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Old Jan 27, 2010, 6:42 AM   #1
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Default Canon 50mm 1.8 II vs. 1.4 AF??

Hi all,
I'm new to the DSLR world. Recently I purchased the Rebel XS.
I've been spending many hours reading about the 50mm. I'm torn between the 1.8 II and the 1.4. My question is:
Just how much better is the AF on the 1.4? Is the extra cost justifiable?
I will be using it mainly at parties and in my apartment for candid shots.
Being a beginner, is the 1.4 worth it?
Thanks
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 7:10 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to Steve's.

The 1.4 is quite a bit better with the USM motor however I'm not sure for your needs that you will be able to justify the difference in cost. I use the 1.8 on a range of Canon bodies up to the 5D mkII and it really is a great little performer. As you are new then give the 1.8 a bash and if you find you are using it loads and want faster focusing then get it. The 1.8 is so cheap that you can't go far wrong. I've considered the 1.4 many times but not been able to justify it to myself of the amount I use a 50mm lens.
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 7:32 AM   #3
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Unless you are planning to take allot of extremely low light photo with your camera, I would go with the 1.8 also. The AF works better in this environment with the 1.4 then 1.8. But the XS is not ideal for light that low either. I have the 1.8 and like mark said it is a great little lens and you can not go wrong for the price.
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 7:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the quick response!
Is the main difference between the two speed? I can live with a slower AF.
My concern: It seems many people have said the 1.8 II "hunts" too much and won't focus on the shot. Do you find this to be true, or an over-exaggeration? Especially in low-light "bar" situations.
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 8:05 AM   #5
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It only has that issue in very low light shots. And the XS would not be a good body in the low light environment anyways. And it is not as bad as allot say it is.
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 8:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stiv View Post
Thanks for the quick response!
Is the main difference between the two speed? I can live with a slower AF.
My concern: It seems many people have said the 1.8 II "hunts" too much and won't focus on the shot. Do you find this to be true, or an over-exaggeration? Especially in low-light "bar" situations.
A lot of hunting problems are caused by people not understanding what is needed to get AF locked on. If you put the focus point on something with good contrast then you will be fine.
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 8:30 AM   #7
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The differences between the two lenses are:
1. 1.4 has USM focus motor - faster, quieter with less hunting
2. 1.4 has wider aperture - this results in less depth-of-field (DOF) meaning more out of focus background and potentially faster shutter speeds
3. 1.4 has better bokeh. Bokeh refers to the quality of the out of focus background. The design of the 1.4 aperture blades provides a better quality.
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 8:33 AM   #8
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50mm is long for shooting indoor parties. It's possible you won't get what you want from either lens. In that case, you'll waste a lot less money by getting the f/1.8 instead of the f/1.4.
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 9:46 AM   #9
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TCAV raises an excellent point. And, I'd like to add on to it. Available light photography is great but it doesn't always work well. First you mention parties - if you want several people to be in focus, that won't really work well at 50mm f1.8. You need a narrower aperture to get multiple people in focus in many real-life (non posed) scenarios. That means you must use flash.

Also, when you have plenty of sunlight in a room, available light works great. But when there isn't sunlight (at night, etc) and you just have normal household lighting you'll find that even f1.8 won't give you fast enough shutter speeds unless you're subject is posing. With 1/15 or 1/30 shutter speeds, you'll get motion blur in your subjects from talking or head movements or body movements. So again you need flash.
These are situations where a good external flash is the right tool. Don't get me wrong - I love available light photography but in the situations you describe it won't always work well. You should understand that BEFORE you spend your money.
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