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Author Topic: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?  (Read 9470 times)

switters

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Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« 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.

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Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« on: January 27, 2013, 09:28:21 AM »

alexturton

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #1 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
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J.R.

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #2 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. 
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candyman

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #3 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
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 11:24:55 AM by candyman »

switters

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #4 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.

rs

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #5 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.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 11:44:26 AM by rs »
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switters

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #6 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.

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 11:56:17 AM »

rs

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #7 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.
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extremeinstability

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #8 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

RS2021

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 01:51:47 PM »
Please tell me this is not yet another 50L vs 50 1.4 pissing contenst post.  >:(
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J.R.

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #10 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
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risc32

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #11 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.

HoneyBadger

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #12 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.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 03:11:31 PM by HoneyBadger »
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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2013, 03:07:18 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #13 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.

skitron

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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #14 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.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 09:58:06 PM by skitron »
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Re: Which 50mm (with AF) is best from f/1.4 - f/2.0?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2013, 03:17:25 PM »