Canon 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens???

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by stalley, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. stalley

    stalley TPF Noob!

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    I'm new to photography and wanting to buy a new lens for a smaller aperture. Obviously there's a huge difference between these lenses because of the price but I'm wondering what those differences are. If I'm wanting to do portrait photography with a huge aperture for a greater depth of field what should I buy?
     
  2. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    dont say smaller aperture, say smaller aperture NUMBER. Smaller number means larger aperture opening.

    Well, you probably wont find used f/1.4, but you will see a few f/1.8. New canon 50 mm f/1.4 will run you around $360. Used f/1.8 is about $100. Take your pick.

    I think you got it backward. The smaller the number, the smaller DOF you can achieve (blurred background, perfect for potraits).
     
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    * Build quality
    * USM versus micro motor
    * f/1.4 versus f/1.8
    * More aperture blades
    * Slightly better optics in the f/1.4

    The easiest solution is to ask yourself... can afford the 50mm f/1.4? If yes.. get it. If no, get the 50mm f/1.8 and be happy.
     
  4. stalley

    stalley TPF Noob!

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    I meant to say smaller aperture number. I do understand that part and know how much the lenses cost...I just needed to know why the 1.4 was worth $200 more which yousayit pretty much covered.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  5. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    This, plus the manual, focus ring is actually usable on the 1.4 version.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The 50/1.8 EF-II is a sketchy focusing lens...it's not a reliable, fast-focusing lens, and it has noisy focusing as well. It has bad bokeh. It sometimes snaps into two pieces after receiving an impact (seriously). It has a skinny focusing ring at the front of the lens, and it does not allow manual focusing override when in autofocus mode. It is not a very good lens when shot toward strong light sources. It has a 1950's-style, five-bladed iris diaphragm, and one fewer element than most 50mm lenses made since the mid-1960's. It is a low-priced, cheap lens, and a lot of corners have been cut in the 1.8's design and its optics. The 50/1.4 EF is a **significantly** better designed, better made, and better performing lens.
     
  7. wgp1987

    wgp1987 TPF Noob!

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    Hey derrl, your usually the guy I look to for info on lenses. I'm going to sell my 50mm f1.8 to get the 1.4 but there is a sigma version also available for around 500. What do you think I should do? I would get the zeiss 1.4 if it wasn't MF only
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The Sigma 50mm 1.4 is a big, expensive, and a beautiful imager in the 50mm category. Sigma is really gunning for the Canon 50mm f/1.2-L crowd with their new 50/1.4; the Sigma has lower chromatic aberration levels than the 50/1.2-L, slightly higher contrast, and pretty good overall IQ. Sigma really wasn't aiming at the 50/1.4 Canon or the 50/1.4 Nikon or Pentax lenses--they're trying to siphon off sales of the 50mm 1.2-L for the most part. Nikon responded with their own 50/1.4 AF-S G after Sigma released its lens, but uh...Sigma seems to be the sales leader in the premium 50mm category from what one of my sources (salesman) tells me.

    The Sigma 50/1.4 is a cutting-edge 50mm design for a non-Leica 50mm lens. If you look at the reviews of it, it acquits itself very,very well. You could buy it, and another lens, for the price of the Zeiss 50/1.4. I have the Canon 50/1.4 EF and it's good lens, much better I think than the 1.8 model I gave to my wife's nephew. The Sigma is BIG, and bulky...the Canon 50/1.4 EF is compact and normal-sized. Both are good lenses. I've never seen a 50/1.4 as large as the Sigma--it's the size of an 85/1.4, almost.
     
  9. wgp1987

    wgp1987 TPF Noob!

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    I'm not concerned with the size at all. I have been reading that the Canon is sharper at 1.4 and has less CA. Thing that sucks is reading other peoples opinions when they may not be that intelligent
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I saw a nice,detailed comparison of the Sigma versus the Canon 1.2-L, and the Sigma at 1.4 was better than the 1.2 at 1.2 and 1.4 in terms of CA, contrast,and resolving ability, so my comments are on those two lenses, just to clarify. I have not seen a 1.4 to 1.4 head-to-head comparison of the Sigma vs the Canon 1.4, but it would not surprise me if the Canon edged out the Sigma at f/1.4; most 50mm lenses at f/1.4 have a slight softness to them, especially in the corners, but also in the center of the frame, and then at f/2, the image quality picks up quite a bit, and then at f/2.8 the image quality is markedly better than at wide-open.

    If the lens would be used a lot at f/1.4, then by all means, you'd want the lens that had the more-favorable image quality at wide-open. I seldom shoot at that f/stop, so to me, it's kind of a moot point. What I think about most 50mm lenses is that they almost all have kind of sub-par bokeh, since so,so many of them are very,very old designs. The new Sigma has a nice drawing style, and if you go around the web and search for images from it, you can see that it delivers a very nice "look"--which older Nikon 50's do not give. Same with most 50's from most manufacturers--there are some absolutely horrible 50's in terms of bokeh and drawing style; the Canon 50/1.4 is actually one of the better ones I've ever owned, but I think the Sigma delivers a prettier image look than just about any modern, affordable 50mm lens.
     
  11. cfusionpm

    cfusionpm TPF Noob!

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    Do you have a link to this comparisson? I'm curious to see how they compare since the 1.4 has pretty bad CA wide open.
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Matt, I cannot seem to find the link to the 50 1.4 versus 50 1.2-L comparison I saw last year; it was done,as I recall, by the folks at TheDigitalPicture. I am almost sure it was the Digital Picture people, due to the way the side by side comparisons were done. If I can find the web page on my external (I might have saved it!) I will post the link.

    Yeah, look at the CA in the one link below....pretty severe...

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 USM L - Review / Test Report - Analysis

    Sigma AF 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM (Canon) - Review / Test Report - Analysis

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens - Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM Lens Comparison - ISO 12233 Resolution Chart Results

    This thread has four photo sections showing a bokeh comparison between some pretty well-regarded classic 50's: The Pentax Super-Takumar 50mm f/2, the newer 50/2 SMC or SuperMultiCoated version, and the Carl Zeiss 50mm f/2. Take note at how much smoother and creamier the defocused area is in the Sigma 50mm 1.4 background...the Sigma wins hands-down. Sigma 50mm: Marmite Bokeh - FM Forums
     

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