Canon 50mm 1.8 I or II or 1.4

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by timlair, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. timlair

    timlair TPF Noob!

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    Over the weeks of reading threads and comments on the forum the Canon 50mm 1.8 or the 1.4 seem pretty popular. Ive seen people argue that the 1.4 is much sharper but the 1.8 is a better price blah blah so on and so forth. Now when people are discussing just the 1.8, some people are for the Mk I and some swear by the Mk II.

    I plan on ordering one of these options and wouldnt mind having your guys' opinion. Thanks!

    PS. Im going to get the 1.8. But I still wouldnt mind you arguing the 1.4 because maybe youll convince me to do otherwise.
     
  2. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The mk1 sells for like $150 typically - it has about the same optics as the mk2 but with a metal mount and bigger focusing ring.

    The 1.4 is 3x the price of the 1.8 - for 2/3 of a stop. It's a solid lens, has a distance scale and USM for auto focus. I've never used one but I sure wouldn't mind having one instead of my 1.8.

    For long-term investment purposes, go with the 1.4... if you're sure you're gonna be into this in the long run and have the income to spend. If not, don't spend the coin.
     
  3. timlair

    timlair TPF Noob!

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    So the Mk 1 is better than the Mk 2 because of the metal mount and bigger focus ring.

    What are the benefits of the USM compared to the 1.8? I guess I'm not really seeing the huge difference because of only 2/3'rds of a stop.

    Thanks for the advice man
     
  4. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well... kinda, but it's a personal preference thing as well. I think the mk2 is just fine. It's cheap and functional, and it's pretty damn sharp - especially when stopped down.

    USM lenses are generally more precise and focus much more quietly than non-USM. 2/3's of a stop is nothing to sneeze at though. Look at the 1.2L - that's over 1,000 dollars.

    You said yourself that you read reviews claiming the 1.4 was sharper. I'm sure it is.. another reason why I'd like one.
     
  5. timlair

    timlair TPF Noob!

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    Alright. thanks for the info
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The 1.8 MK-II has a cheap optical formula, a 5-sided diaphragm, and horrible bokeh. It makes ugly-looking photos compared to Canon's 50/1.4 EF. I owned a 50-1.8 Mark II...it was not a very good lens when shot against the light, or with foliage backgrounds...it was one of the worst 50mm lenses I have ever owned,and I have owned many. it had bad autofocusing, a skinny AF ring, and no A/M override. I gave it away, to my wife's nephew. The 50/1.4 is much better bokeh-wise, and has a full-blown optical formula, not an el-cheap-o design with a cut-down element formula and a 1950's style 5-blade diaphragm...and yet it still has AF hiccup issues for inexplicable reasons. 50mm is an area where the cheap offering is just exactly that--not just low-cost, but cheap.
     
  7. timlair

    timlair TPF Noob!

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    As always Darrel, Thanks
     
  8. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe TPF Noob!

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    Everything Derrel said!

    Ultra Sonic Motor (USM) is completely worth it for focusing speed and being quiet.
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    That was probably the most asked question...back when most of us were still shooting film. Now, of course, it's "What digital camera should I buy?"

    If you get a chance, go into a camera store and ask to see both lenses. It will immediately become apparent that the F1.4 looks & feels better than the F1.8.
    There are plenty of people who use & love the F1.8, although I doubt many of them have as much experience as Derrell. I think one of the issues is that, because of it's cheaper design (and probably where it's manufactured), it's a lot more hit & miss as to whether you get a good one or not.

    I still think that the F1.8 has good value, simple because it's so inexpensive and is usually, optically pretty good...compared to the cheap kit lenses that most people have.

    But if you want to invest in a lens that may last a lifetime, the 50mm F1.4 at only $350, is also a great bargain.
     
  10. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    I don't shoot canon, but I had a similar situation when deciding between the Nikon 50mm 1.4 or the 1.8.

    In addition to what everyone else has said, consider that at the 1.4 setting, you are actually allowing something like 60% more light into the lens. That makes a huge difference in low light situations.

    Also...remember that every lens has a "sweet spot." Generally lenses aren't their sharpest wide open. With the 50mm 1.8 that "sweet spot" is going to be closed down a bit more than the sweet spot for the 1.4.
     
  11. BLD_007

    BLD_007 TPF Noob!

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    What ever you do, buy online. No sales tax and cheaper. The 1.8 is like $84 instead of like $110 in the stores.
     
  12. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    I have the 1.4 and its a great lens. Built well, sharp, small, great for portraits. Works well with a 1.4x teleconverter to give you a 70mm 2.0, and works great with extension tubes. The main difference between the 1.8 is the build quality and optics. Its one of the best buys for the money when it comes to canon lenses.
     

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