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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 24 Mar 2012 (Saturday) 17:16
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50mm 1.8 to 1.4? Is it worth it?

 
OriginalProof
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Mar 24, 2012 17:16 |  #1

Hey POTN,

Was wondering if it was worth upgrading from the 50mm 1.8 to the 1.4 . I do a lot of night filming, and the extra 0.4 would help a lot. But ... is the 1.4 a better overall lens? If I shoot at 1.8 will it perform better than the 1.8? Thanks for the help.




  
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dachness
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Mar 24, 2012 17:49 |  #2

Either 50mm 1.4 (Sigma or Canon) will be an improvement. I would suggest the Sigma, just understand that if you have front or back focus you will need to send in your Body and lense to sigma for calibration.


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Mistabernie
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Mar 24, 2012 17:50 |  #3

dachness wrote in post #14146702 (external link)
Either 50mm 1.4 (Sigma or Canon) will be an improvement. I would suggest the Sigma, just understand that if you have front or back focus you will need to send in your Body and lense to sigma for calibration.

Only if the body that the OP is using doesn't allow for microadjustment..


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firefighter4u
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Mar 24, 2012 19:50 |  #4

You'll hear both sides to this, but I was pleased with the performance when I upgraded! If you have the cash, go for it!


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cfvisuals
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Mar 24, 2012 21:30 as a reply to  @ firefighter4u's post |  #5

Definitely worth it, every penny i'd say.

It probably costs you $250 for the jump if you go for used.

You get better focus, better bokeh, larger aperture, well not sharpness. 50mm f1.8 is sharp enough that 50mm 1.4 doesn't provide any improvement.

But if you could find better use of the $250, then I guess it isn't worth it. If 50mm is your workhorse, it's your favorite focal length, then it's definitely recommended for a upgrade.


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maplewoods
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Mar 24, 2012 22:24 |  #6

I've used or tested 50 1.8,50 1.4,50 1.2 and sigma 50 1.4.

To make it short, you get better bokeh and build quality but no other significant improvement.




  
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z0diac
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Mar 25, 2012 00:05 |  #7

OriginalProof wrote in post #14146508 (external link)
Hey POTN,

Was wondering if it was worth upgrading from the 50mm 1.8 to the 1.4 . I do a lot of night filming, and the extra 0.4 would help a lot. But ... is the 1.4 a better overall lens? If I shoot at 1.8 will it perform better than the 1.8? Thanks for the help.

Awesome comparison here:

http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=44FqqE6ukjY (external link)


Canon T2i / 70-200 2.8 IS II / 10-22mm / 50mm 1.8 / 18-200mm / 18-55mm / 55-250mm / 1.4x extender / filters / tripod / monopod / lightning trigger / Nikon Coolpix P90

  
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tylerpaulphoto
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Mar 25, 2012 03:25 |  #8

1000x yes If you use the 50 a lot


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melcat
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Mar 25, 2012 03:29 |  #9

It is likely to be worse. 50mm f/1.4 lenses are known for coma, that is comet-shaped highlights that really leap out at you in night photography. 50mm f/1.8 lenses have traditionally had less. The last time I did night photography I used an adapted 50mm f/1.8 for this reason, and didn't get coma.

Ken Rockwell seems to be interested in night photography and mentions this very point with respect to the Canon f/1.4 lens:

http://www.kenrockwell​.com/canon/lenses/50mm​-f14.htm (external link)




  
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Wilt
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Mar 25, 2012 11:21 |  #10

What photozone.de says about the 50mm f/1.4:

"Ultra large aperture lenses have a hard time regarding vignetting when used on full format DSLRs. The EF 50mm f/1.4 USM shows an extremely high amount of light falloff at f/1.4 - a 2.7EV this is disturbing in most images ...The resolution chart shows a rather wide spread in image quality across the tested aperture range but this is typical for most ultra-large aperture lenses. The center performance is very good at f/1.4 but the borders are just on a good level and the corners are soft. The contrast level is also somewhat reduced especially towards the corners. The situation improves quite a bit when stopping down to f/2 - the center is lifted into excellent level here and the corners start to get acceptable. There's a further boost of the border/corner quality at f/2.8 - the outer region reaches very good figures here (albeit just). The range between f/4 and f/8 represents the sweet spot of the lens with an outstanding center resolution and generally excellent borders and corners...The out-of-focus highlights suffer somewhat from vignetting effects at f/1.4 so the shape does deteriorate somewhat to a "cat's eye" towards the corners. There's also an outlining effect here but the inner highlight zone is very smooth and uniform. The outlining is slightly improved at f/2 and it's gone by f/2.8. However, starting at f/2.8 the highlights are no longer circular (thus the aperture is not circular anymore). The quality of the blur in the critical focus transition zones is quite decent. It's very smooth towards the foreground and still good (but slightly worse) towards the background...Bokeh fringing is a common problem present in most large aperture lenses and the Canon lens is no exception to the rule here...it's not a flawless lens when used on a full format DSLR. The contrast level is quite a bit reduced at f/1.4 and the corners are soft here. However, the results are good at f/2 and nothing short of great at medium aperture settings. Unfortunately there's an extreme amount of light falloff at max. aperture and it takes two f-stops to reduce the problem to a more or less negligible degree. Lateral CAs are nothing to worry about. The bokeh is generally good but not outstanding. Typical for such lenses there's quite a bit of bokeh fringing (LoCAs) at large apertures. "


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twistedlim
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Mar 25, 2012 12:55 |  #11

The 1.4 is worth it if only for just the 1.4. Light falloff is not usually noticed when shooting in a low light situation. It is 2/3 stop faster wide open which is really huge. Basically the difference in clean images is the same difference in shooting a 5d classic and the 5dMKIII. That said I own the 1.8 because it is light and cheap and is sharp wide open and pairs nicely with any lens and I don't feel like taking my 50 1.2 along. If I did not have the 1.2 I would get the 1.4 in a heartbeat.
I can take the 5d with a 1.8 and 35 2.0 and have a very light travel combo that will suit 90% of what I usually shoot.




  
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mike_311
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Mar 25, 2012 18:18 |  #12

melcat wrote in post #14148739 (external link)
It is likely to be worse. 50mm f/1.4 lenses are known for coma, that is comet-shaped highlights that really leap out at you in night photography. 50mm f/1.8 lenses have traditionally had less. The last time I did night photography I used an adapted 50mm f/1.8 for this reason, and didn't get coma.

Ken Rockwell seems to be interested in night photography and mentions this very point with respect to the Canon f/1.4 lens:

http://www.kenrockwell​.com/canon/lenses/50mm​-f14.htm (external link)

but the bokeh on a 50/1.8 is terrible unless you like pentagons.

to 50mm1/4 is worth it for the AF improvement alone.


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watt100
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Mar 25, 2012 18:32 |  #13

mike_311 wrote in post #14151943 (external link)
but the bokeh on a 50/1.8 is terrible unless you like pentagons.
.


an example of the terrible 50mm 1.8 military bokeh pentagons -

IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6200/6039947692_772d4704e9_z.jpg



  
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Tony_Stark
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Mar 25, 2012 19:12 |  #14

I used the 50 1.8 II exclusively as my first lens for about 10 months. It was great little lens but not without its short comings. Once I got the 50 1.4, the first things I liked: better build, silent auto focus, and better AF performance in general. While not amazing its steps ahead of the Plastic Fantastic. The added aperture blades are also welcome as I wasn't a fan of the "pentagon" bokeh balls. However, my recent shootings I'm heavily considering the 50 1.2.


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melcat
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Mar 26, 2012 01:39 |  #15

mike_311 wrote in post #14151943 (external link)
but the bokeh on a 50/1.8 is terrible unless you like pentagons.

For night shooting, the usual workaround is to shoot wide open so aperture shapes aren't seen. These are not restricted to polygons. Since fast lenses are typically worse wide open than slow lenses (although they may be better at the same aperture) many people prefer slow lenses for night shooting.

It wasn't the Canon 50mm f/1.8 that I was using but one from a different camera system, with 6 blades. Still, I took shots at several different apertures and the ones I liked best were wide open.

Tony_Stark wrote in post #14152204 (external link)
However, my recent shootings I'm heavily considering the 50 1.2.

I haven't tried night shooting with mine yet, but I would expect two problems wide open: (1) the cat's eye bokeh typical of very fast lenses, and (2) the chromatic aberration this lens has wider than f/2.2. So it probably needs to be closed down, but then you probably get aperture shapes.

As well, if "filming" really means video, that very much tips the balance in favour of any number of legacy f/1.8 and f/1.7 lenses from other camera systems, mounted via an adaptor.




  
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