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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old November 23rd, 2009, 10:51 PM   #1
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battle of the 50mm

ok, so i've bought the 50mm 1.4 USM and it's been great to me, especially with video in low light. however it's killing me that the the 1.8 II is almost 1/4 of the price. i know the 1.4 is a little sharper at the same aperature, but i'm not a pro, so i don't think i really need to spend that much money on such a small difference.

what are you guys thinking?
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Old November 24th, 2009, 03:09 AM   #2
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It's the law of diminishing returns. You pays your money and you makes your choice. Don't buy it if you don't need it.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 03:13 AM   #3
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If it's the f1.8 that I'm thinking of, that cheapie one with the cute nickname, be advised it's even shoddier than the kit lens and worst of all, the focus ring is about the width of a dime. There's not much to grasp at all of focusing.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #4
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Canon EF 50mm f 1.0L
File:Canon EF 50mm f 1.0L.JPG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old November 24th, 2009, 07:45 AM   #5
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My 50mm 1.2L USM is even more expensive but is the favourite lens in my collection.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 10:40 AM   #6
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The 50mm 1.8 is great if you are shooting in a non-challenging setting. If you need to repeatedly change focus, it's not great for that. It's great for setting an interview shot though or something of that nature, and it does good in low light as well, though not as well as what I'd assume the 1.4 can do. I have the 1.8, and I desire the better lens. The focus ring is the real killer for me... it was hard on my last shoot to not fumble while trying to change focus.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 11:38 AM   #7
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An old Nikon 50mm 1.8 is dirt cheap used and gives fantastic results.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #8
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I have the 50mm 1.2L and love it. However, for a savings of $1,200 and the loss of 1/2 stop, I think the 1.4 is the "sweet spot" of 50mm Canon lenses.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 12:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Buck Admas View Post
however it's killing me that the the 1.8 II is almost 1/4 of the price.
With glass, you get what you pay for. I have the f/1.8 II and yes it's dirt cheap and there's no reason not to own one due to its low price, but in my opinion it's no substitute for a much better built 50mm, which you already have in the f/1.4.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 03:11 PM   #10
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I've got the 1.8 and use it only for photography where I want the autofocus - it's a decent stills lens considering the cost and weight. For video the focus ring is almost useless - it's not just that it's a tiny ridge on the front of the lens (so your fingers can easily end up in the shot), the throw is so short that it's very difficult to be precise with the focus. I bought an adapter for my pentax 50mm F/1.4 SMC (not the new plasticky ones, old manual focus) and it's now become my favorite for video - and you can pick them up used in the same price range as the canon 1.8. If you want autofocus for stills then I'd say stick with the 1.4 you have now - otherwise I think you can do much better with old manual primes than the cheaper canon lenses.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 09:16 PM   #11
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Yup, the f1.4 50mm (best value for low light shooting IMO).
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Old November 26th, 2009, 03:51 AM   #12
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I am not at all happy with the 1.4, due to its softness wide open. The 1.8 is sharp from the get-go. To get a sharp image from the 1.4, you need to go to at minimum f/2.0, thus defeating the low light advantage.

See Ken Rockwell's spot-on review: Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM

The focus ring on the 1.8 is brutal, but unless you really need to rack precisely during a shot, you'll be happy with the sharpness.

But as always, you get what you pay for, and the 1.2 is tops by a mile.
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Old November 26th, 2009, 05:49 AM   #13
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For the price of the Canon 50/1.4, I bought two used Zeiss Contax 50/1.4, one AE and one MM so I would have both Bokeh styles covered. They are sharp with great contrast, and of course color match my other Zeiss lenses. They focus cine-wise for focus pulls, but are manual lenses, so no auto-focus here. They can be mounted to a 7D / 5DII / GH1 / with inexpensive lens adapters, and optically they are on par with the new Zeiss Compact Primes. One of these with an AF confirm C/Y to EF adapter mounted would make an excellent addition to anyones kit.
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Old November 26th, 2009, 01:16 PM   #14
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For the price of the Canon 50/1.4, I bought two used Zeiss Contax 50/1.4, one AE and one MM so I would have both Bokeh styles covered. .
Is there a thread here that discusses bokeh styles and how to achieve them?
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Old November 26th, 2009, 10:40 PM   #15
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After owning both the 1.8 and 1.4, and now the 1.2, I can tell you that I was less than impressed with the 1.4. Eric is right. Wide open it is not sharp. At 1.8, the cheap nifty fifty is sharper. And of course the 1.2 is just a dream. But here's another thing: CA. It was absolutely horrible on my 1.4, especially for subjects at a distance of 20+ feet. Actually the least CA of all three is--you guessed it--the $110 1.8.

Good advice on the Zeiss option. I'd look into that if you don't want to splurge on the 1.2.
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