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Author Topic: 50 F1.4 durabilty question  (Read 9396 times)

Kristofgss

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50 F1.4 durabilty question
« 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.

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50 F1.4 durabilty question
« on: July 08, 2013, 04:38:44 AM »

verysimplejason

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #1 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

Tiosabas

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #2 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.
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Kristofgss

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #3 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.

The Bad Duck

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #4 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?

AmbientLight

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #5 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.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 08:05:52 AM by AmbientLight »

Jon Gilchrist

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #6 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.

Small | Large

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 08:30:09 AM »

RadioPath

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #7 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

pwp

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #8 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

sunnyVan

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #9 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.

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Sporgon

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #10 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.

hyles

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #11 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
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 10:24:19 AM by hyles »

Sporgon

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #12 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.

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2013, 12:11:05 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #13 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>  ;)
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Shane1.4

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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #14 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.
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Re: 50 F1.4 durabilty question
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2013, 12:42:38 PM »