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Thread started 15 May 2015 (Friday) 21:15
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In the market for a pro 50mm lens ... which one do you like and why

202 posts
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Joined Apr 2013
Location: Portland, Oregon
Post edited over 3 years ago by scottsoutter. (3 edits in all)
Jul 31, 2015 12:56 |  #16

I've cycled through five, and for reasons I don't fully understand I seem to have stabilized on the 50 1.4 ZE Zeiss Planar. I'm not sure any of them count as a pro lens, but hey... I'm an amateur so let's roll the tape:

Every single one has had more than one drawback, including my current one, and to be honest I have brought those foibles upon myself ;-)a

50 1.8 aka the nifty. Everyone should own this lens at some point in their life. Forced myself to use this for three months as my only lens as I tried to figure out how to use a dslr outside of the "green box" of auto. It sounded like someone shaking a box of gravel when I autofocused it. I like the fact that it's featherweight, but it felt pretty cheap... and I didn't like how short the throw was when I selectively focused manually. Gave it to a neighbor kid who was just starting out with a dslr so she could get a feel for a fast prime.

Pentax Super Takumar f/1.4. Loved this lens on my Rebel. Had a weird yellowish cast to it from an old radioactive element which warmed up my photos a touch. It focused like a dream and had a really lovely bokeh. Unfortunately, it hit the mirror on my 5d2 and I sold it essentially out of fear of a nasty repair bill.

Minolta MC Rokkor 50mm f/1.2 (sounds a bit like a rapper, actually). Loved loved loved this lens on my Rebel. It was a nightmare to get it in focus though with that tiny light-stealing viewfinder at 1.2, but when I did (often only though the use of liveview) it had a super dreamy character. Very forgiving for people (providing I was able to get their eyes in focus, never a guaranteed thing...). Like the Super Tak, it hit the mirror on my 5d2 and I needed the money to buy a couple of other vintage beauties: a c/y Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 and the...

Contax/Yachica Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar. To be fair, I didn't really give this one much of a chance. I spent most of the year I owned it with the c/y 35 glued to my camera. When I did pull it out I enjoyed using it. It was pretty beat up on the barrel but still had that Zeiss/Cosina microscope like feeling to it. My biggest beef with it ended up being that I kept missing exposure and missing shots with it having to set focus, then adjust aperture, then meter, then go back and open it up to focus again because I wanted a different composition, then forget to set the aperture and end up with something so damn white hot that it was virtually unrecognizable as a photograph of anything other than a ball of plasma. Sigh. Because of that, I ended up selling both my C/Y zeiss beauties to a videographer and a film enthusiast.

Which leaves me with the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar. It's wonky, it has some focus shift issues, I have mediocre eyesight so I end up missing focus a bit, I still haven't got it fully dialed in for microfocus adjustment so I can't fully trust the confirmation lights... but it's light, it lets me be very precise when I take my time and set up a shot, and it renders colors beautifully letting me spend more time taking pictures and less time on lightroom.

I should probably come in to the modern age and get a good autofocus 50, but if I'm feeling lazy chances are I will continue to fall back on the walkaround zoom.

5d ii, 17-40 f/4, 24-105 f/4, 35 f/2.0 ze distagon, 50 f/1.4 ze planar, 50 f/1.8, 70-200 f/4 is, 135 f/3.5 sonnar, 420ex, 430ex ii

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31 posts
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Joined Apr 2015
Sep 04, 2015 10:48 as a reply to  @ post 17559401 |  #17

I agree with some others regarding the Sigma Art 50 1.4. I have the 50 1.4 since I don't shoot professionnaly but hte sigma blows it out of the water

Senior Member
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Joined Aug 2007
Location: NoVA
Post edited over 3 years ago by bkdc.
Sep 07, 2015 19:34 |  #18

If you want the best optics with autofocus, it's the Sigma Art. If you want reliable and fastest autofocus in low light, it's the 50L. If you're a wedding photographer, the focus will be the most important. If you're not chasing people and moving things, then you might go for the Sigma.

I wish Canon would make an optically improved 50mm f1.4. The 50's are really old in the tooth. There's really nothing that f1.2 gives me except a tiny extra light (which probably helps with focusing).

RF 24-70 f/4L IS | RF 50L | EF 35L II | EF 40 f/2.8 pancake | EF 85 f/1.4L IS | EF 100L IS Macro | 600EX-RT x 3

56 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Oct 2012
Location: San Jose, CA
Sep 08, 2015 04:18 |  #19

Sigma 50 for me as well for many of the same
sentiments as others have mentioned. Sharpness and value vs the 1.2. Plus I was able to get it brand new for $685 ߘ

Henry ­ Lydecker
3 posts
Joined Sep 2015
Sep 12, 2015 05:46 |  #20

For a long time I had an excellent Canon 50 f/1.4, with great image quality and focus, but one day it got knocked onto the ground by someone, and while Canon fixed it, its focus motor kept breaking after a few months. I then decided "what the heck, let's try Sigma". I then got the original Sigma 50 f/1.4, but despite seeming great, it would always end up focusing inaccurately on jobs, leading me to only use it for portraits using live view focusing. I'm back to a new Canon 50 f/1.4, I tried a few Sigma art 50, but they were all inconsistent. I don't know if I can ever trust Sigma again, maybe if I try one out for an hour with zero focus issues I can be convinced.

I really want a new Canon 50 f/1.4 (IS please!) like Canon's newer lenses.

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Location: Vero Beach, FL
Sep 21, 2015 12:10 |  #21

LovingMemoriesPhotos wrote in post #17648107 (external link)
they introduced the 50A last fall and i couldn't resist. Pairing with the 135L, it's the secret that only the owners know :D

I once told someone on this forum that, for me, the S50A/135L combo was like a "cheat code" for Canon shooters. Sharpness and contrast of this lens produce B&W results that still floor me after 10 months of use.

The S50A is fast focusing enough that I never wish it focused as fast (or accurately) as my 135L. I did an initial MFA of +13 on my 6D and It has been good ever since.

Sony A99ii, RX-100ii, Sonnar T* 135mm f1.8 ZA, Planar T* 50mm F1.4 ZA, 24mm f/2 SSM Distagon T*, Minolta HS 200 2.8 APO, Minolta 2xTC APO, HVL-F43M
Flickr (external link)

30 posts
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Joined Jul 2014
Dec 05, 2015 11:52 |  #22

Another Sigma 50Art lover here.

Novice married to more of an expert
Canon 6d, Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC, Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 VC, Canon Nifty Fifty, Canon 35 f/2, Canon 100 2.8 Macro, Sigma 50 ART

grabbing their Johnson
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Joined Oct 2007
Location: Gig Harbor, Washington
Dec 06, 2015 19:35 |  #23

I have the 50L and LOVE it. Awesome lens

Mike (external link)
Facebook (external link)

"I wish to be spared"
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Location: Kawasaki, Japan
Post edited over 3 years ago by InfiniteDivide. (3 edits in all)
Dec 15, 2015 22:33 |  #24

I also enjoy using my 50L, especially as a walk-around lens.

I have seen the new 50mm stm in the store too, it's almost as small as the 40mm pancake in size.

I have heard great things about the Pentax Super Takumar f/1.4 converted to EF
as well as the 50mm f1.2 AIS Nikon lens on EF

I chose the 50L because it is one of the fastest Full Frame lenses with AF
I can lock AF wide open, and then it will stop down to increase to my desired dof.
When I bought mine the Sigma 50mm Art was still a rumor.
And after the Art lens came out, I didn't find my 50L photos to look any worse. :)

Here is a shot with my 50L wide open.

James Patrus
6D | 16-35L F4 | 24L II | 50L | 100L | |  -> Website (external link) & Gallery (external link)
For Sale:Canon 16-35mm f4 IS l Do you enjoy Super Famicom games? (external link) PM me directly.

Senior Member
786 posts
Likes: 99
Joined Feb 2010
Dec 17, 2015 15:29 |  #25

I hope there will be soon EF 50mm 1.4 USM II. It would be great upgrade!

-Ring type usm
-better optics (iq at wide open)

That's pretty much it.. :)

http://tonskulus.kuvat​.fi/kuvat/ (external link)

Senior Member
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Dec 17, 2015 15:57 |  #26

Doesn't the 1.4 have some durability/longevity issues? I used one copy that was nice but wound up paying $900 for an 1.2L instead of $300 for a 1.4. I like the 1.2 but if a 1.4 for $300 were a little more durable it would be hard to go for even the compratively better optics of the 1.2

Echoes in Eternity LLC | Tucson and Southern Arizona Wedding Photographer (external link)

I wasn't even trying
3,680 posts
Gallery: 30 photos
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Joined Jun 2009
Location: Sydney - Australia
Dec 18, 2015 14:50 |  #27

The durability issues I've heard were around the AF motor. Changing to a true ring USM would potentially fix that completely and we'd only have to argue about its sharpness and out of focus blur in comparison to the 50L

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In the market for a pro 50mm lens ... which one do you like and why
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