50mm1.4 vs 1.8

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by JaimeGibb, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. JaimeGibb

    JaimeGibb TPF Noob!

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    So the 50mm 1.4 is $350, whereas the 1.8 is only about $100. Is there really that huge of a difference between the two? Is the 1.4 worth the extra $250?

    The lens will be used for portraits mainly!
     
  2. Mullen

    Mullen TPF Noob!

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    Better build quality and that extra f-stop. If those are worth $250 to you get the 1.4, if not go with the 1.8.

    Personally, I went with the 1.8, but that was mainly because I'd spent enough already for one order.
     
  3. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I like my 1.4 ... but cannot really compare. maybe the 1.8 is almost as good.
     
  4. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    I own a 1.4 and have used both. The 1.8 is slower to focus and louder... much, much louder. The build quality is more solid on the 1.4 -- the 1.8 feels like a toy it's so light.

    On Image quality for day-to-day use, they're very comparable. I rarely shoot outside of 2.8-5.6, but I've been satisfied with the 1.4's performance at 1.8 and 1.6 -- they're a bit soft. The 1.8 is pretty soft at 1.8. The 1.4 is super crisp between 2.2 and 5.6 and the 1.8 seems to be super crisp at around 2.8 to 4, but my understanding is that can vary from lens to lens.
     
  5. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    I have heard (but not seen myself) that the bokeh on the 1.4 is more pleasing.


    edit: oops... just saw that you are a Canon shooter... I was speaking of the Nikon lenses... sry...
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This was the most often asked question on photography forums....before DSLR cameras became the norm.

    The others have laid it out already. The 50mm F1.8 is made to be cheap, it's body is mostly plastic, including the mounting ring. The focus is gear driven (slow & loud) and it feels like a toy. The glass, however, is pretty decent, which makes it a great bargain at that price.
    The 50mm F1.4 has a much better build quality and better focus motor. Some say the image quality is better. Actually, at only $325, this is still a pretty good deal for the quality you are getting.
    There is also a Canon 50mm F1.2 L....which is $1379.
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you can comfortably afford it, go with the f/1.4 If not, go with the f/1.8. Both are good lenses and you can't go wrong with either. The f/1.8 is 90% of the f/1.4. The 10% difference is smoother bokeh and build (USM versus macro motor). The f/1.4 is not worth it if you have to pull strings to get the extra $$$.

    I threw in my f/1.8 lens (metal mount no doubt) to sweeten the deal for a cousin of mine. Allowed me to have a reason to get the f/1.4.


    Now the 50mm f/1.2, that's a completely different beast that warrants another thread all of its own.
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    The f/1.4 is 2/3rds of a stop faster, has a DOF scale, and has more blades in the iris diaphragm which may effect the shape of out of focus highlights (making them more round, smoother).

    As mentioned above, the f/1.4 seems more sturdily built. I own both (Canon), and once I dropped the f/1.8 from shoulder height (I'm 6') on to a granite chapel floor. it bounced over 4' in the air and I caught it. It still works flawlessly, and except for shaking up the dust inside the lens there isn't a mark on it. It may seem "plasticky", but I'm telling you, it's a tough lens! :)

    In a Pop Photography (or was it Petersons?) mag lens test the Canon 50mm f/1.8 beat every Canon L zoom they tested it against for resolving fine detail. The f/1.4 is a wonderful lens, but the f/1.8, although it looks cheap, isn't too shabby.

    Except for the extra speed, I bet most lens tests would show the f/1.4 and f/1.8 beats the f/1.2, particularly in corner sharpness and distortion. F/1.2 lenses are troublesome beasts to design.
     
  9. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    From 1.8 to 1.4 could be one eye of a person in focus, and the nose out of focus. The DOF is just so narrow, sometimes they can be hard to shoot with wide open

    I'm hypocritical in saying that because I know if I had the $320, I would definately get the 1.4 for the extra stop

    ~Michael~
     
  10. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Still applies... The 1.4 has more aperture blades - smoother bokeh.

    edit
    lol, didn't notice - usayit & ksmattfish both mentioned this already...
     
  11. JaimeGibb

    JaimeGibb TPF Noob!

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    Oh wow!!! Thanks so much all. Definitly a lot of info. I guess if I have the money Ill go for the 1.4. I have the 85mm 1.8 and just purchased a Sigma 70-200 which ate my savings. But, my boyfriend is offering to help me pay so that may be reason to get the 1.4 ;)
     
  12. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    Sorry to hijack the thread, but do any Nikon shooters know of the main differences between these two lenses for the Nikon system?
     

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