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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 10 Sep 2009 (Thursday) 09:37
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Need to pick between 50mm 1.8 II or 50 1.4 ......

Cream of the Crop
10,256 posts
Likes: 86
Joined Aug 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Sep 10, 2009 13:24 |  #16

I have to vote for the 50mm f1.4.

Better build, including a metal bayonet mount (instead of plastic). USM (although the old motor type) is quieter and quicker. 8-bladed aperture (as opposed to 5-bladed) for nicer background blur. Better flare control and richer color rendition. Sharper corners.

Not that the 50/1.8 is a bad lens. At it's price, it's definitely a bargain. But, for me, the 50/1.4 at a little higher price was a better choice.

50/1.4 should always be used with a lens hood, too. So be sure to get that accessory... It's worth the little bit extra. The hood is not only helpful when shooting, it also protects the somewhat fragile auto focus mechanism against bumps when reversed on the lens for storage.

The AF of the 50/1.4 is it's weak point. It's quick enough, quiet enough, accurate and allows for full time manual focusing... But it can be damaged with a hard rap on the focus ring (thus keep the hood reversed on it when stored). Some say it wears out more quickly with a lot of manual focusing. But I bought my lens 8 years ago, and it was already used. I'm not certain how old it actually is. It hasn't gotten any special treatment, either. And, knock on wood, it keeps on working fine.

I'd like to try the Sigma 50/1.4 and compare it, in spite of some reports of issues with focus calibration (my cameras have micro adjust, or it can be sent to Sigma for calibration). The Sigma appears to have, if anything, even nicer bokeh. The Canon is slightly soft wide open, which quickly reduces as you stop down and is gone by f2.8. Reportedly, the Sigma is the opposite... Sharp wide open, but less so beyond f8. I tend to use this lens at larger apertures, so the Sigma sounded ideal... But, unfortunately it's more expensive, a lot larger and significantly heavier. Those are reasons I haven't opted for the Canon 50/1.2L, either (a lovely lens, but more than I need in many ways).

The Canon 50/1.4 is overdue for an update to it's auto focus mechanism, and perhaps some other minor revisions. But, it's already a good quality lens. Some years ago Canon refered to it as their "reference" lens, which was the basis for the specifications of all the other lenses in their system: color rendition, sharpness, performance, etc. It only took me a few minutes handling it and the EF 50/1.8 side by side to make up my mind. Plus, I own and have used these two lenses in the older Canon FD-N versions, where they are similarly positioned (entry level and mid-grade, I'd call it).

Note: there is an older EF 50/1.8, the original one, that has a metal bayonet mount. They can be found used, but tend to sell for as much as twice what a new Mark II with the plastic bayonet will cost you. And, they are getting pretty old now... The Mark II replaced it in 1990!

Now, on your camera a 50mm is going to be a slight telephoto, instead of a "standard" lens. I use it on 1.6X, primarily, where it's even more of a telephoto and very useful as a short portrait lens. I don't have a 1.3X camera like yours and 50mm isn't my favorite focal length on a full frame... This is just a personal preference, though.

Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

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Joined Apr 2007
Location: Georgetown, TX
Sep 16, 2009 22:44 |  #17

I sold my 1.8 and got the 1.4 mainly due to the inadequate AF, especially if the subject was moving or in low light, and I'm not talking extreme low light. Holding them both at the same time, the 1.4 is like a real lens and the 1.8 a plastic toy. But the 1.8 is sharp if the focus is correct. If you are not using a 50mm lens often and the subject is stationary, the 1.8 will probably work for you. If you plan to use it often, save some headaches and get the 1.4.


40D, Rebel XT 350D, Tamron 17-50 F/2.8, Tamron 70-300, 50 f/1.4, 100 f/2, 70-200 f/4L, 28-135 IS

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Joined Jan 2009
Location: Cape Carteret, NC.
Sep 16, 2009 22:49 as a reply to  @ post 8619364 |  #18

I would say the 1.4. I had a 1.8 a few months back and had a bad focus hunting issue with it. I picked up a 1.4 today and love it.

Fujifilm: X-Pro3, X100V, X-T10, 16mm f2.8, 23mm f2, 27mm 2.8, 35mm 1.4, 50mm f2, WCL-X100 II
All the world's indeed a stage and we are merely players performers and portrayers. RUSH!!

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Need to pick between 50mm 1.8 II or 50 1.4 ......
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