February 21, 2018, 10:37:14 AM

Author Topic: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?  (Read 9050 times)

Cory

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2018, 09:43:45 AM »
Question: Why do you prefer primes? Which feature of primes is it that you make use of?
Thanks for the responses.
As for primes - I've used the best zooms available and said, "Not bad.", but when I use primes I say, "That's some ****** ****." 
I don't overly care about the larger apertures (since 2.8 is usually enough for me), but there's a quality to pics produced with primes that seems profoundly more outstanding than those with zooms all things being equal. 
Maybe many don't notice and don't care, but my primes just produce a level of excellence that I can't replicate with zooms. 
I was even thinking of an UWA prime instead of my 16-35, but in that range the 16-35 really is exceptionally useful so I'm willing to give up some of the "prime" goodness. 
Can't say that I'm ultra-experienced, but that's just my experience. 
Thanks again and I think the 50 that I'm after might be the Canon 85 1.2.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 10:01:47 AM by Cory »
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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2018, 09:43:45 AM »

sulla

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #46 on: January 04, 2018, 10:13:02 AM »
when I use primes I say, "That's some ****** ****." 
Yes, I fully appreciate that. Part of the reason I enjoy shooting with primes is that I need to compose more carefully, chose the right position more carefully than with primes, and that results in better images. But when I need to be quick, zooms rule.

Thanks again and I think the 50 that I'm after might be the Canon 85 1.2.
Good choice, but if I didn't already have the 1.2, I'd give the brandnew 85 1.4 IS a deeeeeep thought. Most likely that will be the more useful lens. I'd suggest to read through the review at DTP.

Personally, I'll wait for ashandford's 50 1.something IS...
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BillB

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2018, 10:51:33 AM »
Question: Why do you prefer primes? Which feature of primes is it that you make use of?
Thanks for the responses.
As for primes - I've used the best zooms available and said, "Not bad.", but when I use primes I say, "That's some ****** ****." 
I don't overly care about the larger apertures (since 2.8 is usually enough for me), but there's a quality to pics produced with primes that seems profoundly more outstanding than those with zooms all things being equal. 
Maybe many don't notice and don't care, but my primes just produce a level of excellence that I can't replicate with zooms. 

I was even thinking of an UWA prime instead of my 16-35, but in that range the 16-35 really is exceptionally useful so I'm willing to give up some of the "prime" goodness. 
Can't say that I'm ultra-experienced, but that's just my experience. 
Thanks again and I think the 50 that I'm after might be the Canon 85 1.2.

One thing to think about is what you will use these lenses for.  I seem to recollect that you had an interest in photographing stage performances.  For anything other than portraits, I would like the edge to edge sharpness of the 85 f1.4.  Even for portraits, I am not sure you would be giving up very much (if anything) by going with the 85 f1.4.

Also, I do think that the 70-200 f2.8 IS is worth a hard look, because of the sharpness of the lens, and because of the flexibility that the zoom provides.  The 70-200 f2.8 IS is not just another zoom. It is maybe the best zoom ever built.  It is a heavy lens, but it weighs less than the 85 and the 135 together, and it costs less than the two of them combined.

Cory

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #48 on: January 04, 2018, 11:42:44 AM »
Question: Why do you prefer primes? Which feature of primes is it that you make use of?
Thanks for the responses.
As for primes - I've used the best zooms available and said, "Not bad.", but when I use primes I say, "That's some ****** ****." 
I don't overly care about the larger apertures (since 2.8 is usually enough for me), but there's a quality to pics produced with primes that seems profoundly more outstanding than those with zooms all things being equal. 
Maybe many don't notice and don't care, but my primes just produce a level of excellence that I can't replicate with zooms. 

I was even thinking of an UWA prime instead of my 16-35, but in that range the 16-35 really is exceptionally useful so I'm willing to give up some of the "prime" goodness. 
Can't say that I'm ultra-experienced, but that's just my experience. 
Thanks again and I think the 50 that I'm after might be the Canon 85 1.2.

One thing to think about is what you will use these lenses for.  I seem to recollect that you had an interest in photographing stage performances.  For anything other than portraits, I would like the edge to edge sharpness of the 85 f1.4.  Even for portraits, I am not sure you would be giving up very much (if anything) by going with the 85 f1.4.

Also, I do think that the 70-200 f2.8 IS is worth a hard look, because of the sharpness of the lens, and because of the flexibility that the zoom provides.  The 70-200 f2.8 IS is not just another zoom. It is maybe the best zoom ever built.  It is a heavy lens, but it weighs less than the 85 and the 135 together, and it costs less than the two of them combined.
Maybe I am splitting hairs with a 16-35, 50 and 70-200 being "best" all things considered. 
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DaviSto

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #49 on: January 04, 2018, 11:47:24 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.

... ... ...

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.

aceflibble ... many thanks for putting the effort to write up this comparison.  Very clear and hugely informative.  Highly appreciated!

docsmith

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #50 on: January 04, 2018, 12:09:55 PM »
Would it be terrible to pivot into a "general" 50 vs. 85 on full-frame discussion? 
If 50 then clearly the 50 1.2 is what I'm after, but I'm thinking maybe 16-35, 40, 85 and 135 instead of 16-35, 40, 50 and 135. 
Assume that I'm an idiot which should completely eliminate the potential for any personal attacks.

Yeah, 40 and 50 are typically too close.  Most people prefer some more spacing in focal length for their primes.  You see different variations of the "Holy Trinity" of prime lenses, but for generalists, it is usually either 35/85/135 or 24/50/135.  For whatever reason, I tend to really like the 24/50/135 mm focal lengths.  I own primes in two of those and will likely be adding 135 mm soon (although I really like my 70-200 II).



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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #51 on: January 04, 2018, 12:36:46 PM »
The 50mm f/1.8 STM!

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #51 on: January 04, 2018, 12:36:46 PM »

Don Haines

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2018, 05:17:45 PM »
The 50mm f/1.8 STM!

I have the previous version of the 50F1.8..... optically it is ok, by AF is a nightmare! When you try to run it through Focal ( I tried a 5D2, 6D2, and a 7D2..... apparently I like the number 2), it AFs all over the place.....

I would like to see a Focal comparison of the 50 F1.4 and 1.2 for focus constancy.
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slclick

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #53 on: January 04, 2018, 06:51:53 PM »
I have been using my 50 STM adapted on the M5 this last week and I have come away impressed. Speed, handling, accuracy and  the 80~mm focal length is sweet. Sure the focus by touchscreen dpaf helps...
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aceflibble

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2018, 08:24:11 PM »
(Small'd again so the more on-topic parts aren't bogged down.)
So you don't have anything to back up your claim?

The screenshots below are from the Canon book Lens Work, I forget which version.

I understand marketing make a fine distinction between misdirection and lying but they state, unequivocally, that the 300mm f2.8 IS has "The world’s fastest*1 autofocusing", not even Canon's, the fastest in the world when used on the NiCad driven higher end bodies.
And yes, you'll notice they throw on a lot of qualifiers to that claim while not disclosing their testing methodology. You'll also notice I did, right at the start, highlight all the other times every company has claimed to have the world's fastest whatever. Typically when they 'test' such things they do so with dubious methods which basically ensure they get the results their marketing has already decided they'll push. You can't say you understand that every manufacturer fudges their results and embellishes their claims but also that you completely take Canon at their word for one specific aspect of one specific lens. Canon say the 300mm f/2.8 is also their sharpest lens, despite everyone who has ever tested them deciding the 400mm f/2.8 is (slightly) sharper.

Fujifilm say their 14mm f/2.8 is the fastest-focusing lens in the world. Like Canon, they specify particular bodies and light to shoot it with and have never disclosed any further testing details. They can't both be the fastest in the world, right? That should clue you in to how gibberish these sorts of boasts by manufacturers are.

And it might be a surprise to you, but no, not everything comes down to a handy-to-copy-and-paste URL or screenshot. Some of us talk to people, study for years, and have direct experience, rather than relying on having Wikipedia on speed dial. My history with nailing down industry information is well-documented—I was the one who leaked the 24-105 was being replaced, 18 months before Canon made the public announcement, and if you'd like to ask the guys at FujiRumors what my track record is like you'll find I've called every single move by that company correctly for the last three years straight including directly leaking many hardware details of products months ahead of public announcement—and I trust my sources at Canon, Fuji, Sigma, Tamron, and Adobe when they tell me pretty much anything. (Typically because it's done off-the-books over coffee, and none of them ever shy away from talking about negative aspects of products too; that, and I've known some of them since we were children.) I mean, hell, you're on CanonRumors, you should be used to the concept of people being able to talk what they've been told but not necessarily having an explicit powerpoint presentation to share.

I wouldn't take it personally, but I thought I'd made everything very clear and I take it as a personal failing if anyone is left confused or doubting anything I offer. I don't say (well, write) something unless I have 100% faith that what I'm saying (writing) is the truth (this actually comes from a disability; speaking words out loud requires a lot of concentration for me, so I've always had to really be sure that whatever I say is important and correct, and that carries over to my writing) so yes, I do take that as an insult. I'd thank you to be more civilised in future. Getting smug doesn't help anyone.


Damn, private, for a few minutes I was able to feel that my 100/2 was better than your 300/2.8  ;D
Even joking about it, this is the kind of thinking which leads to so much misinformation being spread around. People get so fixated on the thing they bought being better than what someone else bought that they'll very keenly accept anything which fits their narrative. Look at whenever someone asks for advice on what lens or body to buy; everybody just tells them to buy whatever they bought themselves, often ignoring the needs of the buyer.

The 100mm f/2 does beat the 300mm f/2.8 IS mk II (let alone the mk I or the non-IS original) in AF speed, assuming both are used under even conditions and on the bodies offering the best motor drive. The 300m f/2.8 IS is fast, but you can't get around the physics of shifting all that weighty glass around such a long focal length; it's astounding it's as fast as it is, but it's not astounding that a much smaller, lighter, shorter lens can snap into place faster. You can test it for yourself, if you have the means to acquire both lenses and an appropriate body, or next time you're at a trade show, ask any Canon rep about it as they're usually happy to and very good and at breaking down the marketing fluff if you're actually talking to them face-to-face. (Well, maybe don't ask any rep; the interns should probably be left to fetch the coffee.)

FWIW, we're talking about tiny fractions of a second here, and doesn't occur at all with many bodies. It's not like the 300mm actually being second place on some bodies suddenly means it's a tortoise. On the majority of bodies, it's the fastest lens Canon has. It's just a bit of freak luck that on most of the higher-driving bodies, the 100mm happens to be a right-place-right-time deal and can go even faster. 100mm owners can be happy that it's damn fast on most bodies and record-breaking on a handful of others; 300mm owners can be happy that lens is the fastest on average. Not that the two lenses are even in competition; we're talking about a £6,000 ultra-fast, stabilised lens made for long-distance action and a £350 no-frills portrait lens.


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Serious though, aceflibble has stated an awful lot of facts, and it does make me wonder how he knows all this when this information doesn't seem to be available anywhere.
It's not "he". But starting young helps; I first learned photography at 7 with my father's large format Rollei and got my first paid work at 13. Being from a family of photo/videographers helps. Living nextdoor to the largest publisher of photography magazines in the EU also helps. You don't do this for this long in this place and not build up both a lot of contacts, industry friends, and pointlessly in-depth product knowledge. FWIW, with Canon specifically, my family's connections with the company go back to about a decade and a half was born. It would be weird if I didn't know what was up with Canon products.
Being a gigantic nerd and hoarder of information is the biggest factor, though. I could also bore you all with far too much detail about Sony's gaming division, Marshall Amplifier's new amps for the end of the year, or ASUS computer hardware, but I do try to stay on-topic.

Though as it happens, I learnt about the 100mm f/2 pretty much by accident. It just happened to be the first prime lens to hand in a store, sat on the second hand shelf near the counter, when I was trying the then-new 1Ds2. The manager, who used to work for Canon, then went on a big tirade about how underappreciated that lens was. It stuck with me, and being a huge nerd, I did my research and asked around and wound up piecing together pretty much the whole history of the early-90s prime set. That's how I also got clued in to the 50mm f/1.4, despite already having the 1.2, and why I ended up having both of those at once.


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However, on the subject of the 100/2, I have always found it to be a better lens than the 85/1.8 principally in the fact that it focuses much better, not necessarily faster ( I use 5 series) but more accurately, and I've never been able to find out why this is. To me it seemed that the 85 was just a more budget version, being about 25% cheaper.
You basically nailed it. On a 5 body you won't notice any difference in speed—there's not enough power for the more efficient scaling of the 100mm to matter—but consistent accuracy should always be better, no matter what body you use them on. As you say, it's 'cause the 85 is a cheaper build, less optimised and clumsily reusing some of the 100's parts.

Though I think it's important to stress that the 85mm f/1.8 is still a really nice lens for the price and its popularity and use by both amateurs and professionals for decades is testament to its capabilities, and nobody should feel they have a lesser lens if they own the 85 instead of the 100. You're still getting that extra third of a stop and a focal length a lot of people deem more useful, so it's really an even trade.


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I don't really agree with the idea that in the industry didn't know which way 85 and 100 was going to go. I seem to remember that many brands used "105", although I think even then Canon was on "100"
Before the 80s, 100/105 was definitely a big enough deal. Of course 100/105 still lives on today. It's just that at the end of the 80s, with competition heating up and the market also going through a very small crash (affected film sales more than lenses and bodies, but still), most of the manufacturers wanted to hedge their bets. Canon was leaning toward 85mm (they released the first EF 85mm f/1.2 just a year before these cheaper primes) but they didn't want to give up on 100mm entirely when there was still a chance it could wind up being the bigger-seller. (Nikon was still pretty sure their 105mm was going to win.)
Bear in mind this is also a time where people weren't sure if 35mm would fully take over from medium format in the professional world, too, automatic body functions were still in early development, and then there was digital on the horizon. This was the period when Canon thought they should put barcode readers on their bodies, and a few years later they tried to push eye-controlled focus selection. It wasn't a time for Canon to wholly abandon any particular focal lengths.


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but in recent times it's become a speed thing IMO, an 85 is faster than the equivalent 100 and as the two focal lengths are close The People want the 85.
At the time it was more to do with the focal lengths, because shooting wider was coming into fashion as cropping for magazines demanded it and people really wanted to switch to 35mm for publication rather than medium formats. An 85 on 35mm let you crop away and get the same frame you'd have with a 210mm 6x7 or 6x8 shot. (The late-80s-early-90s standard for a magazine single-subject shoot.) The speed difference has only really been a significant marketing point in the last fifteen years or so. (Though, boy, what a huge marketing point it has become.)

Would it be terrible to pivot into a "general" 50 vs. 85 on full-frame discussion? 
If 50 then clearly the 50 1.2 is what I'm after, but I'm thinking maybe 16-35, 40, 85 and 135 instead of 16-35, 40, 50 and 135. 
Assume that I'm an idiot which should completely eliminate the potential for any personal attacks.
Obviously this is far more about just personal taste and how you work and what you're willing to carry around, but FWIW, if you're keeping the 40mm on you and you have a gap to fill until 135mm, I'd definitely go for 85mm. The gap between 40, 85, and 135 is fairly even, while 40, 50 and 135 would leave you with almost no difference at one end and a huge leap at the other. That said, the gap between the long end of 16-35 and 40 is also very minor.
My work demands consistency at full resolution (I'm currently asked to deliver 24mp files minimum), so cropping to tweak framing isn't an option and features like IS, weather sealing, and all-round dependability are what's most vital to me. My 'stripped back' Canon work kit is a 16-35 f/4 IS and a 70-200 f/2.8 IS; I can't say I ever miss the gap between 35-70mm. An 85mm and 135mm would substitute that 70-200 perfectly fine, though as no weather sealed + IS version of a 135-150mm prime exists, I currently just swap down to the 70-200 f/4 IS when I need to save space/weight. When the 135mm f/2 IS is released, I plan to replace both 70-200s with the 85mm f1.4 IS and that. (Though I'll also keep the 100mm f/2.8 IS Macro on hand to replace both the 85 and 135, when I need to cut the kit down even further, just as I keep the 28mm f/2.8 IS for when the 16-35 is too big.)
Personal shooting can be a different matter, but for work, I never bother with a 50mm. When I'm already stressing about getting the job done right, I'd rather have less to carry and switch between. As I said before, my 1.2 just gathers dust now and my other 50s have been sold off. (Except one f/1.8 STM which is too cheap to be worth selling really.) At least the Tamron 45mm is weather sealed and has IS, but even that is only barely tempting me. We could talk about the virtues of 85, 100, 135, and 70-200s all day, but for my money there's really no comparison between 50mm and 85mm when you already have a 40mm, a zoom that hits 35mm, and then nothing else 'till 135mm.

But, hey. A hundred other photographers would tell you to ditch it all and just use a 24-105, or only use a 50mm. People who shoot weddings and people who shoot concerts work in similar conditions with similar demands, yet will usually advise two totally different kits. To fill out your kit, I would go for the 85mm, but if 50mm is something you've been set on for a while, go for it. You know your needs better than anybody else.

You see different variations of the "Holy Trinity" of prime lenses, but for generalists, it is usually either 35/85/135 or 24/50/135.
Before my work (drastically) changed, I basically operated just on 28/50/100 or 50/100/150, depending on if I'd be mostly indoors or outdoors. Those were my only lengths(/equivalents) for both Canon 35mm, 6x4.5, and 6x7, for years. If I was still doing my old work I'd probably use 24/45/85 now. There's a lot of value in picking one wide, one medium, and one long, and just sticking to them. Truth be told there's almost too much choice now, and it's easy to feel like you have to have one of everything. I think maintaining one lens trinity is a good habit for most photographers to get into.

I have the previous version of the 50F1.8..... optically it is ok, by AF is a nightmare! When you try to run it through Focal ( I tried a 5D2, 6D2, and a 7D2..... apparently I like the number 2), it AFs all over the place.....

I would like to see a Focal comparison of the 50 F1.4 and 1.2 for focus constancy.
Focus calibration used to be much harder (nearly impossible) at home and when I had an army of 50mm lenses, I pretty much had to rely on sending off to Canon to calibrate each lens + body for me. I've only had to calibrate one 50mm since D-I-Y calibration became more practical. As such, I can't provide any kind of straight figures for how off each lens has been for me. That said, from the best of my recollection of how Canon fixed up everything for me, the 1.2s suffered slightly more variation. My current one was quite badly back-focusing on every APS-C body in particular. (Higher pixel density really makes missed critical focus obvious.) But at a third of a stop wider and a technically slightly longer true focal length, I always expected that and never took it as a problem per se. I could double-check, but I'm pretty sure the 50mm f/1.2 is -8 on my old 7D and -3 on the 5DS.

But, hey, every individual lens and body will give slightly different results, so there's not much value in reading up on what someone else needs to calibrate focus. Just because someone tests a 50mm f/1.4 on a 6D and finds it front-focuses doesn't mean your 1.4 on a your 6D will also front-focus.

I have been using my 50 STM adapted on the M5 this last week and I have come away impressed. Speed, handling, accuracy and  the 80~mm focal length is sweet. Sure the focus by touchscreen dpaf helps...
On an M5 you're also missing most of that lens' extremely strong vignetting, barrel distortion, and inconsistent rendering.
It's a great option on an APS-C body, for sure, but 35mm bodies are a totally different matter. The 50mm STM was revised to optimise it for APS-C cameras, as that's now what those lenses are mostly used on. It really suffers on 35mm bodies. (Except at f/4, where it magically becomes absurdly good, before dropping again at f/5.6. I've not worked out why and nobody from Canon I've talked to really has a grasp on it, either. f/4 on the STM is some kind of freak accident.)

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #55 on: January 04, 2018, 08:39:13 PM »
after reading all the information and trying out.
I am aiming for the 50mm f/1,2L....

unless there is a new "50mm f/1,2L mark II" or "50mm f/1,4L IS"

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #56 on: January 04, 2018, 08:51:55 PM »
(Small'd again so the more on-topic parts aren't bogged down.)
So you don't have anything to back up your claim?

The screenshots below are from the Canon book Lens Work, I forget which version.

I understand marketing make a fine distinction between misdirection and lying but they state, unequivocally, that the 300mm f2.8 IS has "The world’s fastest*1 autofocusing", not even Canon's, the fastest in the world when used on the NiCad driven higher end bodies.
And yes, you'll notice they throw on a lot of qualifiers to that claim while not disclosing their testing methodology. You'll also notice I did, right at the start, highlight all the other times every company has claimed to have the world's fastest whatever. Typically when they 'test' such things they do so with dubious methods which basically ensure they get the results their marketing has already decided they'll push. You can't say you understand that every manufacturer fudges their results and embellishes their claims but also that you completely take Canon at their word for one specific aspect of one specific lens. Canon say the 300mm f/2.8 is also their sharpest lens, despite everyone who has ever tested them deciding the 400mm f/2.8 is (slightly) sharper.

Fujifilm say their 14mm f/2.8 is the fastest-focusing lens in the world. Like Canon, they specify particular bodies and light to shoot it with and have never disclosed any further testing details. They can't both be the fastest in the world, right? That should clue you in to how gibberish these sorts of boasts by manufacturers are.

And it might be a surprise to you, but no, not everything comes down to a handy-to-copy-and-paste URL or screenshot. Some of us talk to people, study for years, and have direct experience, rather than relying on having Wikipedia on speed dial. My history with nailing down industry information is well-documented—I was the one who leaked the 24-105 was being replaced, 18 months before Canon made the public announcement, and if you'd like to ask the guys at FujiRumors what my track record is like you'll find I've called every single move by that company correctly for the last three years straight including directly leaking many hardware details of products months ahead of public announcement—and I trust my sources at Canon, Fuji, Sigma, Tamron, and Adobe when they tell me pretty much anything. (Typically because it's done off-the-books over coffee, and none of them ever shy away from talking about negative aspects of products too; that, and I've known some of them since we were children.) I mean, hell, you're on CanonRumors, you should be used to the concept of people being able to talk what they've been told but not necessarily having an explicit powerpoint presentation to share.

I wouldn't take it personally, but I thought I'd made everything very clear and I take it as a personal failing if anyone is left confused or doubting anything I offer. I don't say (well, write) something unless I have 100% faith that what I'm saying (writing) is the truth (this actually comes from a disability; speaking words out loud requires a lot of concentration for me, so I've always had to really be sure that whatever I say is important and correct, and that carries over to my writing) so yes, I do take that as an insult. I'd thank you to be more civilised in future. Getting smug doesn't help anyone.


Damn, private, for a few minutes I was able to feel that my 100/2 was better than your 300/2.8  ;D
Even joking about it, this is the kind of thinking which leads to so much misinformation being spread around. People get so fixated on the thing they bought being better than what someone else bought that they'll very keenly accept anything which fits their narrative. Look at whenever someone asks for advice on what lens or body to buy; everybody just tells them to buy whatever they bought themselves, often ignoring the needs of the buyer.

The 100mm f/2 does beat the 300mm f/2.8 IS mk II (let alone the mk I or the non-IS original) in AF speed, assuming both are used under even conditions and on the bodies offering the best motor drive. The 300m f/2.8 IS is fast, but you can't get around the physics of shifting all that weighty glass around such a long focal length; it's astounding it's as fast as it is, but it's not astounding that a much smaller, lighter, shorter lens can snap into place faster. You can test it for yourself, if you have the means to acquire both lenses and an appropriate body, or next time you're at a trade show, ask any Canon rep about it as they're usually happy to and very good and at breaking down the marketing fluff if you're actually talking to them face-to-face. (Well, maybe don't ask any rep; the interns should probably be left to fetch the coffee.)

FWIW, we're talking about tiny fractions of a second here, and doesn't occur at all with many bodies. It's not like the 300mm actually being second place on some bodies suddenly means it's a tortoise. On the majority of bodies, it's the fastest lens Canon has. It's just a bit of freak luck that on most of the higher-driving bodies, the 100mm happens to be a right-place-right-time deal and can go even faster. 100mm owners can be happy that it's damn fast on most bodies and record-breaking on a handful of others; 300mm owners can be happy that lens is the fastest on average. Not that the two lenses are even in competition; we're talking about a £6,000 ultra-fast, stabilised lens made for long-distance action and a £350 no-frills portrait lens.


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Serious though, aceflibble has stated an awful lot of facts, and it does make me wonder how he knows all this when this information doesn't seem to be available anywhere.
It's not "he". But starting young helps; I first learned photography at 7 with my father's large format Rollei and got my first paid work at 13. Being from a family of photo/videographers helps. Living nextdoor to the largest publisher of photography magazines in the EU also helps. You don't do this for this long in this place and not build up both a lot of contacts, industry friends, and pointlessly in-depth product knowledge. FWIW, with Canon specifically, my family's connections with the company go back to about a decade and a half was born. It would be weird if I didn't know what was up with Canon products.
Being a gigantic nerd and hoarder of information is the biggest factor, though. I could also bore you all with far too much detail about Sony's gaming division, Marshall Amplifier's new amps for the end of the year, or ASUS computer hardware, but I do try to stay on-topic.

Though as it happens, I learnt about the 100mm f/2 pretty much by accident. It just happened to be the first prime lens to hand in a store, sat on the second hand shelf near the counter, when I was trying the then-new 1Ds2. The manager, who used to work for Canon, then went on a big tirade about how underappreciated that lens was. It stuck with me, and being a huge nerd, I did my research and asked around and wound up piecing together pretty much the whole history of the early-90s prime set. That's how I also got clued in to the 50mm f/1.4, despite already having the 1.2, and why I ended up having both of those at once.


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However, on the subject of the 100/2, I have always found it to be a better lens than the 85/1.8 principally in the fact that it focuses much better, not necessarily faster ( I use 5 series) but more accurately, and I've never been able to find out why this is. To me it seemed that the 85 was just a more budget version, being about 25% cheaper.
You basically nailed it. On a 5 body you won't notice any difference in speed—there's not enough power for the more efficient scaling of the 100mm to matter—but consistent accuracy should always be better, no matter what body you use them on. As you say, it's 'cause the 85 is a cheaper build, less optimised and clumsily reusing some of the 100's parts.

Though I think it's important to stress that the 85mm f/1.8 is still a really nice lens for the price and its popularity and use by both amateurs and professionals for decades is testament to its capabilities, and nobody should feel they have a lesser lens if they own the 85 instead of the 100. You're still getting that extra third of a stop and a focal length a lot of people deem more useful, so it's really an even trade.


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I don't really agree with the idea that in the industry didn't know which way 85 and 100 was going to go. I seem to remember that many brands used "105", although I think even then Canon was on "100"
Before the 80s, 100/105 was definitely a big enough deal. Of course 100/105 still lives on today. It's just that at the end of the 80s, with competition heating up and the market also going through a very small crash (affected film sales more than lenses and bodies, but still), most of the manufacturers wanted to hedge their bets. Canon was leaning toward 85mm (they released the first EF 85mm f/1.2 just a year before these cheaper primes) but they didn't want to give up on 100mm entirely when there was still a chance it could wind up being the bigger-seller. (Nikon was still pretty sure their 105mm was going to win.)
Bear in mind this is also a time where people weren't sure if 35mm would fully take over from medium format in the professional world, too, automatic body functions were still in early development, and then there was digital on the horizon. This was the period when Canon thought they should put barcode readers on their bodies, and a few years later they tried to push eye-controlled focus selection. It wasn't a time for Canon to wholly abandon any particular focal lengths.


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but in recent times it's become a speed thing IMO, an 85 is faster than the equivalent 100 and as the two focal lengths are close The People want the 85.
At the time it was more to do with the focal lengths, because shooting wider was coming into fashion as cropping for magazines demanded it and people really wanted to switch to 35mm for publication rather than medium formats. An 85 on 35mm let you crop away and get the same frame you'd have with a 210mm 6x7 or 6x8 shot. (The late-80s-early-90s standard for a magazine single-subject shoot.) The speed difference has only really been a significant marketing point in the last fifteen years or so. (Though, boy, what a huge marketing point it has become.)

Would it be terrible to pivot into a "general" 50 vs. 85 on full-frame discussion? 
If 50 then clearly the 50 1.2 is what I'm after, but I'm thinking maybe 16-35, 40, 85 and 135 instead of 16-35, 40, 50 and 135. 
Assume that I'm an idiot which should completely eliminate the potential for any personal attacks.
Obviously this is far more about just personal taste and how you work and what you're willing to carry around, but FWIW, if you're keeping the 40mm on you and you have a gap to fill until 135mm, I'd definitely go for 85mm. The gap between 40, 85, and 135 is fairly even, while 40, 50 and 135 would leave you with almost no difference at one end and a huge leap at the other. That said, the gap between the long end of 16-35 and 40 is also very minor.
My work demands consistency at full resolution (I'm currently asked to deliver 24mp files minimum), so cropping to tweak framing isn't an option and features like IS, weather sealing, and all-round dependability are what's most vital to me. My 'stripped back' Canon work kit is a 16-35 f/4 IS and a 70-200 f/2.8 IS; I can't say I ever miss the gap between 35-70mm. An 85mm and 135mm would substitute that 70-200 perfectly fine, though as no weather sealed + IS version of a 135-150mm prime exists, I currently just swap down to the 70-200 f/4 IS when I need to save space/weight. When the 135mm f/2 IS is released, I plan to replace both 70-200s with the 85mm f1.4 IS and that. (Though I'll also keep the 100mm f/2.8 IS Macro on hand to replace both the 85 and 135, when I need to cut the kit down even further, just as I keep the 28mm f/2.8 IS for when the 16-35 is too big.)
Personal shooting can be a different matter, but for work, I never bother with a 50mm. When I'm already stressing about getting the job done right, I'd rather have less to carry and switch between. As I said before, my 1.2 just gathers dust now and my other 50s have been sold off. (Except one f/1.8 STM which is too cheap to be worth selling really.) At least the Tamron 45mm is weather sealed and has IS, but even that is only barely tempting me. We could talk about the virtues of 85, 100, 135, and 70-200s all day, but for my money there's really no comparison between 50mm and 85mm when you already have a 40mm, a zoom that hits 35mm, and then nothing else 'till 135mm.

But, hey. A hundred other photographers would tell you to ditch it all and just use a 24-105, or only use a 50mm. People who shoot weddings and people who shoot concerts work in similar conditions with similar demands, yet will usually advise two totally different kits. To fill out your kit, I would go for the 85mm, but if 50mm is something you've been set on for a while, go for it. You know your needs better than anybody else.

You see different variations of the "Holy Trinity" of prime lenses, but for generalists, it is usually either 35/85/135 or 24/50/135.
Before my work (drastically) changed, I basically operated just on 28/50/100 or 50/100/150, depending on if I'd be mostly indoors or outdoors. Those were my only lengths(/equivalents) for both Canon 35mm, 6x4.5, and 6x7, for years. If I was still doing my old work I'd probably use 24/45/85 now. There's a lot of value in picking one wide, one medium, and one long, and just sticking to them. Truth be told there's almost too much choice now, and it's easy to feel like you have to have one of everything. I think maintaining one lens trinity is a good habit for most photographers to get into.

I have the previous version of the 50F1.8..... optically it is ok, by AF is a nightmare! When you try to run it through Focal ( I tried a 5D2, 6D2, and a 7D2..... apparently I like the number 2), it AFs all over the place.....

I would like to see a Focal comparison of the 50 F1.4 and 1.2 for focus constancy.
Focus calibration used to be much harder (nearly impossible) at home and when I had an army of 50mm lenses, I pretty much had to rely on sending off to Canon to calibrate each lens + body for me. I've only had to calibrate one 50mm since D-I-Y calibration became more practical. As such, I can't provide any kind of straight figures for how off each lens has been for me. That said, from the best of my recollection of how Canon fixed up everything for me, the 1.2s suffered slightly more variation. My current one was quite badly back-focusing on every APS-C body in particular. (Higher pixel density really makes missed critical focus obvious.) But at a third of a stop wider and a technically slightly longer true focal length, I always expected that and never took it as a problem per se. I could double-check, but I'm pretty sure the 50mm f/1.2 is -8 on my old 7D and -3 on the 5DS.

But, hey, every individual lens and body will give slightly different results, so there's not much value in reading up on what someone else needs to calibrate focus. Just because someone tests a 50mm f/1.4 on a 6D and finds it front-focuses doesn't mean your 1.4 on a your 6D will also front-focus.

I have been using my 50 STM adapted on the M5 this last week and I have come away impressed. Speed, handling, accuracy and  the 80~mm focal length is sweet. Sure the focus by touchscreen dpaf helps...
On an M5 you're also missing most of that lens' extremely strong vignetting, barrel distortion, and inconsistent rendering.
It's a great option on an APS-C body, for sure, but 35mm bodies are a totally different matter. The 50mm STM was revised to optimise it for APS-C cameras, as that's now what those lenses are mostly used on. It really suffers on 35mm bodies. (Except at f/4, where it magically becomes absurdly good, before dropping again at f/5.6. I've not worked out why and nobody from Canon I've talked to really has a grasp on it, either. f/4 on the STM is some kind of freak accident.)

What a load of self indulgent crap.

Canon said their 300 f2.8 from ages ago is faster to focus than the 100 f2, why would they lie? Subsequently they have made better bodies with better algorithms and better lenses that also focus faster. There is no way on this earth that the 100 f2 focuses faster than those more modern lens on bodies designed for them.

I talk to people, I studied for years and I started getting paid for my photography in 1978, so what?

I doubt what you offer for the simple reason it flies in the face of linked original manufacturer resources, and my personal experience, and common sense.
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 #57 on: January 04, 2018, 10:05:31 PM »
"On an M5 you're also missing most of that lens' extremely strong vignetting, barrel distortion, and inconsistent rendering.
It's a great option on an APS-C body, for sure, but 35mm bodies are a totally different matter. The 50mm STM was revised to optimise it for APS-C cameras, as that's now what those lenses are mostly used on. It really suffers on 35mm bodies. (Except at f/4, where it magically becomes absurdly good, before dropping again at f/5.6. I've not worked out why and nobody from Canon I've talked to really has a grasp on it, either. f/4 on the STM is some kind of freak accident.)"


I'll have to check this out for myself on the 5D3. My first thought was BS but I'll take a looksie and see what you mean. It really might be a case of variance and YMMV.
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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #57 on: January 04, 2018, 10:05:31 PM »

Don Haines

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #58 on: January 04, 2018, 10:20:47 PM »
Canon say the 300mm f/2.8 is also their sharpest lens, despite everyone who has ever tested them deciding the 400mm f/2.8 is (slightly) sharper.

I know how much we like to make fun of DXO, but they rate the 300F2.8 as the sharpest Canon lens (45) and the 400F2.8 as the third sharpest Canon lens (36)
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Don Haines

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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #59 on: January 04, 2018, 10:29:11 PM »

Canon said their 300 f2.8 from ages ago is faster to focus than the 100 f2, why would they lie? Subsequently they have made better bodies with better algorithms and better lenses that also focus faster. There is no way on this earth that the 100 f2 focuses faster than those more modern lens on bodies designed for them.


WAIT A MINUTE!

Are you saying that a high end 2010 lens focuses faster than a 1991 lens! Who would have thought so!

In this case, he might be right though.... a 100F2 has considerably smaller lenses than a 300F2.8. Since the AF motors have about a quarter as much mass to move, despite older tech and poorer algoritms, it is a possibility. Even so, it is comparing apples to oranges and not a very valid comparison.....
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Re: Canon 50 1.2 vs. 50 1.4?
« Reply #59 on: January 04, 2018, 10:29:11 PM »