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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 23 Aug 2017 (Wednesday) 15:56
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Is the Canon 50mm 1.4 good...enough...?

 
FEChariot
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Oct 11, 2017 23:29 |  #46

CheshireCat wrote in post #18469718 (external link)
Yes, about to release it... since 5 years ago :lol:

https://petapixel.com …tabilized-lens-in-lineup/ (external link)

We won’t see it happening until people stop buying the crappy lens in the subject.

Lol yes plus how many years before the 24, 28, &35 IS versions came out was Canon going to release a 50/1.4 II?

I ended up just buying a 50/1.4 instead of waiting for the new one to come out and it's been pretty good. Much better than my 50/1.8 II and focus accuracy is really good for me. I just use it as a 1.8 lens stopping it down the 2/3 stop for sharpness and it does well.


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DaviSto
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Oct 12, 2017 08:39 |  #47

CheshireCat wrote in post #18470847 (external link)
Nice shot. This proves the point that any crappy lens can take a good photo if used by a good photographer. :)

The thing is ... ... this line of argument seems to rule out any evidence-based effort to stand-up for the 50mm f/1.4. It doesn't matter how fine the image that another member posts, according to your argument, it's always going to be a crappy lens ... just well-mastered by a photographer who knows what they are doing.

I don't think that's a justifiable position to take ... unless you put up your own evidence of image failures where the 50mm f/1.4 is at fault.
[Of course, there's always a risk that someone will come right back at you ... It doesn't matter how stunning a lens is, it will still make crappy images when it is in the hands of a photographer who doesn't know how to use it. ;-)a]

I know that you can quickly rustle up a good crowd to deride the 50mm f/1.4. There's no doubting it. But there's no doubting, either, that you can find a whole lot of perfectly competent photographers who are very happy with it.

Maybe, in the end, it does just come down to copy variation. If you get a good copy ... and you look after it carefully ... well, you're a pig in clover (or something else even more appealing to pigs?).


David.
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CheshireCat
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Oct 12, 2017 09:20 as a reply to  @ DaviSto's post |  #48

I have no doubt that a lot of people are happy with the lens, so clearly the Canon 50 1.4 is good enough... for them.
Canon has been selling the lens for decades, without any update. In that sense, the lens is good enough... for Canon’s revenue ;)

However, the question in the subject has been raised by a person who is currently shooting the Sigma 35 Art and other fine lenses. For a single person, “good enough” is all a matter of expectations.
As an example, when my only lens was the EF 35-80, the 50/1.4 seemed to me an awesome lens... because I didn’t know better.

Now, we do not know the OP’s subjective tastes, so we need to stick strictly to technical performance. This means technical performance with respect to OP’s current lenses.
For all the reasons discussed in this thread, technically speaking, the Canon 50/1.4 is obsolete, underwhelming, unreliable, and optically mediocre when compared to lenses like the 35/1.4 Art.

About copy variation, it clearly is an issue due to the low production cost of the lens. However, I am talking about perfect copies here. If anything, this copy variation is yet another reason not to buy the lens.


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mdvaden
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Oct 12, 2017 09:43 |  #49

CheshireCat wrote in post #18469718 (external link)
Yes, about to release it... since 5 years ago :lol:

https://petapixel.com …tabilized-lens-in-lineup/ (external link)

We won’t see it happening until people stop buying the crappy lens in the subject.

Thought I should reply again since I corrected my typo ... so folks realize you read my previous reply correctly when I wrote "50mm" instead of the upcoming 85mm I had in mind.


vadenphotography.com (external link) . . . and . . . Coast Redwoods Main Page (external link)

  
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f8andBeThere
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Oct 12, 2017 09:50 |  #50

I own both the Sigma 35mm Art and the Canon 50mm 1.4. I like the Sigma a lot, but in my experience with it in low-light situations on my 5D3, it sometimes struggles to autofocus. Light levels vary by situation, of course, but the lowly, inexpensive 50 seems to do a better job at locking focus on the same camera, in my experience. Your mileage may vary, of course. I've never considered myself a big fan of the 50, it's just a tool, as are all the lenses I own. It's a great lens when your access puts you at the distance where it performs best. I'm a bigger fan of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II, for its image quality across the zoom range, its resolution, color quality, and above all, its versatility. It truly is a bag of primes in one lens to me, but I shoot events so its versatility is key. Of course the 24-70 is a way more expensive lens than either the 50 or the Sig, so it should be better, right? Interesting discussion.


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mdvaden
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Post edited over 1 year ago by mdvaden. (2 edits in all)
     
Oct 12, 2017 09:53 |  #51

f8andBeThere wrote in post #18470856 (external link)
Ever try shooting live music in a dark bar? And technically, web resolution is all we have available here, no?

Like that shot you posted earlier, whatever the resolution.

Honestly, if all I had was the 50mm 1.4 I had 6 years ago was the only lens in my bag, I'm certain I could get plenty of good shots. And it's worth adding, that I've gotten some crappy shots from my best lenses too. I'd rather have my better lenses, but I wouldn't be ashamed to shoot with a 50mm 1.4 either.

This is from around 2012 when I started learning, but I still enjoy the photo. Canon 50mm 1. 4 @ f/1.6 - ISO 125 and 1/2000 sec


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artsf
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Oct 12, 2017 11:50 |  #52

mdvaden wrote in post #18471063 (external link)
Like that shot you posted earlier, whatever the resolution.

Honestly, if all I had was the 50mm 1.4 I had 6 years ago was the only lens in my bag, I'm certain I could get plenty of good shots. And it's worth adding, that I've gotten some crappy shots from my best lenses too. I'd rather have my better lenses, but I wouldn't be ashamed to shoot with a 50mm 1.4 either.

This is from around 2012 when I started learning, but I still enjoy the photo. Canon 50mm 1. 4 @ f/1.6 - ISO 125 and 1/2000 sec
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that bokeh is crazy distracting and draws all the attention away from otherwise beautiful subject




  
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amfoto1
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Post edited over 1 year ago by amfoto1. (2 edits in all)
     
Oct 12, 2017 12:01 |  #53

I've had an EF 50mm f/1.4 USM for about 13 or 14 years and it was used when I bought it... I have no idea how old it really is or how much use it got before I bought it. It's still working just fine.

Works fine and is nice and sharp at f/2 or f/2.2. My copy is usable wide open, only slightly soft. I considered getting the original Sigma 50mm f/1.4... but found the Canon sharper from f/5.6 and smaller. The Sigma was sharper wide open, but not by much. And I didn't see much difference between them from about f.2 to f/5.6. The Sigma also was more expensive and a lot bigger and heavier. I have never compared it with the "art" (which is ridiculously big and heavy). I don't understand the earlier comment suggesting issues with focus accuracy or speed. Mine is plenty fast and accurate.

Yes, as some others have observed in earlier responses, the EF 50mm f/1.4's AF system seems to be damaged too easily. Apparently it's a "hybid USM". It can be damaged by a hard bump on the focus ring or on the front barrel when it's extended for close focusing. I've never had any trouble with mine... possibly because I've always used it with the matched lens hood. That came with the used lens, which at least suggests the previous owner had done so too. It also seems the problems run in "batches"... Lensrentals.com buys a lens model in quantity for their rental business and they saw a high failure rate with one batch, but not with others. Of course, rental lenses probably don't get used as carefully as we treat the lenses we buy. Plus rental lenses spend a lot of time bouncing around in the back of a UPS truck.

With the 50mm f/1.4 USM the matching lens hood seems to be an important part of the solution. It protects the front barrel when shooting with the lens. Retract the barrel by "parking" the lens at infinity before storing it (which just makes sense with any lens)... And reverse the hood on the lens for storage, since it also nicely protects the focus ring from bumps. I never use mine without the hood, which might help explain why it's had a long, long happy life and is still going strong.

(Note: The EF 50mm f/1.8 II is a cheaper, more plasticky lens with slow/noisy micro motor AF... now discontinued. Cheaply built, they've been known to break in half! The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is an improvement with faster, quieter AF and seemingly a bit more durable... though still compact and relatively inexpensive.)

Frankly, if I were you and looking to use the lens on full frame like yours, I'd opt for an 85mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.4 instead. I'm just not a big fan of 50mm on full frame... But I've used it a lot as a short tele/portrait lens on crop cameras. This is just a personal preference... I know a lot of people really like 50mm on FF. I'm only mentioning it because I didn't use it a lot when I first got it, as I was only shooting film at the time. I got such a good deal on it, that I couldn't pass it up and was glad I bought it because soon after I started shooting digital crop-sensor cameras. I love it as a short telephoto for portraits with those cameras, especially, and ever since I've used it quite a bit more.


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artsf
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Oct 12, 2017 12:03 |  #54

IMO, Canon ef 50mm f1.4 is definately not good enough. Even much cheaper 50STM has better build, AF consistency and bokeh and overall more reliable (though dull) results. Colors from both STM and 1.4 are equally dull beyond repair - skin tone rendering is unprofessional and falls apart quickly in LR. I think the lens is more suitable for B&W photography. Rendering of highlights is unnaceptable. For the price, I think the original Sigma ex 1.4 would be a better choice - I’ve seen much better color, rendering and bokeh from the old Sigma which should perform well with DPAF.

The only 50mm I’ve been happy with is 50L and it’s far from perfect and somewhat overpriced but at least it’s definately worth the effort to shoot with. It has so many things right: size, build, AF (on 5div), bokeh, central sharpness, rendering, colors, microcontrast, etc.


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DaviSto
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Oct 12, 2017 12:05 |  #55

artsf wrote in post #18471147 (external link)
that bokeh is crazy distracting and draws all the attention away from otherwise beautiful subject

Although I am definitely not one of this lens's detractors, the way it renders out of focus highlights is a weak point for me. It's fine with backgrounds that are distant or that lack detail/contrast but the bokeh can be distracting if this is not the case.

I was comparing similarly framed shots of the same subject taken with the 50mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.2 recently and the 85L bokeh (in this case the background was foliage) was far more pleasing. Of course there are a lot of factors at work here, including focal length and small aperture variations, not to mention price -- and it isn't really a fair comparison. Nevertheless, the 85L was superior by a long way.

If the background is busy and not far off, the 50mm F/1.4 does not deliver great bokeh at wider apertures.


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Oct 12, 2017 12:09 |  #56

The AF is really the only downfall of the lens, IMO. I feel that it has great sharpness and bokeh. The AF can be slow, but it is typically good enough. I use it to shoot a toddler walking around and I don't have any major complaints. I had the STM, which has no character at all. I sold it to get another copy of the 1.4.


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DaviSto
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Oct 12, 2017 12:17 |  #57

Trevor04GT wrote in post #18471158 (external link)
The AF is really the only downfall of the lens, IMO. I feel that it has great sharpness and bokeh. The AF can be slow, but it is typically good enough. I use it to shoot a toddler walking around and I don't have any major complaints. I had the STM, which has no character at all. I sold it to get another copy of the 1.4.

I agree with you that the 1.8 seems to deliver disappointingly flat images. It's hard to put a finger on what I don't like about it ... but I am never very thrilled by anything I shoot with it.

My 50 1.4 has always focused very quickly and very accurately (again, fully toddler tested). I like it on FF but coupled with my SL1, it makes a terrific combination, especially for portraits. And the balance of the SL1's small body with the weight and size of the 50mm 1.4 is almost perfect.


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mdvaden
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Oct 12, 2017 12:58 |  #58

artsf wrote in post #18471147 (external link)
that bokeh is crazy distracting and draws all the attention away from otherwise beautiful subject

Some people control their thinking to look at the foreground subject the most. When I loaded this photo today I barely looked at the background. Other people can't control thinking to the foreground and may get distracted.

But for some folks, the background in that image may even be too mild for texture. That's why lenses like this one are still around:

https://petapixel.com …tzval-bokeh-control-lens/ (external link)

Likewise, the clarity tool in Lightroom is sometimes used to promote textures instead of mute them. So circling back to the OP, the Canon 50mm /1.4 is good enough for some who know what it can or can't do.


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Oct 12, 2017 21:18 |  #59

Several of us have mentioned this before: what about a 50mm f/2 IS? A companion lens to the very fine 35 f/2 IS?

I sold mine to help make the jump to a 1D IV along with a 16-36 f/4 IS. It's one lens I no longer have that I will likely own again. ;)


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Oct 12, 2017 22:31 |  #60

DaviSto wrote in post #18471025 (external link)
The thing is ... ... this line of argument seems to rule out any evidence-based effort to stand-up for the 50mm f/1.4. It doesn't matter how fine the image that another member posts, according to your argument, it's always going to be a crappy lens ... just well-mastered by a photographer who knows what they are doing.

Precisely. As even the best photographer in the world won't be able to get more from a lens than what it can deliver.


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Is the Canon 50mm 1.4 good...enough...?
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