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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 April 21st, 2010, 03:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Steve Phillipps View Post
Interesting thoughts James - any samples or tests to illustrate this? I'm a big fan of older lenses, especially regarding mechanics, but I thought that optically things had moved on so that a modern 50mm f1.4 and 300mm f2.8 for instance will be better than an older one (in general). Is there really a massive difference between the Canon 50 1.8 (which I'm sure is regarded as a really decent lens?) and the old Takumars?
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The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 is undoubtedly the benefactor of years of development since the days of the first SMC 50mm Takumars. If money was no object, I would have a bunch of stabilised fixed aperture Canon L zooms, but I don't have 10k gathering dust.

The 50mm prime is an interesting case. It's a simple design in many ways. The EF 50 f/1.4 shares much with the Takumar equivalent. They are both 7 elements in 6 groups for example, and both have high quality glass. While the EF is sharper corner to corner wide open, there really isn't much in it, especially for HD video. The Tak also has an all metal construction and a wonderful focus wheel. I think it would survive a drop much better. It also has great saturation and contrast.

This is why I say get one rather than the EF 50mm f/1.8 IF you bought your camera for video. I wouldn't try to manual focus with that sad plastic ring, and it just looks washed out in comparison anyway.

If you're talking about f/2.8 300mm lenses, yes things have moved on and the older designs don't compare well.

Saying that, I have a Takumar 200mm f/3.5 and a Takumar 300mm f/4 which are in near mint condition which I bought together for 150, and believe me, they beat the crap out any modern variable aperture zoom at those lengths anywhere near that price. The downside is, there is no auto focus, which turns out to be not a downside for HD film makers. See my point? The focus wheel on these is the size of your hand and feels gorgeous to use.

But the main point is the value for money. My interest and fascination, along I suspect with many 550d owners is how the cost of entry into a world of filmic production has lowered to a point where creativity maybe gaining on money as the main advantage.

With that, I am promoting the 50mm Takumars, along with other vintage lenses as a way to access a level of quality that would otherwise be beyond many people.

I will do some direct comparison shots between the EF f/1.8 and the Takumar f/1.4 when I get around to it.

I will also upload some video from my other vintage lenses when time permits.

Last edited by James Donnelly; April 21st, 2010 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Typo in focal length.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 09:53 AM   #17
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perhaps youd want to consider a cheap f1.2 55mm nikon lens ($~240 at KEH) and get an adapter for a few dollars on ebay ($10)? This is the route i went but I have little interest in AF and wanted at least one really really fast lens since sometimes you just really need it for night ext's. I would be a little careful with old lenses though, I'd recommend reading about their historical performance and see if you can get any info on the mechanics of the particular copy of the lens youre buying. I was lucky and my used nikon is mechanically great for an old lens but ive used tons of AI nikons that have a bunch of play in their focus rings from worn internal threading and lose elements. f1.2 is not only a stop faster than f1.8, it may perform better closed down to f1.8 than a 50/1.8 and its metal not plastic and has a bigger focusing ring with more throw so you can manually focus it precisely.

That said, the reviews of the EF 50/1.8 (are you looking at the I or II version?) are rather good for image quality FM Reviews - EF 50mm f/1.8 II so if you need a cheap, good performing lens for stills and dont need it to be super fast its probably not a bad option. I dont know how the breathing or flaring is for video, though.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 06:09 PM   #18
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I used the 50 1.8 on a shoot last weekend.
We shot at 2.8 and 3.2 and the footage was sharp/gorgeous. However, when we had to rack focus in a shot, this lens was virtually useless. There is no actual focus ring, so you can't attach gears/follow focus. We had to take the rack focus shot four times just because of the very minor but noticeable shake that results from touching the lens itself during the shot, and we never got a perfect take.
Wish smoothcam/shake could fix this problem. Otherwise it's a fun lens.
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Old April 24th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #19
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50 1.8 has weird bokeh with bright oof light
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Old April 24th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #20
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I used the 50 1.8 on a shoot last weekend.
We shot at 2.8 and 3.2 and the footage was sharp/gorgeous. However, when we had to rack focus in a shot, this lens was virtually useless. There is no actual focus ring, so you can't attach gears/follow focus. We had to take the rack focus shot four times just because of the very minor but noticeable shake that results from touching the lens itself during the shot, and we never got a perfect take.
Wish smoothcam/shake could fix this problem. Otherwise it's a fun lens.
Is it the same with the kit lenses ring?
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Old April 24th, 2010, 05:43 PM   #21
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50 1.8 has weird bokeh with bright oof light
Yes, it only has a 5 blade aperture. Wide open, the bokeh is busy and harsh, stopped down at all, the OOF highlights are all pentagons, again, harsh.
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Old April 24th, 2010, 06:05 PM   #22
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Yea George, same focus "ring" as the kit lens. complete junk.
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Old April 24th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #23
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I can follow focus fine with the kit lenses. I have small hands. ;)
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Old April 24th, 2010, 07:32 PM   #24
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Yea George, same focus "ring" as the kit lens. complete junk.
The focus ring on the kit lens is fine. It is in the right place, and quite wide. On the EF 50mm f/1.8 it is a barely graspable single digit millimeter wide abomination at the front of the lens. Quite different.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 05:20 AM   #25
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That changes things...
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Old April 26th, 2010, 12:38 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by James Donnelly View Post
The focus ring on the kit lens is fine. It is in the right place, and quite wide. On the EF 50mm f/1.8 it is a barely graspable single digit millimeter wide abomination at the front of the lens. Quite different.
My bad--meant to say that it is the same focus ring as the non-IS kit lenses that come with older Rebel models.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 06:29 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by James Donnelly View Post
The focus ring on the kit lens is fine. It is in the right place, and quite wide. On the EF 50mm f/1.8 it is a barely graspable single digit millimeter wide abomination at the front of the lens. Quite different.
I have a version of the 50mm f/1.8 with the thin focus ring in the middle of the lens. It's not hard to manually focus and it's a sharp lens but I rarely use it because of the unattractive bokeh.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #28
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i also dont agree with the idea that everyone should buy the 50mm 1.8 because its so cheap (ive heard it said many times!)..

I use an old nikon 50mm 1.4 and it is sooo much better, the focus ring is greasy smooth and the image is wonderfull! You can probably find one in or around the same price..
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Old April 26th, 2010, 03:16 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Peter Rhalter View Post
I have a version of the 50mm f/1.8 with the thin focus ring in the middle of the lens. It's not hard to manually focus and it's a sharp lens but I rarely use it because of the unattractive bokeh.
That's the Mark I. In comparison to the mark II

Pros (apart from the focus ring location) :

Metal mount
Distance scale
Identical optics
Worth more

Cons

Slower, louder focus mechanism
Costs more

It's heavier, pro for some.
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