50mm 1.8 vs. 50mm 1.4?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by wmc1117, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. wmc1117

    wmc1117 TPF Noob!

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    Hi, I am deciding what I will be purchasing for my first lens and I was really interested in the 50mm. Here is where my question develops, I know the 1.8 is a hell of a lot cheaper than the 1.4 and produces still really really good quality shots but I heard the make of the 1.8 is rather ****ty and tends to break down quite easily?? I was wondering what people's opinions are on the 1.8 vs. the 1.4 and is the 1.4 a better investment all together?
     
  2. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First and foremost, buy whatever fits in your budget. Both lenses are optically fine.

    * f/1.4 has USM the f/1.8 does not
    * f/1.4 has better build quality (metal mount).
    * f/1.4 has more aperture blades

    During the film days, I really liked the 85mm focal length but also needed a normal 50mm lens. I ended up passing up the f/1.4 for the f/1.8 and putting the cash towards the 85mm f/1.8. There were absolutely no regrets. I have to admit I had the Mark I version of the f/1.8 and the build was better than the current version. The current version f/1.8 does have lower build quality but you can't complain given the price point. I'd say 90% of the amateur photographers out there would be fine with the plastic version.... besides... it is inexpensive and easy to replace. I eventually sold mine to my cousin and moved on to the f/1.4; the reason was the smoother bokeh offered with the increased number of aperture blades. I went several years totally happy with the f/1.8.

    When it comes down to it, does the f/1.4 fit your budget. If so, go with the better version. If not, go with the f/1.8.
     
  4. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    Don't think that there's much to add to what usayit has said. I went with the f1.4 purely for the added build quality, but had the f1.8 MkI when I was using 35mm and never had an issue.
     
  5. wmc1117

    wmc1117 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for your input, I guess I will look into the 1.8mm for now as I am a struggling college student whos budget is definitely tight. However, I was curious if there are places where you can find the old model with the better build?
     
  6. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with Usayit, If you can afford the 1.4 it worth the money IMO, but you certainly will have no regrets with the 1.8 either, plus sometimes a light plastic lens combined with a small SLR, like an XT, makes for an excellent, "power to weight ratio", so to speak.
     
  7. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Craigslist or possibly Keh.com
     
  8. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    I don't post very much, but I keep hearing and reading all about "nifty 50", and discussions of apertures, usually f/1.8, f/1.4, and f/1.2.

    I have them now, have had others in the past, and I know what they can do, but on other than a full frame digital camera 50mm is roughly equivalent to 75mm, getting into the focal lengths of portrait lenses.

    What about the 35mm lenses, which on same camera equates to 52.5mm, more like what used to be a "normal" focal length on a 35mm lens on a film SLR.

    For me, I think I have kinda found a solution, maybe some kind of a compromise. After considering the total costs to purchase several lenses versus one lens, I am now trying a Nikon AF-D 35-70mm f/2.8.

    For the $275 I spent for this lens, I now have a faster than normal AF lens at f/2.8, incorporating the focal lengths that I often used fixed lenses to cover in the film world. This lens covers the "normal", 85mm, and the 105mm focal lengths, which I used to use as portrait lenses, but these are now combines all in one relatively affordable lens for what I spent for it.

    Isn't the 35mm focal length on a cropped digital camera body more versatile than a 50mm?

    Selling my 50mm's would easily offset the cost of almost any AF 35-70mm, or similiar lens I know of (other than AF-S)

    Just wondering...
     
  9. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Effective FOV is long.... but many still find the 50mm focal length particularly useful even on crop sensors. The big deal about the nifty fifty (usually referring to the f/1.8 version) is that for very little money, you get a wonderful introduction to prime lenses.

    Certainly but it all depends on the photographer... he/she is the only one that can choose what best pleases them. Again.. the 35mm (assuming Canon) doesn't have the bang for buck as the nifty fifty.

    As I said.. you pick your poison. For me, no zoom will replace a nice set of primes and recently realized that the 24-70 or 35-70 focal range on a zoom is too restrictive of a focal range.

    Again.... only the photographer can answer that... everyone is different... also type of photography also matters. You cannot have this discussion without know at least that information. For me, I like to walk around with either 24mm and 50mm or 35mm and 75mm paired. BUT THAT'S JUST ME... not recommending it for everyone.

    Remember.. equipment enables you to accomplish a particular look. You don't buy just to collect focal lengths.
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Did you do any research on this lens?
    - it is discontinued
    - massive flare
    - considerable ghosting
    - front rotating element... screws things up (lol) if using a circular polarizer
    - odd 66mm front element
    - push pull zoom
    - not very sharp till F/5.6
     
  12. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Maybe I should have checked with you first, but I like it for the little while I have used it so far. If it does not work out, I can try something else.

    I also have a Nikkor non-2.8 35-70mm that I like pretty well. Sorry.

    Maybe I am half blind, or have reasonable expectations, but what I read in some reviews, I either do not totally agree with, or don't see in photo's what the reviews say.

    Maybe I should have checked with you first, or got an AF-S lens that is not discontinued instead.

    Some people on here might not have a problem with pre-owned lenses, and don't have a fortune to invest in equipment while remaining an amateur.

    You just reminded me why I don't post here very often, as almost everything I post, you seem to take issue with. You have more posts than I do (I have a life) so you win.

    Opinions are like you know what.
     

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