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Old May 20, 2004, 5:33 PM   #1
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Just got my 50mm 1.4 from Adorama today and did a quick test on the tripod. Raw images processed in CaptureOne with no changes. All comparisons were from center of frame.

Both lenses had surprisingly similar contrast, saturation and exposure. The overall "feel" of the picture was the same. The only differences I noted were in sharpness.

At f4, the 50 is noticeably sharper. The 17~40 is no slouch at f4 but it's wide open and the 50 is stopped down... the difference is very noticeable, more than I expected, especially since the 17~40 is already so much sharper than the EF-S 18~55 at f4. I didn't think it could get much better, but it did.

At f8, the 50 is still sharper than the 17~40. The differences are no longer obvious, but they're not hard to see.

At f22, the 50 is ever so slightly sharper than the 17~22... you don't need a magnifying glass to see it, but you have to really look carefully.

Just for grins I tried the 50mm at f1.4 to compare. It was quite a bit softer than at f4. The entire image was a little fuzzy. That could be the razor thin focal distance.. but even the area of focus was MUCH softer than the 17~40 at f4. It was softer than the 18~55 at f3.5. It's nice to have the f1.4 setting when you really need it, but there is a price...

I think the 50mm prime is pricey at $300 but the quality is there. Now I'm wondering why this 50mm is not considered an "L". It has truly stunning image quality in the "normal" range of f-stops. Maybe its the softness at f1.4. But how often does one ever really need that?
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Old May 20, 2004, 7:45 PM   #2
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mrc01 wrote:
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I think the 50mm prime is pricey at $300 but the quality is there. Now I'm wondering why this 50mm is not considered an "L". It has truly stunning image quality in the "normal" range of f-stops. Maybe its the softness at f1.4. But how often does one ever really need that?
... because there's (or was) a 50mm f/1.0 L with an even more accentuated "soft" effect!

http://www.usa.canon.com/eflenses/le...1/ef_50_1.html

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Old May 21, 2004, 1:39 AM   #3
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I hear that this is because it's much easier to make a good 50mm than other focal lengths (esp. wides). So there's no real need to further enhance the performance of the 50 with L-isms.

Canon made an FD50 1.2 L. Perhaps that was not much of a success because the FD 50 1.4 was already a hit.

The 50 1.0 L was perhaps just a concept lens. And now they've sold about as many of them as they were ever going to, and the collectors can play games with each others about the possession of the ones made.
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Old May 21, 2004, 6:30 AM   #4
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IMO they did the 50mm f/1.0L and the 85mm f/1.2L because "they had to" to best Nikon. The electronic based larger inner opening of the EOS EF mount allow them to do this (unlike the legacy of Nikon's mount with lever and focusing gearing from the camera):

http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/h...991_story.html

The FD mount can only "equals" Nikon @ f/1.2, and f/1.4 respectively max... :idea:
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Old May 21, 2004, 9:23 AM   #5
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After more testing wide open, it's not as soft as it first appeared. f1.4 is a little soft but quite usable, you just have to focus carefully with the shallow depth of field.There's a big improvement at f1.6, and f1.8 is sharp as a tack (as sharp as f8 ). Bokeh is smooth and pleasant. What a great lens.

I measure f1.4 as being about 8 times faster shutter speed as f4. That gives great flexibility for those outdoor action shots in thick forest shadows, where f4 wasn't giving me the shutter speed I needed.
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Old May 21, 2004, 5:51 PM   #6
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What do you think of it's use with the 1.6 crop factor?

At 50mm, I really don't see it as a lens to compare with the 17-40 since you are relegated to subjects where a semi tele/ portraitlens would cover. I want a lens somewhere in the angle of view the 50mm lens or slightly wider lensgives on a 35mm body so I could have a fast alternative that would be more of a general use lens. I think I have pretty much decided in the next few months to buy the 28 f1.8 as my fast alternative non-zoomlens.
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Old May 21, 2004, 6:18 PM   #7
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It's a touch more zoom than I needed, but it's fast andgets the job done. If I were doing it all over again I might have gotten the 35mm instead. But I'm not sure of that. The 35mm f1.4 is almost 4 TIMES the price, and bigger / heavier, and the image quality is (arguably) not quite as good as the 50mm. The 35mm f2 is less money but doesn't have the ultimate speed factor I wanted, So it's all a tradeoff. The 50mm has a bit more zoom than I wanted butit's fast and has higher image quality than the 35mm or the 28mm.

Bottom line is,I've already gotten some good shots I would have missed with the 17~40 f4. The 17~40 f4 is a great all around lens but not quite fast enough for some conditions.
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Old May 23, 2004, 12:28 PM   #8
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How does the 50mm 1.4 compare to the 50mm 1.8 lense?
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Old May 23, 2004, 1:27 PM   #9
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The two are very similar in image quality. The 1.4 is slightly better in some respects, has more robust build quality and USM focus. The 1.8 is probably 90% of the lens for 20% of the price.

http://www.photo.net/equipment/canon/ef50/
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Old May 24, 2004, 10:34 AM   #10
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That was a great web page. Great information.

The 50mm 1.4 looks great brighter colors then the 1.8. I'll have to stick with the 1.8 for now though . I think I would like an 18mm prime lens that would be the closest to 50mm on the rebel.
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