Gear Talk > Lenses

Canon 40mm vs 50mm f/1.4

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pensive tomato:
I've seen many comparisons of the shorty forty and the nifty fifty, but not much info bringing the 50mm f/1.4 into the mix. I know of the obvious difference in focal length and the 2-stop advantage of the 50mm. I've owned the 50mm for almost two years (my first prime), yet it never felt "right" even after I moved to FF with the 6D. I think going a bit wider may be the answer. So I'm asking for clarification on the following from all the more experienced minds around:

1) How do these lenses compare on sharpness f/2.8 through f/8?
2) Is there any improvement on AF speed/accuracy on the 40mm?
3) Any thoughts on FTM functionality and motor noise (I've never used an STM lens, yet I've found the 50mm's USM implementation lacking)?

Mt Spokane Photography:
If your 50mm does not seem right, have it checked at Canon.  It does not have true USM, but is plenty fast to focus, faster than most lenses simply because it does not have to move the barrel very far.  The focus mechanism can be damaged and slow down the lens focusing.  It still appears to be working, but is slow.
 
The 40mm is a very simple lens.  It is slower to focus, but quieter.  It is faster to focus on cameras optimized for STM, but there are no FF cameras that are.
 
As far as sharpness, that's a term that misleads a lot of people, we all use it.   I suspect you refer to the overall  IQ.  For example, a lens image can look very sharp because of high contrast and low chromatic aberrations even though its measured resolution is not that high.
 
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/sharpness.htm
 
For the price, the 40mm is a super buy, and it produces beautiful images, even at f/2.8
 

Rienzphotoz:

--- Quote from: Mt Spokane Photography on May 06, 2013, 11:05:08 AM ---If your 50mm does not seem right, have it checked at Canon.  It does not have true USM, but is plenty fast to focus, faster than most lenses simply because it does not have to move the barrel very far.  The focus mechanism can be damaged and slow down the lens focusing.  It still appears to be working, but is slow.
 
The 40mm is a very simple lens.  It is slower to focus, but quieter.  It is faster to focus on cameras optimized for STM, but there are no FF cameras that are.
 
As far as sharpness, that's a term that misleads a lot of people, we all use it.   I suspect you refer to the overall  IQ.  For example, a lens image can look very sharp because of high contrast and low chromatic aberrations even though its measured resolution is not that high.
 
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/sharpness.htm
 
For the price, the 40mm is a super buy, and it produces beautiful images, even at f/2.8

--- End quote ---
+1

skfla:
Pensive tomato, Dude the 40mm is $80 refurbished at Canon USA right now.  Probably sold out but if not, just pick one up.  For that price you can do your own comparsions & then use it as a body cap-or paperweight!- if you don't like it (or just stick it on your back up or sell to friend).  Good luck! sk

FYI, The wider angle than the 50mm is nice & the colors seem better than on Canon's old 35mm f/2 (somewhat comparable price range).  I do like using it on my 5D2 for fun but not when I'm shooting anything serious.  & the focal length on either of my back ups (both are crop sensor) is not really very functional.

pensive tomato:
Mt. Spokane, I may take your advise and send my 50 to Canon. It's always been slower and less accurate (AF) than my 85 and 100 primes. I'd blamed it on the older lens design and my own skills, but there may be something else going on.

skla, you're right in that the pancake is an easy buy and perhaps worth a shoot.

Thank you all for your comments on IQ and the healthy reminder on keeping lens characteristics straight.

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