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Rumors => Lenses => Topic started by: switters on January 27, 2013, 09:28:21 AM

Title: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: switters on January 27, 2013, 09:28:21 AM
I currently own the Canon 50/1.4 but am disappointed with its performance from f/1.4 to f/2.0. At f/2.0 it sharpens up nicely, but what's the point of an f/1.4 lens that can't be used wide open?

Is the 50L any better in that range? I've read so many conflicting reports about the L. Some love it, others insist there isn't much of a difference (in sharpness, at least), between it and the 50/1.4.

Then there's the Sigma 50/1.4. I've heard it might be the sharpest of all at f/1.4, but it's extremely prone to AF problems (which I'm not willing to deal with).

I was really hoping Canon would come out with a new 50/1.4, or that Sigma would update its 50/1.4 to the "Art line" with similar quality to their new 35/1.4. No luck on either front — so far, at least.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: alexturton on January 27, 2013, 10:49:14 AM
I agree. My canon 1.4 is a little soft up to about 1.8. I found AfMA adjustments helped a little bit.

The sigma 50 1.4 is nice at 1.4 but suffers from focus shifts on stoping down.

I agree a new 'art' sigma 50 would be noce
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: J.R. on January 27, 2013, 11:05:59 AM

Is the 50L any better in that range?

If you are only concerned with image sharpness ... NO.

AF consistency and tack sharpness is something you are not likely get with the 50L so you may have to look elsewhere. However, what the 50L will give you is way much better (and buttery) bokeh.

I have the 50mm f/1.4 and my copy is very good ... but I would love the 50L, only for the bokeh it provides ... The bokeh is not overrated. 
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: candyman on January 27, 2013, 11:21:42 AM
I was really hoping Canon would come out with a new 50/1.4, or that Sigma would update its 50/1.4 to the "Art line" with similar quality to their new 35/1.4. No luck on either front — so far, at least.


So am I. There is something for Canon or Sigma to win here. Let's hope 2013 will bring some news on that
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: switters on January 27, 2013, 11:29:18 AM
I was really hoping Canon would come out with a new 50/1.4, or that Sigma would update its 50/1.4 to the "Art line" with similar quality to their new 35/1.4. No luck on either front — so far, at least.


So am I. There is something for Canon or Sigma to win here. Let's hope 2013 will bring some news on that

What about things like micro-contrast and rendering? If the 50L does better in that arena, then images can appear more crisp and defined even if it's not strictly sharper.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: rs on January 27, 2013, 11:42:35 AM
The Sigma 50/1.4 is very hit and miss. I've read lots of reviews which slate it for its AF inconsistencies. However, I took the gamble and went for it, making sure I ordered it from a retailer with a good returns policy. The lens they sent me front focussed by a huge margin, but with manual focus it showed huge potential. I got it replaced, and that one has very accurate AF. Never inconsistent, no need for AFMA. At any aperture, the results are truly amazing. The only time it doesn't produce results where its bristling with detail is when shooting wide open near MFD.

I have used the Canon 50/1.4 quite a bit, and the Canon's advantages are its tiny, and it has faster AF (but it's no more accurate). The Sigma's advantages are its much sharper, and it has a much more creamy, beautiful looking bokeh. From what I can see, the bokeh of the Sigma really is a match for the 50L, and at f1.4 a good copy of the Sigma is sharper than the 50L.

I've never noticed any focus shift when stopping down, and before reading this thread I'd not heard of anyone associating the Sigma 50/1.4 with focus shift.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: switters on January 27, 2013, 11:56:17 AM
The only time it doesn't produce results where its bristling with detail is when shooting wide open near MFD.


What happens at MFD wide open? Reason I ask is that I frequently find myself shooting at that distance.

Maybe I'll play the Sigma lottery and order one from B&H.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: rs on January 27, 2013, 12:25:53 PM
The only time it doesn't produce results where its bristling with detail is when shooting wide open near MFD.


What happens at MFD wide open? Reason I ask is that I frequently find myself shooting at that distance.

Maybe I'll play the Sigma lottery and order one from B&H.
It just looks soft when viewing the images at 100%. Not an ugly soft, just a dreamy soft look. View it at normal screen sizes, and its fine. Use the Sigma 50/1.4 from about 1m + away from the subject, and its simply amazing.

As far as I know, many lenses are not at their best used near MFD. If you need to crop close, a good macro lens is the best way of increasing your chances of getting good results.

I decided before I ordered mine that if the second copy was no good, I'd get my money back and go for the Canon instead. With hindsight, I'd say its worth going to three or so to try to get a good copy. You really can land on your feet with the Sigma 50/1.4.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: extremeinstability on January 27, 2013, 12:49:30 PM
Sounds like you largely already know the ups and downs.  This may or may not be worth looking at for others.  I did a quick few comparisons with the Canon 1.4 1.8 and Sigma 1.4 here:  http://www.extremeinstability.com/topic-14-21-50-lenses.htm (http://www.extremeinstability.com/topic-14-21-50-lenses.htm)
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: RS2021 on January 27, 2013, 01:51:47 PM
Please tell me this is not yet another 50L vs 50 1.4 pissing contenst post.  >:(
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: J.R. on January 27, 2013, 01:54:06 PM
Please tell me this is not yet another 50L vs 50 1.4 pissing contenst post.  >:(

+1 ... I surely hope that the 50L brigade stays cool
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: risc32 on January 27, 2013, 02:56:19 PM
i know this is about to become another 50l-vs- the world thread, but my vote would be for you to get either the canon 35mm or sigma 35mm, and crop your way to 50mm if you like.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: HoneyBadger on January 27, 2013, 03:07:18 PM
50mm primes are notorious for being softer than other focal lengths. Plus at wide open, one should never expect a lens to be at its sharpest. For me, it is an easy decision. I want the extra half stop of the 1.2L, the amazing bokeh and most importantly for me, I want the weather sealing. I have more days with rain and fog here than clear days so it is not a question for me..luckily. I feel too many people care about sharpness while a whole bunch of other factors matter.

I would watch out getting the 35mm L right now. That is a very important focal length for Canon's new cinema cameras and they still have not released a cinema lens at that focal length. This means 2 things. Either they are working on and will release sometime soon a new 35mm L and have it modified to do cinema or they will release a cinema only 35mm, in which case a new 35mm L for photography won't be any time soon.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on January 27, 2013, 03:16:03 PM
It actually depends on the camera body in use.  On APS-C bodies, the Sigma lens has some advantage, since its weak outer edges are cut away.  With FF, the Canon 50mm f/1.4 beats the Sigma.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: skitron on January 27, 2013, 03:17:25 PM
FWIW, I have the Sigma, it had the focus issues, I sent it in, its fixed now. On a 5D3 works as expected at all distances.

Here's a 100% crop at f/1.4 of RAW with moderate sharpening in post -> jpg, and maybe it helps you decide if its sharp enough for you or you need to look elsewhere. The left eye of the picture is dead center of the shot so represents the best it is going to be across the frame.

EDIT - below is 100% crop about 2/3 the way towards the left edge @f/2.8. If somebody wants to see a crop of the extreme edge at f/1.4 I'll do one and post it.

EDIT 2 - LOL, I suppose I'll venture into the dangerous and comment subjectively... Based on what I've seen posted elsewhere, the Canon 1.4 renders differently than the Sigma which renders differently than the 50L. Personally, I like what I'm seeing in the 50L shots quite a bit and actually that is when stopped down a bit. But so far, its not enough more so to buy one. Not just yet anyway...

Another edit...the crops are actually truncations of a 100% magnification that are rendered as jpg in a way to retain the same feature size as presented in the full 100% magnification. So purely as a crop they are more like 200% but rendered so that the feature sizes represent 100% magnification @350dpi. Meaning what you see below without opening the shot in a viewer has the same feature sizes as if I posted the non-truncated 100% magnification and you opened it in a viewer and viewed that full screen.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: switters on January 28, 2013, 01:29:09 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies. What I've gathered so far is:
— The Sigma 50/1.4 is probably the sharpest at f/1.4 of the bunch, and nearly a match for the 50L's bokeh
— The 50L has better build quality, weather sealing, bokeh and possibly microcontrast and color
— The Sigma is prone to AF issues

I have the Sigma 35 and it's an excellent lens. It did take two copies to get a good one, though; the first front-focused badly.

I'm trying to decide whether the additional cost of the 50L is worth it. Sounds like I might be better off trying for a good copy of the Sigma 50 first.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: pierceography on January 28, 2013, 04:59:00 PM
I actually JUST had the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 delivered today.  I already own the Canon 50mm f/1.4, but just never fell in love with it.  I'm going to take some test shots on my 5Dm3 when I get home, and I'll post them here if anyone's interested.  But there's been a slew of comparisons.  I'm actually more curious to see how a new copy of the Sigma compares, as I've heard the newer copies of the 50mm fair better from an AF perspective.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: skitron on January 28, 2013, 09:28:45 PM
I actually JUST had the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 delivered today.  I already own the Canon 50mm f/1.4, but just never fell in love with it.  I'm going to take some test shots on my 5Dm3 when I get home, and I'll post them here if anyone's interested.  But there's been a slew of comparisons.  I'm actually more curious to see how a new copy of the Sigma compares, as I've heard the newer copies of the 50mm fair better from an AF perspective.

If your body has it, I'd set AFMA for about a four foot subject distance @f/1.4. Then shoot something at about 40 feet @f/1.4. If it's way OOF at 40 feet, knowing what I know now about the issue, I'd say just send it to Sigma USA as long as you like what you see at 4 feet. They now have a very good fix for this issue in my experience and if you like what you see at 4 feet its probably a copy worth keeping imo. 

Sure it stinks to send in a new lens and many people rail on Sigma about this, and I suppose rightfully so, but its not like Canon doesn't have issues with their 100L and apparently a bunch of them have worse focus issues than the Sigma 50...I know mine does. If you have an affected 100L it is purely a lottery each and every shot whether you get this weird softness that looks kinda like motion blur but not really the same. I know. I just spent $200 to have mine fixed because unlike Sigma's 3 year warranty, Canon only has 1 year. Still waiting to get it back from Canon to see if the $200 actually fixed this lightly used 14 mo old 100L that I paid extra to buy from an authorized dealer ... /rant off
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: Daniel Flather on January 28, 2013, 10:50:01 PM
The 50L needs to be used wide open, at f 2.0 - 2.8 the extra cost is for the bokeh.  Also focus shift can be an issues at those f stops. 

The 50L  is awesome, but damn you pay for that little extra.  Stopped down the 50/1.4 is 95%+ of the 50L.  I have no experience wit the sigma 50. 
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: switters on January 28, 2013, 11:35:41 PM

If your body has it, I'd set AFMA for about a four foot subject distance @f/1.4. Then shoot something at about 40 feet @f/1.4. If it's way OOF at 40 feet, knowing what I know now about the issue, I'd say just send it to Sigma USA as long as you like what you see at 4 feet. They now have a very good fix for this issue in my experience and if you like what you see at 4 feet its probably a copy worth keeping imo. 


This is very helpful, thanks.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: switters on January 28, 2013, 11:37:02 PM
The 50L needs to be used wide open, at f 2.0 - 2.8 the extra cost is for the bokeh.  Also focus shift can be an issues at those f stops. 

The 50L  is awesome, but damn you pay for that little extra.  Stopped down the 50/1.4 is 95%+ of the 50L.  I have no experience wit the sigma 50.

That's the problem: I primarily want to use the 50mm from f1.4 to f/2.8. I have the 24-70 II and it is amazing at f/2.8 and 50mm, so there's not much point in me having a fast 50 if I can't use it wide open.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: RLPhoto on January 29, 2013, 12:47:15 AM
50L.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: spinworkxroy on January 29, 2013, 01:44:39 AM
For me it was the opposite.
I had both the Canon f1.4 and the sigma f1.4. I've done many tests both in the real world and test charts and maybe my Canon is a great copy but the sigma is anyways significantly less sharp when zoomed in.

I've already sent the sigma together with my body to sigma for calibrations twice, even did my own Focal calibrations at home and no matter what I do, the sigma can't hold up with the Canon.

Granted the sigma has much nicer bokeh but I'd rather it be sharper. In the end I sold the sigma
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: EvilTed on January 29, 2013, 01:46:30 AM
Just get a Sigma 35mm F/1.4, it's slightly wider but easier to use than the 50L and you can get really impressively sharp shots @ F/1.4, unlike the 50L @ F/1.2 which is a dreamy hazy look (you can always soften a sharp lens but not the other way around).

If you have the 24-70 II, you'll love the Sigma ;)

ET
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: Brock on January 29, 2013, 04:47:00 AM
Thanks everyone for your replies. What I've gathered so far is:
— The Sigma 50/1.4 is probably the sharpest at f/1.4 of the bunch, and nearly a match for the 50L's bokeh
— The 50L has better build quality, weather sealing, bokeh and possibly microcontrast and color
— The Sigma is prone to AF issues

I have the Sigma 35 and it's an excellent lens. It did take two copies to get a good one, though; the first front-focused badly.

I'm trying to decide whether the additional cost of the 50L is worth it. Sounds like I might be better off trying for a good copy of the Sigma 50 first.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44FqqE6ukjY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44FqqE6ukjY)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uaOC-q6nP8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uaOC-q6nP8)

IMO the L seems to have better contrast & more pleasing colors (how a lens can effect the colors is beyond me, but that's how it looks to me).

the Canon 50 1.4 looks like a good lens too, but I've read that the particular USM motor used in it is ancient & prone to breaking down.   The 1.2L has the full time manual adjust high end USM motor, but because it's such a heavy lens focuses slightly slower than the 1.4.  The sigma also seems to have more vignetting & chromatic aberration compared to the L from the reviews I have read.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: charlesa on January 29, 2013, 05:29:07 AM
50 L ... and it always turns into a pissing contest it seems!
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: J.R. on January 29, 2013, 05:37:26 AM

the Canon 50 1.4 looks like a good lens too, but I've read that the particular USM motor used in it is ancient & prone to breaking down.   The 1.2L has the full time manual adjust high end USM motor, but because it's such a heavy lens focuses slightly slower than the 1.4.  The sigma also seems to have more vignetting & chromatic aberration compared to the L from the reviews I have read.

I broadly agree with the post but there are fact which are quoted wrong and need correction. The 1.4 also has full time manual focus and the reason why the 1.2L focuses slowly is because it is focuses by moving the lens elements in the front unlike the lens design for other USM lenses - not because it is heavy.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: skitron on January 29, 2013, 09:05:06 AM
50 L ... and it always turns into a pissing contest it seems!

You can basically get both the Sigma 35 plus the 50 1.4 lens of your choice for the price of the 50L.

And given the technical warts of the 50L that come with the good, I guess a lot of opinions end up getting expressed?
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: EvilTed on January 29, 2013, 09:58:41 AM
I had both a 50 F/1.8 and a 50 F/1.2L - prefer the Sigma 35 to both of them easily ;)

ET
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: dtaylor on January 29, 2013, 11:13:44 AM
Then there's the Sigma 50/1.4. I've heard it might be the sharpest of all at f/1.4, but it's extremely prone to AF problems (which I'm not willing to deal with).

Not any more than other fast primes. When I tested mine against a stationary target it was more consistent in AF then Canon's 50 f/1.8 and 50 f/1.4, and just slightly less consistent then Canon's 85 f/1.8. It is on par with the L in terms of IQ and offers amazing bokeh, but is cheaper and lighter. I would recommend the Sigma out of all of them.
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: infared on January 29, 2013, 11:33:25 AM
I have a Sigma f/1.4... Love it!
I have all "L" and Zeiss lenses...but I think this is soooo much more than the Canon f/1.4...and most of what the Canon "L" is..without the bulk or cost.  The Canon can be finicky, too. I have a good copy, and in real-world shooting it is just fine. Although, I agree it would be cool if this lens was rereleased in the Art Series...bet it will be...but not for a while.

It's on sale here at a reliable retailer for $369. Can't beat that!
http://www.buydig.com/shop/basket.aspx?sku=SG50F14EOS&act=add&rmsg=&cpn=&sks=SG50F14EOS,& (http://www.buydig.com/shop/basket.aspx?sku=SG50F14EOS&act=add&rmsg=&cpn=&sks=SG50F14EOS,&)

I paid $450 and I am still happy!
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: switters on January 29, 2013, 11:57:23 AM
Hey everyone,

I already have a Sigma 35 and it is indeed an amazing lens.

But I tend to prefer the 50mm focal length. The Canon 50/1.4 has been okay, but it's rather uninspiring compared to the Sigma 35. Perhaps I'll just stick with the Canon until Sigma releases a new 50/1.4 in the art line. I noticed that they released a 30/1.4 Art lens for APS-C today, as well as 3 mirrorless Art lenses. Wish they would have done the 50/1.4 instead!
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: jasonsim on January 29, 2013, 01:26:05 PM
My vote would go to the Canon 50 f/1.2L.  I've not tried the 50mm f/1.4, but have had three Sigma 50s.  The first two were terrible.  The last was very good, but decided to stick with the 50L for the weather sealing and build quality.

Here is a sample at f/2.8:

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8302/7992157170_c51be43e51_b.jpg)

Here is one at f/1.8:

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8458/7992125065_7c1304171d_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: Zv on February 01, 2013, 10:53:32 AM
I never even thought that Sigma might release a new 50 1.4! Interesting,  I was about to finally change my nifty fifty for the Canon 50 1.4 mainly because I'm sick of waiting for Canon to pull their thumbs out. Damn nifty I have is really sharp around f/2.8 but I like to shoot wider like f/2 ish and its not great that wide.

Or should I buy the Sigma 35 and a 135L and say to hell with fifties?
Title: Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
Post by: RS2021 on February 01, 2013, 05:12:41 PM
Wide open f/1.4 taken with the basic Canon EF 50 f/1.4 lens.

Full frame and the center crop (she signed the release forms just fine once I held the food back for a day or two). Not an artistic effort, just a snap to test the lens.

Had to sharpen it on LR, but this is good performance wide open (f/1.4) given the low price.