I own this lens and use it often. I usually nod my head in agreement to your good work, but I had a few differing viewpoints with this one:
- This lens has an older style of USM that is faster than kit or STM glass, but it's nothing compared to a modern ring USM system. Besides the sheer speed of adjusting focus, the focus also seems to hunt more on this lens, further increasing it's overall 'time to target'. In fairness, I don't miss with focus on this lens often -- you know when it's off as it won't confirm. But chasing kids / animals / sports with this is exceptionally frustrating.
- This lens is not an internally focusing lens. That should be a must for a prime to avoid a clear entry pathway for dust, water, debris, etc. (even if it is not weather-sealed)
- You made a comment that the L is sharper at similar apertures, and I would disagree. I have shot both and not had that experience. The 1.2L is for wide aperture center sharpness, color and great bokeh -- and that's it. In my hands, the the F/1.4 is sharper lens from F/2.8 to F/narrowest, and the PZ charts (attached below) would agree with that. This single upside of the F/1.4 is why I kept the F/1.4 when I can afford the F/1.2: it produces better images at the apertures that I shoot.
- Agree completely on your F/2 and narrower with this lens. Anything wider than F/2 may be interesting or memorable, but it will not be very sharp.
As I've said many times, this is the #1 lens in need of a refresh for Canon
. I still see the F/1.2L as the specialist / art / portraiture lens and this F/1.4 as the workhorse 'for all other reasons' lens.
Given that, there is clearly a price point and technical need for a new 50 prime with the following features:
- Better build
- As sharp as the current L of the same length (...which is a really low bar given the data I've shared)
- Internal focusing
- Modern USM
They'd sell it for $799 and I'd gladly pay that price. The good news is that lens is being made, and we should have in the next 12-18 months based on the 24, 28, and 35 non-L refreshes we've seen. It's only a matter of time.
Sorry for the long post -- but I love 50mm and we need this lens. (Or a Sigma Art line version of their 35mm F/1.4 in this length.)