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Thread: Canon 50mm lens

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    Canon 50mm lens

    I'd like to purchase a 50mm lens. It seems there are 4 options from Canon:

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

    Any suggestions on which one should I pick.

    I know the f/1.2 L is much more expensive, does it provide much better quality images?
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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    You could have a look here.
    http://www.digitalrev.com/en/battle-...0-article.html
    Though I am sure there is a proper comparison somewhere. Won't it depend on how much you are prepared to spend?
    If money is no object then the more expensive f/1.2 is probably the best.

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    Member James T's Avatar
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    You can't go far wrong with the 1.4 for the cash, faster focussing than the 1.2 and you don't get those nasty clipped out of focus highlights that the 1.2 produces. There's also the well documented focus shift phenomenon with the 1.2, I don't know how much of a problem that would be for your use, or if it's been addressed by Canon at all.

    The internet is full of people saying the Sigma 1.4 is a better bet than the Canon. Can't comment on that myself though as I've never seen the Sigma in the flesh.

    If you need to shoot at f/1.2 then that narrows your options down considerably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by larrywen View Post
    I'd like to purchase a 50mm lens. It seems there are 4 options from Canon:

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

    Any suggestions on which one should I pick.

    I know the f/1.2 L is much more expensive, does it provide much better quality images?
    What are you shooting? Any specific requirements?

    Is budget an issue? If no, f/1.2 L and a treat for Christmas!
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    I have the 500mm 1.8 and the picture qualty is better than could ever wish for in a $100 lens.
    The autofocus is slow, but the image quality is very good.

    It is very plasticky, including the mount, and at 1.8, it's still pretty fast.
    You can spend lots more, and unless you are going to use it all the time, the 1.8 should last for some years anyway, so why spend more than you should?
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    Larry, If it's for general use and not needing to go to a proish level. The $120.oo odd 1.8 is by all accounts a very good lens, nery a bad work said about it.

    I did read in a thread somewhere on this forum that the lower ap number the harder the focal point is to get right, but when you get it right, it's surpose to be that much better, for around $120.00 for the 1.8 you can't go wrong.

    The MACRO lens is a different kettle of fish mate.

    Do you need a fixed focal lenght lens?

    You can get a great lens in tele from say Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 - The canon 17-55mm F2.8 and Tamron and others make simalar length lenses, even out to 70mm if needed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by larrywen View Post
    I'd like to purchase a 50mm lens. It seems there are 4 options from Canon:

    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

    Any suggestions on which one should I pick.

    I know the f/1.2 L is much more expensive, does it provide much better quality images?
    Seriously, you are willing to spend about $1500-1800 (50/1.2) on a lens without knowing much about it! And you're just as happy to spend about $93-125 on a 50/1.8. This doesn't make much sense to me.

    Anyhow, if money is no object, then have a look at a used Leica R 50/1.4 E60, see this link, or this one. Personally I think the prices on these are a bit optimistic, but it's a sellers market for these puppies. You'll need an adapter to use it on a Canon body but the adapter will only cost about the same as the Canon 50/1.8 lens itself and you'll get to use one of the best 50mm lenses ever made for a single lens reflex camera. You won't get auto focus, and you'll have to use stop down metering but hey, that's a small price to pay for such a lens.

    I think you should do much more research into the lenses you mentioned if you really want to know how they are different, and they are. You'll generally find that you have to spend much much more money for much much less improvement. Although it's a sweeping generalisation so is bound to be flawed, it's none the less true that most 50mm lenses are mostly the same. It's fairly easy to make one so you don't have to spend a huge amount of money to get decent performance. But there certainly are differences if you know what to look for, or even care.

    I have a $15 lens that's pretty close to the performance of a $500 lens that I have.

    Yashica ML 50/2 at F8. I paid $15 for this lens, and I got a camera with it (no one wants these, they are a junk lens).


    Leica R 50/2 E55 at F8. Worth approx $500 second hand (approx $2500 when new, one of the best 50mm lenses ever made).


    I can't even tell the difference in the above 2 images which are 100% centre crops shot at close range and at each lenses optimum aperture. The Yashica is poor at other apertures and in other ways but you can see that it can also be as good as the best. Incidentally, this Leica R 50/2 was not significantly inferior to the Leica R 50/1.4 E60 I linked to earlier, so I didn't spend the extra dosh on the 'better' lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by larrywen View Post
    I know the f/1.2 L is much more expensive, does it provide much better quality images?
    The best way to answer this is probably to say that if you have to ask then you are probably wasting your money. A lens like that is often used for it's wide open performance or imaging characteristics and bokeh. So the qualities you'd want from such a lens would be different to the qualities you'd want from a lens that would typically be used stopped down and probably at much longer or much shorter focus distances. The 50/1.2 may or may not be the sharpest of that lot of Canon lenses but it probably isn't meant to be either (I'd guess it's the macro or maybe the 50/1.4, but I don't know as I don’t use any of them). My point is that the term 'better quality images' means different things to different people, under different circumstances. If you are willing to pay that much for a lens then I would expect you to either already know or just be stinking rich. If the later, then good luck to you.

    Regarding focus shift. Many lenses have focus shift but people are often not aware of it. One of the best lenses ever made in the 80-85mm focal length is a Leica R 80/1.4. It has focus shift which simply means that when you focus wide open, and at close range, the actual focus point will be slightly further back when you stop down, slightly. Focus shift is a CHANGE in the focus point from one aperture (wide open) to another aperture (say F2, F2.8, F4 etc). If you shoot wide open, then focus can NOT shift but when you stop down, to say F2.8, then there may be a difference in the actual point that is in focus depending on how far you are from the subject. It can certainly be an issue but you can also work around it (by focusing at F2.8 if you are going to shoot at F2.8, for example). Does this matter, well yes, but much more if you are not aware of it, and in normal use it doesn’t seem to cause problems. In fact, when I brought up the Leica R 80 focus shift issue with some hard core pixel peepers, and regular users of the afore mentioned lens, no such focus shift issues had been noticed, but it is there! Focus shift is not a fault, it’s a characteristic of certain lens designs but I agree it’s not desirable. I have a couple of 50mm lenses with mild focus shift and the only way I realised was when I was doing some relatively specialised testing with them and I certainly didn’t notice it in normal use.

    JJ

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    I have 2 of the lens you mention, the 50mm f1.8 and the 50mm f1.4. Image quality is not that much different when you talk about sharpness above f4. Both are pretty sharp lenses when not used wide open. However, I reckon the difference in performance and bokeh is worth spending 4 times as much to get the f1.4. It performs pretty well.

    I've seen examples of shots from the f1.2 and they are terrific, especially the OOF, but is it worth the extra $1k to get it? Personally I don't think so unless you have an unlimited wallet. As far as the 50mm macro, I don't know anybody who has one of them. It all comes back to how much do you want to spend.

    I always say every Canon owner should have a nifty fifty f1.8 in their kit because it is so cheap, but I also like my f1.4 better. The pentagonal shaped highlights of the f1.8 annoyed me enough to go out and buy the f1.4. The f1.8 only has a 5 blade aperture, the f2.5 macro only has 6, so will only be marginally better for highlight shape, but the f1.2 and f1.4 both share 8 blades so highlights are nicely rounded like they are supposed to be.

    Also have a think about the Sigma 50mm f1.4, it is reported to perform better than all the Canon 50mm lenses and is only around $200 dearer than the Canon f1.4. It also has a 9 blade aperture so will be better again for OOF highlight shape.
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    Canon 50 f1.8 sounds as though it will do what you want it to do.
    You shouldn't have any problem picking one up locally for $120.
    Mark

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    I have the Canon 50 f/1.8. Nothing wrong with it: esp considering its $100ish price tag. I use it occasionally only but, as has been previously stated, it is one that you will definitely use from time to time.

    Scotty
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    I have the 1.4 and love it! i would have got the 1.2L if i'd had the cash, but i'm happy with the 1.4. i guess it really comes down to how much you're willing to pay.

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