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  1. #1
    Laurent's Avatar
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    Canon EF 50mm : questions on the 1.4 version

    Hi,

    I've searched around, and do not seem to find any thread about this lens.

    The story is that my 50/1.8 Mk 2 seems to be on it's last leg (it's 10 years old and suffered a few drops). I thinks I'll replace it and wondered if I should upgrade to the 1.4.

    The pros for me are :
    - some metal in the build
    - 58 mm thread (my 24 and 85 are 58mm, would make life easier)
    - USM AF motor
    - 1 stop faster

    The cons are
    - the price
    - ???

    I read the 1.4 has a somewhat fragile USM motor, and that even storing it with the front part extended might damage it. I'd appreciate some returns on this.

    My other options so far are
    - buy a brand new 50/1.8 Mk2 (street price is 120€, so it would mean 12€/year if it lasts only 10 years as the previous one)
    - find a used 50/1.8 Mk1 but it would be older and seem to be priced the same as a new Mk2

    Any thoughts ?

    Cheers
    Laurent
    Laurent

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    Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast (Oscar Wilde)

    My APUG Blog

  2. #2

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    I like the build quality and the focusing distance scale. I don't like the barrel distortion. Personally, I'd like to have a faster lens, but I have the 50mm f/1.8 MkII because it is cheaper and has less distortion. I'm less worried about something happening to my most frequently used lens when it is that cheap. I've already lost one. A $100 lens is less uncomfortable to lose than a $370 lens.

    Here is a good review of that lens. Optically, it has a few other things against it, but the distortion is the main thing that bothers me about it. Overall, this review is a good one. The only strikes against it are with regards to the optics, which would probably not be a problem most of the time.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/lenses/50mm-f14.htm

  3. #3
    daveandiputra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurent View Post

    I read the 1.4 has a somewhat fragile USM motor, and that even storing it with the front part extended might damage it. I'd appreciate some returns on this.
    i wont say the 1.4 is fragile, i have it for almost 5 years now, and still functions perfectly (well experience vary, but i'm not known to handle my gear lovingly, it get thrown a lot). altough the USM is not the one used on higher priced lens (forgot the marketing term), it's still fast compared to my 28-105 zoom (with the better USM) and outstanding sharpness to boot! a bit low light hunting if used on my digital rebel, but no such problem on the EOS 3.

  4. #4

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    It's a nice lens. Can be a little fuzzy wide open, but it looks nice on B&W film. It sharpens up quite a bit stopped down. It can flare sometimes, but that was only when I was shooting concerts. A hood helped a bit.

    My 50/1.4 went through a lot and was function fine. I used to use it at a lot of rock shows, some of which were quite rough, and it kept on ticking. That's not to say I banged it into things or anything - I took pretty good care of it.

    Then the focus mechanism broke while sitting on a shelf. It worked when I put it there, it was broken 2 months later. It was sitting in a box on the shelf, so it's not like anything fell on it. I don't recall if it was flange up or down; I think I would recommend having the front of the lens pointing up.

    Other than the focus thing, it's got a decent build, but not quite as inspiring as other lenses of its price range, like the 100/2 or 28/1.8. I also think it's due for an upgrade though.

  5. #5

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    Maybe consider the Sigma 50 1.4?

  6. #6
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    I think it is a fine lens, and a great value.

    I have used the 1.8 (plastic mount), the 1.4, and I own the newest one, the 1.2. I thought the pix from the 1.4 were plenty good for me, and plenty good even when compared to the 1.2.

    The only one of the three I would hesitate to recommend would be the 1.8, due simply to its shoddy construction and "harsh" rendering of out of focus areas. It kind of did the job sort of OK the times I used it, but the results from the other two are far superior, IMHO.

    The 1.4 is the best value (i.e. bang for the buck) of the three, IMO. The 1.2 is a nice lens, but I only really prefer it because it can open up to 1.2, not because its optical qualities are significantly more to my liking.

    It has a different sort of USM than most of the USM lenses, though in operation, I never noticed much practical difference between it and other EF lenses with the more common USM.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  7. #7
    LowriderS10's Avatar
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    I used to have the 1.8 II and now have the 1.4. I love, love, LOVE the build quality and feel of the 1.4. I haven't had any problems with it, but never had any problems with my 1.8 either. I'd say the IQ is on par with the 1.8.

    Here's what I always tell people: I upgraded from the 1.8 to the 1.4 when I was making decent money and the CDN dollar was riding high, so I got it for a song from the States. I sold my 1.8 and ended up paying about $230 or something on top of it to upgrade. HOWEVER...in my current financial situation (not making as much, CDN dollar slightly lower, 1.4 more expensive than when I bought it), I'd stay with the 1.8 II and be very, very happy with it.

    Of all the lenses I bought, this was the hardest one to justify, and if the stars didn't align like they did, I wouldn't have gotten it, and wouldn't be losing any sleep over it.

  8. #8
    Laurent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimmyMac View Post
    Maybe consider the Sigma 50 1.4?
    I'd like to consider it, but the filter thread of 77 is a bit annoying (simply because I want to simplify my kit). I could consider the Zeiss but it's a bit too expensive.

    Thanks all for your answers. I think I'll give the 1.4 a try (that is, when I have saved enough on my photo budget for it, but it shouldn't be too long).

    I've been happy with the 1.8, but even if I could reassemble it, I no longer trust it (last time I wanted to use it, the front part got loose when I fitted the Cokin holder, two filters and the hood. This was on the beach so I could have lost everything to the sea, but managed to catch the darn thing just in time)
    Laurent

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    My APUG Blog

  9. #9
    LowriderS10's Avatar
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    Just something to consider...if you've been happy with the performance of your 1.8 and it served you well for 10 years...why not just get another one? They can be had for a song...

  10. #10
    pcyco's Avatar
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    hallo

    i have the 1.4 and it is broken now for the 2 time, in 4 years.
    i changed to a manual one because i dont need af.

    the quality of the lenses is ok but the overall rating is not so good
    --------------------------------------------------
    vfdkv (259)

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