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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1,807

    Thumbs up canon 50mm f1.4 Rating: 10 (see below)

    Author: ReF
    is it worth the money?: Yes
    would i buy it again?: Yes


    Pros: small and light. Quick, quiet, and accurate AF; this lens focuses even in very dim conditions where i don't expect AF to work - probably due to the large aperture. Focus ring is a good size and operates smoothly. Full time manual focus nice. build quality is good and feels solid, though not comparable to an L lens.

    Cons: Doesn't come with a hood, but i knew this before the purchase so i'm not deducting any points.

    Comments: Wow, this is a great lens! I’ve also got the 50mm f1.8 mk I, which compared to what I’ve read from owners of the mk II version, seems to be better both optically and physically. the f1.4 version is much better than the mk I. in shooting test shots, the results from the f1.4 are sharper than the f1.8 at the same apertures, which really surprised me. I also had a lot more miss-focused test shots from f1.8. I only compared the in-focus photos and have not repeated the test yet. In real situation use, the f1.4 locks focus quickly and accurately (quietly too), and full time manual focus is a real plus, while the f1.8 lens is “iffy“ with AF and doesn‘t have full time MF. Another thing that surprised me is that the build quality of the 50mm f1.8 mk I is just as good as the f1.4! I expected the f1.4 to be better but the only real difference is that the f1.4’s focus ring is wider and feels smoother. I’ve had a lot of fun using this lens and I’ve even been able to shoot at speeds of 1/200 at night outside with it! I’ve shied away from using the 50mm f1.8 at large apertures because it can easily miss focus, but with the f1.4 it’s not a problem even wide open. I’m blown away by the results it gave me shooting portraits: very high % of in focus shots at f1.4 (I think most of the blurs where from my own shifting about or subject movement) and really blurry backgrounds even with objects that are only 1-2 feet behind the subject.

    My only issue with this lens is that out of focus lights in particular start to show slight corners with apertures smaller than f1.4. At f1.8 the 5 bladed 50mm f1.8 mk I actually renders it’s out of focus lights rounder, but by f2.2 the f1.4 lens is better. For some reason it really is just lights indoors and at night that show this problem in particular - during the day highlights showing through foliage are round and smooth even at f4 (have not tested daytime bokeh smaller than f4 yet). To be fair, even all my L lenses start to show angles in their bokeh (again, at this time only referring lights indoors or at night) when stopped down one stop.

    If rating this lens for what it is: a compact, $305 (not including $45 rebate), f/1.4, non-L lens, with micro USM and full time manual focusing, then I give it a 10.

    If comparing to all the other lenses I’ve used, which includes L lenses with L build quality and ring USM, even an L prime, I give this lens a 9.

    This lens has me really wanting a 35mm f1.4L and 85 f1.8. Funny, the 50 f1.8 never got me this excited about other extra-large aperture lenses. This is really bad for my wallet!!!


    Below are some examples of out of focus street lights shot with the two 50’s I have. I had to interpolate the image slightly cuz I downsized them too much at first and didn’t want to redo the whole thing. Note that I left out f1.6 and f2.5 because I thought they were unnecessary for this comparison. You can decide for yourself which bokeh you like better. Personally I like f1.8 from the f1.8 lens, I’m not too sure about f2, and the rest goes to the f1.4.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by ReF; 01-10-2006 at 06:27 PM.
    canon 17-40 L, 70-200 f2.8 L, 400 f5.6 L, 50 f1.4 & f1.8, 1.4x TC, sigma 15 f2.8 fisheye, flash 500 DG Super, kenko extension tubes

    note to self: don't participate in sad, silly threads unless you're looking for sad, silly responses.

    "anti-BS filter" (from andy): http://dcresource.com/forums/showpos...94&postcount=4

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