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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 27 Feb 2012 (Monday) 18:17
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Trade my 50mm f1.4 for an 85mm f1.8?

 
Allan.L
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Feb 27, 2012 18:17 |  #1

Hey guys, I just bought a 7d (hasn't arrived yet) and i'm wondering if I would be better off with an 85mm f1.8 than my 50mm f1.4 for shooting sports/portraits.

Anyone with both lenses? How is the AF different on the 85mm? I hear the 50mm's USM isn't the same and isn't as robust. The 50mm has treated me very well but i'm really looking for the best AF performance. IQ wise my 50mm is excellent and I hear the same for the 85.

Any input appreciated!

**Edit: I'm borrowing an 80-200mm f2.8L for a few months and I'm planning on buying a sigma 17-50mm to cover my short end too**


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dachness
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Feb 27, 2012 18:20 |  #2

Do you need more reach than the 50mm? If so the 85 1.8 would be a good choice. It is known for quick focus. Where you do most of your sports/portrait work will determine which FL is best for you. If you have enough room to use the 85 instead of a 50 then you will be fine.


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DarK_MischieF
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Feb 27, 2012 18:26 |  #3

I considered this question as well.

The 50mm 1.4's build is quite disappointing- easily the weakest in my kit. The focus ring is a little loose and doesn't turn very smoothly. Most annoying is the extending part when focusing which contributes to the reports online of broken AF motors. The idea is to put a hood on and leave it on. AF performance is good- it was my first USM (even though its not Ring) and I was blown away by the silence and speed. After using a 70-200 f/4 though, the 50mm 1.4 does feel lacking.

The 85mm 1.8 is reported to have a higher quality build and faster AF (superior to the 85 1.2L) when compared to the 50mm 1.4. Image quality should be similar (excellent). Let me know what you decide, I'm thinking about picking up a used 85mm 1.8 as well.




  
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Thorrulz
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Feb 27, 2012 18:45 |  #4

I own a 7d + the 85 f/1.8 and 50 f/1.8 and currently waiting for the Sigma f/1.4 to be delivered. Since I never owned a Canon f/1.4 I can't be of much help offering critique on the ability of the lens to lock focus and track a fast moving object.

The two focal lengths are nice to have if you are not sure how close/far you will be from the subjects. For instance most of my college or high school shots come from matside so the 85 is much to close unless the wrestlers are on the other side of the mat. During Nationals however I'm resigned to a further distance of an additional 10-15 feet. That is where the 85 excells.

For portraits however, both would be more than suitable on the 7d.

If I could choose only one in your case however I would go with the 85 and maybe pick up the 50 f/1.8 for portraits and when you want to shoot video at a sporting event.

Just wanted to add that the speed of the 85 is awesome and only the 135l compares to it in the ability to quickly lock and track subjects.


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jayadeff
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Feb 27, 2012 23:23 |  #5

I'd do it in a heartbeat. The 50 1.4 is poor until you stop it down to f2.8 or so. The 85 1.8 is much better and more useful wide open.




  
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LeafyJ
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Feb 28, 2012 00:05 |  #6

It really depends on how you intend to use it and the body. I have used the 50 f/1.4 on a 400D but did not like it much. No complains on the image quality (it is great) but AF was considerably slower compared to the 100mm f/2.8 or 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6, all of which have ring USM. It was bad enough to keep causing me to miss shots of my toddler. I have now upgraded to a 7D after the LCD on the 400D was spoilt (I was looking for an excuse to upgrade anyway :) and have not found myself complaining of the slow AF on the 50 f/1.4 since. I did not compare it with the other 2 lenses mentioned but no longer feel a need to do so, which says something good about pairing this lens with the 7D.

A friend tried both the 50 f/1.4 and 85 f/1.8, and decided to go for the latter. He also uses the 7D. Whatever reason it is that worked for him, I would still have chosen the 50 f/1.4 for the smaller size and weight. Before you make the switch, you could rent/borrow a copy of the 85 f/1.8 and try it out to see if it suits you better. Your intention to go for "the best AF performance" might have been influenced by your experience with the T2i. Once your 7D arrives, you might have a different viewpoint on your priorities, especially if your purpose/types of subjects and lens collection also start to grow.

Keep us posted on your decision. :)


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thestone11
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Feb 28, 2012 00:16 |  #7

It all depends on your shooting style and liking. The 50mm is the focal length that I prefer on a crop. It is good for both indoor and outdoor portraits. The 85mm maybe too long on a crop if use for tight space indoor situation. The 85mm f/1.8 AF performance and design are for sure superior than the 50mm f/1.4, but as long as you keep a hood on the 50mm f/1.4, I find it not too bad and will keep the AF mechanism from damages that cause by hitting the front barrel.


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kin2son
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Feb 28, 2012 01:52 |  #8
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I wouldn't do the trade but rather add it to complement each other. 85 is quite long on crop and really only useful for outdoor. 50 on crop is a much more versatile fl imo.

Unless you shoot tight head and shoulder outdoor portrait all day long, no way I'll replace 50 with a 85.


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babel_fish
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Feb 28, 2012 02:03 |  #9

You only need 7 or 8 feet of working distance with the 85 indoors to get a nice head and shoulders on a crop. All of the people who say it's not useable indoors makes me wonder what cardboard box they are living in.


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gtg844f
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Feb 28, 2012 02:13 |  #10

I have both on a crop body. (Can't speak for FF)
Both great lenses, but focal length is quite different.
Build quality is similar. But I think 85 AF is a bit better.
I think it depends more on the focal length you want.
85mm is bit long for indoor portraits (on crop again).
I have 50, 85 and 135, and the difference between the 50 and 85 is much more significant than 85 and 135.
If I were you, I'd buy a used copy of 85 and try both and sell whichever you don't like less.
Both are good and holds their values pretty well.
Good luck!


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LeafyJ
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Feb 28, 2012 02:23 |  #11

babel_fish wrote in post #13981448 (external link)
You only need 7 or 8 feet of working distance with the 85 indoors to get a nice head and shoulders on a crop. All of the people who say it's not useable indoors makes me wonder what cardboard box they are living in.

7 or 8 feet is a lot of distance. Sometimes it's not that convenient to move back and take a shot, such as when you are seated at a restaurant. Also if you're working with kids and pets, they don't give you that 1/2-sec chance to move back and recompose the shot. 50mm vs 85mm does matter indoors.


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babel_fish
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Feb 28, 2012 02:41 |  #12

LeafyJ wrote in post #13981493 (external link)
7 or 8 feet is a lot of distance. Sometimes it's not that convenient to move back and take a shot, such as when you are seated at a restaurant. Also if you're working with kids and pets, they don't give you that 1/2-sec chance to move back and recompose the shot. 50mm vs 85mm does matter indoors.

Absolutely it does indoors and I agree with most of your statement, however perpetuating a blanket absolutist statement wrapped in a myth that the 85 is not useful indoors or is too long indoors just dosnt jive with me.


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Allan.L
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Feb 28, 2012 09:52 |  #13

I have about 25 feet back in my "studio" space so I could at least pull of some half body shots. I think i'll wait until the 7d arrives and give it a good workout with the 50mm. I may decide to keep it and just add the 85mm... buying used lenses I always have the ability to resell for minimal loss. The T2i caused me to miss focus with fast paced sports and my dogs running around, often I would be focused on the face but the frame would catch the dog with the focus half way down its body.


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Feb 28, 2012 09:55 as a reply to  @ Allan.L's post |  #14

If you are looking for action sports shots, the 85mm is hands down the best way to go. Especially if you are indoors. The 85mm has blazing fast AF and is very sharp wide open.


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bobbyz
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Feb 28, 2012 10:30 |  #15

babel_fish wrote in post #13981448 (external link)
You only need 7 or 8 feet of working distance with the 85 indoors to get a nice head and shoulders on a crop. All of the people who say it's not useable indoors makes me wonder what cardboard box they are living in.

Agree thought I shoot mostly FF where I will use 70-200mm f2.8 on the long end for indoor h&s. Tried 85mm once on my FF and I was so close and my back drop was small.

Here 140mm on FF in a small office cube.

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Trade my 50mm f1.4 for an 85mm f1.8?
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