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Author Topic: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4  (Read 19978 times)

cellomaster27

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2013, 01:23:06 PM »
Want canon to come out with an update.. I think it's a great middle class lens that really performs well but they can do better with build quality in general. Maybe add IS? Sigma 50 is really nice.. Going there if canon doesn't come out with an update soon.
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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2013, 01:23:06 PM »

SwampYankee

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2013, 01:26:08 PM »
"While the outer shell of the 50mm 1.4 is clearly stronger than the 50mm 1.8"  Pure B.S!  The internet is full of cases of people and videos repairing their Canon 50mm 1.4.  A moderately sharp bump to the front usually breaks the auto-focusing.  It is a notoriously fragile lens.  Boken is better than the 1.8 bit after 5.6 the 1.8 is noticeably sharper than the 1.4.  So, the 1.4 is more fragile than the 1.8, less sharp than the 1.8 and smaller apertures and costs 3x as much.  It's the least desirable of the Canon 50mm lenses.   I have a 25 year old metal mount 1.8 that could beat the pants off of the 1.4 and you can pick one up for 100 bucks.  The difference between 1.4 and 1.8 with a camera with a modern sensor is meaningless, both are really, really fast.  both are really really sharp.  Certainly not worth a triple price premium .  This review sounds like someone trying to justify a recent purchase that they have clearly over paid for
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Eneade

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2013, 01:38:46 PM »
Really like that lens and it works well on crop and FF, with two different flavours ;-)

On the 600D at f/1.6 :

missing passenger par Eneade, sur Flickr

On the 5D Mark III at f/1.4 :

sturmey archer par Eneade, sur Flickr

CANONisOK

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2013, 01:42:15 PM »
Really like that lens and it works well on crop and FF, with two different flavours ;-)
Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy the pics you post!
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ahsanford

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2013, 01:50:21 PM »
Justin,

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
  • IS
  • 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.)

- A
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 01:14:53 PM by ahsanford »

ahsanford

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2013, 01:51:59 PM »
I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF.
I've never had this issue, at least not that I know of (also using a 5D3)... but I also don't necessarily do focus calibration tests. I take photographs of subjects, and if they're "off" I adjust (I've done this with my Sigma 35 1.4 slightly).

Anyone else have this issue?
Nope. Used same lens/body combo for about 6 months before finding the 1.2L for a bargain.

I suspect I can answer why no one else mentions this huge issue: Nobody else is having the same issue as the poster asking the question.  ;) Let's see: 1 body, 7 copies of the same lens. What are the common denominators here?

Maybe not the body.  The person with the issue may be right.  I have always seen my F/1.4 hunt.  That said, once it confirms it is correctly in focus.

- A

Martin

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2013, 02:08:42 PM »
I not talking about AF issues in general (of course it is not perfect), but about focus shift at close focusing distance while shooting at ie. f3,5 or f4.0. It just cant be a body problem as at f 1.4 there is not problem at all. Stopping down the lens has completely no influence on AF as it being stopped down while pressing shutter, not all the time. As I said, seven different 50 1.4 from different supplies, not at the same time,  adjusted when necessary  with AFMA at 1.4. All of them behave in the same way. In my opinion it just can't be body failure (it hits a 1.4). How is that possible that no one experienced it?
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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2013, 02:08:42 PM »

ahsanford

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2013, 02:21:27 PM »
Here are a few hits and misses with this F/1.4 lens.  All of these were F/2 to F/3.2 on my 5D3.  Most were straight JPGs for one reason or another (I usually shoot RAW + JPG and use RAW for the keepers only).

Some of the errors were of necessity due to lighting, others were in execution, but I like these shots nonetheless.  I am clearly not a pro.

- A


mackguyver

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2013, 02:35:02 PM »
I always found f/2 to be the sweet spot with this lens and loved it on my crop, but not as much on my full frame.  It always seemed too short for portraits, and too long for much else.  Just not my favorite focal length, to the point of selling my 50 f/1.2 recently.

I can't remember if I asked this after the 50 f/1.2 review, but why would you show bokeh at f/7.1?  It seems like maximum aperture or  the common aperture of f/1.8 would have made more sense.  Most people looking for great bokeh aren't shooting at f/5.6 or higher, but maybe there's some logic behind this such as showing the shape of the bokeh when stopped down.
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Blaze

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2013, 02:37:52 PM »
I not talking about AF issues in general (of course it is not perfect), but about focus shift at close focusing distance while shooting at ie. f3,5 or f4.0. It just cant be a body problem as at f 1.4 there is not problem at all. Stopping down the lens has completely no influence on AF as it being stopped down while pressing shutter, not all the time. As I said, seven different 50 1.4 from different supplies, not at the same time,  adjusted when necessary  with AFMA at 1.4. All of them behave in the same way. In my opinion it just can't be body failure (it hits a 1.4). How is that possible that no one experienced it?

It's not just you. I only have one copy of the lens, but the AF shifting really is a problem. It's pretty soft wide open too. Even though I like the 50mm focal length, I find myself reaching for my 85mm f/1.2 L II instead almost every time.

LetTheRightLensIn

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2013, 02:42:31 PM »
a few extras:

1. although most reports suggest that outside of the very center of the frame, and perhaps even in the center once stopped down, the 50L might actually be less sharp, granted wide-open and near center frame may matter most to 50L users and it might have richer color and contrast on a large scale perhaps, maybe it fights off PF a bit more, not sure, but I haven't heard or seen a lot of evidence that the L is really sharper and overall it sounds like it is less sharp, if anything.

2. more weight for L might be a negative for many not a plus

THE BIG ONE:
3. although he suggested that maybe the build quality is worse, it is not just a surmise based upon look and weight, the build quality is arguably the worst of any Canon lens, maybe of just about any AF lens by anyone in that it has a true design flaw of such a degree that it should have been re-called by Canon years ago as well as a more minor but also real design flaw.

A. It is the only AF lens ever made to offer a clutched non-USM FTM. Ever wonder why Canon never tried that on any other non-USM lens? Because the clutches are very prone to stick and catch and break. Virtually everyone I personally know who has had this lens has had it break, often more than once. Sometimes Canon even fixes it for free years out of warranty because I think some employees feel bad about it. And if not, they have a special flat fixed rate for it (pretty curious if it is not something that happens so often that it basically stems from a design flaw). I once saw a copy break in less than 60 seconds out of the box new. (That said if you have a copy that hasn't broken after the first few years, apparently it is likely to continue lasting, so perhaps it is possible to use the design and not have it break, but it has to be machined perfectly.)

B. It uses a very low-precision AF engine (since it produces erratic focus, prone to way under and over-shooting) AND low accuracy (since it can't be adjusted in any fine grained manner internally and tends to need adjustments at all sorts of different focal distances, which it doesn't allow for). And the AF seems to vary in quality a fair amount copy to copy, some copies, the best, had hit rates 2-3 times better than the worst (scary thing is that the hit rates of the best were quite bad, that was tested back in the 20D days though). Neither of those are good in an f/1.4 lens! That said it does slightly better on 1 and 5 series than on other bodies and on the 5D3 and 1DX, in particular, you almost begin to think you could semi-trust it at times at f/1.4.

All that said, as far the optics, I once compared it to an adapted Zeiss Contax 50mm 1.4 and I couldn't tell the difference at any aperture (some say the Zeiss EF mount versions are better than the old Contax ones though) and it seems to fair very well compared to almost any 50mm corner to corner on FF once stopped down (certainly for sharpness) although some new fancier non-double G type designs such as the sigma and so on do better at f/1.4 and those $$$ Leica 50mm I hear are better (although I've never gotten to use one myself).

I don't get why Canon didn't just replace the AF motor with ring USM ages ago, or at least just give it a higher-quality regular old micromotor AF system.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 02:44:42 PM by LetTheRightLensIn »

LetTheRightLensIn

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2013, 02:43:06 PM »
Hi,

I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF. I have a 5D3 and tested 7(yes-seven) samples of 50 1.4. First one I just sold after servicing as I thought it's a lens problem or camera, next one I serviced 3 times with my camera. Thought it might be something with calibration, adjustments etc. Then I checked with my local shop another samples so...every 50 1.4 has the same issue!!

Why nobody check this lens AF with different distance??? it has HUGE focusshift at close distance and it is almost unuseble in some circumstances when stopped down. To be more detailed:

When focusing at close distance ie. up to 1m ie. 60 or 70 cm (if u set AFMA perfectly @ F1.4) the lens hits the target  Checked and adjusted with LensCal. Now check the lens at f3.5 or f4.0 at the same close distance. No way u achieve the proper focus. It far away for your desired focus point. Backfocus is really bad. Point "0" is completely out of focus and blurred, the sharpest point is "2" or "3" at the scale.

The lens is completely unusable stopped down at close distance, 1.4 is very soft therefore there is now way the get really sharp photos or desired details. Lens spec. mentions 0,45m as minimum focus distance. Checked it with ie. f3,5 and watch where is focus, sharpness and where is the whole DOF-behind the focus point!

Now do the same with LV-perfect focus, razor sharp, completely different DOF position.

Another problem is focusing in incadescent light-try this with this lens-results are really different from daylight.

Tested a lot of 50 1.4 (seven) from diffrent sources, not is the same time,  and all have the same problem. Why nobody mention about such a issue???

+1

and I guess we both just did  ;D

LetTheRightLensIn

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2013, 02:46:13 PM »
I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF.
I've never had this issue, at least not that I know of (also using a 5D3)... but I also don't necessarily do focus calibration tests. I take photographs of subjects, and if they're "off" I adjust (I've done this with my Sigma 35 1.4 slightly).

Anyone else have this issue?
Nope. Used same lens/body combo for about 6 months before finding the 1.2L for a bargain.

I suspect I can answer why no one else mentions this huge issue: Nobody else is having the same issue as the poster asking the question.  ;) Let's see: 1 body, 7 copies of the same lens. What are the common denominators here?

No that poster is hardly alone. Search the forums and you will find more AF complaints about the 50mm 1.4 than just about any other lens and for sure the most about lens breakage.


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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2013, 02:46:13 PM »

Joynt Inspirations

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2013, 02:46:49 PM »
This was the first additional lens I bought for my kit many years ago, it's served me exceptionally well in all that time. I absolutely love going out and just playing with this little gem.

infared

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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2013, 02:52:05 PM »
Good, balanced review from Justin as usual!!
For my money...I bought the Sigma f/1.4 for my 5DIII.....(mine focuses just fine...I know some don't)..I think its a better lens than the Canon, but I know that topic is a hornet's nest. Just MY opinion, put my money where my mouth is and enjoy the results, every time.
Now...If Sigma would just make an new ART Series 50mm f/1.4..we may all be happy! (well, almost. LOL!).
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Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2013, 02:52:05 PM »