To buy or not to buy?

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Manxdip

Guest
Basically my Q is, 50mm 1.4 against 50mm 1.2 L at F1.4, will I notice a difference and does it justify the cost? Even if I use these lens at any aperture, would I notice the £ difference?
 
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nzmargolies

Guest
i have no experience with the L, but i am put off by lenses that only go to f/16. Sometimes the DOF is that critical, or you really need to slow down that last stop. The L only goes to f/16, whereas the 1.4 will take you to f/22
 
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Manxdip

Guest
I didn't realise that the 50 1.2 L only went to F16. But with my line of work the extra aperture is a bonus that in some cases is needed. I would like to have a look at some full res files that would really give me a look.

If there is anyone that would like to set this website up.......... ;)
 
C

Canon 14-24

Guest
I had both and returned to the 1.4, I personally found the bigger noticeable difference outside of the images - more in the build of a smoother focusing ring and solid/reliable build over the 1.4 (I've seen a couple 50 1.4 lenses on craigslist after a year or two of use with the auto-focus dead). Though if you asked me between the Zeiss 50mm and Canon 50mm 1.2, I'd take the Canon just for the versatility of having an AF when I might need one.
 

Grendel

EOS T7i
Jul 20, 2010
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Cv, OR, USA
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I do own the 1.4 but not the 1.2L (I do own other L lenses tho) and I would say, yes, there will be a difference in contrast, color reproduction, and bokeh in favor of the 1.2L lens. Also, the 1.4 is quite soft at aperatures less then f2.2.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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Manxdip said:
I would like to have a look at some full res files that would really give me a look.
If there is anyone that would like to set this website up.......... ;)
It's available on The Digital Picture. Here's the comparison at f/1.4. Contrast is better with the f/1.2L, but it's not much sharper. That's to be expected - the 'goal' of the 50mm f/1.2L is not razor sharpness, since Canon designed the lens with intentionally undercorrected spherical aberration to produce a superior bokeh. It's a portrait lens.

The 50L has much better build quality, weather sealing, etc.

You'll definitely notice significantly differences between the f/1.2L and the f/1.4 versions of the lens. Whether those differences are sufficient to justify the cost is a personal decision.

FWIW, I've never shot with either Canon 50mm prime, but I had and loved the 85mm f/1.8...and sold it soon after getting the 85mm f/1.2L II because I loved it even more...

Keep in mind also that diffraction limits the amount you can stop down before you start to lose sharpness. If you want a razor sharp image, you shouldn't be going much past f/8 to f/11, depending on the pixel density of your sensor.
 
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Edwin Herdman

Guest
I did all my shooting for months on a Canon f/1.4 50mm, and I still use it regularly. I don't have personal experience with the other lenses. That said, here's info:

Look at the MTF curves and reviews carefully before you buy...the 1.2 is probably great if you do a lot of low-light shooting (portraits as well, as mentioned) but stopped down the f/1.4 is reportedly sharper. Given the price difference, if you're willing to throw that much at the 1.2 you might as well try the 1.4 first.

For what it's worth, Sigma recently put out a 50mm which is widely considered sharper than the other 50mm primes out there, but once again, DPR argues that shooting for absolute sharpness at f/8 it's not better for sharpness across a full frame. Autofocus at f/1.2 or f/1.4 is probably your primary concern determining whether to get the Canon or Sigma; if it's sharpness you're after, the f/1.4 hasn't disappointed me yet.

I do want them to put out a new f/1.4 sooner rather than later, I'm not the only person wishing for it, but all we've heard are rumors and rumors don't make good kit additions ;)

For what it's worth, Ken Rockwell sez the Canon f/2.5 Compact Macro is the sharpest of them all.

Personally, at $300 or so the EF f/1.4 is nobody's idea of a steal but it's a tried and true performer at regular apertures. Judge your shooting situations and buy accordingly. Yes, I do miss a lot of shots at f/1.4 with the 50mm...and they don't tend to look nice when they hit...but with increasing ISO performance from each succeeding generation of camera, I think pressure is being taken off the lenses to have such fast apertures.

This is the first time I've ever heard the "undercorrected spherical abberation = superior boke" story (I don't see it mentioned here) but it does make sense. Basically, with any 50mm I've found the story to be that throwing more money at a prime doesn't give you better absolute image quality, but rather it gives you increasingly obscure niche lenses meant for a specific purpose, just as the "regular" 50mm primes (including the f/1.8 II) fill a niche compared to zooms.
 

awinphoto

EOR R
Aug 26, 2010
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www.reno-photography.com
If i can put in my 2 cents... Through CPS, i borrowed the 50mm 1.2 for a special photo shoot and while, when it was in focus, it was magical. However, 2 things to ponder... using live view on my 7d... when focusing at 1.2 through 2, the pictures always looked soft. This was used in manual focus mode and magnified on the focus point. Before anyone pipes up, on my 50mm 1.4, 17-40, 50mm macro, and 70-200 does not exhibit this behavior and is very accurate. When shooting with the viewfinder, it had a more in focus rate, however, still on average, 40% of my pictures using apertures using F2 and under. Actually 40% may actually be too much... 2.2 and up was razor sharp and had to use that F range after wards. After that, I purchased the 50mm 1.4 and really have not had any problems with the focus. Closer to a 95% keeper rate. Is it as heavy duty? Nope... Is it just plain heavy compared to the 1.2? No way. The construction is about on par with the 50mm macro or similar non L lenses, however optical quality I would dare is very close to the 1.2 and a more accurate AF. I have read about durability issues with the 1.4 should you use this lens 100% of the time, however I have had no issues so far knock on wood.
 
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Bart

Guest
It's very rare to get a reliable 50 1.4 and even more rare for it to stay that way.

The 50 1.2 is just dreamy and one of my favorite lenses along with the 24 1.4. They stay on my Mark 4's almost all day long until I need the new 70-200 which is the best lens upgrade ever made by Canon.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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Edwin Herdman said:
This is the first time I've ever heard the "undercorrected spherical abberation = superior boke" story (I don't see it mentioned here) but it does make sense.
I highly doubt that Canon would ever publicize something like that, even it it's an intentional and important part of the optical design for the lens. "Undercorrected" just plain sounds bad, and no marketing executive would let that slip out (or if one did, a sacking would likely follow!).

Here's some light reading for you...
 

kubelik

EOS 6D MK II
Aug 11, 2010
824
0
haven't shot with the 50 f/1.2 but I've had the 50 f/1.4 for a while now and shot plenty with it ... there may be some difference between it and the L version but personally the big question to me is, is there $1500 worth of difference between then? and to me that's a big no. the 50 f/1.2 only marginally lets in more light, is way heavier, doesn't focus closer, doesn't focus faster ... just to get slightly sweeter bokeh and a tiny bump in sharpness below f/2.8.

I also find that shooting at f/1.4 is mildly lurid anyway and usually end up shooting low-light portraits at f/2, otherwise you end up with so little of a face in focus that it actually looks kind of weird
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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kubelik said:
haven't shot with the 50 f/1.2 but I've had the 50 f/1.4 for a while now and shot plenty with it ... there may be some difference between it and the L version but personally the big question to me is, is there $1500 worth of difference between then? and to me that's a big no. the 50 f/1.2 only marginally lets in more light, is way heavier, doesn't focus closer, doesn't focus faster ... just to get slightly sweeter bokeh and a tiny bump in sharpness below f/2.8.
I grappled with an analogous issue when considering the 85mm f/1.2L II - I had the 85mm f/1.8, which is a amazing lens. In the end, I bought the 85L, and even though it focuses more slowly the IQ of the L lens is fantastic - not just wide open sharpness, but also the color and contrast. After a little while of not even mounting the 85/1.8 on the camera, I sold it. I think if your shooting portraits, the 50L and 85L have a lot to offer over their non-L counterparts (worth the $1500 for some, not for others). OTOH, if you're using the 50/1.4 or 85/1.8 for general shooting, those lenses are great for that, and a great value!
 
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Edwin Herdman

Guest
Agreed on contrast and color - those aren't qualities that can be added in after the fact, and unless you're printing at the very limit of your camera's resolution...or making 100% crops...I doubt sharpness is the first problem. This being said, I like the f/1.4's colors and contrast pretty well.
 

kubelik

EOS 6D MK II
Aug 11, 2010
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from what I've seen, there's not enough of a difference in the color, contrast, or bokeh for someone who doesn't earn hard money at 50mm to buy the f/1.2 L version
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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kubelik said:
from what I've seen, there's not enough of a difference in the color, contrast, or bokeh for someone who doesn't earn hard money at 50mm to buy the f/1.2 L version
Well, I see your point, but I still think it's a personal decision. For me, photography is just a hobby. I am fortunate that the >$15K or so I've spent on photo gear represents disposable income for me, and I do understand that the same is not the case for everyone. But just to give one example, for me the portraits of my toddler that I've captured with the 85mm f/1.2L are worth far more than the cost of the lens. Even if you want to put a coldly financial perspective on that, I spent more than the cost of the 85L on professional portraits of her before she was 2 years old, so in that sense, the lens has paid for itself already.
 

kubelik

EOS 6D MK II
Aug 11, 2010
824
0
neuro, I'm not going to disagree on that point; certainly every individual's disposable income is variable. ultimately, you can't go wrong with either lens.

I'm just trying to answer manx's original question of, would he notice the difference in IQ between the two lenses, and my point is basically, unless you are VERY demanding (which plenty of amateurs and hobbyists are), there's insufficient different.

as with all gear-centric "should I buy" questions, it always helps to have more background. is he a shooter with a full lens complement who's simply deciding which 50 it would be fun to own? is he just starting and looking for his first walkaround prime and hoping to acquire more lenses? all these would be a significant factor.

and I'm also saying that as a note for anyone else who posts in the future with gear questions -- everyone loves gear questions and will certainly help out, but the quality of the community's help greatly improves with more information on who you are and what you are looking for in your potential gear
 
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baronfizzy

Guest
The 50mm f/1.4 is the one to get, without any doubt whatsoever. Granted, this is coming from somebody who mainly shoots for a black and white print, but having said that, if you shoot correctly, you will get an amazing
print from this lens (on something like an Epson 3880).

Before my purchase, I tested the lens against the 50mm f/1.2L in the store, shooting objects against white backgrounds, to find that, not only did the L version suffered from horrific CA, but that there was not enough of a significant difference to the results that would justify the extra NZ$ 1900 that the L version would cost.

Don't forget the back focus issue that the L version exhibits also.

The 50mm f/1.2L is NOT the wider version of the 85mm, do not make this mistake.

Also, if you plan to EVER shoot anything that moves, whether slow or fast, that completely closes the argument, as the L version is not suitable in any sense.