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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 07 Sep 2014 (Sunday) 15:31
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The merits of the 50L, and why it's worth the $1000 premium

 
jmai86
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Sep 07, 2014 15:31 |  #1

Or rather, what ARE the merits of the 50L, and is it really worth the $1000 premium over other 50s?

After using the 50L for some time, I've found that:

- It's "hazy" at 1.2 and 1.4, very much like a soft focus effect. Very soft all around at 1.2.
- The Sigma 50mm (non art) is sharper at 1.4 and beyond (I also own the Sigma)
- It is however, sharper than the Canon 1.4.
- The Sigma 50 ART is in another league of sharpness (which I also used for awhile), however, the 50Art is a brick and almost unusable for me on a daily basis due to its weight and size.
- Bokeh is amazing, but the quality is negligible compared to the Sigma 50mm (Non Art)

This being said, why is the 50L loved so much?
The takeaways for me are:

- The Sigma 50mm Non-Art is $350 right now, and is sharper, lighter, has faster AF, has similar bokeh, and is $1300 cheaper than the 50L.
- That extra $1300 is only paying for 1.2, and a soft, hazy 1.2 at that, at the cost of sharpness at 1.4 and beyond. The difference between 1.2 and 1.4 are so slim, it's hardly even worth talking aobut.
- I'm aware that sharpness isn't everything, but is that dreamy 50L look really worth the extra $1300 over a Sigma 50 that produces a very similar feel? Even then, wouldn't one prefer sharpness that can't be reclaimed over a hazy soft focus effect that can be reproduced easily?



Now granted, I did use a few copies of the 50L over the years, so I'm certain this is not a result of a bad copy of the 50L. Needless to say, I'm done with the 50L and will be sticking with my $350 Sigma.




  
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FEChariot
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Sep 07, 2014 15:58 |  #2

jmai86 wrote in post #17140737 (external link)
the 50Art is a brick and almost unusable for me on a daily basis due to its weight and size.

It's like 2oz heavier than a 135L :rolleyes:


Canon 7D/350D, Σ17-50/2.8 OS, 18-55IS, 24-105/4 L IS, Σ30/1.4 EX, 50/1.8, C50/1.4, 55-250IS, 60/2.8, 70-200/4 L IS, 85/1.8, 100/2.8 IS L, 135/2 L 580EX II, 430EX II * 2, 270EX II.

  
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GregDunn
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Sep 07, 2014 15:58 |  #3

Bragging rights. I'm completely satisfied with my 50 f/1.8.


Canon 1Dx | 5D3 | 7D2 | 6D | 70-200L f/2.8IS | 70-200L f/4 | 24-70L f/2.8 | 24-105L f/4IS | 100-400L f/4.5-5.6IS | 17-55 f/2.8IS | 50 f/1.8 | 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 | 4x Godox AD360

  
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jmai86
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Sep 07, 2014 16:17 |  #4

FEChariot wrote in post #17140780 (external link)
It's like 2oz heavier than a 135L :rolleyes:

Apples and oranges




  
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hiketheplanet
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Sep 07, 2014 16:18 as a reply to  @ GregDunn's post |  #5

When I was in the market for a new 50mm prime only a few months ago, I went for the 50L over the Sigma Art. I knew full well the Sigma was a sharper lens. Sharpness isn't everything...

Yes the 50L is very dreamy at 1.2-1.4, by 1.8 it is very sharp, at least my copy is anyway. From 2.2 onward, I'm pretty sure it's the sharpest lens I've owned. I can get dreamy, creamy, bokeh typically shooting at 1.8 (the nifty fifty and the 1.4 don't render anything like this at 1.8) The isolation ("pop" effect) of this lens at wide apertures is amazing. I've seen the Sigma art come very close, but not quite the same effect. Stopped-down aroubd 2.2 and smaller, this thing is wicked sharp.

I also highly value rugged gear. The 50L is weather-sealed, and built like an effing tank! I love it, and it is always on my camera, and sure can take a beating. I wouldn't trade my 50L for anything.




  
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agog
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Sep 07, 2014 16:23 |  #6

I understand that ,for you, this is a no brainer. However for some others it is a little more complicated. After constantly working at it and being frustrated with the wide open performance, I was able to set up the50L so it is more than reasonably sharp at 1.2. This equates to being almost as sharp as the 85mm f/1.2 (which I own)
I had 3 copies of the Sigmalux 50 1.4 and could not get the lens to work on any kind of consistent basis. It let me down badly on some shoots. My EF50 f/1.4 stripped the AF and became a paperweight. What all these threads seem to forget is that the 50mm f1.2 also works at f2, 2.8 and beyond. What it offers by being
proficient at 1.2 is something that none of the others can. It is built like a tank and is a great weight on most full frame dslrs. It is also fantastic using manual focus or live view
and can do it at f 1.2 unlike the sigmalux or the 50mm f/1.4. In short of all the lenses I own or have owned including 70-200mf4 and 70-200 f 2.8II, 135mm f2 and 85mm f/1.2, it is the last lens
I would give up. When you feel that way about the sigma or the canon ef50 f/1.4 when compared to same group of lenses thats when you really know you have made the right choice.
Tim


70D, 6D, 50mm f/1.2 L, 70-300mm F4-F5.6L, 400 mm f/5.6L, Zeiss 2/35 ZE, 135 f/2.0L, 85mm f/1.2L, 70-200L II,
Zeiss 2.8/21 ZE, 40mm f/2.8

  
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hrblaine
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Sep 07, 2014 16:24 |  #7

"Bragging rights. I'm completely satisfied with my 50 f/1.8."

So am I. Harry




  
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FEChariot
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Sep 07, 2014 16:31 |  #8

jmai86 wrote in post #17140817 (external link)
Apples and oranges

No. It's ounces and ounces.


Canon 7D/350D, Σ17-50/2.8 OS, 18-55IS, 24-105/4 L IS, Σ30/1.4 EX, 50/1.8, C50/1.4, 55-250IS, 60/2.8, 70-200/4 L IS, 85/1.8, 100/2.8 IS L, 135/2 L 580EX II, 430EX II * 2, 270EX II.

  
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hiketheplanet
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Sep 07, 2014 16:52 as a reply to  @ FEChariot's post |  #9

Portraits at f/1.2... I wouldn't attempt. Portrait photogs here may disagree. But it can do f/1.2. And under certain circumstances, even though not razor sharp at f/1.2, it does things no other lens can. This is not a pixel-peepers lens.




  
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hiketheplanet
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Sep 07, 2014 16:56 as a reply to  @ hiketheplanet's post |  #10

Here was the thread I started when looking to buy my 50. It is basically the same topic:

https://photography-on-the.net …347&highlight=5​0l+premium




  
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InfiniteDivide
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Sep 07, 2014 21:21 |  #11

While I have not yet used the 50 Art, I am very happy with my 50L
I used it handheld at 1.2 quite frequently and I am satisfied with the results.
I love the challenge of nailing focus, including manual focus with it, as this is a hobby for me.
The Sigma may be sharper, but I don't find my 50L unusable, in fact it is my most used lens.
I find it to be much more reliable than the 50 f1.4 copy I had, it hunts a lot less in low light.


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.

  
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Bonpu
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Sep 08, 2014 04:29 as a reply to  @ InfiniteDivide's post |  #12

I'd rather give away my other eight Canon lenses than the 50L – and I mean it! I am addicted to its distinctive rendering which is why I chose it over the Sigma art. I shot it wide open all the time.

It's sharp (external link),
it's unobtrusive (external link),
it'smagical (external link).

I like it even better than the 85mm L which looks kind of sterile im comparison. At f/1.2 it focusses very precisely in virtually no light. Focussing can be a bit wonky at close range around f/2.8 (which the 50L is notorious for). Sharpness at f/1.2 is more than useable. It's actually very good!

From what I've seen, the old Sigma 50mm comes quite close in style. I know someone who did some really wicked stuff (external link) with it.

Edit: I think it's shamelessly expensive though. I got mine at 20% advantage in Tokyo.




  
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eddie3dfx
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Sep 10, 2014 20:48 as a reply to  @ Bonpu's post |  #13

The sigma 50mm art is an awesome lens, if you want just the front focused portion of the picture without the horrendous bokeh surrounding it...
The 50L has a far lens sharp and detailed focused image than the art, but is complimented by a tremendously beautiful bokeh.

The bokeh is on the 50 art is so nervous that it ruins the image....


Canon 6D, Canon L 24-105, Zeiss Distagon 28mm 2.8, Planar 50mm 1.4, Planar 85mm 1.4, Sonnar 135mm 2.8 & Zeiss Mutar 2x, Canon 50mm 1.8
http://www.edwinraffph​otography.com/ (external link)

  
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InfiniteDivide
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Sep 10, 2014 21:13 |  #14

Here is a sample of my 50L wide open with an ND8 filter on it. Full exif by clicking.
I find it to be 'creamy' and smooth'
While neither of these shot are 'macro' I don't find their lack of pure-sharpness anything to complain about.
This lens is doing exactly what is was DESIGNED to do.

IMAGE: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2930/14001440917_a54ab7b4b3_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/nkg3​zK  (external link) A single rose (external link) by infinite_divide (external link), on Flickr

Here is another example of the 50L smoothing out an otherwise busy background. No ND filter here.
The 85mm and 100mm+ lenses do this easily with more compression of the longer FL.
I find the bokeh of my 50L at 1.2 to be almost identical to the 100L.
While it is not as sharp as the macro it needs only half the working distance.
Something that is not often possible, but neede with my travel photography.
( I can't physically back up to take the shot with my 100mm...) Solution, use a wider lens.

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7442/13947969368_ec9b145184_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/nfwZ​mu  (external link) Sakura bokeh (external link) by infinite_divide (external link), on Flickr

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.

  
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MalVeauX
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Sep 10, 2014 21:19 |  #15

jmai86 wrote in post #17140737 (external link)
Or rather, what ARE the merits of the 50L, and is it really worth the $1000 premium over other 50s?

After using the 50L for some time, I've found that:

- It's "hazy" at 1.2 and 1.4, very much like a soft focus effect. Very soft all around at 1.2.
- The Sigma 50mm (non art) is sharper at 1.4 and beyond (I also own the Sigma)
- It is however, sharper than the Canon 1.4.
- The Sigma 50 ART is in another league of sharpness (which I also used for awhile), however, the 50Art is a brick and almost unusable for me on a daily basis due to its weight and size.
- Bokeh is amazing, but the quality is negligible compared to the Sigma 50mm (Non Art)

This being said, why is the 50L loved so much?
The takeaways for me are:

- The Sigma 50mm Non-Art is $350 right now, and is sharper, lighter, has faster AF, has similar bokeh, and is $1300 cheaper than the 50L.
- That extra $1300 is only paying for 1.2, and a soft, hazy 1.2 at that, at the cost of sharpness at 1.4 and beyond. The difference between 1.2 and 1.4 are so slim, it's hardly even worth talking aobut.
- I'm aware that sharpness isn't everything, but is that dreamy 50L look really worth the extra $1300 over a Sigma 50 that produces a very similar feel? Even then, wouldn't one prefer sharpness that can't be reclaimed over a hazy soft focus effect that can be reproduced easily?



Now granted, I did use a few copies of the 50L over the years, so I'm certain this is not a result of a bad copy of the 50L. Needless to say, I'm done with the 50L and will be sticking with my $350 Sigma.

Heya,

Personally I don't think it's worth it. Then again, I don't care to even have autofocus on a fast 50mm. I have several 50's and after having used autofocus 50's with F1.4 and F2, I didn't really find useful.

If I were to get a 50 F1.4, I'd get the Sigma 50 F1.4 (non-ART) as it's usually $275. That's a great deal. It's sharp. Well built. Good bokeh.

As it is though, I don't require autofocus, so I still shoot my Super Takumar 50 F1.4, which was $40. ;)

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

  
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The merits of the 50L, and why it's worth the $1000 premium
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