Quote from: AdamJ on May 19, 2011, 11:47:00 PM
I'd be surprised and annoyed if a new 1.4 were given L status. Non-L users deserve up-to-date products, too.
That's just funny. If it doesn't add anything to the price, why not? I'm just hoping that there will be value for the money.
It ALWAYS adds to the price!!
Professor mode: Logical fallacy spotted, assuming the antecedent.
Because it's an "L" lens means (or should) that it has some features that you won't get elsewhere, not that it is just more expensive to pull the lens lineup out of the users' price range. I think it is important to the whole lineup have a good quality, affordable fast prime like the 50mm, and the current design could be improved on in a number of ways. I have had no problems with the build, but if an "L" designated 50 keeps people from losing theirs to reliability issues, that makes the apparent price difference (just a rumor at this point) in fact somewhat smaller.
I'm with you on your main point: It's nice to have consumer-level lenses, because they do cost less, and I don't want Canon to completely replace the 50mm with something that costs more, and take the 50mm out of the lineup entirely. On the other hand, consider the 50mm compact macro: It's been out of the lineup for a while but that "hole" seems more or less plugged by the EF-S 60mm macro, which is only around $20 more than the 50mm f/1.4. I'm guessing it's more expensive to produce than the roughly 20-plus-year old Compact Macro design would have been today, but at launch the compact macro would have been as much if not more expensive in 1987 dollars anyway.
The 60mm macro probably would have been more expensive by at least a bit than the 50mm compact macro would have been before its retirement, but things do become obsolete. Even if we don't always see a benefit to Canon refreshing the line (I have no personal opinion on the compact macro scene, having used neither lens - it just came to mind), they still have to do it periodically to avoid falling back.
The 50mm isn't a lens like the 70-200 ranges where users can look forward to saving money by getting a previous mark of the lens, but even if the price stays fixed it will slowly become more affordable due to inflation, so overall it's probably just a temporary price spike. Considering any new lens will be made using more up-to-date technology, it stands to reason they will want more money from it - older lens designs will be cheaper to make and the investment to produce them originally will have been returned long ago.
A lot of my latest predictions turned out poorly, but I think Canon might have the idea that the 50mm is not such an important lens. "Consumers" seem to be better served by zooms (like the 17-55, which isn't cheap). It's not as fast, but the already-mentioned EF-S 60mm f/2.8 seems like a good fit for many EF-S shooters, being both pretty fast, a macro, and a similar focal length. The 80mm lens, which is the FOV equivalent used by FF pros, seems to be right up to date in multiple flavors, including the modern classic f/1.2, so anybody shooting a 50mm on a crop body has to move to entirely different equipment on FF.
The only real reason I can think of to keep the 50mm around is, of course, not just for the 80mm-equivalent length, but as the "normal" lens for a full-frame body, but I keep hearing how much the 50mm length has lost favor since the old days, as if it were a fisheye or something. Well, Canon brought fisheye back - maybe there's hope for the 50mm too. At the very least, I don't see them retiring it outright without a replacement, but I really wish they would have something good and sharp like Nikon seems to have, instead of the portrait-focused f/1.2 version.