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Author Topic: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?  (Read 6589 times)

brianleighty

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Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« on: April 22, 2012, 11:41:05 AM »
So I have the canon 50 1.8. I use it some but am not super impressed with it. It's great stopped down but I can get about the same quality with the 24 105 IS. I just recently upgraded to a full frame camera. I've only gotten to do one shoot with the full frame but I'm noticing the 35 2.0 that I used a ton on my crop body isn't the focal length I'm looking for as much on full frame. What I'm trying to figure out is if I should just try messing around with the canon 50 1.8 some more or if it's worth upgrading to the 1.4. I hear lots of complaints about it not being a true usm focus system. It would be nice to have the better aperture blades but if that's the main thing I'm getting it's not worth it. Has anyone been in a similar situation and have some advice? Thanks.
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Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« on: April 22, 2012, 11:41:05 AM »

!Xabbu

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2012, 12:10:25 PM »
Hi Brian,

I got the 50mm f/1.4 as one of my first lenses and I'm really disappointed with its performance. It's really soft wide open (in fact it seems soft to me for apertures wider f/2.8), has really bad contrast and I don't like the colors. Perhaps I just got a bad copy, but in the end I like even my Tokina 17-50mm @ 50mm better than the Canon. It comes nowhere close to my 70-200mm f/4 L in sharpness, color or contrast.

I know that there are many people out there loving this lens, but it seems that there are at least as many people hating it. Do you have a chance to rent it for a few days and play around with it?

spinworkxroy

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2012, 01:04:48 PM »
Hi,
I was in the exact same shoes as you when i was using my 60D..
I had the 50f1.8 but i rarely used it because 50mm somehow works better on a FF…
I used my 30mm on my 60D alot more and well 300 makes it 50 on a FF doesn't it.

So when i upgraded to a 5d3…i was also thinking if i should use the 50 f1.8 or get the 50 f1.4
Ultimately because the 500mm works much better on a FF than crop and i felt that i was going to use it alot more, i sold my f1.8 and get myself the f1.4 2nd hand. Why? Because although people have said it's not a real USM and there's probles with it etc…it's still overall faster and better built than the 1.8 no matter how you look at it.
It focuses faster and it has 1.4 WHEN you need it…it's better stopped to f2.8…but so is the 50mm f1.8…
Both are equally as sharp but the 1.4 will focus faster and it is built much better too.
Bokeh also looks nicer becuase it has more blades after all…
The price differnce isn't hat much if you buy 2nd hand so it's worth getting the F1.4 version..
And for me…with the 5D3, it has all the built in Lens correction features for this lens, it makes it a much nicer lens to use…so my advice to you is..IF you like the 30mm on the crop and use it alot you will need something similar on the FF and the 50mm f1.4 is THE lens to get if you want something cheap and good. The f1.8 is a great lens for that price..but it's still a plastic mount lens, still very plastic made, only 5 aperture blades and only f1.8…for maybe $150 more, you can get a 2nd hand F1.4…so why not?

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2012, 01:34:11 PM »
Hi Brian,

I got the 50mm f/1.4 as one of my first lenses and I'm really disappointed with its performance. It's really soft wide open (in fact it seems soft to me for apertures wider f/2.8), has really bad contrast and I don't like the colors. Perhaps I just got a bad copy, but in the end I like even my Tokina 17-50mm @ 50mm better than the Canon. It comes nowhere close to my 70-200mm f/4 L in sharpness, color or contrast.

I know that there are many people out there loving this lens, but it seems that there are at least as many people hating it. Do you have a chance to rent it for a few days and play around with it?

Even using contrast AF in Live View?  I tried a friend's copy that was soft using normal phase detection AF from f/1.4 to f/2.8, but it was a lot sharper when using Live View shooting wide open.

EvilTed

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2012, 01:36:19 PM »
I've never tried the 50 F/1.4 but I got the 24-105 F/4 with my kit lens and the 50 F/1.8 kicked the pants off it IMHO.

1. Shoot AV
2. Use One Shot AF
3. Use Single Point AF
4. Get Lightroom 4.1
The 50mm F/1.8 isn't supported by default in the 5D MK3 but Lightroom makes a huge difference.

I also have the 50 F/1.2 and this is an even harder lens to control wide open.
I guess you just need to keep shooting and make adjustments to your technique until it comes together.

I got better results for portraits with the humble 50 F/1.8 than the 70-200 F/2.8 II too, which everyone rates very highly.
So, don't give up on the F/1.8, it's a great lens optically...

ET



Reid_design

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2012, 01:42:27 PM »
I currently have the 50mm f/1.4 and have used it extensively with my 5D mkIII. I do really like this lens, stopped down it gives exceptional sharpness and wide open it has a dreamy look to it. I have considered upgrading to the 50mm f/1.2 L because i find the autofocus on the 50mm f/1.4 is fairly brutal in low light, and this is one of my main uses for it.

Having said that, I've decided to keep the f/1.4 in my bag for now, and instead improve my collection in the wide angle department for the time being.

To answer your question, I've not used the f/1.8 but if what I've described the f/1.4 as being peaks your interest then i suggest you buy it! Used copies you can get for around 300$ CAD, which is really not bad for a lens with such great images stopped down...

Here is a jpeg image from the 50mm f/1.4 on the 5dmkIII taken at f/14 500ISO .4"
5D Mk III, 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM, 50mm f/1.4 USM, 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

aznable

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2012, 02:34:25 PM »
if you want a lens usable from 1.4, better to go with sigma

the resolution diference with 1.4 canon huge

http://www.lenstip.com/177.4-Lens_review-Sigma_50_mm_f_1.4_EX_DG_HSM_Image_resolution.html

Canon 1D Mark III - Canon 50D - sigma 24-70 EX DG - sigma 70-200 EX DG HSM OS - Sigma 50 Art

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2012, 02:34:25 PM »

EOBeav

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2012, 04:36:30 PM »
Yes, go with the Canon 50mm f/1.4. The difference in sharpness and overall IQ is well worth what you'll be paying. The AF issues are well documented, but there are some tricks to getting more consistently in focus shots.
In landscape photography, when you shoot is more important than where.

Gear: Canon 5DmkII, 17-40mm f/4 L, 50mm f/1.4, 70-200mm f/4.

pwp

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2012, 07:03:01 PM »
It's a big ask from just about any lens to expect it to be pin sharp wide open. There are some (usually expensive) notable exceptions of course. My EF 50 f/1.4 was virtually unusable wide open but WAY better at just f/1.8 and reaching fabulous at a still very bright f/2.

In a quest for a better 50mm I traded to the Sigma 50 f/1.4. It's a little better wide open but then it's line ball with the EF Canon 50 f/1.4 from around f/2 onwards. So it was basically a wasted exercise...I have the Sigma which is much bigger & heavier in my bag for very little practical gain.

But for the OP, either of these lenses will deliver better performance than Canon's cheapest lens, the EF 50 f/1.8. Don't expect wide open miracles, but they'll be much better performers for you.

My experience with the f/1.8 is that it gets very good from around f/5.6, but is a real softy up at the wide end. There are good copies around that are more than acceptable wide open, but are generally as rare as hens teeth. Yep, do the upgrade.

Paul Wright

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2012, 07:03:07 PM »
I love the optics. There is a reason why this lens used to be the reference lens for decades. People who complain about sharpness or contrast issues may have bad copies or just higher standards. It delivers results that are pretty close to the 50L (which some say has also some issues perhaps). Build quality is another problem.

So in short: getting a really really outstanding 50mm lens is a bit of a problem and you always have to compromise in one way or another. Some have mentioned the Sigma. Never tried that one. Reports have been mixed as well. Other options are manual focus lenses, e.g the Zeiss offers (and yet again some issues there as well it seems) or the old FD or FL lenses with the Ed Mika conversion kits.

The last two are on my short list. Still hoping for upgrades to the EF 50 1.4 or 50L.

50 or 55mm lenses on full frame are great in my opinion and if you like and use that focal length a lot and like the options that wide aperture primes offer than it's certainly worth investing into something you like and feel comfortable with.

I'm happily using the 50 1.4 for now. I handle it like raw eggs and leave the lens hood on for mechanical protection of the clutch at all times.
5DII - 50L - 135L - 200 2.8L - 24-105 - 580EXII - 430EXII - FD 500/8 - AE1-p - bag full of FD lenses

jabbott

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2012, 08:40:20 PM »
Here is my review of the Canon 50mm f/1.4 at B&H, which explains some of the differences I've experienced between the 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 lenses...:
Quote
This is an impressive lens for low light photography, and it is the most affordable f/1.4 aperture lens available for Canon. Auto-focus is fast and responsive when using the camera's center AF point, although in low light it can sometimes struggle to lock on the subject. There is noticeable halation at f/1.4 however it disappears by f/2.8. At f/5.6 to f/7.1 it is remarkably sharp. At those apertures it seems sharper than the 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is better than the Canon 50mm f/1.8 in terms of build quality, auto-focus speed, full-time manual focus ability, color reproduction and maximum aperture (note - I should have also mentioned bokeh and handling of specular highlights here). Chromatic aberration is very slight but more noticeable at wider apertures. At f/1.4, this lens lets in 1.65x as much light as an f/1.8 lens, and 4.0x as much light as an f/2.8 lens. If you need good low light performance that rivals the best zoom lenses, and are able to photograph your subjects at 50mm, this is the lens to get.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 08:43:34 PM by jabbott »

jdramirez

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2012, 09:56:43 AM »
I have a 60D (so we aren't comparing apples to apples) and I went from the 50mm f/1.8 to the 50mm f/1.4.  I like the 1.4, it does seem to be better build and doesn't feel like a toy.  I always have a hood on the lens, so I don't worry about trauma to the AF system. 

As far as the quality of my images... ehh... I think the f/1.8 is such a great performer for it's price and I always shot around 2.8 anyway.  I don't think the 1.4 is that much better, but considering we are talking about lens prices, an additional $250 seems like a drop in the bucket considering the price of my 24-105 and the 70-200mm f/4 IS that I plan on eventually buying. 

So the short answer is no, it isn't worth the upgrade in terms of amazing performance, but considering the difference in price which isn't really that much, I'd say get the f/1.4.

When I was buying golf equipment, I was willing to pay a premium for clubs that were top of the line because I didn't want to have the nagging suspicion that my drive could have gone 15 yards farther, or my wedge could have generated more backspin allowing me to be closer to the hole by an additional 3 feet.  I'm a tad bit neurotic in that sense, so if you are a pixel peeper or you think that your shot could have been improved if only you had paid the small amount to get the better lens... then get the better lens.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100L->85mm f/1.8 USM-> 8mm ->100L & 85L

!Xabbu

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2012, 03:27:03 PM »
I have a 60D (so we aren't comparing apples to apples) and I went from the 50mm f/1.8 to the 50mm f/1.4.  I like the 1.4, it does seem to be better build and doesn't feel like a toy.  I always have a hood on the lens, so I don't worry about trauma to the AF system. 

As far as the quality of my images... ehh... I think the f/1.8 is such a great performer for it's price and I always shot around 2.8 anyway.  I don't think the 1.4 is that much better, but considering we are talking about lens prices, an additional $250 seems like a drop in the bucket considering the price of my 24-105 and the 70-200mm f/4 IS that I plan on eventually buying. 

So the short answer is no, it isn't worth the upgrade in terms of amazing performance, but considering the difference in price which isn't really that much, I'd say get the f/1.4.

When I was buying golf equipment, I was willing to pay a premium for clubs that were top of the line because I didn't want to have the nagging suspicion that my drive could have gone 15 yards farther, or my wedge could have generated more backspin allowing me to be closer to the hole by an additional 3 feet.  I'm a tad bit neurotic in that sense, so if you are a pixel peeper or you think that your shot could have been improved if only you had paid the small amount to get the better lens... then get the better lens.

As you said the IQ of the 50mm f/1.4 is not really great. Why spend extra money on a lens which doesn't give you great IQ. If your finances allow it, you might want to look at the TS-E 45mm f/2.8.

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2012, 03:27:03 PM »

IIIHobbs

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2012, 04:55:50 PM »
So I have the canon 50 1.8. 
I just recently upgraded to a full frame camera.
I'm noticing the 35 2.0 that I used a ton... isn't the focal length I'm looking for as much on full frame.
Has anyone been in a similar situation and have some advice? Thanks.

Moving to a FF Camera, you will want to look at the 85mm f1.8 to to use in place of your 50mm; it will provide a similar field of view that the 50mm did on your Crop Body. More here: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-85mm-f-1.8-USM-Lens-Review.aspx

On the FF, your 50mm should be providing about the same field of view as the 35mm did on your Crop Body.

jdramirez

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2012, 08:58:05 PM »
What?  I said the 1.4 wasn't that much better than the 1.8.  The 1.4 is one of the sharpest lenses I own and it I do have an L series lens.  So what I really was saying is that the 1.8 is remarkably sharp considering the price. 

I have a 60D (so we aren't comparing apples to apples) and I went from the 50mm f/1.8 to the 50mm f/1.4.  I like the 1.4, it does seem to be better build and doesn't feel like a toy.  I always have a hood on the lens, so I don't worry about trauma to the AF system. 

As far as the quality of my images... ehh... I think the f/1.8 is such a great performer for it's price and I always shot around 2.8 anyway.  I don't think the 1.4 is that much better, but considering we are talking about lens prices, an additional $250 seems like a drop in the bucket considering the price of my 24-105 and the 70-200mm f/4 IS that I plan on eventually buying. 

So the short answer is no, it isn't worth the upgrade in terms of amazing performance, but considering the difference in price which isn't really that much, I'd say get the f/1.4.

When I was buying golf equipment, I was willing to pay a premium for clubs that were top of the line because I didn't want to have the nagging suspicion that my drive could have gone 15 yards farther, or my wedge could have generated more backspin allowing me to be closer to the hole by an additional 3 feet.  I'm a tad bit neurotic in that sense, so if you are a pixel peeper or you think that your shot could have been improved if only you had paid the small amount to get the better lens... then get the better lens.

As you said the IQ of the 50mm f/1.4 is not really great. Why spend extra money on a lens which doesn't give you great IQ. If your finances allow it, you might want to look at the TS-E 45mm f/2.8.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100L->85mm f/1.8 USM-> 8mm ->100L & 85L

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Re: Canon 50 1.4 worth the upgrade?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2012, 08:58:05 PM »