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Thread: 50mm lens.

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    Member Clawsie's Avatar
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    50mm lens.

    Was after a 50mm and have my eye on the 1.4 but reading some reviews to keep the image sharp you may need to stop it down and there was a suggestion of getting the 50mm macro 2.5 as this is sharp fully wide open.
    Has any one had the use of both these lenses and which you prefer.. It wll be mainly for low light birthday cakes campfire outings....

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    1.4 no hesitation. Fast glass is simply better. Even if you need to slightly stop it down (maybe to have a bit more in focus?), you will be able to focus a lot easier/fast, even just for that it's worth it.

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    Ausphotography Regular livio's Avatar
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    I have a 50mm F/1.4 from Nikon they call it an afs lens, I also have a D7000 DX crop sensor camera from Nikon and it seems to have a real bad back focus issue with this lens
    The D80 which I also have does not seem to have this issue and it's photos are as clear as. With the D7000 fully wide open the photos are not pin sharp they are a little soft. I have not yet compared this with a D4 and I would expect the results to be very different. These days both Canon and Nikon have really good noise reduction which means that you can push the ISO way harder than you could with film. at ISO 3200 with f/1.8 you can easily take a photo with just candle light. If you have a tripod you can get some really good results in less than 30 sec with just ambient light in the back yard, if you live in town. What I'm saying is that the low f/number is less relevant today than it used to be. You have a choice, the price differential between a f/1.8 and f/1.4 is significant the number of f stops not so much because you can push the ISO.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    No lens is sharpest at either end of its aperture range. Most lenses are sharpest between about f8 and f14. This is not a design flaw, but simple optical physics. So stop looking for a lens that is sharpest wide open, as it doesn't exist.
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    Not looking for a lens that is sharp wide open was asking really which of those 2 lenses since they are similar in price would be the better buy it was only the review where they compared the 2 lenses and the macro lens was as sharp as the 1.4 but the 1.4 was stopped down a couple of stops sorry if my wording was insinuating i was after a wide open sharp lens. Im hoping that someone may have had real world experience with both lenses to maybe give a push in the direction i need..

    Thanks patrik this is the way im leaning but if the image quality is similar and price wouldnt the added value of macro be worth it ........
    Last edited by Clawsie; 11-07-2012 at 7:33pm.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clawsie View Post
    Was after a 50mm and have my eye on the 1.4 but reading some reviews to keep the image sharp you may need to stop it down and there was a suggestion of getting the 50mm macro 2.5 as this is sharp fully wide open.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clawsie View Post
    Not looking for a lens that is sharp wide open
    Yeah you did.

    You mentioned getting the macro 2.5 cause it was sharp wide open, which physics say it cannot be. It may be SHARPER, but it will not be it's sharpest!

    The 1.4 will have the better build quality, if that helps.

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    Macro lenses are "generally" sharper than non-macro lenses and have a different field of focus too.

    True macro lenses have a flat field of focus, which means that if you are photographing a flat object, the lens should be sharp right across the flat surface.
    Normal lenses have a curved field of focus which means that their focus is sharp in the middle but tapers off to the sides, usually focussing a little more distant on
    the sides of the image.
    For normal photography, this can be of benefit as the item in the centre of your photograph is usually slightly in front of things to its side, whereas with macro photography, you are generally focussing on something quite small and this object will normally just about fill the frame - which is why macro lenses need a flat field of focus.

    For some portraiture, macro lenses have an advantage as the photographer usually wants the face to be crystal clear, and have the background blurred out and the flat field of focus helps with this.
    But, for normal photography, it can be a slight disadvantage as the depth of field of a true macro lens is often less than the DOF of a normal type of lens.
    This is why macro lenses do so well in focus tests, as the focus charts are flat objects.

    If you want to take photos in the dark, get the fastest lens you can afford.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Well, I know what I'd be getting if all else was equal, and that's the macro lens. Simply because it has that extra capability, and with today's digitalry, f/1.4 vs f/2.8 would not matter much at all.
    In essence, if you find you have to stop down some - lets say if only to f/2.8 - then the macro version would have that functional edge that the other lacks.
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    Geez i said sorry about the wording. I was looking at the 1.4 not for a sharp wide open lens it was the reviewer who said the macro was sharp wide open if you could of given some plain advice as to the differences between the lenses and how it can't be the sharpest instead of NOT answering the question, but telling me to not look for a sharp lens as it doesn't exist. Im sure between the two lenses im asking about one of them will be sharper then the other so out of the two, one of them will be the sharpest.


    Thanks benny not confusing good to get a better insight of what makes up a macro thanks AM.. yer thus my original question to see if any user's have had the use of the 2 lenses in real world experiences..

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Clawsie. About the two specific lenses you refer to, I guess these may be Canon brand, to match your 550D. In that case I have had no experience with them, but I have with the same in other brands. At present, I have a Sigma 30/1.4, which I do not use wide open because it looks too soft when I use that setting. I had a 50/1.2 in Rokkor (Minolta) years ago. It was terrible wide open, and not much good until past about f/4 or 5.6. But the original Rokkor 50/1.7 was the sharpest at all settings that I could make out. However, none of these lenses had a macro capability.

    A search of some Canon 50mm lenses shows that they vary heaps in price, and the 50/1.2 was about $1400!!. The macro version, 50/2.5 was a few hundred and it boasted that it could do "0.5X life size". (Not sure what it means.)

    For the money, and given your intended uses, I would be going for the 50/2.5 macro. BTW, this is an EF lens, so it would suit a full-frame camera as well. The 50/1.2 from Canon sounds rather specialised at that price. It may even be "sharper" than the other one too, but it would be a question of just how much. The cheapie was the 50/1.8 for $89.
    Am.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    To begin with:
    1 I have zero to no experience with Canon gear, but my comments can still be relevant.
    2. I've always been curious about the Sigma 30/1.4 but never really thought too much about it,until the recent photo show here in Melb a few months back.
    (strangely it was exactly opposite to how Am describes it, and I can post an image in a moment for a bit of proof).

    But the two points have a level of interconnectivity which I'll hopefully describe clearly.
    Firstly Rick is correct, that it's very hard to get a lens, that is at it's sharpest wide open, but things are not only changing, in that area, as far as I know, you can get some lenses that are as sharp wide open as they'll ever be.
    Small teeny camera phone lenses and I think most small point and shoot lenses fall into the category of sharp wide open, and as sharp as they get.
    lens manufacturers have to balance sharpness with other factors such as aberrations, but more importantly nowadays, diffraction.
    So they already exist, but these are pretty much useless to you.

    Then we have the single aperture value lenses. They usually come in a mirror(or reflex) form, and have no aperture to vary .. so technically they are wide open, and as sharp as they get too.

    But there are some very special speciality lenses, which are close to impossible to get hold of.
    They're usually reserved for some speciality photography work, such as either (proper) macro work, or possibly close to macro work but via other wavelengths of light transmission too.
    The reviews may describe them as sharp wide open and as sharp stopped down a little too .. which implies that they are as sharp wide open as they are stopped down a notch or two.

    But the problem you have given yourself here is that you are trying to compare two different lens types,and they may not even be comparable in a lot of ways.

    Some lenses perform better up close(hence the term macro) and other lenses perform better from middle to far distances.

    So while one of these lenses may be sharper than the other (eg, the f/2.5 lens may be sharper than the f/1.4 lens at f/2.5) the opposite may also be true, just to make matters more confusing.
    That is, the f/1.4 lens may be sharper at rendering images with more clarity from a specific distance.. which may be from about the distance where you may be inclined to shoot a portrait from.

    As I said tho, this is mainly a guess on my part as I neither have any canon gear to work with, nor do I generally peruse the web for info as to how either of these lenses behave.

    THEN!! you will get the issue of sample variation, or simply luck(or a lack of it) coming from two honest but disparate experiences.

    Am said in his comments of the Sigma 30/1.4 that he felt it was not sharp, but in my quick test of the lens at the Sigma stand at the photo show, I'd be inclined to think Am knows not of what he's saying, and that this lens is amazingly sharp.

    Reason for both these diametrically opposing experiences to exist at the same time, is either lens variation, camera to lens tolerance issue, or most likely I'm simply better at using 30mm and f/1.4 than Am is!!
    Problem with this Sigma lens that I have is that it's more than the Nikon 35/1.8 for not enough gain, so the Nikon lens represents better value for money.

    Sometimes there appears to be no use in asking anyone if their experiences with lens A or lens B is favourable toward one lens or another, as they have to deal with all these probable variations in quality between all the relevant gear.

    You really just have to ask yourself (or answer) pertinent questions, such as is it more important to have the faster f/1.4 aperture at the expense of closer focusing, or is it more wise to have the closer focusing lens, with the implication that it's almost certain to be more sharp when focused closer than the f/1.4 lens can be when used with extension tubes and other close focusing aides.

    I'm sure both lenses will ultimately yield enough sharpness to satisfy your needs.

    I think your question is wrong... ie. you're asking the wrong question.

    I think the question should have simply read: which of these two lenses would suit my needs better ... and specify as many of your needs as you can think of.

    As the lens is generally for birthday cakes and campfires, then the easiest assumption is that due to the working distances you will mainly be using, the faster f/1.4 lens may provide better service than the slower more specialised lens(but again, I don't know this, just basing an assumption on how the manufacturer should build the lenses to work).

    Don't think of lenses as simply "which one is sharper" .. ultimately you would be hard pressed to see the differences in average ordinary every day images.

    But for what it's worth, the macro lens will ultimately render more detail in an image than the faster f/1.4 lens will .. simply because it can focus closer.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Quote Originally Posted by Clawsie View Post
    Was after a 50mm and have my eye on the 1.4 but reading some reviews to keep the image sharp you may need to stop it down and there was a suggestion of getting the 50mm macro 2.5 as this is sharp fully wide open.
    Has any one had the use of both these lenses and which you prefer.. It wll be mainly for low light birthday cakes campfire outings....
    Hi Clawsie...

    I realise your question was about sharpness and see you only joined in May...

    You don't say what other lenses you have for you 500D, but if you don't have any Canon EF series lenses, don't forget if it's relevant to your low light birthday cake photos, that both lenses are EF lenses and will have a reduced angle of view when attached to a 500D.
    I have an EF 50mm f1.8 (most DLSR owners do - $110.00 today online) and rarely use it because of the reduced viewing angle on my 7D but it keeps my iso down when I do use it.

    I have been considering for some time an EF 28mm F1.8 USM, EF 35mm F2.0 or EF 50mm F1.4 USM because Canon will probably never release a dedicated EF-S series F1.4 or F1.8 lens at a focal length (31mm) to match the angle of view on a full frame DSLR as is the 5D and 1D.

    But... if sharpness first and low light capability secondly are your main prioritys and angle of view doesn't matter, then the info other members have given should help you make your decision.
    Canon EOS 7D Mk II, Canon 70D, Canon G12, Canon EF-S 15-85mm, EF 70-200 L f4 IS, 580EX II


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    Quote Originally Posted by Clawsie View Post
    Im hoping that someone may have had real worldexperience with both lenses to maybe give a push in the direction i need…
    I own both those lenses.

    My ‘push’ in the direction the direction you ‘need’ requires more information from you and or you to consider the following.

    > Firstly it is unlikely that you will use this lens ONLY for campfires and BirthdayCakes.


    > Secondly we need to know what lenses you already have.

    > Thirdly we need to know if you have a Flash Unit and whether or not you are desirous to NOT use the flash for some shots – i.e. you are generally after a ‘Fast Prime lens’ (Large Aperture) to shoot Available Light Shots? . . .
    In which case you need to seriously consider the shooting area you will have.
    A 50mm lens on an APS-C camera is a short telephoto lens.
    When shooting inside, you might run out of available shooting area - very quickly.


    > Also you have not stated nor implied any viable reason which necessitates considering the comparative sharpness of these two lenses for your choice between the two:specifically as an example the viewfinder brightness and efficient and fast AF Acquisition would both be an higher priority, than any small differential in IQ/Sharpness when shooting campfire and birthday cakes. Also one must take into account the High ISO Limits and performance of the camera in use – in this case it is assumed, a 550D.

    ***

    Those points mentioned and to answer your specific questions both implied and stated:
    1. for use on a 550D for ONLY shooting campfire scenes and birthday cakes in Available Light the EF50/1.4 will be the better choice of the two lenses.
    2. comparing those two lenses: overall, the EF50/2.5 is the SHARPER of the two lenses.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 13-07-2012 at 4:58pm.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    ...And so the Tale goes ever on...*

    Good luck, Clawsie

    * (But don't worry, it's not my Hobbit to paraphrase JRR.)

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    Don't judge a lens by sharpness alone. I'll take a lens with nice out of focus transition and rendering any day over a "sharp" lens. Each lens will have its own fingerprint, choose the one that gives you the look you want.

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    Tom is right.
    Ultimater sharpness is only one factor in deciding what lens to buy.

    Colour and contrast are more important to me than ultimate sharpness, hence why Zeiss lenses are craved by those in the know.
    While they are manual focus, and their sharpness can be beaten for their price (lots of $$$$), their colours and contrast are second to none and the images taken by them can be just gorgeous.

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