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View Full Version : Rethinking the Canon 50 f/1.4



michaelb
05-08-2009, 11:10 AM
I'll admit it - I don't use my Canon 50 f/1.4 enough. I'm not sure exactly why, I suppose that at times I'm not fond of the bokeh. Buy maybe I should reconsider that...

I stumbled upon this gallery today - all taken with the 50 f/1.4 on the 5D....
(this is exactly the type of photography that I enjoy - finding the beauty in everyday life)...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jjjohn/tags/canoneos5dcanonef50mmf14usm/

Csae
05-08-2009, 11:56 AM
Very nice find, i love these :D

FLiPMaRC
05-08-2009, 11:57 AM
:cool: Nice!

If you still don't like it afterwards, you can give it to me :p I'll try it out :D

GoneTomorrow
05-08-2009, 11:57 AM
I use mine constantly. That and the 10-22 see the most use. I don't like the 50 f/1.4 wide open at all, it's pretty bad, but when stopped down, it's an amazingly sharp lens.

Have a cat pic recently shot with the 50:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y115/GoneTomorrow/IMG_7723.jpg

Elisha
05-08-2009, 12:02 PM
whoa....more than half that stream is just pure randomness but it is really nice!

gilly
05-08-2009, 12:11 PM
awesome link michael - thanks for sharing.

I grabbed a beer, put it on full screen slideshow and looked thru the lot!
An inspiring bunch of randomness. Loved it.

I'm about to pick up a wide prime, a 35 or 28 but after looking at those, I'm even thinking that a 50 would do the trick nicely. This is exactly what I want it for. I love the 85 to bits but I do feel limited by it's huge MFD at times. I hardly ever pick up the 50 1.8, I don't know why though?!?

michaelb
05-08-2009, 12:49 PM
..I don't like the 50 f/1.4 wide open at all, it's pretty bad, but when stopped down, it's an amazingly sharp lens....

What's amazing is that if you look at the EXIF on those shots about 90% of them were shot at f/1.4!


whoa....more than half that stream is just pure randomness but it is really nice!
Yea, total randomness, but I love it. I think most of these were part of one of those "1 shot every day" series.


awesome link michael - thanks for sharing.

I grabbed a beer, put it on full screen slideshow and looked thru the lot!
An inspiring bunch of randomness. Loved it.

I'm about to pick up a wide prime, a 35 or 28 but after looking at those, I'm even thinking that a 50 would do the trick nicely. This is exactly what I want it for. I love the 85 to bits but I do feel limited by it's huge MFD at times. I hardly ever pick up the 50 1.8, I don't know why though?!?
Some nice stuff, isn't it?
I've been trying to decide between the 28 f/1.8 and the 35 f/2 myself; seems like there are lovers and haters of both. Right now I'm leaning towards the 35 f/2 - if I can find one. :rolleyes:

faisal
05-08-2009, 12:50 PM
Since the 85mm, I too hardly pick up the 50 f1.8....The 50mm f1.4 was on my top-priority list but since my Sigma 50mm f2.8 is very sharp, I don't see the point anymore...

I wish I could see that gallery but my add-on for Firefox which let me view flickr has been cracked by the local internet provider and it's back to being blocked...

michaelb
05-08-2009, 12:52 PM
... but since my Sigma 50mm f2.8 is very sharp, I don't see the point anymore...


Yea, I'm loving the Siggy 50 f/2.8; here's one from mine wide open on the 5D...
http://brownphotography.smugmug.com/photos/527583666_xv26c-XL.jpg

gilly
05-08-2009, 04:13 PM
Some nice stuff, isn't it?
I've been trying to decide between the 28 f/1.8 and the 35 f/2 myself; seems like there are lovers and haters of both. Right now I'm leaning towards the 35 f/2 - if I can find one. :rolleyes:

Yeah I ordered a 35 f/2 only to find that they couldn't get stock. I've found a 28 1.8 going second hand and was thinking about that, but the same dealer has a Sigma 50 1.4 for just 10 more in near new condition and now I'm really confused after seeing the pics on flickr I want a good 50 too now!

jayfixit
05-08-2009, 04:54 PM
I love the 50mm f/1.4 wide open. It gives great isolation to a specific part of the photo while maintaining the "feel" of the rest. I always felt it really shines with people...even at high ISO.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3364/3472185288_d4e8a9dfdf_o.jpg

or even non-human subjects...

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2413/1990225465_e6f4ca7344.jpg

Rooz
05-08-2009, 07:21 PM
The 50mm f1.4 was on my top-priority list but since my Sigma 50mm f2.8 is very sharp, I don't see the point anymore..

whats the point ? simple really...2 stops. so in "real" terms thats the capability of shooting at say iso400 instead of iso1600 or 1/60s instead of 1/15s.

Csae
05-08-2009, 09:32 PM
I'd have to agree, i'd rather a softer image, then a grainy as hell sharp image.

I was thinking about the 1.4 as well, from my understanding above 2.2 its as good as anything, but soft at 1.4, well, i dont plan on using 1.4 often, but i can if i ever need to.

Considering the 1.8 as served me well so far, its hard to justify the several hundreds more.

GoneTomorrow
05-08-2009, 09:41 PM
I'd have to agree, i'd rather a softer image, then a grainy as hell sharp image.

I was thinking about the 1.4 as well, from my understanding above 2.2 its as good as anything, but soft at 1.4, well, i dont plan on using 1.4 often, but i can if i ever need to.

Considering the 1.8 as served me well so far, its hard to justify the several hundreds more.

That's an accurate way to describe it, at about f/2.8 it's dead sharp. Wide open is okay if you're going for that dreamy effect, and I don't use it much, but I might start using it more after seeing those shots.

faisal
05-09-2009, 01:01 AM
whats the point ? simple really...2 stops. so in "real" terms thats the capability of shooting at say iso400 instead of iso1600 or 1/60s instead of 1/15s.

True....but for me there is no point to spend on a focal length that is well served by a f2.8 lens for now...plus I do have the Nifty Fifty if I ever need something more low-light....

laydros
05-10-2009, 05:32 PM
Reinforces that I want to get a normal prime for my 40D. I'm also thinking about the 28 and 35. I'm pretty sold on USM now, but if I could find the 35, it would be a bit cheaper, and seems to generally get better reviews.

Or maybe the Sigma 30, but thats a lot of money for a crop lens when I could buy the Canon 28.

I'm curious about the 50/1.4. I pretty much hate the 50/1.8. I've used a lot of cheap lenses, and build quality didn't bother me. The Sony 18-70 and Canon 18-55IS come to mind. But that Canon 50/1.8 Mk II really feels like something out of a cereal box. It takes decent pictures, and I used that focal length a lot on Sony (I LOVED my Minolta 50/1.7) but the Canon pisses me off. However, how could I spend so much more money to get one when it is almost the same image quality, and doesn't even have real USM.

That was a nice thing about the 85/1.8. Almost nobody complains about that lens, and there aren't really any other choices in that range. It is a slam dunk lens. The 50 and 30ish ranges get really iffy. Even the 50/1.2 has its compromises.

Rasidel Slika
05-10-2009, 11:38 PM
love this lens. use it very frequently lately. very light too, another awesome factor.

Rasidel Slika
05-10-2009, 11:40 PM
oh yeah build quality of the 1.4 is FAR better than the 1.8 - the 1.8 feels like a large version of one of those $20 teleconverters, imo

cdifoto
05-10-2009, 11:43 PM
Photography is a funny thing. To impress a fellow photographer, you gotta play with bokeh and sharpness. To impress a client, you gotta grab their emotions.

michaelb
05-11-2009, 06:29 AM
That's an accurate way to describe it, at about f/2.8 it's dead sharp. Wide open is okay if you're going for that dreamy effect, and I don't use it much, but I might start using it more after seeing those shots.

I was playing with this lens this weekend and my copy is plenty sharp starting at f/1.6. I'll post some samples sometime this week. The bokeh is a bit questionable faster than f/2 though.

shoey
05-11-2009, 09:52 AM
Would that be on your 5D or 40D michael? Is it better on one or the other or about the same. I too am looking to get this lens but wish they's update it like the nikon. I love the 50mm1.8 but hate the build and focus. I've been tempted by the sigma 50mm1.4 and also the sigma 30mm1.4 but i'd rather stick with canon if i could.

drama
05-11-2009, 10:13 AM
The Sigma 30 & from what I am hearing the 50 too, have focus issues
Shooting wide open the Sigma 30 was great fun on my 40D but the focus was off & it lacked sharpness even stopped down to f8

Rasidel Slika
05-11-2009, 05:11 PM
what ive been lovin lately is takin the 50 1.4 to indoor events (house parties, bdays, family events) and shooting without flash. wonderful lens.

michaelb
05-11-2009, 05:56 PM
Here ya go - f/1.6 on the 5D. Plenty sharp for me, but can you see what I mean about the bokeh? It can be quite distracting, especially with folliage...

http://brownphotography.smugmug.com/photos/534225682_f9ee3-XL.jpg

I know that the Sigma has focusing issues, but I'm still thinking about it.

Turn
05-12-2009, 08:25 AM
the 50 1.4 was born to be used on FF in my opinion

te1221
05-12-2009, 09:30 AM
the 50 1.4 was born to be used on FF in my opinion

I concur. The 50 1.4 sat in my bag for the longest time until I bought the 1Dmk2n and then replaced with my current 5D.

Rasidel Slika
05-12-2009, 01:41 PM
agreed! :D

btw do you ever notice the lens seems to be popular on FF product (brochure/web) shots? D3, 5D1/2, etc