Anyone used the Canon 50 1.2 L on Film?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Tom Stanworth, May 4, 2007.

  1. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    There are tonnes of comments online about focus/softness issues with this lens used on pixel boxes. I would be interested to know the comments of anyone who has used this on a film body, such a 1 series or an eos 3, both with regard to focus, speed, image quality etc.

    Anyone here done so?

    Rgds
     
  2. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    I'd fatham that there isn't much of a difference between the results on a CMOS and AgBr.
     
  3. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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    If anyone wants to supply me with one, I'd be more than happy to test drive it on my 1N... :D
    Seriously though, Have a look on flickr. there may well be something there.
     
  4. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    The issue is that some have commented that the lens has focus errors on some digi bodies, which has resulted in wildly varied comment on performance, esp wide open where DOF is so slim. This issue has occurred on a numer of eos lens - canon digital bodies. Some commenting are aware of the prob and some just dismiss the lens. It is hard to figure out what is focus issues and what is good/bad inherent optical performance wide open. Therefore, as I shoot film and these compatibility probs have not been widely reported to my knowledge with film bodies with any canon lenses, someone who has used one on a film body will be able to comment on what the lens is really capable of and what it would do for me on my eos 3! So come on, someone here must have put one on a canon filmd body!!??? Maybe not :sad:

    I'd also be keen to hear if these focu errors have applied to film bodies too in the case of this lens!
     
  5. film_guy

    film_guy Member

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    DoF for the 50mm 1.2L is much thinner on a film camera compared to a 1.3 or 1.6 cropped Canon digital body. I already find the DoF of the 50mm 1.8 and 1.4 too thin when shot wide-open for mistakes on my EOS 3 body that shooting at 1.2 would result in too many out of focus shots.
     
  6. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I'm probably not seeing this clearly, so help me out. Why would the same lens have greater depth of field on a digital body than on a film camera body? Granted that the digital camera may crop the 24x36mm frame of the film camera, but what does that have to do with depth of field? Thanks.
     
  7. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    A digital user with a 1.6x crop sensor will have to take a few steps backwards to get the same subject in the frame. The larger distance between the camera and subject will result in a large depth of field.

    The digital bodies use an autofocus system based on prior autofocus systems in 35mm cameras. The auto focus used in current digital cameras has been developed further from what was used in film bodies. But I hardly doubt that they have introduced anything significant. The reason that you will hear d users complain about auto focus is something known as pixel peeping. You can see a lot more detail than what you can see with an agfa loupe.
     
  8. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    This issue arose with a number of Canon lenses which were well known to front or back focus with certain models of Canon camera but not with others (Canon 70-200 f4 L being one). Some had cameras and bodies sent off to be matched and were then happy, some returned the lenses. I have not heard of any issues relating to film users and I believe this is not a physical focus issue but somehow related to how the cameras actually do the electronic thingy! as for pixel peepers, some have confirmed that their cameras consistently focus perfectly with lenses ABC but rear focus by a certain amount with lenses XYZ (which all are prefect with a differnt digital model). There also seems to be consensus across the posts as to which lens/camera combos are the culprits. I have read a number of very respectible reviewers also coming to the same conculsion,a lthough I still dont understand why this is happening.

    As there are so few film shooters left, I just dont hear how people are getting on with some of these newer lenses on óld'film bodies. My 70-200 f4 is great on the film bodies I own, but I am not at all convinced it is right on my Rebel XT...it is very soft wide open and well outside of 'normal'softeness expected wide open bearing in mind this lens is very, very sharp wide open (I spose it is an F4 rather than 2.8).

    as the above issues could be far worse with a very, very fast lens, I would want to hear from a film user (or shoot some test film) before even considering such a lens (although I doubt I can afford one any time soon!)

    Rgds
     
  9. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    It's a very expensive lens. I wonder how many people own it in total, let alone own both the lens and an EOS 3 and wish to test it.

    Since the 1D(S) series uses an autofocus system based off of the one in the EOS 3, it might be that any issues are shared. This is just a guess and I know nothing.
     
  10. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Hi Tom, I regularly use my Fd 1.2L on my F1 or FTb and can confirm that it is a superb lens at any aperture. Also very compact for a lens of this speed. I can't comment on it's performance when attached to an EOS body though and I guess that the new version costs an arm and a leg, I only had to give up one arm for the FD version!
    Tony
     
  11. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Tony,

    I am hoping the 50 1.2 L will be hugely unpopular despite amazing performance so the price comes down :wink: I think it is too high at present regardless! Looks pretty big tho....I am bowled over by my 135L and 70-200 f4 and would love the 50 to offer an alternative to the fast 35 85 L combo.

    Re the last post, none of the film bodies seem to have had compatibility issues with the newer (digi dominated era) lenses, so all it takes is a 1 series or eos 3 owner who has used it (no test required) to comment subjectively on how they find it. Seems like none have bought this lens tho!
     
  12. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Although this doesn't answer your original question at all, I'll say it just the same... :wink:

    When I made my choice between the 50 1.8, 50 1.4 and 50 1.2L, I chose for the 1.4. The 1.8 is dirt cheap, which is on one hand good, but it is just too much plastic, not even a distance scale... The 1.2L on the other hand was just too expensive for me.

    Ever since I bought the EF 50 f/1.4 (about half a year ago), I have barely had another lens on my EOS (on some occasions, the 100 mm macro). It's a beauty.

    Then again, I guess if you can or want to afford it, the 1.2L should be better still :smile:
     
  13. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I may well go for the 1.4 as it is a good lens. The 50 1.2 is said by some to be appreicably sharper at 1.2-f2 than the 1.4 is at comparable apertures, which sounds great. I suppose I need to shoot a few test frames with both, on film, print and see whether it matters to me. Certainly the smaller size of teh 1.4 (and cost!) is appealing. I would be shooting it mostly wide open so would want it to be good at those apertures, whichever lens I end up with (eventually). My 24-60 EX 2.8 sigma is barely OK wide open and I would dearly love to have a 50 that would allow for wide open portraits ot be sharp. At 50-60mm and 2.8, my sigma is not as sharp as I would want it nor do I get the background blur I am after.

    Cheers for your comments, all!
     
  14. Pavel+

    Pavel+ Member

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    For anyone interested this may catch one up if they have missed some of the hubbub on the topic of this lens. It is the one review site that I both enjoy (for the lack of hype and worship) and respect (for the uniformity and scientific basis applied) when it comes to reviews on equiptment.
    http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/canon_50_12/index.htm

    I personally think that most of the problem is that many of the digital masses in canon land believe firmly that an "L" on the box and a red stripe on the rim means for certain that the lens is the work of the gods. It then confuses them or makes them very bitter to find that at 400 percent magnification on their thirty inch screens it is apparent that even these lenses fall under less godly realities.

    Was it not once plainly understood that no matter how much one paid for speed on the ridiculous end of extreme apertures that there were tradeoffs?

    I've seen this with several lenses when I was with canon. The most telling was the mythical 85 f 1.2. Sorry (and I had two copies in my time) but except under 1.8 the images were indistinguishable from the affordable 85 f1.8. Now, if you want to get a bunch of canon shooters stirred up like hornets ... try saying that out loud. Most of the time a very fast lens is not as sharp as a slower lens. That is just the way it is in the world of trade-offs I believe.

    My 85 f1.2 was almost useless to me wide open unless I was on a tripod and focused manually. Heck, if you simply breathe while hand holding... you are out and might as well be crossing your fingers. Auto focus is also not as precise as people seem to need to believe when they spend thousands of dollars.

    It all makes me want to go back to the seventies somehow.

    So I believe that the 50 f1.2 is an extreme lens that is great within the limits of what can be engineered. It is not perfect (duh!) and if one goes in with the right expectations one should be satisfied. If one however reads too many posts (at other forums) about the sublime perfections of .... well, then what do you expect. The currents situation. Users, out a lot of dough, angry that the gods have failed them yet again!

    So, where can I get a good manual focus prism for my underused F100?
     
  15. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I agree that accurate focus would be tough a such an aperture with the 85, but should be a whole lot less trouble with a 50. I have a 135 f2 and there is nothing mythical about the performance of that lens. I take your point however about being realistic about gains when moving to an L. That said, my 70-200f4L kicks the crap out of my previous eperience with conventional consumer lenses too. Those who reads widely would know that the 85 1.8 is pretty well neck and neck with the 1.2 above 1.8 as many convincing reviews deal with this topic specifically. Seem to be a good few who find the canon 50 1.4 a touch soft wide open (tho not bad) and this seems to be an area where the 50 1.2 is appreciably better. This is why I amn resolved to shoot test frames to se whether it would matter to me.
     
  16. skahde

    skahde Member

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    I suspect the usual problems with such a lens:
    1. Residual spherical abberation which fools the AF. AF focusses through an opening of about 5.6 caused by the AF-optics. Lenses with residual spherical abbereation do not have the same plane of focus when wide open and when stopped down to f5.6. This is a known problem for a handfull of fast lenses.
    2. Improper use of AF, i.e. case of bad craftsman blaming his tools. Those user experiencing problems should really take the time and manually focus on a ruler from a 45° angle to see where the focus-indicator leads them to and to compare where they end up using AF. Nobody buys an expensive tennis racket and expects he doesn't need any lessons or at least some time for getting used to it. With cameras this seems to be the usual attitude.

    I used to use the Nikkor 1,2/50mm Ais with a Nikon F100. Using the focussing aid, focus was always spot on, even handheld but you had to be very carefull not to move after setting the focus. With a FE2 and screen E3 getting the focus right is more difficult.

    best

    Stefan
     
  17. film_guy

    film_guy Member

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    If I had the amount of dough to afford the 50mm 1.2L, I would rather put it towards Canon's new version of the 85mm 1.2L. The 50mm I have looks great on a 1.6x digital crop body, but on a 1.3x or full-frame camera it's too wide. The 85mm would be a great lens for portraits on a film or full-frame digital body. I wouldn't trust the camera's auto-focus system on any apperture larger than F2.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Tried it

    Hi Tom, I managed a camera store when the FDn range of lenses were current, and was able to try all the 50mm lenses that Canon made before I bought one, and came to the conclusion at the time that the best buy aperture for aperture ( since I had no need to photograph black cats in coal cellars) was the 50mm 1.4 FDn, that was about twenty years ago, and I have never regretted it
     
  19. Shawn Mielke

    Shawn Mielke Member

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    I too have been wondering about this lens on a film body, specifically the 1V. I googled "50mm f1.2 1V" and got a few snippets of interest, several of which are saying that the lens is working fine on this camera. Perhaps the AF of the higher end bodies is going to have better luck? That's my hope.

    I've never worked at f1.2 but it does seem like a rather challenged amount of dof for AF to accurately throw, at least in closer proximities. Otherwise, flip the switch and turn the ring yourself.
     
  20. braxus

    braxus Member

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    Had I kept my order for this lens, I would have used it mainly on my Elan 7 and 1N-HS. But I read too many complaints about the lens and I ended up not getting the cash for it, so I cancelled my order. They brought the lens in anyway, and I did take a few shots with it on a XTi. For fun I should go back with a film body and retest it again. I got a good deal on the price ($1620 Canadian), but it wasn't good enough for me to actually get the cash for it.
     
  21. braxus

    braxus Member

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    For fun I went out to test this lens on my 1N-HS and brought along my 50 1.8 to compare to. The entire test was botched. Almost every shot was out of focus including my 1.8 shots. I have no clue what went wrong since I confirmed focus with the camera. It could be my manual focus split screen causing the problems. I could show examples of the 50L on film, but they have to be sized down since focus is off. I swear the my 1.8 had more contrast. The lighting was tungsten, so it wasn't flattering light to shoot in. Im still not convinced this lens is worth buying yet. I did noticed when I shot something on an angle that my split screen was showing that sensor out of focus. So the problem with focus on the lens was present. I can't say if the 1.8 was doing this too though. All in all the test was a waste of time since nothing turned out. I'd rather shoot on my Elan 7 next time since I know that camera can focus properly.

    I noticed B&H reduced the price on this lens from $1599 to $1359. That's quite a drop. That betters the Canadian pricing out there now. In Canadian that's $1442 which is cheaper by $78 dollars here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2007
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    At that price you could buy an FD 50/1.2L, a good FD compatible body like a New F-1, and have enough cash left over to cover the better part of an FD 85/1.2L.

    I've been using the FD 50/1.2L quite a lot lately. That extra half stop over the 1.4 really is useful if you shoot indoors often. The availability of super fast lenses is one of the few reasons I even keep a 35mm camera at all (as opposed to MF or LF).