May 26, 2018, 02:33:21 AM

Author Topic: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?  (Read 13957 times)

docsmith

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2018, 07:39:23 PM »
But if working f/2.8 and tighter, why not just use a 24-70mm f/2.8?

The OP asked about f/2.8 and to compare the two 50 mm lenses.  Otherwise, I agree, which is why I went for the 50 Art.  I am one of those that am having a great experience with it on both my 5DIII and 5DIV.  But I use it primarily at f/1.4-f/2.2.  Anything more narrow, I am using my 24-70 II.

But, at f/2.8 and more narrow, I really think the 50 f/1.4 is a classic wonderful lens. 

Is there much difference in colors, contrast, etc. between the Canon 50 1.2 and the much less expensive 1.4 at, let's say, 2.8 (on full-frame if that matters)?  Or even a little difference?
Thanks.

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2018, 07:39:23 PM »

Ah-Keong

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2018, 02:36:29 AM »
there is some magical "double gauss" render on the 50mm f/1,2L
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aceflibble

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2018, 07:46:16 AM »
Quick version:
The differences between the f/1.2 and f/1.4 lenses are minimal in most shooting conditions, and they each have an equal number of advantages overall. At f/2.8 they're so similar you could never tell their results apart. If f/2.8 and smaller is all you care about, you may as well save money with the 1.4 lens. (In fact at f/2.8 it's slightly better anyway.) But you're most likely to be better served by the Sigma 50mm or Tamron 45mm.
 

Full version:
As someone who has owned multiple copies of both (as well as other 50mms from Canon and other manufacturers) over the last 10 years (I finally went digital just a few months after the 50mm f/1.2L was on store shelves), using them on a variety of bodies (everything from a 400D to a 1DX) and for a variety of subjects (everything from casual photos with friends you wouldn't spend 5 seconds thinking about to productions for Dubai royalty with budgets in the multiple millions), I'd say I have a pretty good handle on how they compare. I've no examples to share (I don't use either lens these days; more on that later) but for what it's worth, here's how I view each. For the sake of clarity, I'll simply call them by their widest f-stops, i.e. 1.2 and 1.4.
(Oh boy, that was a lot of parentheses)

Subjective differences, unmeasurable differences, or draws:
  • The 1.4's colour rendition is ever so slightly warmer than neutral, while the 1.2's colour rendition is ever so slightly cooler than neutral; neither has enough of a colour cast to be unfixable, even if you shoot .jpg.
  • At f/4-5.6 there is absolutely no discernible difference between the two. For that matter, there's no significant difference with the f/1.8 STM, either.
  • Center sharpness and rendition at f/2.8 and f/8 is identical.
  • At wide apertures, the 1.2 has more contrast overall, though the edges less so; at small apertures, the 1.4 has more contrast overall, though the edges less so.
  • Flare control is more-or-less the same between the two models. I've seen more variation between individual units of the same model than I have between the two designs overall.
  • Vignetting is the same at all apertures, with the unique wide open 1.2 aperture offering a slightly brighter center but a darker edge than the 1.4 wide open or the 1.2 stopped down to 1.4.
  • Bokeh at the same aperture and framing is identical. (Remember, "bokeh" refers to the quality of out-of-focus rendering, not how far out-of-focus something is.)
  • When the same aperture and framing is used, there's no difference in AF accuracy. The only difference in accuracy is when the 1.2 is used wide open, where its narrower depth of field obviously makes critical focus harder.
  • The 1.4's actual focal length is around 48mm, while the 1.2's is around 51.3mm; both 'breathe' as they focus closer. This is completely standard for all lenses—it's incredibly rare that any lens is actually exactly the focal length it is marked as, let alone when focused closely—and the difference between 48mm and 51.3mm is essentially nothing. However, these things do bother some people, so there you go.
  • This could be complete blind luck, but in terms of durability, the 1.4's outer shell and focus have broken more easily for me while the optics have been tougher, and vice-versa for the 1.2, where all of mine have had optics damaged or misaligned after slight knocks while the outer shell and other mechanics remain unscratched.

Areas where the 1.4 is certainly stronger:
  • At f/2.8 and f/8, the 1.4 is slightly sharper in the corners and overall has a more uniform look to the image; comparatively, the 1.2 is a little softer around the edges and contrast varies between the center of the frame and the outside at these apertures.
  • Most cases of colour fringing aberrations are better-controlled by the 1.4.
  • The 1.4's AF is slightly faster, in most conditions.
  • The 1.4's manual focus is more responsive. (Though still pretty loose.)
  • The 1.4's transmission is slightly more accurate, as it is only 1/3rd of a stop behind the f-stop; the 1.2's transmission is nearly 2/3rds of a stop slower than the f-stop.
  • Repair costs on the 1.4 are, unsurprisingly, a lot lower for similar work. (Let alone the difference in which parts seem most vulnerable in each lens, as noted above.)
  • The lower weight and size really is very noticeable.
  • Smaller filter size is always handy.

Areas where the 1.2 is certainly stronger:
  • Wider than f/2.8, the 1.2's rendering is more uniform across the frame and it has less ghosting—but not no ghosting—in the corners.
  • Despite the transmission being less accurate, the 1.2 does still let in about one quarter of a stop more light than the 1.4.
  • In extremely low light and with the very best bodies, the 1.2's AF doesn't slow down quite as much as the 1.4. (Though it's not a huge difference and we are talking about only the most extreme scenarios with the most sensitive bodies.)
  • When focusing closer than around 6 feet, the 1.2 shows slightly less barrel distortion. (Though there is still a noticeable amount.)
  • AF is slightly quieter.

Overall, I'd say it comes down to a pretty simple case of practicality vs desire.
  • If you want to show off the fact you own an f/1.2 lens, an L lens, the biggest front optic you can get, or simply the overall cost of your gear, buy the 1.2.
  • If you want to get the most out of shooting wide open (whether your work demands it, e.g. extreme low light, or it's just your style), buy the 1.2.
  • If you shoot at medium or smaller apertures, are looking for a travel lens, want technical quality in a studio, or in other words don't actually care about using f/1.2, buy the 1.4.


... All that said, most people shouldn't bother with either of them. The fact is there are three other 50mm lenses available for Canon EF mount (not including specialist variations or luxury models), all of which offer more than both the Canon 1.2 and 1.4.
  • Canon's own 1.8 STM offers technically better (i.e. overall frame resolution, neutral contrast, and neutral colour) image quality at f/4 and smaller, and is subjectively equal at f/2.8 where it is a fraction sharper than the others but has lower contrast. The fact it does so at such a low price point means it's hard for non-pros to justify buying much else and even studio pros may actually be better off with it, if it wasn't for...
  • ... the Sigma 50mm beating everything else for technical quality. If contrast and resolving power across the frame is what you want, and you've got the kind of budget where you're looking at the 50mm f/1.2L anyway, the Sigma 50mm is the lens you'll be best off with. The only drawback of the Sigma is the AF accuracy, which can be inconsistent.
  • For everyone in the middle, as well as some people looking for something higher-end but without the need for the fastest apertures, there's the Tamron 45mm f/1.8 VC. It's nearly as optically clean as the Sigma, and better than any of the Canons. (Subjective taste, such as colour rendition, notwithstanding; the Tamron's is about the same as the Canon 1.4's, by the way.) Most importantly it is weather-sealed and has vibration compensation (IS), which makes it by far the most useful for travel, as well as for anyone using a higher-resolution body. If you use a 5DS, 5D4, or any 24mp+ APS-C body, or if you plan to get any of those bodies, the Tamron is the only 50mm (okay, 45mm) lens you should even consider. If you need your lenses to be durable, get the Tamron. If you simply want great optical quality, the Tamron is second only to the Sigma, and at a lower price, lower weight, perfectly accurate AF, and with stabilisation. The only downfall of the Tamron 45mm is that its light transmission is even worse than the Canon 1.2's, being t/2.5. That said, t/2.5 is still fast enough for all modern AF systems to work to their full capabilities, and 4 stops of stabilisation more than makes up for three quarters of a stop of light loss. Tamron even provide a far more extensive warranty than any other company, not that you should need it 'cause their 45mm is also the toughest-built of any of these lenses.

So, though the Canon 1.2 and 1.4 have their strengths and weaknesses and certain people will be better off with one than the other, really everyone is better off with one of these other three lenses. People who demand the highest resolution at all apertures should get the Sigma; people who mostly shoot at f/4-8, or simply wish to save money, should get the Canon 1.8 STM; everybody else should get the Tamron.

 
For what it's worth, I said at the start that I no longer use the Canon 1.2 and 1.4, after years of using both. That's partly due to the nature of my work changing (everything now needs either wider or longer focal lengths, and everything in the middle isn't really useful) and partly due to the presence of the Sigma and Tamron. I still have one Canon 1.2 sat here just in case I do need a 50mm, but it's gathering dust. I've rented the Tamron and Sigma instead and the only reason I don't sell the Canon is because the arrangement I have with them means it's technically a (very) long-term loan rather than a lens I own outright. If I ever need to buy a 'standard' prime that is truly my own, it'll be the Tamron, unless Sigma fixes their AF consistency in which case I'd go for that.

And for the sake of completion, I'd also add that the Canon 40mm is a great 'standard' prime, if all you want is f/2.8 and smaller. At comparative apertures it's got the same image quality overall as the Canon 50s, but with less distortion. (Despite being wider.) The EF-S 24mm is the same deal for APS-C cameras.

privatebydesign

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2018, 08:30:56 AM »
there is some magical "double gauss" render on the 50mm f/1,2L

As opposed to the ""double gauss" render" of the 1.4 and 1.8, oh and the f1.0? They are all double gauss designs.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

slclick

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2018, 09:16:39 AM »
Tell me, what needs to be done to avoid a sticker effect in a retrofocal if Canon goes that direction? Coatings? Shape of elements?
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Cory

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2018, 09:54:59 AM »
Quick version:
The differences between the f/1.2 and f/1.4 lenses are minimal in most shooting conditions, and they each have an equal number of advantages overall. At f/2.8 they're so similar you could never tell their results apart. If f/2.8 and smaller is all you care about, you may as well save money with the 1.4 lens. (In fact at f/2.8 it's slightly better anyway.) But you're most likely to be better served by the Sigma 50mm or Tamron 45mm.
 

Full version:
As someone who has owned multiple copies of both (as well as other 50mms from Canon and other manufacturers) over the last 10 years (I finally went digital just a few months after the 50mm f/1.2L was on store shelves), using them on a variety of bodies (everything from a 400D to a 1DX) and for a variety of subjects (everything from casual photos with friends you wouldn't spend 5 seconds thinking about to productions for Dubai royalty with budgets in the multiple millions), I'd say I have a pretty good handle on how they compare. I've no examples to share (I don't use either lens these days; more on that later) but for what it's worth, here's how I view each. For the sake of clarity, I'll simply call them by their widest f-stops, i.e. 1.2 and 1.4.
(Oh boy, that was a lot of parentheses)

Subjective differences, unmeasurable differences, or draws:
  • The 1.4's colour rendition is ever so slightly warmer than neutral, while the 1.2's colour rendition is ever so slightly cooler than neutral; neither has enough of a colour cast to be unfixable, even if you shoot .jpg.
  • At f/4-5.6 there is absolutely no discernible difference between the two. For that matter, there's no significant difference with the f/1.8 STM, either.
  • Center sharpness and rendition at f/2.8 and f/8 is identical.
  • At wide apertures, the 1.2 has more contrast overall, though the edges less so; at small apertures, the 1.4 has more contrast overall, though the edges less so.
  • Flare control is more-or-less the same between the two models. I've seen more variation between individual units of the same model than I have between the two designs overall.
  • Vignetting is the same at all apertures, with the unique wide open 1.2 aperture offering a slightly brighter center but a darker edge than the 1.4 wide open or the 1.2 stopped down to 1.4.
  • Bokeh at the same aperture and framing is identical. (Remember, "bokeh" refers to the quality of out-of-focus rendering, not how far out-of-focus something is.)
  • When the same aperture and framing is used, there's no difference in AF accuracy. The only difference in accuracy is when the 1.2 is used wide open, where its narrower depth of field obviously makes critical focus harder.
  • The 1.4's actual focal length is around 48mm, while the 1.2's is around 51.3mm; both 'breathe' as they focus closer. This is completely standard for all lenses—it's incredibly rare that any lens is actually exactly the focal length it is marked as, let alone when focused closely—and the difference between 48mm and 51.3mm is essentially nothing. However, these things do bother some people, so there you go.
  • This could be complete blind luck, but in terms of durability, the 1.4's outer shell and focus have broken more easily for me while the optics have been tougher, and vice-versa for the 1.2, where all of mine have had optics damaged or misaligned after slight knocks while the outer shell and other mechanics remain unscratched.

Areas where the 1.4 is certainly stronger:
  • At f/2.8 and f/8, the 1.4 is slightly sharper in the corners and overall has a more uniform look to the image; comparatively, the 1.2 is a little softer around the edges and contrast varies between the center of the frame and the outside at these apertures.
  • Most cases of colour fringing aberrations are better-controlled by the 1.4.
  • The 1.4's AF is slightly faster, in most conditions.
  • The 1.4's manual focus is more responsive. (Though still pretty loose.)
  • The 1.4's transmission is slightly more accurate, as it is only 1/3rd of a stop behind the f-stop; the 1.2's transmission is nearly 2/3rds of a stop slower than the f-stop.
  • Repair costs on the 1.4 are, unsurprisingly, a lot lower for similar work. (Let alone the difference in which parts seem most vulnerable in each lens, as noted above.)
  • The lower weight and size really is very noticeable.
  • Smaller filter size is always handy.

Areas where the 1.2 is certainly stronger:
  • Wider than f/2.8, the 1.2's rendering is more uniform across the frame and it has less ghosting—but not no ghosting—in the corners.
  • Despite the transmission being less accurate, the 1.2 does still let in about one quarter of a stop more light than the 1.4.
  • In extremely low light and with the very best bodies, the 1.2's AF doesn't slow down quite as much as the 1.4. (Though it's not a huge difference and we are talking about only the most extreme scenarios with the most sensitive bodies.)
  • When focusing closer than around 6 feet, the 1.2 shows slightly less barrel distortion. (Though there is still a noticeable amount.)
  • AF is slightly quieter.

Overall, I'd say it comes down to a pretty simple case of practicality vs desire.
  • If you want to show off the fact you own an f/1.2 lens, an L lens, the biggest front optic you can get, or simply the overall cost of your gear, buy the 1.2.
  • If you want to get the most out of shooting wide open (whether your work demands it, e.g. extreme low light, or it's just your style), buy the 1.2.
  • If you shoot at medium or smaller apertures, are looking for a travel lens, want technical quality in a studio, or in other words don't actually care about using f/1.2, buy the 1.4.


... All that said, most people shouldn't bother with either of them. The fact is there are three other 50mm lenses available for Canon EF mount (not including specialist variations or luxury models), all of which offer more than both the Canon 1.2 and 1.4.
  • Canon's own 1.8 STM offers technically better (i.e. overall frame resolution, neutral contrast, and neutral colour) image quality at f/4 and smaller, and is subjectively equal at f/2.8 where it is a fraction sharper than the others but has lower contrast. The fact it does so at such a low price point means it's hard for non-pros to justify buying much else and even studio pros may actually be better off with it, if it wasn't for...
  • ... the Sigma 50mm beating everything else for technical quality. If contrast and resolving power across the frame is what you want, and you've got the kind of budget where you're looking at the 50mm f/1.2L anyway, the Sigma 50mm is the lens you'll be best off with. The only drawback of the Sigma is the AF accuracy, which can be inconsistent.
  • For everyone in the middle, as well as some people looking for something higher-end but without the need for the fastest apertures, there's the Tamron 45mm f/1.8 VC. It's nearly as optically clean as the Sigma, and better than any of the Canons. (Subjective taste, such as colour rendition, notwithstanding; the Tamron's is about the same as the Canon 1.4's, by the way.) Most importantly it is weather-sealed and has vibration compensation (IS), which makes it by far the most useful for travel, as well as for anyone using a higher-resolution body. If you use a 5DS, 5D4, or any 24mp+ APS-C body, or if you plan to get any of those bodies, the Tamron is the only 50mm (okay, 45mm) lens you should even consider. If you need your lenses to be durable, get the Tamron. If you simply want great optical quality, the Tamron is second only to the Sigma, and at a lower price, lower weight, perfectly accurate AF, and with stabilisation. The only downfall of the Tamron 45mm is that its light transmission is even worse than the Canon 1.2's, being t/2.5. That said, t/2.5 is still fast enough for all modern AF systems to work to their full capabilities, and 4 stops of stabilisation more than makes up for three quarters of a stop of light loss. Tamron even provide a far more extensive warranty than any other company, not that you should need it 'cause their 45mm is also the toughest-built of any of these lenses.

So, though the Canon 1.2 and 1.4 have their strengths and weaknesses and certain people will be better off with one than the other, really everyone is better off with one of these other three lenses. People who demand the highest resolution at all apertures should get the Sigma; people who mostly shoot at f/4-8, or simply wish to save money, should get the Canon 1.8 STM; everybody else should get the Tamron.

 
For what it's worth, I said at the start that I no longer use the Canon 1.2 and 1.4, after years of using both. That's partly due to the nature of my work changing (everything now needs either wider or longer focal lengths, and everything in the middle isn't really useful) and partly due to the presence of the Sigma and Tamron. I still have one Canon 1.2 sat here just in case I do need a 50mm, but it's gathering dust. I've rented the Tamron and Sigma instead and the only reason I don't sell the Canon is because the arrangement I have with them means it's technically a (very) long-term loan rather than a lens I own outright. If I ever need to buy a 'standard' prime that is truly my own, it'll be the Tamron, unless Sigma fixes their AF consistency in which case I'd go for that.

And for the sake of completion, I'd also add that the Canon 40mm is a great 'standard' prime, if all you want is f/2.8 and smaller. At comparative apertures it's got the same image quality overall as the Canon 50s, but with less distortion. (Despite being wider.) The EF-S 24mm is the same deal for APS-C cameras.
That was absolutely incredible.  Thanks and maybe my 40mm lens is all I need, really.
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ahsanford

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2018, 11:51:24 AM »
Is there much difference in colors, contrast, etc. between the Canon 50 1.2 and the much less expensive 1.4 at, let's say, 2.8 (on full-frame if that matters)?  Or even a little difference?
Thanks.

There seem to be three things that people don't like about the f1.4:  IQ wide open, autofocus, and iffy durability. Other people like its IQ stopped down to F2.8 or beyond.  I don't use mine all that much, partly because I don't use 50 mm that often, but also because stopped down, I am happy with the IQ of my zoom in that range and like its flexibility.

This is just about right -- the micro USM AF can hunt but it's still quicker/better for stills than STM for me.  I rarely use mine wider than f/2 as the output is cloudy (if that makes any sense). 

As for durability, it's that damn external focusing design, which protrudes an inner barrel beyond the outer barrel of the lens during focusing.  Sticking out, it can take incidental pushes/bumps (especially in your bag, in transit, bouncing around on your hip, etc.) which can damage the internals.  I try to remember to manually set the focusing ring to infinity when I'm done shooting with it.

But it's not without its virtues.  The 50 f/1.4 is generally a sharper lens than the 50 f/1.2L (other than in the center) and it is delightfully compact.  It remains my #1 choice as I need first party AF and it remains Canon's sharpest AF 50 prime at the apertures I shoot.

- A

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2018, 11:51:24 AM »

ahsanford

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2018, 11:57:11 AM »
If you only are interested in f/2.8 and larger, I would get the 50 f/1.4.  Any difference, if noticeable, will be in rendering and personal opinion.  Greater than f/2.8, the f/1.4 lens is sharp across the frame, contrasty, and renders beautifully.  I owned the 50 f/1.4 for years before upgrading to the Sigma 50A.  At f/2, the center starts getting real good.  From f/2.8 and greater, it is simply a phenomenal lens.  The AF isn't bad, but is not fast.  I have heard reports, like others, of 50 f/1.4's getting dropped and ruined.  But mine functioned great for years under normal use. 

I only upgraded after getting frustrated with using it from f/1.4 to f/2 over the entire frame and edges from f/2 to f/2.8.  But if you are after greater than f/2.8, just get the f/1.4.  It is truly a classic.

This is my experience as well.  If you don't need f/1.4 output (which is admittedly iffy at best) and can live narrower than f/2, the 50 f/1.4 USM is the lens for you.

If you are a sharpness junkie and don't mind chimping/pixel-peeping for missed focus, the Sigma 50 Art is a razor blade when the AF delivers.  It's a fundamentally better instrument.  But I'd rather not shoot with a huge pickle jar prime and I haaaaaaaate AF that swings and misses.  So I've been patiently waiting for (preferably) a 50mm non-L with IS to arrive, but I'd honestly consider a new 50L if it rectified the current 50L's cotton ball corners and didn't 'get huge' like the Art/Otus lenses.

- A

ahsanford

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2018, 11:59:50 AM »
But if working f/2.8 and tighter, why not just use a 24-70mm f/2.8?

Smaller
Lighter
Less conspicuous / more discreet for candids/street/travel
Slightly sharper at f/2.8 (Photozone doesn't quite have apples-apples there, they report the zoom at 40mm)
Dramatically less expensive

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ahsanford

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2018, 12:05:41 PM »

But if working f/2.8 and tighter, why not just use a 24-70mm f/2.8?


Because it's a fraction of the size, weight and price?  A better question might be why not just use a 50mm f/1.8, which is cheaper and smaller still and probably much the same at 2.8 (I've not used the latest one, though, so I can't comment first hand).

The 50 f/1.8 STM has some painful drawbacks in my mind:  it's effectively a non-featured lens (other than the AF switch) --  it lacks a distance scale, it's a focus by wire design, ring USM > STM all day for me (for stills), has an odd/uncommon filter size, etc.

It's okay, I guess, no knocking it or its wonderful value.  I just want something like the 35 f/2 IS to be offered in a 50mm FL:  90% as sharp and only a hair slower than the L, but at 60% the size and price.

- A

docsmith

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2018, 12:13:31 PM »

That was absolutely incredible.  Thanks and maybe my 40mm lens is all I need, really.

I really enjoyed Ace's write up as well. 

The 40 mm f/2.8 pancake is a great lens.  You already own it, so you know.  What you would be gaining with a 50 mm prime is a slightly different perspective (46 degrees versus 57.3 degrees is different)  and vignetting.

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Specifications.aspx?Lens=810&LensComp=115&Units=E

https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Vignetting-Test-Results.aspx?Lens=810&Camera=453&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=115&CameraComp=9&FLIComp=0&APIComp=2

But, depending on what you are trying to shoot, I can see going with the 40 mm pancake.  It is a very nice lens.

ahsanford

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2018, 12:18:45 PM »

That was absolutely incredible.  Thanks and maybe my 40mm lens is all I need, really.

It's a wonderful little gem, but my 40 pancake sits in the cabinet at home while my 35 f/2 IS USM and/or 50 f/1.4 USM comes along all the time.

USM > STM for stills, and apparently that really matters to me as I am frustrated by slower focusing / focus by wire lenses.

- A

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2018, 12:31:55 PM »

That was absolutely incredible.  Thanks and maybe my 40mm lens is all I need, really.

It's a wonderful little gem, but my 40 pancake sits in the cabinet at home while my 35 f/2 IS USM and/or 50 f/1.4 USM comes along all the time.

USM > STM for stills, and apparently that really matters to me as I am frustrated by slower focusing / focus by wire lenses.

Although I don't have the 35/2 or 50/1.4, my 40/2.8 comes along quite frequently (and even if I had one of the other two lenses, I'd bring the 40/2.8 over them).  The reason is the small size of the pancake.  I frequently go out to shoot events with the 70-200/2.8L IS II, on nature hikes with the kids with the 70-300L, or birding with the 600/4L IS II, and in those cases, I can just tuck the 40/2.8 in a pocket of the bag or my clothes and bring it along for a normal FoV if needed.  Anything bigger would be left at home.
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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2018, 12:31:55 PM »

aceflibble

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2018, 04:45:55 AM »
STM doesn't have to be universally worse than USM. Stepping/focus-by-wire lenses have been made which are extremely fast and accurate... just not ones made by Canon, yet. And of course different bodies drive each lens differently; some USM lenses can be quite slow on some bodies but very fast on others, and the exact same can be said for STM motors. For example, the very fastest AF drive currently available for Canon is the old 100mm f/2 USM on a 1DXmkII or 7DmkII (it's actually disgusting how fast that lens is on those bodies and makes you wonder why they've not reused that motor in any other lens), but on any 5D it's nothing special and on the 80D it's actually slower than the 18-135 STM.

If anything, the 40mm's slower AF can be more logically attributed to the small size (less leverage to shift elements) rather than the stepping design itself. Doesn't change the results, but basically, it's bad form to blanket say that USM is better than STM; they can both be good and both can be bad, just depends on the specific lens, the specific body, and the specific shooting conditions combined.

The 40 mm f/2.8 pancake is a great lens.  You already own it, so you know.  What you would be gaining with a 50 mm prime is a slightly different perspective (46 degrees versus 57.3 degrees is different)
Heads up on this: as I touched upon briefly before, very few lenses are exactly the focal length they're marked as, and these 50mms and the Canon 40mm are no exception. For example, the 50mm 1.4 is very slightly wider than 50mm (48mm) and the 40mm is very slightly longer. (42mm by my calculations, but I'm not a total expert and I could be +/-0.5mm off.) This means your angle of view measurements are very slightly inaccurate, though the basic idea is sound.
Also I think it's worth pointing out that in this case, specifically, the Canon 40mm has less barrel distortion than any of the Canon 50mm lenses. Combined with the perspective not being quite as different as it first appears, You can easily move in closer to get the same framing and you won't really be able to tell you used a wider-angle lens, other than the depth of field possibilities of course.

That 40mm isn't a perfect lens by any means, but I do believe it keeps up with the Canon 50mm lenses (none of which are perfect, either) at comparable apertures and it's a lens I happily keep around despite being made 'redundant' by the presence of other similar-length lenses. 90% of the results in 50% of the size should not be underestimated. I wouldn't suggest every professional immediately sells their 50mm f/1.2L to swap to the 40mm STM... but they should buy the 40mm STM anyway and keep it to hand. At worst it's a very capable back-up.

Sporgon

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2018, 06:40:17 AM »
For example, the very fastest AF drive currently available for Canon is the old 100mm f/2 USM on a 1DXmkII or 7DmkII (it's actually disgusting how fast that lens is on those bodies and makes you wonder why they've not reused that motor in any other lens), but on any 5D it's nothing special and on the 80D it's actually slower than the 18-135 STM.

Interesting about the 100/2 having a unique USM motor. I didn't know this, but have always found that the 100/2 is basically 100% reliable in it's focus at f/2 whereas the mechanics of the 85/1.8 just don't seem to be able to reliably stop the lens in precisely the right place for 1.8 shooting, and I've had at least five copies of that lens over the years. I've always said here on CR, anyone looking at the 85/1.8 should seriously consider the 100/2. It's one of my favourite lenses.

If anything, the 40mm's slower AF can be more logically attributed to the small size (less leverage to shift elements) rather than the stepping design itself. Doesn't change the results, but basically, it's bad form to blanket say that USM is better than STM; they can both be good and both can be bad, just depends on the specific lens, the specific body, and the specific shooting conditions combined.

The 40 mm f/2.8 pancake is a great lens.  You already own it, so you know.  What you would be gaining with a 50 mm prime is a slightly different perspective (46 degrees versus 57.3 degrees is different)
Heads up on this: as I touched upon briefly before, very few lenses are exactly the focal length they're marked as, and these 50mms and the Canon 40mm are no exception. For example, the 50mm 1.4 is very slightly wider than 50mm (48mm) and the 40mm is very slightly longer. (42mm by my calculations, but I'm not a total expert and I could be +/-0.5mm off.) This means your angle of view measurements are very slightly inaccurate, though the basic idea is sound.
Also I think it's worth pointing out that in this case, specifically, the Canon 40mm has less barrel distortion than any of the Canon 50mm lenses. Combined with the perspective not being quite as different as it first appears, You can easily move in closer to get the same framing and you won't really be able to tell you used a wider-angle lens, other than the depth of field possibilities of course.

That 40mm isn't a perfect lens by any means, but I do believe it keeps up with the Canon 50mm lenses (none of which are perfect, either) at comparable apertures and it's a lens I happily keep around despite being made 'redundant' by the presence of other similar-length lenses. 90% of the results in 50% of the size should not be underestimated. I wouldn't suggest every professional immediately sells their 50mm f/1.2L to swap to the 40mm STM... but they should buy the 40mm STM anyway and keep it to hand. At worst it's a very capable back-up.

I do like the 40mm pancake, but people should be aware that it has pretty acute field curvature which I find especially noticeable at infinity focus. You've really got to be at least f/8 on FF to get a straight line of focus across the frame. Funnily enough in reviews on the net I have only come across one that mentioned this strong FC.

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2018, 06:40:17 AM »