchness, with the 1.4 having a slight edge in both centre and corner sharpness. But contrast and CA are better for the more expensive lens.

But you might want to consider shooting a stop or two wider. Both lens seem to give of their best around ƒ4.5 - ƒ5.6 at the centre, while for overall sharpness out to the edges the best compromise seems around ƒ6.3 -ƒ8. That's for full-frame, btw; you'd expect edge sharpness on crop to be closer to the centre since it's 'seeing' less of the lens's outer extremities.

I'm not an expert on diffraction, but you might be nudging the lower end of that at ƒ11 on the 450D.


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LIAM ­ HUGHES
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Nov 14, 2011 12:23 |  #5

Many thanks for replies - regarding sharpening - this is not done in camera - I work with the raw files. In PS I resize adjust curves - add a small amount of vibrance and then sharpen with Photo wiz - light setting for print and then convert to CMYK. Most of the products I photograph are small figurines say 4" to 12" These are all cut from backgound so we can place on our own background in Indesign. It helps to have nice sharp edges when cutting out. Regarding cards these are also cut out but this is very simple with the straight edges. The macro photos look stunning - I have never considered a macro, I assumed they were mainly used for very small objects. This is something I will definitely check. It seems to me that upgrading to 1.4 is not going to give me a noticeable improvement but I will experiment with wider settings around 4.5 - 5.6 as suggested by xhack to see if I can improve 1.8 results. Regarding macro I do not have a lot of space would a 50mm or 60mm macro be better. Again many thanks.




  
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thestone11
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Nov 14, 2011 12:30 |  #6

Canon 50mm macro is not a real macro lens, it doesn't have a 1:1 macro ratio! The 60mm one is a macro but not as nice as the 100mm f/2.8 macro! Macro lens is often used to do product shots, I am sure it will benefit you alot! Not to mention, a macro lens will give u exceptional sharp images when shooting non macro subject!


Canon 5D MK II | Fuji X100 | Canon T2i | Canon 100mm macro f/2.8 | Canon 135L f/2 | Canon 50mm f/1.2 L | 17-40mm f/4 L | 24-70mm f/2.8 L | 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM |Canon 430EX II Flash X2 | Pocketwizard TT5 & TT1

  
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tsong
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Nov 14, 2011 16:49 |  #7

I have been doing my own research lately since I thought about upgrading from a 50 1.8 MK I (Metal mount) to a Sigmalux (Sigma 50 1.4).

The Sigma, as I have found, is better than the Canon 50 1.4 in IQ, Bokeh, Ergonomics, Quiet AF, Real Time Manual Focus Override, etc.

It seems that from the 1.8 to the 1.4, it's not worth the upgrade since IQ and Bokeh difference is so minimal. From the 1.8 to a Sigma would be a solid investment, but it's a matter of if you think it's really worth the money.




  
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Carlwashere
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Nov 14, 2011 18:35 |  #8

Since you mentioned small figurines, I went ahead and scoured my collection of photos for some, knowing I have taken some with my macro. One thing to say, I could do better now. :)
Anyway, I've taken the liberty to help you out, despite my homework. *cough* procrastinating!*cough​*
So I've taken some shots of a figurine. Roughly 7" tall as a reference. For the work you are mentioning, I feel a macro could be worth the cost. It's a useful lens. Most of the following are taken with a Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro. (non-is)
I've also taken a few with the 50mm f1.4 as you have an interest in that lens also. It was tough to get good shots without approaching MFD. And also I used a Tamron 17-50 non-VC, as it has a closer focusing distance than the 50mm f1.4.
All are taken at f8, I believe. SOOC, as I still have to get work done... :/
I was also practicing some lightning techniques, even though all I have is 2 desk lamps... :p So I apologize in advance that my backgrounds are not consistent, as it's hard to have a decent background light with 3" of space and lamps double that size.
First, here's the 50mm f1.4

IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6037/6345328565_7ab328a5df_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/60215557@N02/6​345328565/  (external link)
As is, this was taken at MFD, I couldn't get any closer to this 7" figurine.

IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6226/6346078212_d7a2c43edd_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/60215557@N02/6​346078212/  (external link)
Here's the Tamron, it can focus a bit closer. Now the following are all taken with the 100mm macro, and easily gave me the most versatility when photographing the figure.
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6045/6346078122_d194ea21e0_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/60215557@N02/6​346078122/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6216/6346078082_23b82ec4e4_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/60215557@N02/6​346078082/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6233/6345328515_26283faed8_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/60215557@N02/6​345328515/  (external link)
These are not close to MFD for the lens however. I tried to go for a dramatic look here...It kinda worked. haha

-Canon T2i- -Tammy 17-50 non-VC- -50 f1.4- -100 f2.8 macro- -85 f1.8-
-Pentax SP1000- -SMC Takumar 55 f2- -Takumar 28 f3.5- -Vivitar 135 f2.8-

  
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thestone11
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Nov 14, 2011 21:20 |  #9

tsong wrote in post #13399455 (external link)
I have been doing my own research lately since I thought about upgrading from a 50 1.8 MK I (Metal mount) to a Sigmalux (Sigma 50 1.4).

The Sigma, as I have found, is better than the Canon 50 1.4 in IQ, Bokeh, Ergonomics, Quiet AF, Real Time Manual Focus Override, etc.

It seems that from the 1.8 to the 1.4, it's not worth the upgrade since IQ and Bokeh difference is so minimal. From the 1.8 to a Sigma would be a solid investment, but it's a matter of if you think it's really worth the money.

The sigma 50mm f/1.4 is an excellent lens only if u can find a good copy of it! I tried 3 copies, none of them works good out of the box. All of them have focusing issue! On the other hand, the 50mm f/1.4 is spot on and very sharp. The canon 50mm f/1.4 is for sure worth the money if u are thinking upgrade from the 50mm f/1.8, it out performs it in every way. It is the best bang for your buck. It may not have the same IQ as the sigma but like I said, only if u can find a good copy. I rather stick with a lens that works good out of the box and have consistent AF. The 50mm f/1.4 does have one problem, the AF mechanism, but if you have a lens hood on all the time to protect it from impact, many users have theirs last for years!


Canon 5D MK II | Fuji X100 | Canon T2i | Canon 100mm macro f/2.8 | Canon 135L f/2 | Canon 50mm f/1.2 L | 17-40mm f/4 L | 24-70mm f/2.8 L | 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM |Canon 430EX II Flash X2 | Pocketwizard TT5 & TT1

  
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macroimage
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Nov 15, 2011 01:23 |  #10

LIAM HUGHES wrote in post #13397472 (external link)
... no detail is showing of the finish. Another photographer/competito​r has photographed similar cards and the amount of detail he obtains is incredible.

The problem isn't the lens or the settings. F/8-f/11 is fine and the 50/1.8 is very sharp there. The problem is the lighting. If you want surface texture, the light has to come from the side to create the microshadows and highlights that create the texture. Front light fills in the features and leaves it looking flat. Once you have the lighting set up for best texture, then some sharpening in post will bring it out even more.


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LIAM ­ HUGHES
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Nov 15, 2011 02:36 as a reply to  @ macroimage's post |  #11

Again many thanks for replies. It certainly has given me a lot to think about. I have checked with my local Photo store and they suggested bringing my camera and lens and trying a Canon 50 1.4 in store with some test shots - I will take the opportunity also to see if I can test a macro lens which now seems very interesting to me. One of the web sites I regularly check is Canon & Nikon test reviews which gaves great in depth tests of lens and cameras. I must say the results for the humble 1.8 50mm are very sharp. But something that macroimage mentioned re lighting is something I am going to check. My lighting is usually at 45 deg. to subject - so I am going to experiment with different angles - this I think may be my problem.




  
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Sirrith
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Nov 15, 2011 06:59 |  #12

If you want a macro, and don't have a lot of working distance, take a look at the tokina 35mm macro. Great little lens from what I hear.


-Tom
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DStanic
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Nov 15, 2011 07:06 |  #13

The AF sucks on the 50 1.8 but since you are shooting things that don't move and strictly looking from an IQ standpoint I'd say keep the 1.8 or upgrade to the Sigma but that is probably unnecessary. Shooting products wouldn't you want to get more of the object in focus? Seems like shooting at f/4+ would work better but I'm not a product photographer so I could be off base.


Sony A6000, 16-50PZ, 55-210, 35mm 1.8 OSS
Canon 60D, 30D
Tamron 28-75 2.8, Tamron 17-35, Sigma 50mm 1.4, Canon 85mm 1.8

  
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JonK
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Nov 15, 2011 07:24 |  #14

I use a 100mm macro for all products. Rather than shoot at f11 and higher (on 100mm at macro working distances any decent DOF requires F11 - F22 or more) I have got in the habit of focus stacking. Now I shoot at F7.1 or F8 and stack focus. Works a lot better.


7NE | 7D | 5DII | 16-35/2.8L II | 24/1.4L II | TS-E 24/3.5L II | 50/1.4 | 85/1.2L II | 100/2.8L IS | 70-200/2.8L IS II | 400/5.6L | PIXMA Pro 9500 Mark II
check my blog:
www.jonkensy.com (external link)

  
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LIAM ­ HUGHES
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Nov 15, 2011 10:01 as a reply to  @ JonK's post |  #15

As I mentioned I mainly photograph Figurines from 4"to 12" I normally use F8-F11 to keep as much of the figure in focus. D O F is pretty important because I require sharp edges as all the photos are cut out of their backgrounds - brokeh is not an issue. I use a light grey background and with good edges it is easy to cut out in Photoshop. I would not mind paying £400 - £500 for a lens that shows obvious improvement in my photos. Photos have to be very sharp and colour has to be very good as the quality is downgraded with commercial printing which uses 300 DPI. I have printed photos on good quality photo paper and they have been very good. But the same photos printed in a brochure lose a fair bit of quality. For me sharpness is the most critical factor. I have decided to check out the 60mm and 100 mm macros - my only concern is space - I have a small room with 3-4 feet to work with ( I use a small photo table - 3 feet and flash either side. ) I normally work 2-3 feet away with the 1.8 50mm from subjects. I do not photograph very small items.




  
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Canon 50 mm 1.4 or 50mm 1.8 Mk2
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