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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 23 Jan 2013 (Wednesday) 07:14
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Looking for a 50mm f1.4. Are there any good ones?

 
uOpt
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Jan 25, 2013 07:55 |  #61

nothsa wrote in post #15523566 (external link)
I've been looking to get a 50mm f1.4 lens and was initially looking at the Canon, and then later started looking at the Sigma as I liked the bokeh more in comparison photos.

After reading a number of reviews and forums, the consensus seems to be that both lenses are great when they work, but "don't buy the Sigma 'cause you may get one with front- or back-focussing issues" and "don't buy the Canon because it's very soft wide open, and has a fragile focus mechanism that can easily break".

So my question is: Are these people being overly critical, or are these valid concerns? If so, I might have to start looking at a different focal length for my portrait lens =/

Well, it's worse. In addition to questionable optical qualities the Canon also has a good chance to come as a bad copy.

I have the EF, toyed with a Sigma for a while and have various Takumars. The Takumars are clearly best in many respects but of course no AF and there is the yellowing that the automatic WB doesn't take care of.

The Canons, including the L, have very noticeable cat-eye shaped background highlight blur, the Sigma is round. From what I have seen when I had it the Sigma is quite a bit better. However, it is also much bigger and heavier and I have decided not to hunt for a good copy of the Sigma for now because I wanted to save bag space and weight and rated that as more important. Fringing was still there in the Sigma.

Didn't Adorama announce that they will send you pre-tested Sigmas?


My imagine composition sucks. I need a heavier lens.

  
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uOpt
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Jan 25, 2013 08:22 |  #62

FWIW I'm so mad about the 50mm situation that I consider a Zeiss.


My imagine composition sucks. I need a heavier lens.

  
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JakAHearts
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Jan 25, 2013 09:07 |  #63

uOpt wrote in post #15531725 (external link)
Well, it's worse. In addition to questionable optical qualities the Canon also has a good chance to come as a bad copy.

I have the EF, toyed with a Sigma for a while and have various Takumars. The Takumars are clearly best in many respects but of course no AF and there is the yellowing that the automatic WB doesn't take care of.

The Canons, including the L, have very noticeable cat-eye shaped background highlight blur, the Sigma is round. From what I have seen when I had it the Sigma is quite a bit better. However, it is also much bigger and heavier and I have decided not to hunt for a good copy of the Sigma for now because I wanted to save bag space and weight and rated that as more important. Fringing was still there in the Sigma.

Didn't Adorama announce that they will send you pre-tested Sigmas?

They will, yes. I dont see how thats going to matter though. My sigma 50mm needs +20MA on my 5dII and +3 on my 5DIII.


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darosk
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Jan 25, 2013 09:11 |  #64

I had a spot-on Sigma but it got stolen :(. I got a Canon 1.4 just to try it out, but optically I didn't think it was in the same league - so I sold the Canon. Now I just have the Canon 1.8, for when I need a 50 (which is admittedly not much).


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LeeRatters
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Jan 25, 2013 10:01 |  #65

Sirrith wrote in post #15530600 (external link)
Yes, but the same applies to the 1.4 version's nervous bokeh... :)

I've never seen bokeh with butterflys in it's stomach, shaking, smoking profusely & biting it's nails.... ;)

:lol:


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amfoto1
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Jan 25, 2013 12:20 |  #66

The 50/1.4's 8-bladed aperture gives marginally smoother background blur than the 50/1.8's 5-bladed aperture... If you look at the reviews, some call the difference in bokeh huge... others call it moderate or minor. Decide for yourself. Yo'll find some useful comparisons here (external link) and here (external link).

One thing is clear... the f1.8 lens' background blur is coarser (busier, more nervous) than the f1.4's.

In many respects, the image quality of the 50/1.4 is marginally better than the 50/1.8... In addition to nicer bokeh, it also gives richer, better saturated colors. This seems to be at least in part because it's more resistant to veiling flare that costs both contrast and washes out colors. This suggests better coatings and/or better light dampening in the 50/1.4. On average, the 50/1.4 gives ever-so slightly higher resolution, too.

The differences in image quality are there and are in favor of the f1.4, but are fairly subtle. The main differences are in the two lenses' build quality and "feel"....

First, just physically the f1.8 lens is as plasticky as a lens can get... even the bayonet mount. We've seen photos of more than one of them here on POTN broken in half... sometimes just during normal use. The focus ring is very narrow. There's no focus distance scale. To fit the Canon lens hood, you need to first buy an adapter... but the front element of the f1.8 is fairly recessed, so a hood might be less important than some other lenses.

The AF of the 50/1.8 is about as basic as it can get. Folks who try to micro focus it usually give up because it's so erratic, it's next to impossible to dial in a "correct" MA adjustment. It's also slow, noisy, and tends to hunt more.

The AF on the 50/1.4 is a hybrid form of USM... Also not perfect. It's a bit fragile. But it's far more accurate, quieter and faster than the f1.8's. The f1.4's AF might break down due to this fragility... Is that better or worse than a lens that breaks in half?

This is not to say that the 50/1.8 II is a "bad" lens. For what it costs, it's pretty amazing. Someone who needs a 50mm for occasional use or is exploring using faster primes for the first time might find it more than adequate for their needs.

For someone who wants a lens that will hold up to more regular use, simply feels better built, focuses faster and more precisely, and gives marginally better IQ, the more expensive 50/1.4 might be preferrable. It's still one of the cheapest primes in the Canon line-up.

And if neither the EF 50/1.4 or EF 50/1.8 II impress... Well there are plenty of alternatives: EF 50/1.2L, Sigma 50/1.4, Zeiss 50/1.4 ZE (manual focus only), and literally millions of vintage manual focus prime lenses that are easily adapted for use on Canon (manual focus and manual aperture only). There was also the old EF 50/1.0L... (good luck finding one!) and the first version of the EF 50/1.8 (which usually sells used for more than the Mark II, has metal bayonet & focus scale, but not a whole lot of difference in other respects).


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JAbberwocky
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Jan 25, 2013 12:37 |  #67

THe SMC takumar was a great lens when the prices were around $50-$60 for a good copy, now I see the ebay prices more than double and i stop recommending it to people. Keep in mind that you have to buy an adapter and a focusing screen for it to use it practically. Even, then you will have some metering inaccuracies.

The Zeiss 50/1.4 does not have smooth bokeh wide open, it tends to ball up in semi circles. The Zeiss 50/2 Makro Planar has good smooth bokeh, albeit F2.0 doesn't appeal to everyone. The Sigma 50 is sharp wide open and has smooth bokeh. The drawback is that the contrast is a bit flat compared to the zeiss. The Canon 50L is expensive but a solid performer, the Zeiss still are better in contrast and colors. Then there are a whole bunch of manual focus alternatives - one favorite of mine is the Nikon 50/1.2


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vspector
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Jan 26, 2013 12:28 |  #68

cdifoto wrote in post #15530438 (external link)
Actually, 50mm f/1.8 defocus blur can be kind of rough depending on the circumstances...enough that you can be distracted by it. It's not the harshest ever but it can be the opposite of pleasant.

sirrith clearly you are in the minority.
and i believe the personal attacks started with your first post. Please keep me on your ignore list, i have nothing to gain from a person who can't distinguish the bokeh quality between a 50 1.8 and 1.4.


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Tony_Stark
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Jan 26, 2013 13:59 |  #69

vspector wrote in post #15536395 (external link)
sirrith clearly you are in the minority.
and i believe the personal attacks started with your first post. Please keep me on your ignore list, i have nothing to gain from a person who can't distinguish the bokeh quality between a 50 1.8 and 1.4.

I used the 50 1.8 II for far too long to know how bad the bokeh is on that lens, don't even get me started on the AF :lol: It was a good learning lens for me, glad I made the switch to the 1.4. Build quality is not that great, but the IQ is good enough for me. Wide open, I don't expect tack sharp results, but by f/2.8 you are in tack sharp territory.


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Sirrith
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Jan 26, 2013 19:22 |  #70

vspector wrote in post #15536395 (external link)
sirrith clearly you are in the minority.
and i believe the personal attacks started with your first post. Please keep me on your ignore list, i have nothing to gain from a person who can't distinguish the bokeh quality between a 50 1.8 and 1.4.

That was not a personal attack, that was a fact. Saying the 50/1.8 is a "toy" is showing ignorance.

But anyway, I've got the lenses we're talking about, right beside me, I've shot numerous frames, the ones being sold are the 50/1.8 MkII and the 50/1.4, while the 50/1.8 Mk I is staying with me because I don't use 50mm sufficiently to justify the extra expenditure for minimal gain. Others may obviously be able to justify the expenditure if they use 50mm more frequently.

Now I have no more to add to this thread, so I'm done here. If you want to continue arguing pointlessly, please PM me.


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RemcoPhoto
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Jan 29, 2013 09:52 |  #71

After having done some testing with the 1.8 and Sigma, the Canon 1.4 is the lens I like the most. Ordered it yesterday, arrived today ...so here's my first testshot, 'shooting golfballs'! :cool:

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LeeRatters
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Jan 29, 2013 11:16 |  #72

Makes a nice change from batteries ;) :lol:


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JakAHearts
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Jan 29, 2013 11:25 |  #73

LeeRatters wrote in post #15548084 (external link)
Makes a nice change from batteries ;) :lol:

HAHA I thought this same thing.

Enjoy your new lens. :D


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RemcoPhoto
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Jan 29, 2013 11:43 |  #74

:oops:

I guess, ûh ...thanks! :cool:


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Jan 29, 2013 11:50 |  #75

1 of 2 things I personally didn't like about the Canon is the "twitchy" bokeh, as evidenced in the golfball text that is OOF. Reminds me of the 80's when it was the in-thing to wear those OOF shirts, like "I am not as think as you drunk I am"... :D


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Looking for a 50mm f1.4. Are there any good ones?
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