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Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: brianleighty on April 22, 2012, 11:41:05 AM

Title: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: brianleighty on April 22, 2012, 11:41:05 AM
So I have the canon 50 1.8. I use it some but am not super impressed with it. It's great stopped down but I can get about the same quality with the 24 105 IS. I just recently upgraded to a full frame camera. I've only gotten to do one shoot with the full frame but I'm noticing the 35 2.0 that I used a ton on my crop body isn't the focal length I'm looking for as much on full frame. What I'm trying to figure out is if I should just try messing around with the canon 50 1.8 some more or if it's worth upgrading to the 1.4. I hear lots of complaints about it not being a true usm focus system. It would be nice to have the better aperture blades but if that's the main thing I'm getting it's not worth it. Has anyone been in a similar situation and have some advice? Thanks.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: !Xabbu on April 22, 2012, 12:10:25 PM
Hi Brian,

I got the 50mm f/1.4 as one of my first lenses and I'm really disappointed with its performance. It's really soft wide open (in fact it seems soft to me for apertures wider f/2.8), has really bad contrast and I don't like the colors. Perhaps I just got a bad copy, but in the end I like even my Tokina 17-50mm @ 50mm better than the Canon. It comes nowhere close to my 70-200mm f/4 L in sharpness, color or contrast.

I know that there are many people out there loving this lens, but it seems that there are at least as many people hating it. Do you have a chance to rent it for a few days and play around with it?
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: spinworkxroy on April 22, 2012, 01:04:48 PM
Hi,
I was in the exact same shoes as you when i was using my 60D..
I had the 50f1.8 but i rarely used it because 50mm somehow works better on a FF…
I used my 30mm on my 60D alot more and well 300 makes it 50 on a FF doesn't it.

So when i upgraded to a 5d3…i was also thinking if i should use the 50 f1.8 or get the 50 f1.4
Ultimately because the 500mm works much better on a FF than crop and i felt that i was going to use it alot more, i sold my f1.8 and get myself the f1.4 2nd hand. Why? Because although people have said it's not a real USM and there's probles with it etc…it's still overall faster and better built than the 1.8 no matter how you look at it.
It focuses faster and it has 1.4 WHEN you need it…it's better stopped to f2.8…but so is the 50mm f1.8…
Both are equally as sharp but the 1.4 will focus faster and it is built much better too.
Bokeh also looks nicer becuase it has more blades after all…
The price differnce isn't hat much if you buy 2nd hand so it's worth getting the F1.4 version..
And for me…with the 5D3, it has all the built in Lens correction features for this lens, it makes it a much nicer lens to use…so my advice to you is..IF you like the 30mm on the crop and use it alot you will need something similar on the FF and the 50mm f1.4 is THE lens to get if you want something cheap and good. The f1.8 is a great lens for that price..but it's still a plastic mount lens, still very plastic made, only 5 aperture blades and only f1.8…for maybe $150 more, you can get a 2nd hand F1.4…so why not?
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: Random Orbits on April 22, 2012, 01:34:11 PM
Hi Brian,

I got the 50mm f/1.4 as one of my first lenses and I'm really disappointed with its performance. It's really soft wide open (in fact it seems soft to me for apertures wider f/2.8), has really bad contrast and I don't like the colors. Perhaps I just got a bad copy, but in the end I like even my Tokina 17-50mm @ 50mm better than the Canon. It comes nowhere close to my 70-200mm f/4 L in sharpness, color or contrast.

I know that there are many people out there loving this lens, but it seems that there are at least as many people hating it. Do you have a chance to rent it for a few days and play around with it?

Even using contrast AF in Live View?  I tried a friend's copy that was soft using normal phase detection AF from f/1.4 to f/2.8, but it was a lot sharper when using Live View shooting wide open.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: EvilTed on April 22, 2012, 01:36:19 PM
I've never tried the 50 F/1.4 but I got the 24-105 F/4 with my kit lens and the 50 F/1.8 kicked the pants off it IMHO.

1. Shoot AV
2. Use One Shot AF
3. Use Single Point AF
4. Get Lightroom 4.1
The 50mm F/1.8 isn't supported by default in the 5D MK3 but Lightroom makes a huge difference.

I also have the 50 F/1.2 and this is an even harder lens to control wide open.
I guess you just need to keep shooting and make adjustments to your technique until it comes together.

I got better results for portraits with the humble 50 F/1.8 than the 70-200 F/2.8 II too, which everyone rates very highly.
So, don't give up on the F/1.8, it's a great lens optically...

ET


Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: Reid_design on April 22, 2012, 01:42:27 PM
I currently have the 50mm f/1.4 and have used it extensively with my 5D mkIII. I do really like this lens, stopped down it gives exceptional sharpness and wide open it has a dreamy look to it. I have considered upgrading to the 50mm f/1.2 L because i find the autofocus on the 50mm f/1.4 is fairly brutal in low light, and this is one of my main uses for it.

Having said that, I've decided to keep the f/1.4 in my bag for now, and instead improve my collection in the wide angle department for the time being.

To answer your question, I've not used the f/1.8 but if what I've described the f/1.4 as being peaks your interest then i suggest you buy it! Used copies you can get for around 300$ CAD, which is really not bad for a lens with such great images stopped down...

Here is a jpeg image from the 50mm f/1.4 on the 5dmkIII taken at f/14 500ISO .4"
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: aznable on April 22, 2012, 02:34:25 PM
if you want a lens usable from 1.4, better to go with sigma

the resolution diference with 1.4 canon huge

http://www.lenstip.com/177.4-Lens_review-Sigma_50_mm_f_1.4_EX_DG_HSM_Image_resolution.html (http://www.lenstip.com/177.4-Lens_review-Sigma_50_mm_f_1.4_EX_DG_HSM_Image_resolution.html)

Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: EOBeav on April 22, 2012, 04:36:30 PM
Yes, go with the Canon 50mm f/1.4. The difference in sharpness and overall IQ is well worth what you'll be paying. The AF issues are well documented, but there are some tricks to getting more consistently in focus shots.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: pwp on April 22, 2012, 07:03:01 PM
It's a big ask from just about any lens to expect it to be pin sharp wide open. There are some (usually expensive) notable exceptions of course. My EF 50 f/1.4 was virtually unusable wide open but WAY better at just f/1.8 and reaching fabulous at a still very bright f/2.

In a quest for a better 50mm I traded to the Sigma 50 f/1.4. It's a little better wide open but then it's line ball with the EF Canon 50 f/1.4 from around f/2 onwards. So it was basically a wasted exercise...I have the Sigma which is much bigger & heavier in my bag for very little practical gain.

But for the OP, either of these lenses will deliver better performance than Canon's cheapest lens, the EF 50 f/1.8. Don't expect wide open miracles, but they'll be much better performers for you.

My experience with the f/1.8 is that it gets very good from around f/5.6, but is a real softy up at the wide end. There are good copies around that are more than acceptable wide open, but are generally as rare as hens teeth. Yep, do the upgrade.

Paul Wright
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: 7enderbender on April 22, 2012, 07:03:07 PM
I love the optics. There is a reason why this lens used to be the reference lens for decades. People who complain about sharpness or contrast issues may have bad copies or just higher standards. It delivers results that are pretty close to the 50L (which some say has also some issues perhaps). Build quality is another problem.

So in short: getting a really really outstanding 50mm lens is a bit of a problem and you always have to compromise in one way or another. Some have mentioned the Sigma. Never tried that one. Reports have been mixed as well. Other options are manual focus lenses, e.g the Zeiss offers (and yet again some issues there as well it seems) or the old FD or FL lenses with the Ed Mika conversion kits.

The last two are on my short list. Still hoping for upgrades to the EF 50 1.4 or 50L.

50 or 55mm lenses on full frame are great in my opinion and if you like and use that focal length a lot and like the options that wide aperture primes offer than it's certainly worth investing into something you like and feel comfortable with.

I'm happily using the 50 1.4 for now. I handle it like raw eggs and leave the lens hood on for mechanical protection of the clutch at all times.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: jabbott on April 22, 2012, 08:40:20 PM
Here is my review of the Canon 50mm f/1.4 at B&H, which explains some of the differences I've experienced between the 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 lenses...:
Quote
This is an impressive lens for low light photography, and it is the most affordable f/1.4 aperture lens available for Canon. Auto-focus is fast and responsive when using the camera's center AF point, although in low light it can sometimes struggle to lock on the subject. There is noticeable halation at f/1.4 however it disappears by f/2.8. At f/5.6 to f/7.1 it is remarkably sharp. At those apertures it seems sharper than the 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is better than the Canon 50mm f/1.8 in terms of build quality, auto-focus speed, full-time manual focus ability, color reproduction and maximum aperture (note - I should have also mentioned bokeh and handling of specular highlights here). Chromatic aberration is very slight but more noticeable at wider apertures. At f/1.4, this lens lets in 1.65x as much light as an f/1.8 lens, and 4.0x as much light as an f/2.8 lens. If you need good low light performance that rivals the best zoom lenses, and are able to photograph your subjects at 50mm, this is the lens to get.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: jdramirez on April 25, 2012, 09:56:43 AM
I have a 60D (so we aren't comparing apples to apples) and I went from the 50mm f/1.8 to the 50mm f/1.4.  I like the 1.4, it does seem to be better build and doesn't feel like a toy.  I always have a hood on the lens, so I don't worry about trauma to the AF system. 

As far as the quality of my images... ehh... I think the f/1.8 is such a great performer for it's price and I always shot around 2.8 anyway.  I don't think the 1.4 is that much better, but considering we are talking about lens prices, an additional $250 seems like a drop in the bucket considering the price of my 24-105 and the 70-200mm f/4 IS that I plan on eventually buying. 

So the short answer is no, it isn't worth the upgrade in terms of amazing performance, but considering the difference in price which isn't really that much, I'd say get the f/1.4.

When I was buying golf equipment, I was willing to pay a premium for clubs that were top of the line because I didn't want to have the nagging suspicion that my drive could have gone 15 yards farther, or my wedge could have generated more backspin allowing me to be closer to the hole by an additional 3 feet.  I'm a tad bit neurotic in that sense, so if you are a pixel peeper or you think that your shot could have been improved if only you had paid the small amount to get the better lens... then get the better lens.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: !Xabbu on April 25, 2012, 03:27:03 PM
I have a 60D (so we aren't comparing apples to apples) and I went from the 50mm f/1.8 to the 50mm f/1.4.  I like the 1.4, it does seem to be better build and doesn't feel like a toy.  I always have a hood on the lens, so I don't worry about trauma to the AF system. 

As far as the quality of my images... ehh... I think the f/1.8 is such a great performer for it's price and I always shot around 2.8 anyway.  I don't think the 1.4 is that much better, but considering we are talking about lens prices, an additional $250 seems like a drop in the bucket considering the price of my 24-105 and the 70-200mm f/4 IS that I plan on eventually buying. 

So the short answer is no, it isn't worth the upgrade in terms of amazing performance, but considering the difference in price which isn't really that much, I'd say get the f/1.4.

When I was buying golf equipment, I was willing to pay a premium for clubs that were top of the line because I didn't want to have the nagging suspicion that my drive could have gone 15 yards farther, or my wedge could have generated more backspin allowing me to be closer to the hole by an additional 3 feet.  I'm a tad bit neurotic in that sense, so if you are a pixel peeper or you think that your shot could have been improved if only you had paid the small amount to get the better lens... then get the better lens.

As you said the IQ of the 50mm f/1.4 is not really great. Why spend extra money on a lens which doesn't give you great IQ. If your finances allow it, you might want to look at the TS-E 45mm f/2.8.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: IIIHobbs on April 25, 2012, 04:55:50 PM
So I have the canon 50 1.8. 
I just recently upgraded to a full frame camera.
I'm noticing the 35 2.0 that I used a ton... isn't the focal length I'm looking for as much on full frame.
Has anyone been in a similar situation and have some advice? Thanks.

Moving to a FF Camera, you will want to look at the 85mm f1.8 to to use in place of your 50mm; it will provide a similar field of view that the 50mm did on your Crop Body. More here: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-85mm-f-1.8-USM-Lens-Review.aspx (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-85mm-f-1.8-USM-Lens-Review.aspx)

On the FF, your 50mm should be providing about the same field of view as the 35mm did on your Crop Body.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: jdramirez on April 25, 2012, 08:58:05 PM
What?  I said the 1.4 wasn't that much better than the 1.8.  The 1.4 is one of the sharpest lenses I own and it I do have an L series lens.  So what I really was saying is that the 1.8 is remarkably sharp considering the price. 

I have a 60D (so we aren't comparing apples to apples) and I went from the 50mm f/1.8 to the 50mm f/1.4.  I like the 1.4, it does seem to be better build and doesn't feel like a toy.  I always have a hood on the lens, so I don't worry about trauma to the AF system. 

As far as the quality of my images... ehh... I think the f/1.8 is such a great performer for it's price and I always shot around 2.8 anyway.  I don't think the 1.4 is that much better, but considering we are talking about lens prices, an additional $250 seems like a drop in the bucket considering the price of my 24-105 and the 70-200mm f/4 IS that I plan on eventually buying. 

So the short answer is no, it isn't worth the upgrade in terms of amazing performance, but considering the difference in price which isn't really that much, I'd say get the f/1.4.

When I was buying golf equipment, I was willing to pay a premium for clubs that were top of the line because I didn't want to have the nagging suspicion that my drive could have gone 15 yards farther, or my wedge could have generated more backspin allowing me to be closer to the hole by an additional 3 feet.  I'm a tad bit neurotic in that sense, so if you are a pixel peeper or you think that your shot could have been improved if only you had paid the small amount to get the better lens... then get the better lens.

As you said the IQ of the 50mm f/1.4 is not really great. Why spend extra money on a lens which doesn't give you great IQ. If your finances allow it, you might want to look at the TS-E 45mm f/2.8.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: spinworkxroy on April 25, 2012, 09:39:43 PM
that's why i find the dual card slots extremely useful.
mRaw in the CF and JPG in the SD.
99% of the time, i won't use the RAW files at all since the JPGs work great in the 5D3 out of the camera with the correct picture style used etc..in fact, i often find after editing the RAW files and exporting to jpgs that the original jpg looked 90% identical to the edited raw…so i'd rather save myself the trouble and just use the jpg out of the camera.
However, it's also good to be prepared to have the raw files on another card IF i need it..if not, just format the card…simple as that…
Raw is good to have when you need it but 99% of the time, i don't use it…
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: Tracy Pinto on April 25, 2012, 09:45:52 PM
Yes get this lens. I had the 1.8 and now own the 1.4. The difference is very much worth it. Those that have a soft 1.4 should send it to Canon to have it tuned.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: EOBeav on April 26, 2012, 10:11:25 AM
Moving to a FF Camera, you will want to look at the 85mm f1.8 to to use in place of your 50mm; it will provide a similar field of view that the 50mm did on your Crop Body. More here: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-85mm-f-1.8-USM-Lens-Review.aspx (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-85mm-f-1.8-USM-Lens-Review.aspx)

On the FF, your 50mm should be providing about the same field of view as the 35mm did on your Crop Body.

That's only if you want the field of view to be the same. I stuck with my 50mm f/1.4 when I recently moved to a full frame, and I actually prefer this FoV on the 50 over what I had on the 1.6 crop.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: BobSanderson on April 26, 2012, 10:39:18 AM
Great lens - it is inexpensive enough for you to try it. The colors are beautiful and mine is very sharp throughout and fast!
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: martydo on April 26, 2012, 10:41:41 AM
did you consider the Zeiss 2.0 50mm makro? I recently got this lens and its VERY nice on the mark3- super sharp..
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: RLPhoto on April 26, 2012, 10:45:36 AM
So I have the canon 50 1.8. I use it some but am not super impressed with it. It's great stopped down but I can get about the same quality with the 24 105 IS. I just recently upgraded to a full frame camera. I've only gotten to do one shoot with the full frame but I'm noticing the 35 2.0 that I used a ton on my crop body isn't the focal length I'm looking for as much on full frame. What I'm trying to figure out is if I should just try messing around with the canon 50 1.8 some more or if it's worth upgrading to the 1.4. I hear lots of complaints about it not being a true usm focus system. It would be nice to have the better aperture blades but if that's the main thing I'm getting it's not worth it. Has anyone been in a similar situation and have some advice? Thanks.

Short Answer - YES, Its worth it.


Long answer - It has manual focus overide, USM, Better Bokeh, Metal Mount, Better lens hood design, Good Wide open performance (On par with the 35mm 1.4L or Better.) and its only 350$. Its worth the extra monies.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: vuilang on April 27, 2012, 03:51:35 AM
yes, the 50 1.4 is worth the upgrade. (so is the 50 1.2, but not by much IMHO)
I owned 50 1.8II and still have it (though never mount it in last 2,3yrs).
I was amazed by its IQ compared to the much more expensive Canon 24-70.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: brianleighty on April 30, 2012, 11:18:58 PM
Thanks for everyone's input. I think I'll try renting the 1.4 the next time I rent from lens rentals. Interesting suggestion regarding the tilt shift 45. Although with it only being 2.8 that's a little slow. I do want to try one out at some point but my main purpose for primes is light input. The one exception being the 100 is macro. I have looked at the zeiss 50 makro and would love to try that out at some point as well. That's a little out of my price range at the moment but I'll definitively keep that in mind.
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: jabbott on May 10, 2012, 08:59:29 PM
Here is my comparison of the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8:
http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=5927.msg112725#msg112725 (http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=5927.msg112725#msg112725)
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: rahkshi007 on May 11, 2012, 12:54:33 PM
I have this lens on 5d markii... i like to use due to its lightweight compare to L lens. The focus is fast and accurate. However i find that the shot taken at f1.4 is okay but not extremely sharp. For very sharp image, it start from f1.8 to f2. The main reason i choose this lens over the 50mm f1.8 is the bokeh quality as this lens has more blade. Furthermore, i feel that the 50mm f1.8 look funny when it is on 5dm2 ( just personal taste)
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: 3kramd5 on May 11, 2012, 01:15:46 PM
I found the 1.8 frustrating; focus is too slow. The USM in the 1.4 is noticeably better. As mentioned above, the bokeh is much more pleasing than the 1.8.

So I have the canon 50 1.8. 
I just recently upgraded to a full frame camera.
I'm noticing the 35 2.0 that I used a ton... isn't the focal length I'm looking for as much on full frame.
Has anyone been in a similar situation and have some advice? Thanks.

Moving to a FF Camera, you will want to look at the 85mm f1.8 to to use in place of your 50mm; it will provide a similar field of view that the 50mm did on your Crop Body.


... unless he got the larger frame camera because he wants to make use of the larger frame ;)
Title: Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
Post by: Canon Cliff on May 11, 2012, 01:29:46 PM
I had a canon 50mm 1.8 and wanted something that had better build quality and a quieter AF motor. I got the sigma which had to be retuned for a major front focusing issue on return it was not much better so it went back again! it then focused correctly at f1.4 but the focus shifted as i stopped down and was front focusing again by f2.8. i returned the sigma and got my money back which is a shame because it was a very well built lens with a nice quiet focus motor.I now have the canon 1.4 which is better built than the 1.8 has a slightly quieter AF motor and slightly better bokeh it is soft at 1.4 but i find mine very useable by f2.0 and great by f4. If you fancy taking a chance of getting a good copy of the sigma go for it, its a great lens if you can get a good one my friend is lucky to have a good copy and its very good from 1.4 but its a risk u take in my opinion. Regarding the canons unless you want better build quality and a slightly better and quieter AF motor id stay with the 1.8. the better build & AF was enough for me to pay the extra!