Canon 50mm f/1.8 or f1.4 ?


TPF Noob!
Jan 28, 2006
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Whilst looking for a 50mm f/1.8, which I have heard good things about, I came across the 50mm f/1.4, would this be a better lens? It costs a bit more but would I notice / benefit from the difference? :cyclops:
No, you would not, outside of having a faster lens. Most Canon users agree that the 50/1.8 is a better lens than the 50/1.4, so save your money and put them into something else. :)
The main difference, from what I can build quality. The F1.4 is a more sturdy lens. However, you can buy 3 or 4 of the F1.8 for the same price.
I've had both; 50mm f1.8 mark I and now 50mm f1.4. Much better build quality, f1.4, USM, and faster AF. At f1.4 the lens is a tad soft. Mostly due to the really shallow DOF. As with almost all lenses, it gets better stopping down from max. Speaking of DOF, I like the bokeh produced by the f1.4. Noticable differences in bokeh and image quality but all are subtle. Is it worth the price difference? On a budget... nope. Not on a budget.. you decide.
Thanks everyone, i'll save a few pounds and go for the f/1.8 then. I've just bought one on ebay for a 35mm SLR but i'm not sure if It will go on 350D?
I'm going to be looking for a new 35mm soon anyway so it will keep untill then.:)
darin3200 said:
yeah the 50mm f/1.8 will work fine of the 350d
In that case i've bagged me a bargain, i've been watching these lenses go for around £70 in the 'Digital Lenses' section on ebay. I bought one in the 'Film Lenses' section for about £15 :)
usayit said:
Speaking of DOF, I like the bokeh produced by the f1.4.

That's why I went with the 1.4, and I'm glad I did.

This might help:

My brother has the 1.8 that he uses with the 350D. We each picked the right lens for what we wanted.
The f1.8 version has been shown to have harsher and more distracting bokeh, it also lacks USM. It's very sharp and good value for money though.

If you can afford it, go for the f1.4, otherwise grab the f1.8 and upgrade later when you have the money.
The 1.4 is definitely worth the extra money over the 1.8, but it is up to you to decide whether you care about the differences. Build quality on the 1.8, especially the second version (plastic lens mount), is utter crap; I have not handled a more cheaply built lens before. On the other hand, optical performance is about equal to the 1.4, which is to say very good. It is hard to beat for price/performance ($80 at B&H right now).

The 1.4 is somewhat faster than the 1.8 (0.7 stops), which can sometimes be useful, though depth of field at 1.4 is next to nothing. It is a much nicer lens to handle. Build quality is much improved, especially the focus ring damping. It does not have full ring USM, but it is the only micro USM lens I know of that includes full time manual focusing, which is a vast improvement over having to use an AF/MF switch. As others have stated, the bokeh of the 1.4 is nicer than the 1.8, if that is important to you.

Of course, I ended up with the 1.8 even though I think it's a piece of crap. I have other priorities with my EOS gear, and I could not justify the extra cost for the 1.4, even though the benefits to me were clear. I have a feeling I will upgrade one day, because it pains me to use the 1.8! :)

Too bad about the FD lenses.

P.S. I will give you $10 for the FD 50/1.4 ;) I have a nice collection of FD gear I like to take out from time to time.

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