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Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: Kristofgss on July 08, 2013, 04:38:44 AM

Title: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Kristofgss on July 08, 2013, 04:38:44 AM
Yesterday, I dropped my 50 F1.4 from about a metre (about 3 feet) onto a hardwood floor (forgot to listen for the click while mounting it) I saw it bounce about twice before coming to rest and the focus system is broken. It works until the camera focuses at infinity and then it can not get out of infinity again.
Now the worst bit is that this is the second 50F1.4 which I have dropped and the previouw one died with the exact same issue.
My question now is, has anybody else experienced this with other lenses or is the 50F1.4 just an incredibly fragile construction and would I be better off with the 50 F1.2 L? (I also have the 50 F1.8 and so wished that had been on the body at the time, but alas, I love the manual focus ring of the 1.4) I also suppose that sending it in for repair would come close to what it would cost new?

Your thoughts and experiences would be greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: verysimplejason on July 08, 2013, 05:21:32 AM
I don't know if it will fare you better.  I haven't dropped any of my lens yet (knock-on-wood) but I think any lens that's dropped will suffer the same fate as your 50.  I think it'll just depend on how the lens hit the ground and what it hit.  Oh, I remember dropping my 50mm F1.8 at around 2 feet.  No scratch whatsoever nor any problems in AF or filter ring.  I've dropped it accidentally on my pillow while cleaning.  :D
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Tiosabas on July 08, 2013, 05:41:16 AM
Same thing here. The 50 1.4 is the only lens I have ever let fall and twice it has been boken in that way. The first time I managed to repair it myself. It s not that hard to repair/replace the USM barrel in your lens which is now  warped which is why it wont move in/out.  Personnally I wont spend 1500 on a 50 1.2 just to improve reliability. I would repair it or send it for repair. Then wait for a new Canon or Sigma 50 1.4 to see what they are like to upgrade build quality. Altough there current Sigma 50 1.4 fits the bill already in terms of image and build quality but its a bit too large for my taste.
Always store the Canon 50 1.4 with the USM berrel retracted into the lens and buy a hood for it and never take it off. That will protect it during impact.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Kristofgss on July 08, 2013, 05:44:55 AM
Good thinking about the hood. That would have protected the extending barrel. I looked at the neoprene covers, but those only seem to be available for the telephoto lenses and they only protect the sides. I might have to hot glue the hood in place to keep it from disloding on impact though.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: The Bad Duck on July 08, 2013, 06:33:07 AM
I´ve dropped my 70-200 /4 L IS twice from about the same height onto the floor (wood). Not a scratch, perfect shape and perfect results. Dropped my brand new 35 /1.4 L onto tarmac, the af/mf switch took a hit and was loose, just hanging by the wires outside the lens. A small scratch by the mount on the pastics but the rear lens cover took most of the hit. I put the switch back right there in the field. Works perfect.
Then again, they are L lenses and have inner focusing. They should be able to handle some abuse.

Have not dropped my 50 /1.4, cant really say anything about that but my 50 1.8 only lasted a few weeks then broke in two pieces. I use my gear, and although I try to treat it well it doesn´t always work out that way...

If ya want to make an omelet you have to crack som lenses?
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: AmbientLight on July 08, 2013, 07:44:23 AM
Forgetting to close one of my older backpacks I saw my priced 50L rolling out from somewhere between half a meter and a meter in height, landing on gravel. From the outside the lens appeared to be unscratched apart from a tiny mark on the lens hood, but from this fall the drive mechanism got broken. I had it repaired promptly, but I could have purchased a 50 f1.4 for far less than that.

This was a couple of years back. Thankfully this is the one and only fall any of my lenses has taken, but it just shows that upgrading to a 50L may not be a solution to prevent damages due to dropping a lens. It just makes repairs to the lens a better option compared to purchasing a new one.

Please also be aware that although the 50 f1.4 may be small and round, the 50L is just heavier and given its length to me it appears even more round, making it a most likely candidate to roll from a table or out of a bag.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Jon Gilchrist on July 08, 2013, 08:30:09 AM
If you google it you will find lots of reports of the 50/1.4 having focus system failures.  I've had it happen to me too.  Best bet is to put a hood on it and never take it off, and never let anything exert any kind of pressure on the inner focusing barrel.  Treat that lens like fragile crystal.

If you forward to the 4:00 minute mark in the following video you can see where the damage occurs.  Someone should make replacement gears that are metal or at least more durable than the nylon ones currently used.

http://youtu.be/NTu00wgJgRE (http://youtu.be/NTu00wgJgRE)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: RadioPath on July 08, 2013, 08:35:04 AM
Hi,
that is a freak coincidence: almost the same thing happened to me yesterday, only that I cannot focus to infinity. Does anyone have an idea how much it costs to repair such a thing at Canon Germany? It's only 350 € new, so might not be worth it.

Same thing here. The 50 1.4 is the only lens I have ever let fall and twice it has been boken in that way. The first time I managed to repair it myself. It s not that hard to repair/replace the USM barrel in your lens which is now  warped which is why it wont move in/out. Personnally I wont spend 1500 on a 50 1.2 just to improve reliability. I would repair it or send it for repair. Then wait for a new Canon or Sigma 50 1.4 to see what they are like to upgrade build quality. Altough there current Sigma 50 1.4 fits the bill already in terms of image and build quality but its a bit too large for my taste.
Always store the Canon 50 1.4 with the USM berrel retracted into the lens and buy a hood for it and never take it off. That will protect it during impact.

How did you do that? Are there instructions somewhere? I don't have a background in lens mechanics, but would be great if I could do it myself.

Thanks and good luck to you also Kristofgss!
RadioPath
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: pwp on July 08, 2013, 08:35:26 AM
FWIW my EF 50 f/1.4  was perfect and like new when I made the mistake of selling it as a 12 year old lens to replace it with a Sigma 50 f/1.4. Bad move. I should have kept the Canon!

Mind you I never dropped the EF 50. Drops and falls are weird things. Massive drops can result in miraculously little damage...yet I dropped a 70-200 f/2.8 on a 1D MkIIn body and both lens and body were write-offs. The strap slipped off my shoulder and fell onto relatively soft carpeted floor. Weird...People can fall off a cliff and walk away with cuts and bruises or slip on a banana skin and die.

Yes, hoods are terrific shock absorbers and should be used at all times. 

-PW
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: sunnyVan on July 08, 2013, 09:47:00 AM
The only lens I ever dropped was my 50 1.8. This thing was too light. Somehow it got tangled up with my camera neck strap and fell out when I pulled my camera out. It dropped 5ft to concrete ground and cracked open. I was fortunate enough to be able to fix it myself.  And I was able to sell it at 80% of original purchase price despite the apparent cosmetic blemishes.  It worked fine though.

I learned my lesson and became extremely careful with my lenses.  L glass or not, lenses are not made to be dropped.  L glasses are built better and can take some abuse. However if dropped, its survivability depends on your luck.

Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Sporgon on July 08, 2013, 10:06:05 AM
My 50 1.4 has the same problem.

Thanks for posting the vid link Jon: I can now see why the lens does still work - in a fashion. I've been quoted £82 by Canon in the UK to repair it. Having now seen the interior mechanicals I have little confidence in the strength of the lens.

I wonder if non L lenses such as the 85 1.8 are the same; you don't seem to hear of the same problem with them. Maybe because there aren't so many about.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: hyles on July 08, 2013, 10:21:08 AM
I drop my very old 100 macro (the first ef 100 macro the one all metal without USM). It dropped from about 1 mt but had non problems.
Then i dropped 16-35 2.8, i was taking pictures on a stage, it was near my bag and someone kicket it and let it roll on the floor and droped on the wodden floor a 1.5 m below. Had some damage on the external but kept working... then 135 f2 did not fall but had some kind of bang bicouse i had to fix its AF.
Taking my backpack, but forgetting it was open, i droped 1DII with 200 2.8... camera was fine.. i had to fix AF on the lens.
Then i droped 100 f2 from my backpack in the same way... with the same problem.
Last but not least my samyang 8mm f3.5 fish Eye droped from more then 2 m... and had a circular crack on the front glass, but it kept working witout problems on aps_c. When Used on FF you could see the circular crack on the glass.
The i droped an all plastic and very light  28-80 f3.5-4,5 from about 2m, but it had no damage at all.
Thats all... it is better  not to drop lenses.
Diego
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Sporgon on July 08, 2013, 12:11:05 PM
Just in addition: from a quick search of AF drive spare parts it does look to me as if most other canon lenses, including some 'budget' ones do have metal drive cogs. The 50 1.4 and 1.8 seem to be alone in having plastic.

Can anyone confirm this, or shed some light on it. I'm surprised that canon used the weakest material on what was once one of the most popular lenses.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: neuroanatomist on July 08, 2013, 12:13:26 PM
I'm surprised that canon used the weakest material on what was once one of the most popular lenses.

Maybe you'd find it less surprising if that statement is rephrased slightly...  "Canon used the weakest cheapest material on what was once one of the most popular lenses." 

</cynical>  ;)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Shane1.4 on July 08, 2013, 12:42:38 PM
Exact same thing happened to me last week. I just got it back from Canon $147 total to get fixed. Still cheaper than the 50L which I had but didn't like.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Sporgon on July 08, 2013, 01:03:52 PM
I'm surprised that canon used the weakest material on what was once one of the most popular lenses.

Maybe you'd find it less surprising if that statement is rephrased slightly...  "Canon used the weakest cheapest material on what was once one of the most popular lenses." 

</cynical>  ;)


Regretfully in a commercial world I think you're right.

But I still find it frustrating that one of the best optics is in the weakest package. If the 50L had similar optical qualities to the planar 1.4 I'd buy one tomorrow, but it is of course, a niche optic.

I'm hoping the mythical 50mm f2 IS will become a reality, at a realistic price.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: privatebydesign on July 08, 2013, 01:17:09 PM
In the time I have had my 50 f1.4 it has traveled the world, many times. In that time I have broken the 24-70 f2.8, three times, and the 16-35 f2.8, also three times; all from drops, falls or general wear and tear rattling around in bags and loose in backpacks. The 50 has survived it all, with even less consideration than the L's, it has never been to Canon, has never lost alignment, and still focuses accurately at f1.4. It has proven to be my most durable travel lens bar none.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Sporgon on July 08, 2013, 01:33:45 PM
In the time I have had my 50 f1.4 it has traveled the world, many times. In that time I have broken the 24-70 f2.8, three times, and the 16-35 f2.8, also three times; all from drops, falls or general wear and tear rattling around in bags and loose in backpacks. The 50 has survived it all, with even less consideration than the L's, it has never been to Canon, has never lost alignment, and still focuses accurately at f1.4. It has proven to be my most durable travel lens bar none.


Do you want to sell it ?
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: privatebydesign on July 08, 2013, 01:51:13 PM
In the time I have had my 50 f1.4 it has traveled the world, many times. In that time I have broken the 24-70 f2.8, three times, and the 16-35 f2.8, also three times; all from drops, falls or general wear and tear rattling around in bags and loose in backpacks. The 50 has survived it all, with even less consideration than the L's, it has never been to Canon, has never lost alignment, and still focuses accurately at f1.4. It has proven to be my most durable travel lens bar none.


Do you want to sell it ?

No  :) I have not been impressed with the EF 50 f1.2, though I really liked my FD one, so I'd only buy another 1.4, I have no interest in third party lenses and it seems I have the only solid reliable and accurate EF 50 f1.4 out there, so threads like this would have you believe!
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Jay Khaos on July 08, 2013, 02:01:11 PM
I swear 50% of the "build quality" of L lenses is purely a marketing tactic.  They could have just as easily made plastic the "premium" material and dubbed it with some fancy name like "ultralight" line.  Metal has just as many downsides as it does positives, if you ask me.

I'd take a lighter 50mm over a heavier one any day as long as it's cheaper.  Hell, I'd take plastic versions of my entire collection and reduce my weight load by 75%.  While I'm at it, let me have the 5DIII in a plastic body for $1000-1500 less.

PS - What about materials other than metal or plastic.... what if Canon used a carbon fiber shell?  Would probably be way more expensive, but seems like it could be popular on workhorse lenses like the 24-70 and 70-200..
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: ashmadux on July 08, 2013, 02:04:11 PM
the 50 1/4 has been the wackiest canon lens ive owned. Great optics, can take wonderful pics, but i went through 3 copies that didn't focus properly (one was a canon refurb). Even now, my version- bought retail- can miss focus for the first 10 mins then can be accurate for next 20..... its the weirdest thing. I now notice some pretty consistent front focusing.

I used to walk exclusively with my 50 1/8, and have never had such bizzare focus issues.

Terrible, terrible quality control with this lens.


Ah, did i note not being to focus on anything beyond 10 feet or so...if i focus half way down the block or beyond, its blur city. wtf.

sigh this lens has been a LOT of trouble.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Sporgon on July 08, 2013, 02:20:53 PM
I swear 50% of the "build quality" of L lenses is purely a marketing tactic.  They could have just as easily made plastic the "premium" material and dubbed it with some fancy name like "ultralight" line.  Metal has just as many downsides as it does positives, if you ask me.

I'd take a lighter 50mm over a heavier one any day as long as it's cheaper.  Hell, I'd take plastic versions of my entire collection and reduce my weight load by 75%.  While I'm at it, let me have the 5DIII in a plastic body for $1000-1500 less.

PS - What about materials other than metal or plastic.... what if Canon used a carbon fiber shell?  Would probably be way more expensive, but seems like it could be popular on workhorse lenses like the 24-70 and 70-200..


I think you'll find many of the smaller, cheaper L lenses are made from plastic
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: gnd on July 08, 2013, 02:35:16 PM
Check the cost and benefits of Canon insurance for your gear.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: privatebydesign on July 08, 2013, 02:44:09 PM
Check the cost and benefits of Canon insurance for your gear.

Hey that is my F1N apart from the data back, I do have an FN-100 though  :) Used to use it for remote shooting, wow, the stuff we can do now with WiFi and remotes.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: AE-1Burnham on July 08, 2013, 02:57:13 PM
Lenses are not made to be dropped.  ???

The 50/1.4 is really a good lens, it just has an out-of-date and relatively cheap build quality.
I have replaced 3 of these over 15 years, all AF-related problems - replacing it each time with the same lens because it was a standard in my bag and often would reach for it and paid for itself over and over again (I still own my 4th copy though it gathers dust these days). Today the 50/1.2L is in my bag instead of the 50/1.4 for 2 reasons: 1) weather sealing; 2) build quality/reliability.
Goodluck!
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: gnd on July 08, 2013, 03:37:36 PM
Check the cost and benefits of Canon insurance for your gear.

Hey that is my F1N apart from the data back, I do have an FN-100 though  :) Used to use it for remote shooting, wow, the stuff we can do now with WiFi and remotes.

Picture was taken with a 5D2  8).
Stuff we do now with an EF50/1.4 is same with an FD50/1.4. Optically identical.

Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: paulc on July 08, 2013, 03:51:27 PM
When the 50/1.4 hits the ground while it's extended, the notches in the focus barrel can get warped out of place.  You can just push the plastic back into place which will get you going for a bit, but the real fix is the replace the barrel.  It's not impossible by any means.  Simply slipping the lens into your bag extended enough times is sufficient to damage the barrel, it's really that flimsy.

The barrel is a part that should be reinforced or made of something better than just plastic, but continuous improvement is a concept seemingly lost on Canon.  It's utterly perplexing to me how any company can make the same exact product for decades and never ever tweak it.  It's not like they're making manhole covers or bricks.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on July 08, 2013, 04:00:20 PM
I bought a used lens that had the same issue, back then, it was a $85 flat rate to fix it, so I went ahead and had it fixed.  Since then I've had two more which have been fine.
 
All I can say is don't drop the lens, or even bang it around in a camera bag, or abruptly collapse the lens.
I have not sold all three of my 50mm f/1.4's as well as my f/1.8's.  I have replaced it with my 24-70mmL which is much sharper.  I'd like the extra stops, but the lens was not really sharp wide open, and had to be stopped down anyway.  I use my 35mm L wide open with reasonable sharpness.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: old_york on July 08, 2013, 04:38:54 PM
My 50 1.4 focus fail wasn't down to a fall, just down to sitting in the end pocket of my otherwise flawless Lowepro bag.
In a busy/crowded area, my bag (on my shoulder at the time) got crushed between myself and someone passing past me.

Afterwards, the 50 was still fine to focus at minimum focus difference, and fine to focus at infinity; but everything between about 2 and 5 metres produced inconsistent results.
A quick trip to a repair centre fixed it...but now it gets treated with kid-gloves.

Unfortunately I live in fear of another repair bill (about a third the lens' value), so am tempted most sorely to get the 1.2 L - Not because it's quicker or that it may be "better" in terms of IQ; but simply because (thanks to hearing about many other similar experiences) I crave the build quality I see in my L glass.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: kbmelb on July 08, 2013, 05:27:36 PM
I dropped the 24 1.4L (I) onto carpet from about 3 feet and it's focus motor and mount were damaged. Oddly Canon fixed for free.

I dropped 5D3 and 35 1.4 from 1 foot or so onto asphalt and the 35's focus motor was damaged. and the the hood absorbed most of the blow. that cost $300.

I've dropped my 16-35 II onto asphalt from about 3ft with out any damage and my 24-70 (I) from 3ft onto gravel without damage.

So I'm guessing either the older lens designs have cheaper parts or luck of the draw.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Hannes on July 08, 2013, 05:42:18 PM
I think it is a bit luck of the draw. The only lens I've bashed properly was a sigma 18-125 which I had mounted on a 350D round my neck . I was walking down a slope very out of breath due to altitude and a chest infection and at some point one of my poles got caught and I tumbled forwards basically landing on top of my camera and the lens smacked straight into a rock, fortunately hood first. No damage to report, focussing wasn't affected and the only damage was a couple of fairly deep scratches on the front of the hood. Very lucky I would think seeing as while the sigma is pretty well built and solid it is far from L lens standard or even sigmas EX standard.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Kristofgss on July 09, 2013, 04:43:32 AM
The replacement has arrived and it now has the new style cover, but I'm really tempted to have the old one repaired as well seeing that most of you spent less than half of the value of a new one on it. and it would be convenient to have a spare.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Leejo on July 09, 2013, 09:15:15 AM
My 50 1.4 rolled of a table about 1m/3 ft above a wooden floor and suffered the typical focusing damage
(infinity was OK, but below 1.5m was not possible)
The lens was purchased second hand so I decided to take the risk - as a local repair with tax would have
been a reasonable sum. Plus I wanted the lens for a private photos at a wedding coming up soon.
I googled and found a very good description (unfortunately the saved link is not on this PC)
[there could have been some improvements especially the couple of things to note when reassembling]
The first disassemble was very slow as I was very cautious. Then a small amount of bending.
Reassembling meant checking everthing double as well.
After the second go I could do unassemble, fix and assemble almost in my sleep in around half an hour...
I fixed it myself after several tries - each time bending the rotating component a little more back into place.
On the final attempt I also filed the component as well - as I noticed a dent or two.
As it was couldn't attend the wedding - the wife falling ill just beforehand.
I have yet to fully evaluate my fix with AFMA etc. but at least it focuses through the complete range now.

Unfortunately the 40mm pancake is still relatively overpriced here in comparison to the US (as is the EOS-M).
And my other option would have bought the 85mm 1.8 for use on a crop sensor...
So I will stick with it for now - not my most used lens - but still comes in handy.
would certainly wish like a quite a few for an update sometime - but dependent on price and any upgrade to full frame - who knows....


Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Jay Khaos on July 09, 2013, 10:30:12 AM
I think you'll find many of the smaller, cheaper L lenses are made from plastic

True.. I had my 85 and 70-200 specifically in mind when I said that.  I'm sure both of those would be heavy even if they were made plastic though
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: bholliman on July 09, 2013, 05:49:38 PM
My 50 1.4 has proven to be pretty tough.  A few months ago it fell from a table onto a concrete floor, roughly 0.7 meters.  The lens wasn't mounted and landed on the lens cap corner (it also had the plastic cap over the end that mounts to the camera body installed).   The lens cap has a nick in it, but otherwise the lens works fine and looks good.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Otara on July 09, 2013, 06:39:20 PM
Costs $200 to fix it in Oz, v buying it new for about $300 on Ebay.

Ive learned to fix the barrel myself, one other thing that can happen is the rear internal lens on the assembly can pop a little, and be at an angle, which makes focus look fuzzy at lower apertures - only needs a push to clip in properly and all good.

All of the problems have been from actual drops, and I guess I must subconsciously hate it, because its had 3 so far.  I got the sigma 50mm as a replacement and its fine, but so tank like I tend to choose the Canon instead. 

Otara
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Wildfire on July 09, 2013, 07:31:42 PM
I have seen countless 50mm 1.4s listed on my local craigslist with broken autofocus.

My guess is that this lens is not very durable... looking forward to a new IS update from Canon.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: comsense on July 09, 2013, 08:00:07 PM
FWIW my EF 50 f/1.4  was perfect and like new when I made the mistake of selling it as a 12 year old lens to replace it with a Sigma 50 f/1.4. Bad move. I should have kept the Canon!

Mind you I never dropped the EF 50. Drops and falls are weird things. Massive drops can result in miraculously little damage...yet I dropped a 70-200 f/2.8 on a 1D MkIIn body and both lens and body were write-offs. The strap slipped off my shoulder and fell onto relatively soft carpeted floor. Weird...People can fall off a cliff and walk away with cuts and bruises or slip on a banana skin and die.

Yes, hoods are terrific shock absorbers and should be used at all times. 

-PW
Very true. Depends on the Fall

Can anyone confirm this, or shed some light on it. I'm surprised that canon used the weakest material on what was once one of the most popular lenses.
Its design not materials. Plastic can be very hard, sturdy and cheap.
Let me tell you a story about newer but even cheaper lens, 18-55 that came with rebel kit about 10 yrs ago. I accidentally dropped it from my bag while taking something else out of my camera bag from passenger door (just luck that nothing more expensive fell out of it). It rolled under my car to other side and landed under the wheel of minivan backing out of the parking lot fully loaded with hefty people. Yes a minivan ran right over it. I was dead sure that I have a plastic pulp on the other side. To my surprise, the lens was bit scriffed, the metal mount was bit bent but otherwise looked OK. Glass was clean and even filter was not broken. I just tossed it in camera bag, only to notice again months later. I straightened the mount as best as I could and tested the focus and image quality. I know that f/3.5 does not put high demand on tolerances but still!! It worked as well as it should. $90 lens almost entirely made of plastic survived the weight of minivan !!!
So, I think we have so many broken 50 f/1.4 due to old design of plastic gears packed in light shell.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: SwampYankee on July 10, 2013, 08:26:26 AM
This won't work with all drops but I have some simple advise that may save some.  When you drop something, stick your foot out to break the fall.  Practice this with all things.  Many times this will break the fall enough to prevent damage.  This will work when you drop something while you are standing (changing lenses) but obviously will not help with something that falls off the camera.  I've save a number of lenses this way.  The downside, reflex.  Once I opened the freeze and a frozen chicken slid out.  I put out my food to break the fall.  Good for the chicken....not so good for my foot :-)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: tallrob on July 11, 2013, 02:48:39 PM
Back when I was dirt poor, I was a huge fan of the 50/1.8.  I went through several of them. But only after completely wearing them out.  Sure, I dropped them a few times, but they're so lightweight that they can handle their own mass and bounce around without much consequence.  Unless, of course a body is attached, or if you run over the camera bag with the car.  Then it's really nice when that $75 lens takes the impact. 

The 1.4 is just too heavy for itself.  Better not to drop it. ;D
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Kristofgss on July 16, 2013, 06:01:52 AM
The original is sent to canon for repairs, so I'll keep you guys informed of what the cost here (Europe- benelux) is. The store said it could take up to six weeks and they'll keep me informed of the cost before doing the actual repair. if the cost would be too high, I can forfeit the lens and they would not charge examination costs (50 euro)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: eosuser1234 on July 16, 2013, 09:43:06 AM
I have a 35mm F/2.

I dropped it once, and the focus mechanism jammed up.
I read somewhere if you drop it again it may fix it.  I dropped it twice on my carpeted floor from 2 feet.

Focus fixed. 

Thank you Canon.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: J.R. on July 16, 2013, 09:58:57 AM
It's amazing what a lens hood on a 50mm f/1.4 can do for its durability.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: tdrive on July 16, 2013, 10:50:31 AM
The focus ring on my 1.4 also got bent inside a suitcase . Any force whatsoever to shorten the lens will bend it and i strongly suggest permanently leaving a hood on there. I did find this web page and followed it to the letter to fix my lens myself and it worked. Allow yourself a couple of hours of time to do it however.
http://image23photographic.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/fixing-stuck-focus-ring-on-canon-50mm.html?zx=518f552364f8185d (http://image23photographic.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/fixing-stuck-focus-ring-on-canon-50mm.html?zx=518f552364f8185d)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: CANONisOK on July 16, 2013, 11:13:48 AM
I swear 50% of the "build quality" of L lenses is purely a marketing tactic.  They could have just as easily made plastic the "premium" material and dubbed it with some fancy name like "ultralight" line.  Metal has just as many downsides as it does positives, if you ask me.

I know one anecdote does not a study make... but about a month ago my stomach turned as I saw my 85L get knocked over and roll off a table and fall 3 feet onto the (carpeted) floor. Lots of pics since then have confirmed that it is no worse for wear WRT functionality and focusing accuracy.

Maybe the circumstances (fall distance, impact velocity/rotation/angle, floor material, etc.) were "ideal". Maybe it was just plain old luck. I don't plan on performing any more tests to see if I can duplicate the results under different conditions!  ;)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: BozillaNZ on July 18, 2013, 08:29:19 PM
Yes it's durability is very bad.

The problem is not only a front push would deform the helicoid, but also a side squeeze will do the damage too. It is badly designed.

Taking it apart you can see that the thin aluminum focus helicoid is sandwiched between two plastic rings with little to no tolerance. A simple squeeze will deform the helicoid and make it jam up with either inner or outer ring of plastic.

If you want to try it, simple squeeze the lens around front of focus ring and try to AF, it won't! LOL!
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Kristofgss on September 09, 2013, 05:07:48 AM
I finally received the repaired lens, 172 euro, replacement of focus gears, barrel and cleaning of the lens elements. It works like a charm, though to my ears the focus sounds different now. I tried it next to the replacement 50 F1.4 and the results were identical when it cames to focus performance, so I guess the repair really made it as good as new.
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: ecka on September 09, 2013, 07:31:12 AM
Do not drop your lenses! - Problem solved ;)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Dylan777 on September 09, 2013, 09:17:47 AM
Do not drop your lenses! - Problem solved ;)

+1....dropped my 85L II yesterday :(
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: ecka on September 09, 2013, 11:59:31 AM
Do not drop your lenses! - Problem solved ;)

+1....dropped my 85L II yesterday :(

OMG  :( ... is it fine?
Originally, I wanted to ask the OP - "Are you wondering if an L lens would allow you to drop it continuously?", but then I remembered about the warning I've got from the "trolling rights watch" (no offense :)). So, is it the first time you've dropped it?
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Kristofgss on September 10, 2013, 03:26:37 AM
Originally, I wanted to ask the OP - "Are you wondering if an L lens would allow you to drop it continuously?", but then I remembered about the warning I've got from the "trolling rights watch" (no offense :)). So, is it the first time you've dropped it?

Yes, it was the first time I dropped that particular lens, and that was from only one metre high onto a wooden floor. It was however the second time I destroyed a 50F1.4 as the first one died with exactly the same problem when a handheld scanner slipped out of my hands and hit it while it was on a camera. I have lots of other lenses (both L and non-L) and never had any issues with those, even though they are used in averse conditions (having people bump into you, backpack on bike, doorframes. tripod failure,...)

So my question was rather than "can I drop it continuously", "Do the L Lenses with internal focussing offer better protection against deformation" Because If I have to baby the 50F1.4 every time I throw it in a backpack, I might as wel save up for the 50 1.2L as i'll end up destroying more 50F1.4's in the end (Now on my third copy of the lens already)

But no offense taken for your original question, it was more about the fact that the particular lens I have is apparently very prone to issues due to the construction (so Next time, I'll replace it tiwth the L anyway)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: ecka on September 10, 2013, 04:33:56 AM
Originally, I wanted to ask the OP - "Are you wondering if an L lens would allow you to drop it continuously?", but then I remembered about the warning I've got from the "trolling rights watch" (no offense :)). So, is it the first time you've dropped it?

Yes, it was the first time I dropped that particular lens, and that was from only one metre high onto a wooden floor. It was however the second time I destroyed a 50F1.4 as the first one died with exactly the same problem when a handheld scanner slipped out of my hands and hit it while it was on a camera. I have lots of other lenses (both L and non-L) and never had any issues with those, even though they are used in averse conditions (having people bump into you, backpack on bike, doorframes. tripod failure,...)

So my question was rather than "can I drop it continuously", "Do the L Lenses with internal focussing offer better protection against deformation" Because If I have to baby the 50F1.4 every time I throw it in a backpack, I might as wel save up for the 50 1.2L as i'll end up destroying more 50F1.4's in the end (Now on my third copy of the lens already)

But no offense taken for your original question, it was more about the fact that the particular lens I have is apparently very prone to issues due to the construction (so Next time, I'll replace it tiwth the L anyway)

That makes sense. However, you would throw away a lot more $ if you destroy a 50L :). You've said that you love the manual focusing ring, then maybe a pure manual prime is what you need?
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Dylan777 on September 10, 2013, 08:33:26 AM
Do not drop your lenses! - Problem solved ;)

+1....dropped my 85L II yesterday :(

OMG  :( ... is it fine?
Originally, I wanted to ask the OP - "Are you wondering if an L lens would allow you to drop it continuously?", but then I remembered about the warning I've got from the "trolling rights watch" (no offense :)). So, is it the first time you've dropped it?

The lens was dropped from 3-4ft to firm carpet floor. I tested the lens and it seems working fine. The lens is currently in Canon Service Center, Irvine, CA for over all check up.

That was my 1st time dropping the lens...and I DO NOT have any plan to drop it again ;)
Title: Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
Post by: Kristofgss on September 11, 2013, 04:26:56 AM
A lenscaot for non-wildlife lenses would be great. Not to hade it,j but rather to protect it. Or seomething based on crazy aarons thinking putty?