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Author Topic: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?  (Read 11629 times)

seamonster

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50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« on: July 11, 2013, 11:54:12 AM »
In preparation for my upgrade to a 5d3 (from a 60D) later this year I'm trying to compile a list of potential prime lenses to get between the 35 and 100mm range. I've already got a 24-105L and will sell my non-L 70-300 to get the L version. Also have a 50mm 1.8 so I'll need to get a 85 1.8 to get my portrait capability back.

Then the question remains: Do I keep the little plastic toy (which never use wider than 2.8 anyways) or just get a pancake (which is actually pretty usable wide open, vignetting aside)? Do I even need a 50? I know the 50mm 1.4 isn't great wide open either and has fragility issues but at least it'll work with the automatic CA corrections in the 5d3 (I shoot RAW+jpeg). The sigma 50 1.4 is...really big for a 50mm prime, has AF quality control issues and won't work with auto CA corrections. Rumor mill has it that the sigma 50 is due for a rebody to the "art" line they've got going now but probably won't get an optics refresh... Oh yeah, the 50mm 1.2 is a no thanks I'll keep the money. Everything 50mm seems to be a compromise and you'd think after so many decades of people using such a prolific "normal" lens the designers would have perfected the formulas by now.

Do I even need a 50?
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50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« on: July 11, 2013, 11:54:12 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2013, 11:57:57 AM »
Get the 40/2.8...
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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2013, 12:25:37 PM »
F/1.2 - 1.4 - 1.8 are compromises. I wouldn't classify them as suck, I only hold the EF 50mm F/1.0 in that category.

All shot @ f/1.2 50mm.

dexstrose

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 12:26:07 PM »
Just keep what you have until you get the FF. Shoot with the 50 1.8 and see if you like it on the FF. DOF changes when on FF and there is no 1.6 multiplier like crop. So it might change your mind on what you need.

Dylan777

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 01:15:47 PM »
I'll take 40pancake if you don't shoot bigger than f2.8 - smaller, lighter and cheaper. It's sharp wide open.

I wouldn't say that about 50L - you just have to own one ;)
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bholliman

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 01:22:23 PM »
Just keep what you have until you get the FF. Shoot with the 50 1.8 and see if you like it on the FF. DOF changes when on FF and there is no 1.6 multiplier like crop. So it might change your mind on what you need.

+1 

I'm happy with my 50 1.4.  I normally shot it at f/2.0 - 2.8, but its nice to have the ability to shoot at 1.4 if I need to for really shallow DOF.  The lens is a soft at the corners at this aperture, but I'm normally using it for portraits anyway and don't have my subject in a corner of the frame, so that's OK.  The 40mm pancake is a nice little lens.  I don't see myself buying once since its so close to the 50mm and I now have a 24-70 2.8 II that can take the place of all primes in the range.
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retina

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 01:46:00 PM »
Do I even need a 50?

Only you can answer that really.

Personally I like 35mm better than 50mm on FF and I would consider Sigma 35mm f/1.4. All reviews & user feedback suggest that it's an amazing lens for a very reasonable price.

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 01:46:00 PM »

Cali_PH

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 01:58:22 PM »
The sigma 50 1.4 is...really big for a 50mm prime, has AF quality control issues and won't work with auto CA corrections.

Hmmm...are you sure the Sigma doesn't work with CA corrections?  Did you mean in-camera or software?  Not saying you're wrong, I'd just be surprised if Lightroom didn't have a profile for that lens.  Only usuing LR as an example since that's what I use and it's fairly common, but obviously I don't know what you use.

noisejammer

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 02:08:46 PM »
I've own the Canon 50/1.4, Sigma 50/1.4, OM 55/1.2, Rokkor PG 58/1.2, Zeiss ZE 50/2 MP, OM 50/1.8 and probably a few others that I can't remember.

First, most full frame digital sensors cannot accept light that impinges from a cone outside the f/1.6 region, so it's moot whether a fast lens is of any particular benefit. Still, I expect this will change over the next year or three as new sensor technologies are adopted. As an aside, some CSC sensors accept light from far wider angles and CAN exploit f/1.2 optics. I have tested this on my Fuji X-E1.

So based on this, the lens with the best sharpness / bokeh trade-off is a converted Rokkor 58/1.2. It can have difficulty reaching infinity focus but this can be dealt with using live view. I've not observed spherochromatism either. Typically $600+ for one in good condition - quite amazing for a 40 year old lens....

The Zeiss ZE 50/2 MP is superb at all apertures, exhibits negligible focus shift on stopping down and is about as sharp as can be had. It can also do 1:2 macro which is sometimes helpful.

The Sigma 50/1.4 has excellent bokeh but suffers from spherochromatism and considerable focus shift. This is fine provided you don't stop it down - but then it becomes a one-trick-pony.

The Canon 50/1.4 is very good. It does have vignetting when wide open (typical of fast lenses) but its biggest drawback was slow autofocus and fragility. It is a very good lens and excellent value for money.

The OM 55/1.2 is soft when wide open and sharp at f/2. I'm not finished with it yet. typically $550+

The OM 50/1.8 is sharp at all apertures but has weird bokeh - probably a result of its rudimentary aperture control. That said, they can be had for about $30 and are compact, well made and robust.

ecka

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 02:16:16 PM »
In preparation for my upgrade to a 5d3 (from a 60D) later this year I'm trying to compile a list of potential prime lenses to get between the 35 and 100mm range. I've already got a 24-105L and will sell my non-L 70-300 to get the L version. Also have a 50mm 1.8 so I'll need to get a 85 1.8 to get my portrait capability back.

Then the question remains: Do I keep the little plastic toy (which never use wider than 2.8 anyways) or just get a pancake (which is actually pretty usable wide open, vignetting aside)? Do I even need a 50? I know the 50mm 1.4 isn't great wide open either and has fragility issues but at least it'll work with the automatic CA corrections in the 5d3 (I shoot RAW+jpeg). The sigma 50 1.4 is...really big for a 50mm prime, has AF quality control issues and won't work with auto CA corrections. Rumor mill has it that the sigma 50 is due for a rebody to the "art" line they've got going now but probably won't get an optics refresh... Oh yeah, the 50mm 1.2 is a no thanks I'll keep the money. Everything 50mm seems to be a compromise and you'd think after so many decades of people using such a prolific "normal" lens the designers would have perfected the formulas by now.

Do I even need a 50?

Well, 40mm in comparison is much closer to 35mm than to 50mm prime and if such angle works for you, then you should consider the new Sigma 35/1.4 ART.
Perhaps, at f/1.4, Sigma 50 is the best prime lens at the moment (at least in sharpness and bokeh quality). Canon's 50L has similar AF problems (focus shift), so (IMHO) it is not a much better solution.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 02:19:14 PM by ecka »
FF + primes !

dtaylor

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2013, 02:29:13 PM »
If you want the blur and/or light gathering ability of a fast 50, the Sigma is the best choice for Canon. The bokeh is amazing and the IQ as good as the 1.2L.

I suspect a large percentage of the AF QC complaints are actually related to the challenge of shooting wide open and nailing/keeping the plane of focus where you want. With a Canon L fast prime the gut reaction is "what am I doing wrong", but with a 3rd party fast prime it's "what did the manufacturer do wrong."

I have about the same difficulty with any of my fast primes, and my success rate has improved as I've learned better technique.

tallrob

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2013, 02:32:17 PM »
I've owned the Canon EF 50mm 1.4 and the Sigma of the same specs.  Hated the Canon, loved the Sigma, especially the color characteristics.  Nicknamed the Sigmalux for good reason.  But I'd gladly trade the Sigma 50 for the 35/1.4 as I often feel crowded with the 50 lately.
So I bought an EOS M and a 6D - I love the black sheep!

tallrob

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2013, 02:41:53 PM »
Just keep what you have until you get the FF. Shoot with the 50 1.8 and see if you like it on the FF. DOF changes when on FF and there is no 1.6 multiplier like crop. So it might change your mind on what you need.

Well, dof of the lens doesn't actually change, just the dof at the equivalent angle of view (as with a 35mm lens on a 1.6 crop sensor).  So he can just put his 50/1.8 on his existing 1.6 crop and get a sense of the dof, which he's probably already familiar with. The 1.4 will have only slightly shallower dof.
So I bought an EOS M and a 6D - I love the black sheep!

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2013, 02:41:53 PM »

Meh

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2013, 02:49:26 PM »
Do I even need a 50?

Need?  No.  But want, yes!

ecka

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2013, 02:50:35 PM »
Just keep what you have until you get the FF. Shoot with the 50 1.8 and see if you like it on the FF. DOF changes when on FF and there is no 1.6 multiplier like crop. So it might change your mind on what you need.

Well, dof of the lens doesn't actually change, just the dof at the equivalent angle of view (as with a 35mm lens on a 1.6 crop sensor).  So he can just put his 50/1.8 on his existing 1.6 crop and get a sense of the dof, which he's probably already familiar with. The 1.4 will have only slightly shallower dof.

FF + 50/1.8 is equivalent to APS-C + 30/1.1
APS-C + 50/1.8 is equivalent to FF + 80/2.8
It's a big difference really
FF + primes !

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Re: 50mm Primes that don't suck wide open?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2013, 02:50:35 PM »