He ain’t lying – THE BEST PRIME LENS. Period. by Peter McKinnon

twoheadedboy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jan 3, 2018
235
335
Kenosha, WI
Back in the 90s, when I had at least a dozen EF lenses, I read a guy say you just needed the 17-35, 50/1.4, and 70-200. He wasn't exactly wrong.

In the 70s, the US Army gave you a 35, 50, and 135 I think.

I'd advise people who want to get into photog to start off with a 50/1.4 even today. Then get a tilt/rotate flash, then a bounce panel, then an off-camera flash cord. The lighting is really more important than focal length a lot of time.

I had all the 50mm optics (1.8 MkI, 1.4, 1.2, 1.0) for the EF and probably shot 20% of my shots with the 1.4 or 1.8. (1.8 was my always-in-the-backpack lens until I got a Contax G2 outfit.)
I have always from day 1 preferred a wide lens and just getting closer to my subject, than having a 50 and not being able to back up far enough.
 
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koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
1,801
1,718
What I should say is that the vignette is a compromise I'm willing to live with, that, for me, is not problematic.
I agree, but my point was that the 3 stops (or whatever was mentioned) isn't the amount of vignetting across the range, it could very well be 1 stop less at portrait distances.
 
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Kiton

Too deep in Canon to list! :o
Jun 13, 2015
150
134
This sounds like those girls who insist that the prettiest girl is a b**** and stuck up.

Guy none of us have ever met shows a lot of personality, confidence, and presumably is very successful at what he does. That can really make some people feel insecure.

I thought the perspective on the versatility of the lens was useful, and how it can create isolated images that can make a big 70-200 unnecessary. I like mine for indoor family/kids shooting.

:LOL::LOL: The reality is, alleged insecurities aside, a 50mm will NEVER make a 70-200 unnecessary for most shooters. NEVER!
Take a 50mm in to a riot where protestors are throwing rocks at your head and cops are swinging night sticks and pepper spray at you!!
You will be cleaning your blood off your gear inside of a few minutes! Take a 50 instead of 70-200 to an NHL final game, it will be the last game you are ever assigned to cover!!

So the 50mm may make the 70-200 unnecessary for some hobby shooters, some portrait shooters, and even some studio type guys. But, to claim a 50mm can make the 70-200 redundant for all, is out there.

I am big fan of the 50, and the 40 actually.
But, a 50 is ONE tool and they make a few dozen different tools for a reason.
There are dozens of different needs and no single lens can render the rest unnecessary for all.
Glad you like your 50 for shooting kids/families.
I love my 16-35. And my 400 2.8. And my 300 2.8. And my 70-200. And my 100 macro. And my 135 f2! and so on.

I am sure there are shooters who would buy and love glass I would never even think of buying or using, that is fine, they have their thing and are making pictures and loving the process with whatever it is they have and are doing. Great!

have a good afternoon!
 

Finn

EOS M50
Mar 6, 2021
41
29
If I could only bring two lenses it would be RF 24-70 f2.8 and RF 70-200 2.8.

24mm is wide for most things and can become wider if you shoot a quick pano which is easier than ever now with IBIS and Lightroom.

200mm is long enough for most things (besides wildlife). With 45MP sensor you can get up to 300mm range quite easily and still have enough MP.

Both lenses are sharp enough to cut yourself and offer great balance for video even in dawn/dusk conditions.

They will only get more versatile as bodies improve.

Would really love a 18/20mm f1.4 or f1.8 lens from Canon though in case I have room for a third lens.
 

SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
608
343
I have always from day 1 preferred a wide lens and just getting closer to my subject, than having a 50 and not being able to back up far enough.
Also agreed. I have a 35/1.4 and 75/1.4 for the Leica M. On the Contax G2 I had the 28 45 and 90 but probably should have had the 35. But on SLRs, 50mm's are so much more compact and larger-aperture compared to 35mms, that I shot 50s. (I had the first-gen 35/1.4 but only a few pictures with it worth remembering: such a huge bump up in size yet not a great lens optically.)
 

SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
608
343
What adapter are you using for the Leica M to RF mount?
something Chinese, can't remember the brand, I just went to check and have already fogotten but the time it took to get back to the computer. It was cheap and poorly made (nearly impossible to unlatch from the lens) but otherwise works fine. And thx to the highlighting mode for manual focus, my focus is FAR better than it ever was with the actual Leica M6...
 

Bdbtoys

R5
CR Pro
Jul 16, 2020
406
295
If I could only bring two lenses it would be RF 24-70 f2.8 and RF 70-200 2.8.

I ask this question a lot to myself before going places... and I try to limit the amount of lenses based on where/what I'm doing. However the lens/lenses chosen vary based on what I'm shooting. I have favorites... but to pick any one over another in a general sense (without knowing the where/what)... I just can't do.
 
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2Cents

EOS R5, 1DX mkiii
Nov 2, 2020
23
35
Los Angeles, CA
www.606.media
50mm is a pretty versatile focal length. I don’t use my 50 very often but I get the argument. He also clearly said that the video was about the focal length and not the RF 1.2 specifically.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
CR Pro
Jul 6, 2017
2,116
828
Davidson, NC
50mm is a pretty versatile focal length. I don’t use my 50 very often but I get the argument. He also clearly said that the video was about the focal length and not the RF 1.2 specifically.
Back in the film days when zoom lenses were heavy, expensive, and not so great, I had a selection of prime lenses. My “normal” lens was a 58mm (or was it 55?) f/1.2. I used it a lot, but when I was carrying along just 3 lenses, I took 28mm, 85mm, and 200mm lenses. Those covered pretty well everything I wanted to shoot.
 
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Jerryrigged

CANON EOS R & 5D IV
Jul 15, 2016
23
3
California
If I could only bring two lenses it would be RF 24-70 f2.8 and RF 70-200 2.8.

24mm is wide for most things and can become wider if you shoot a quick pano which is easier than ever now with IBIS and Lightroom.

200mm is long enough for most things (besides wildlife). With 45MP sensor you can get up to 300mm range quite easily and still have enough MP.

Both lenses are sharp enough to cut yourself and offer great balance for video even in dawn/dusk conditions.

They will only get more versatile as bodies improve.

Would really love a 18/20mm f1.4 or f1.8 lens from Canon though in case I have room for a third lens.
My first two L lenses were the 24-70 2.8L II and the 70-200 2.8L IS II. And I still think that was the best decision. Both excellent and versatile. But over time I needed other lenses for specific applications: fast primes for low light dance (weddings), macro for ring shots, etc. 85 prime was probably easiest purchase… easy to justify a fast 85 for portraits. The 35 1.4L II was probably the toughest call and least justifies purchase, but is now my absolutely favorite! I own the RF 50 1.2 and I’m still a little torn. Probably my least used prime… it is clearly excellent, but if I’m carrying two cameras with primes attached, they are probably the 84 1.4L and that 35!
 

arthurbikemad

EOS RP
Jul 19, 2015
508
126
UK
I was using this yesterday at the beach, its a great lens and like many I love it, but damm, shooting the waves in bright sun this lens can fringe like a bastid, a feature of the old EF 1.2 that I used to hate. Only thing with the fringing of the RF is its so fine, strong but in my images yesterday its a few pixels wide on the R5 and hard to clean up.
 

Ruined

EOS R
Aug 22, 2013
930
59
Perhaps if 50mm was one of your favorite focal lengths, if shallow depth of field something you cherished and incorporated often, and if you shot with this lens for a few weeks, you'd understand "the hype." I don't mind the weight, and in real-world use, the vignette is no problem for me. The R6/R5 shadows clean up so nicely that, even when a subject is not centered, everything is fine.

The cost of the lens is tough to swallow, but with inflation, it is negligibly higher than its EF counterpart introduced in 2006. Furthermore it uses more material and has a lot of tech crammed in that wasn't part of the older L-series lens.


As for others comparing to zoom lenses, that's a different conversation.

The Youtuber is just trying to convey some of his excitement about the image quality of a great lens, and also some thoughts on the versatility of the focal length and aperture range. I don't think he was trying to scientifically, once and for all prove that 50mm is the ultimate, best ever focal length. In the online world, we have to put up with clickbait titles. For now. Maybe they'll fade from fashion some day.
50mm is my favorite focal length. Nearly all of my shots with the 50L I take @ 1.2, because otherwise why bother using such a fast lens?

I don't understand the hype, and from everything I have seen the EF 50mm f/1.2L is overall a better lens with all things considered than the RF 50mm f/1.2L - for me, at least.

Yes, the RF lens is sharper wide open, less fringing, and easier to use - but it's also MUCH larger even compared to the EF 50mm f/1.2L mounted on a 5-series DSLR.

One of the main reasons I like the EF 50mm f/1.2L so much is that it is relatively small and inconspicuous, not much larger than the EF 35mm f/2 IS. The RF version loses this key feature, which makes it a far less attractive lens. I don't think any of the optical characteristics of the RF version make up for the huge size.

On the other hand, if one used exclusively RF bodies I could see putting up with the extra size so that an adapter wasn't needed.

I agree with one of the other posters here that noted that most of the RF lenses that have some improvement also have some big tradeoff that goes with it. There are very few that are improved across the board without a tradeoff, almost like the RF versions were alternate (but not necessarily completely improved) lens designs Canon had saved up for a rainy day.
 

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Jan 21, 2021
5
20
if a newbie were to ask me: 'One 50mm and one 50mm alone, my advice would be. And no other for at least 1 year. It forces you to do everything right or fail or stay mediocre. Get close, get far away...get on your knees, stop and wait. If you have to earn money in the first place, this tip is maybe not worth much.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
CR Pro
Jul 6, 2017
2,116
828
Davidson, NC
if a newbie were to ask me: 'One 50mm and one 50mm alone, my advice would be. And no other for at least 1 year. It forces you to do everything right or fail or stay mediocre. Get close, get far away...get on your knees, stop and wait. If you have to earn money in the first place, this tip is maybe not worth much.
I shot color slide film in a rangefinder camera with a fixed 45mm lens for years. I could visualize the composition without putting the camera up to my eye. I had to get everything right in the first place. It was a great way to learn. I made many of my best pictures that way. And 45mm is even closer to theoretical “normal” than 50mm.
 

SwissFrank

from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
608
343
There are very few that are improved across the board without a tradeoff,
interesting point you make.

I agree for instance 70-200/2.8, nice that it's smaller in the camera bag, but can't use TE?!!? I mean, I'm totally going f/4 trinity these days anyway and not even playing with the f/2.8s in stores, but I agree that's a step forward and step back.

50mm/1.2 is literally 10x sharper. It's 30lp/mm lines are higher contrast than the EF at 10lp/mm, basically meaning you can more than triple the blowup linearly, or 10x by area, and get the same sharpness. It's huge in comparison, but it's not huge in an absolute sense, it's maybe smaller than the EF 24-70/2.8 most people used as their standard lens, no?

(If you want a smaller lens, use Leica M: you could have the APO-Summilux 50/2.0 ASPH and be both sharp and not that huge. I shoot an old 35/1.4ASPH on my R a lot.

I shoot mostly 24-105/4IS and is the exception you speak of: the size of the EF MkI but the sharpness of the much larger EF MkII.

I think the 100Mac, with it's spherical aberation control, and 1.4x, may be improvement-only? Or is it a lot bigger than the EF 100Mac?

I saw the wide f/2.8 zoom, 15-35, and it seemed massive.

And a fair number of the RF's are NOT directly comperable: DS, 35Mac, 35/1.2, 135/1.8, 10-22/4 or whatever it is, 100-500.
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
1,801
1,718
[..]
I think the 100Mac, with it's spherical aberation control, and 1.4x, may be improvement-only? Or is it a lot bigger than the EF 100Mac?
[..]
It's slightly taller and a tiny bit wider than the EF100L + EF-RF adapter. Apart from the 1:1.x feature it has much better AF and when using it with an IBIS equipped R camera, much, much better IS. The IS on the EF100L was sometimes fighting the IBIS and making things worse.
 

Ruined

EOS R
Aug 22, 2013
930
59
interesting point you make.

I agree for instance 70-200/2.8, nice that it's smaller in the camera bag, but can't use TE?!!? I mean, I'm totally going f/4 trinity these days anyway and not even playing with the f/2.8s in stores, but I agree that's a step forward and step back.

Also while it's smaller in the bag, a lot of (most?) people considered the precision of non-telescoping zoom a feature of the EF version that made them prefer that over similar lenses
50mm/1.2 is literally 10x sharper. It's 30lp/mm lines are higher contrast than the EF at 10lp/mm, basically meaning you can more than triple the blowup linearly, or 10x by area, and get the same sharpness. It's huge in comparison, but it's not huge in an absolute sense, it's maybe smaller than the EF 24-70/2.8 most people used as their standard lens, no?

Yeh but I don't use the 50mm if I want razor sharpness. I'd just use the 24-70 f/2.8 II if I want that, and it's hard to think of a scenario I'd want razor sharpness plus also need f1/.2. 50mm I use for that magic mostly-sharp/bokeh butter look. So more sharpness isn't something I care about for this lens.

Every lens has a purpose for me, when they all start to look the same they lose their purpose