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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 26 Sep 2012 (Wednesday) 04:18
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Canon 50 1.2L vs 50 1.4

 
alwaysDSLR
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Sep 26, 2012 04:18 |  #1

I looked at the thread on 50 1.2L and 50 1.4 (and even 50 1.8) and noticed perhaps there are differences in experience and skill level of the users, the quality of the color, contrast etc of the pictures taken using these lenses is quite difficult to tell which lens is superior. In theory, the L lens ought to be superior or it would not command such a high price. In practice, I noticed many users are indeed vary happy with the results of their non-L glasses.

Just wondering if anyone has used both the glasses using the same camera to take the same picture about the same time to be convinced that it is indeed worth getting the L glass? :cool:


Canon | 5D3 | 50 f1.2L USM | 24-105 f4L IS USM | 70-200 f4L USM | 100 f2.8L Macro IS USM
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okcomputer
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Sep 26, 2012 07:53 |  #2

Lots of threads on this out there, but here's my take:

I have owned all three Canon 50's. 1.8 has a tiny focus ring and throwaway construction. Great to start with, but I can't rely on it to use for weddings, etc.

1.4 is much more solid, and has a good focus ring. There are autofocus motor issues, and my copy suffered from this. The AF just stopped working one day. It started working again once I jiggled the focus ring around, but it happened once more (both times during shoots), and once I looked it up and found out that many people have issues like this, I had to get rid of it. It's also not the fastest focusing lens, and the colour cast just isn't quite what I like.

I picked up the 1.2 and I absolutely love it. It feels so solid, it focuses very quickly on my 5DMKIII, and it takes wonderful photos. I like the colour cast much better than the 1.4's. It is also weather- and dust-sealed. This is important. I wouldn't risk shooting in even light rain with the 1.4, and when it comes to weddings you need to get the shots. I can't let a tiny bit of water scare me.

In terms of sharpness and overall image quality, it can sometimes be a wash. I hear lots of people say "I can't tell the difference between images from any of the 50's, especially between the 1.4 and the 1.2, so I would just buy a 1.4 and save a bunch of of money."

Then when I ask those same people about reliability, they say "Well, I have had to get my 1.4 fixed twice, but it's still cheaper than buying a 1.2." To that I say: sure, it is cheaper if you are only talking about the price paid. But what about your time? The time it takes to take the lens in or ship it away for repair. And what about the time without your lens? What about the missed images due to AF issues?

If you are only doing photography for yourself and not getting paid to do weddings, events, portraits, etc. then the 1.4 makes a lot of sense. But when someone is paying me to capture their moments, I need something a little more reliable, and something that is weather/dust-sealed.

Lastly, there is a huge difference between the 1.4 and the 1.2 The 1.2 really makes the subject pop in a "3D" kind of way. It has its own character. Will you notice it in in every shot? No, but if the photographer uses the 1.2 to their advantage, there are some images that you just couldn't get with the 1.4 or 1.8. Also, it's f/1.2 - you get a little more light, and that just might help you get a shot you might not otherwise get.


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alwaysDSLR
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Sep 26, 2012 08:04 |  #3

Thank you, Okcomputer, for the enlightenment. :D Think will save for the 1.2L and the 5D3 to derive maximum benefits of the other L glasses I have.


Canon | 5D3 | 50 f1.2L USM | 24-105 f4L IS USM | 70-200 f4L USM | 100 f2.8L Macro IS USM
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TheLensGuy
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Sep 26, 2012 08:25 |  #4
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I have tried 2 copies of 50L, they were both soft at 1.2-2.0. My copy of the lens was not bad, it passed all the focus tests and 12233 tests I had for all aperture ranges, it was just the way lens was. If your subjects are far away as in you take a full body shot, 1.2 may work and unless you do a crop, you won't notice the problem. But if you want to get headshots or shoulders with this, good luck - unless the subject is fully static.

The way this lens works is the problem, its focus design and how its a rear focusing lens. There is nothing a person could do about it. If you are going to use it in a studio, it might work, but I'd never use it as a walk around lens. When I used it as a walk around lens, I'd get %10 keepers at 1.2-1.6 (which is where you should use this) whereas now with the 35L, that rate is well above 95%, the 5% is there because of my fault.




  
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PeyDay17
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Sep 26, 2012 08:31 as a reply to  @ alwaysDSLR's post |  #5

Yesterday, I bought a 50 1.4 from one camera store only to return it 30 minutes later. A different camera store, 5 miles down the road, had a slightly used 50L that I had to have!

The images that came from the 50 1.2L are amazing. The 3D feel is really incredible!


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billppw350z
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Sep 26, 2012 17:14 |  #6

So this is limited to those who have actually used both lenses? How dare you cut out 20 to 30 people who would like to post their “expert” opinion about the 50L! :)

I don’t know about my skill level, but I have extensive experience with both the Canon 50 1.2L and the 50 1.4. You won’t see a big difference in the quality of photos taken by the 50L and non-L on the internet, and before I got the L I was very happy with the results I was getting from the f1.4. The one with the red ring is only marginally sharper, color/contrast can usually be matched in post, and bokeh is in the eye of the beholder.

So why do I feel the 50L is well worth it? It’s because of its far superior auto focus accuracy/consistency wider than f2.8.

When I was using my Canon 50 1.4 on my crop camera for environmental portraits, it was frustrating to find that the three with the perfect smile weren’t always the same three with the perfect focus. I’ve never had this problem with the 50L since purchasing it in December of 2006.

While there is not much of a difference in the FOV between f1.2 and f1.4, it can make a big difference in what lighting conditions you can shoot in. The L will snap into auto focus in poor lighting situations where all other lenses will just hunt and fail.

If you’ve ever missed that perfect smile, perfect moment, or perfect light because the picture was not in perfect focus, then you will understand why Canon can get $1,100 more for the L. You can’t fix an out of focus picture in post and there are rarely “do overs” in photography. When the moment is gone, it’s gone.

Hope this helps and good luck with your purchase.


Bill
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2Live4
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Sep 26, 2012 17:27 |  #7
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How about 50L vs Sigma 50 since I've used both. All I can say is 50L really kicks ass in color/sharpness and super fast/accurate focusing comparing the Sigma 50. But then you're paying 3x times more. :)


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Charlie
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Sep 26, 2012 17:31 |  #8

I tend to shoot the 50L @ F2 to get higher keepers. I find it is a good lens, even if soft wide open. Much more reliable than the 50 1.4, and I'de probably keep the 1.4 if it had USM similar to the 85 1.8. The 1.4 is just too unreliable... it's not like I wanted to spend big bucks on the 50L, but it's the 50 that makes me happy.


Sony A7riii/A9 - FE 12-24/4 - FE 24-240 - SY 24/2.8 - FE 28/2 - FE 35/2.8 - FE 50/1.8 - FE 85/1.8 - EF 135/1.8 Art - F 600/5.6 - CZ 100-300 - Astro Rok 14/2.8 - Tamron 17-28/2.8 - 28-75/2.8 RXD, 70-200/2.8 VC

  
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jimewall
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Sep 26, 2012 18:01 |  #9

2Live4 wrote in post #15046869 (external link)
How about 50L vs Sigma 50 since I've used both. All I can say is 50L really kicks ass in color/sharpness and super fast/accurate focusing comparing the Sigma 50. But then you're paying 3x times more. :)


Based on your Sig, you went Sigma instead of the 50L (or 50mm f/1.4). Could I assume the 3X cost not worth the pluses of the 50L you mentioned (at least not to you)? I ask because one of these (50L/50 1.4/Sigma 50) is on my long list. The Canon f/1.4 is mostly out because of quality issues.


Thanks for Reading & Good Luck - Jim
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2Live4
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Sep 26, 2012 18:41 |  #10
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jimewall wrote in post #15046987 (external link)
Based on your Sig, you went Sigma instead of the 50L (or 50mm f/1.4). Could I assume the 3X cost not worth the pluses of the 50L you mentioned (at least not to you)? I ask because one of these (50L/50 1.4/Sigma 50) is on my long list. The Canon f/1.4 is mostly out because of quality issues.

Actually, I own a Sigma 50, but I borrowed my friend's 50L over the weekend, and used it for a photoshoot. I was debating of selling my Sigma and get the 50L after that. :D

However, the Sigma 50 is a great lens for the money if you can get a good copy. But who ever is saying that the Sigma 50 has the same image quality as the 50L is ignorant or out of their mind. :D


~Khánh - an amateur bOkeh-OLic
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jimewall
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Sep 26, 2012 18:57 |  #11

2Live4 wrote in post #15047132 (external link)
Actually, I own a Sigma 50, but I borrowed my friend's 50L over the weekend, and used it for a photoshoot. I was debating of selling my Sigma and get the 50L after that. :D

However, the Sigma 50 is a great lens for the money if you can get a good copy. But who ever is saying that the Sigma 50 has the same image quality as the 50L is ignorant or out of their mind. :D

Thanks, that helps a ton!


Thanks for Reading & Good Luck - Jim
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aroundlsu
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Sep 26, 2012 19:09 |  #12

The 50L is 50% brighter and weather sealed. Those are the two major differences.


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Canon 50 1.2L vs 50 1.4
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