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Archive 2012 · Upgrading a 50mm lens
  
 
mohoyt
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


So for the longest time I had a 350D and used a 50/1.8 on it and loved it so much. (The 18-55 kit lens packed up on me and I was forced to buy the 50. It was obviously worth it.) Since then I've got more into photography (predominantly events and portraiture), and bought a 35/2 - which was just fantastic on APS-C and wonderfully sharp, though loud - and now a 5D mark 3 body. The 50's great, the 35's a little wide, but I appreciate having more of a wide angle at times. For portraiture, I wanted something a little closer so I tried a 100/2 and was hooked (it's just a dream to use on full frame and the price (210 slightly used) was excellent) so I bought it.

Now I want to sell my 350D, mainly because I want it to keep being used and want someone to realise what a great piece of kit it is to learn photography on. I'd probably sell it with the nifty fifty, meaning I lose a pretty useful focal length. I was thinking of using the spoils from selling it to get a 50/1.4, but I'm not 100% sure. What other (if any) lenses should I consider and why? I've also seen the 50/2.5 macro for a similar price and while I hear good things about it's sharpness, I'm not sure I'd like to part with an f-stop or two.

Thanks!



Aug 15, 2012 at 07:21 PM
abqnmusa
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


on a full frame the Sigma 85mm F1.4 is a fantastic lens for portraits and indoor stage photography
I find it very easy to put the background out of focus with the Sigma 85 F1.4
add extension tubes and it works for macro pics

previously I used the Canon 85mm F1.8, It has some purple fringing wide open and F2 for stage photography. But excellent otherwise.


The Sigma 50mm F1.4 has been very good on both crop & full frame. consider that if you upgrade the 50

Edited on Aug 15, 2012 at 07:47 PM · View previous versions



Aug 15, 2012 at 07:31 PM
UnknownSouljer
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


I'd recommend just selling the body and keeping the lens.

If not that, then simply just buy another 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4, especially if you like the focal length so much.

Since you were on APS-C the 50mm on that lens was actually shooting at an apparent focal length of: 80mm. That's why abqnmusa recommended picking up an 85mm. It would look very similar to what you had before on your 350D. In regards to that, I would personally go for the Canon 85mm f/1.8. Having the 35, 50, 85, and 100 mm focal lengths covered will give you a lot of options. The only thing left to do at that point would expand to winder lenses and longer lenses, that is, if you need them for the types of photography you do.



Aug 15, 2012 at 07:40 PM
arthurb
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


I sold my 350d but kept the 50 f1.8, it's a good lens for the money. I now have a 450d, a 550d and I've just bought a 5d mk 2. For portraits I use the 85 f1.8 also a very good buy. If you are prepared to step back a bit the 200mm f2.8 is good also, I picked mine upon EBay at a good price.


Aug 15, 2012 at 07:41 PM
splathrop
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


The Canon 50mm f/1.4 has pluses and minuses. The contrast is okay, and it can be extremely sharp, especially between f/2.8 and f/8. The autofocus works well, but mechanically it is subject to breakdowns. That's the main drawback. And don't expect good image quality below f/2.0, except in the middle of the frame.

Getting an optimal solution to the 50mm dilemma is surprisingly difficult. I think most manufacturers long ago settled on the strategy of selling zooms to cover that focal length, and somewhat ignored prime development.

I expect the upcoming Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II zoom to be superb at 50mm. But expensive. Much less expensive (but only relatively so) would be a Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 MP. But it is manual focus only. If you can afford that lens, and can accommodate yourself to the manual focus, that would be my recommended solution based on image quality, speed, and mechanical reliability. That lens is a stellar performer for sharpness, color, and contrast. I doubt you would ever give it up unless you decided you didn't like the manual focus.

It might also be worth it to look at Canon's inexpensive 28-105 II zoom. I had the earlier version and it was quite good at 50mm outdoors, when stopped down to f/8 or smaller. Not fast for indoor use, however, and a variable minimum aperture with only medium image quality wide open.



Aug 15, 2012 at 07:57 PM
CW100
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


mohoyt wrote:
I was thinking of using the spoils from selling it to get a 50/1.4, but I'm not 100% sure. What other (if any) lenses should I consider and why? I've also seen the 50/2.5 macro for a similar price and while I hear good things about it's sharpness, I'm not sure I'd like to part with an f-stop or two.

Thanks!



the 50mm 1.4 is good, also consider the Sigma 50mm 1.4




Aug 16, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Jefferson
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


The Canon 50 f/1.4 is old...like the buggy...and about the same build quality...but is still capable and doesn't cost an arm and a leg...

This is a crop @ f/2 on a 5Dc...and as they say, it gets sharper at f/2.8 or narrower...














Aug 16, 2012 at 03:56 PM
jasonpatrick
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


I have the 50 2.5 macro...it's the best of the inexpensive canon's in my opinion (haven't tried the L 1.2 version). I had to stop my 50mm 1.8 and 1.4 down to somewhere between f/2.2 and 2.8 anyway to get a sharp shot and the macro is sharp (really sharp) wide open. It also gives you some more versatility with the addition of macro (not 1:1, but it still focuses close enough for flower/product photography).




Aug 16, 2012 at 04:04 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


I walked into a shop to buy a Sigma 50mm a few years ago, tried out 4 copies and walked out with the canon 50mm f/1.4. In almost every respect the Sigma is a better lens, except the AF, which i found to be totally unreliable. Many others here have found the same. In fairness a few folk report finding happiness with the Sigma after sending it back for re-calibration.

There was a thread on the 50mm f/2.5 macro a few months ago, and if you don't need wider apertures it is probably the best lens in the Canon 50mm range.



Aug 16, 2012 at 04:14 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


You are right that the 350D ("Rebel XT") will make a fine starter camera for someone. For example, someone's kid might find it a great way to try out DSLR photography. For most people, the single 50mm prime won't be as useful as the kit zoom, but they can always pick up the other lens.

You have a bunch of options here if you are certain that you want a 50mm prime for your 5D2. Before you part with it, why don't you shoot that fine but humble little 50mm f/1.8 lens on the 5D2 and see what the results actually look like? It might be that you are happy with what you see - and, after all, the actual performance of the lens on your camera is more important that what people might say about the lens.

The 50mm f/1.4 is a fine performer on the 5D2. While I shoot zooms more than primes, I rely on primes for certain subjects and types of shooting and I use this lens a lot. Its image quality is overall excellent. All lenses have shortcomings, and this lens is not exception. It has excessive "halation" (a sort of a glowing effect) at f/1.4 that some mistake for softness - the issue disappears if you stop down even by a partial stop and the lens is certainly quite usable wide open. The lens shows a small amount of barrel distortion - you will rarely notice it, and when you do it is simple to correct in post. Neither of these are significant issues, and I enjoy and recommend the lens.

I have not direct experience with the 50mm f/2.5 macro, though I've heard a lot of good things about it. You'll have to decide how important that extra stop and a half is to you. If you mostly shoot small aperture stuff like landscape, you might not miss it at all. If you shoot macro and like the 50mm focal length for such shooting, that is a factor, too. (Most would probably want a longer focal length for macro work on full frame.)

Sounds like you'll have a nice set of primes either way. I also use and like the 35mm f/2 - a great little lens, and most of the oddball stuff you hear about it comes from people who are repeating what they heard others say rather than reporting their own experience. Rather than the 100mm f/2 I have a couple of primes with focal lengths on either side of that, but I've also heard a lot of good reports on the lens.

Dan

mohoyt wrote:
So for the longest time I had a 350D and used a 50/1.8 on it and loved it so much. (The 18-55 kit lens packed up on me and I was forced to buy the 50. It was obviously worth it.) Since then I've got more into photography (predominantly events and portraiture), and bought a 35/2 - which was just fantastic on APS-C and wonderfully sharp, though loud - and now a 5D mark 3 body. The 50's great, the 35's a little wide, but I appreciate having more of a wide angle at times. For portraiture, I wanted something
...Show more



Aug 16, 2012 at 04:59 PM
 

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Gunzorro
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


I agree with 15Bit -- the 50/2.5 Macro is a terrific lens. It shares the same AF motor as the 35/2, so it does make some noise, but it is accurate and robust. I've been looking to pare down my lens collection again to help pay for a 50/1.2L, but I'll be keeping the 50 macro to go with it.

I was happy to walk away from what I call my "iffy fifty" (EF 50/1.8). I found it had terrible imaging wide open, or close to it. The more I compared it to other Canon and Nikon lenses, I found it wanting. I agree -- you should sell it with the camera body and get something better. That would be the 50/2.5 macro, or the EF 50/1.4.



Aug 16, 2012 at 05:07 PM
mohoyt
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


Thanks so much for the replies everyone! I am constantly amazed at how helpful this community can be.

I'm planning on selling my 350d to my younger sister, and wanted to make sure that she had a decent lens to go with it. Hence I figured I should include the 50/1.8 with it. When I first used a prime on that camera, it made such a huge huge difference over the kit zoom. Also the kit zoom doesn't quite autofocus that well anymore, so I'd feel bad just selling the camera with that.

I only asked this question because I figured I'd have a little extra money from selling both the camera and the lens so I could upgrade my 50. I've used the 50 on the 5D3 body quite a bit since I've got it and it's a nice lens. I like the focal length (in the same way that I like the 35/2's focal length on the APS-C body) and so I'd want to get a replacement of the same length, or one that covers it. I'm not that keen on zooms mainly because (from the limited experience that I have) to get the quality and low f-stop, primes seem better value for money. That said though, I borrowed a friend's 70-200 f4 nonIS for a while and it was great (and not the most expensive lens in the world).

I thought about getting the 85/1.8 too mainly because it was the equiv of a 50 on a cropped body, but in the end I went for the 100, I liked the slight stacking effect a little more and being closer in seemed great. Back to the 50s though, I didn't know the 1.4 was particularly unreliable. The 1.2 is pretty much out of my budget, but I'll try and find a 2.5 macro to try and see what I think, however, it's not as fast an aperture so I'm not too sure



Aug 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Breitling65
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


mohoyt wrote:
So for the longest time I had a 350D and used a 50/1.8 on it and loved it so much. (The 18-55 kit lens packed up on me and I was forced to buy the 50. It was obviously worth it.) Since then I've got more into photography (predominantly events and portraiture), and bought a 35/2 - which was just fantastic on APS-C and wonderfully sharp, though loud - and now a 5D mark 3 body. The 50's great, the 35's a little wide, but I appreciate having more of a wide angle at times. For portraiture, I wanted something
...Show more

40mm F2.8 - > highly recommended in such focal. It is better lens to nifty-fifty and 50/1.4 in my opinion.



Aug 18, 2012 at 01:23 PM
safcraft
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


The 50 f1.4 is a good lens, its just not great. For the price, it should be better thats all.
The 50 f1.8 however is a GREAT lens, for the price. It actually is SHARPER than the f1.4 at comparable apertures (like f2). This and because the 50 f1.4 is known to go bad a lot (mine has also, AF stop working), the lens has quite a bad reputation. But i still like mine. I sent it ot to canon, paid 100$ to fix it and use it again. I will not sell it. It can be a nice lens when used properly.

The 40 pancake has had good reviews, i do not own one. BUT...it is f2.8. Its a huge difference to f1.4 !!!



Aug 18, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Breitling65
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


safcraft wrote:
The 50 f1.4 is a good lens, its just not great. For the price, it should be better thats all.
The 50 f1.8 however is a GREAT lens, for the price. It actually is SHARPER than the f1.4 at comparable apertures (like f2). This and because the 50 f1.4 is known to go bad a lot (mine has also, AF stop working), the lens has quite a bad reputation. But i still like mine. I sent it ot to canon, paid 100$ to fix it and use it again. I will not sell it. It can be a nice lens when
...Show more


Both of these 50mm can't beat this new 40mm lens. plastic-fantastic is inconsistent in focusing, 50/1.4 is softish wide open and both dull on colors and contrast. pancake is a clear winner in most points, small and not as expensive. I wish to see more lenses like this from Canon to replace some of mine L's

Compare yourself:

http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/564-canon50f14ff?start=1
http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/415-canon_50_18_ff?start=2
and
http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/752-canon_40_28_ff?start=2



Aug 18, 2012 at 04:34 PM
jay tieger
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


mohoyt wrote:
Thanks so much for the replies everyone! I am constantly amazed at how helpful this community can be.

Back to the 50s though, I didn't know the 1.4 was particularly unreliable. The 1.2 is pretty much out of my budget, but I'll try and find a 2.5 macro to try and see what I think, however, it's not as fast an aperture so I'm not too sure


My suggestions would be:
1. 50mm F1.8 MK I Canon....traditional, and better, focusing mechanism than the MK II...can be bought for under $200
2. MANUAL focus 50/1.4 lenses are plentiful and MANY for as little as $50...many much better than the nifty50 and the 1.4 EF...



Aug 18, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Gunzorro
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


safcraft wrote:
The 50 f1.4 is a good lens, its just not great. For the price, it should be better thats all.
The 50 f1.8 however is a GREAT lens, for the price. It actually is SHARPER than the f1.4 at comparable apertures (like f2). This and because the 50 f1.4 is known to go bad a lot (mine has also, AF stop working), the lens has quite a bad reputation. But i still like mine. I sent it ot to canon, paid 100$ to fix it and use it again. I will not sell it. It can be a nice lens when
...Show more

You must have an extraordinary copy! I had a copy that was kept at the back of the safe as an emergency fast lens (most all my lenses are f/2.8 or slower). I took it out, wanting to use it wide open on a T2i for head shots of my actress daughter. The lens was so unsharp wide open, and had awful spherical aberration! I then ran it through the mill at various distances and all apertures. From those extended results, I immediately listed it on it eBay. It put me off of Canon 50's until I tried the 50/1.4, which was exactly what I wanted in a fast lens.

No complaints on the 50/1.4 or the 50/2.5 macro.



Aug 18, 2012 at 07:44 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


My 50mm f/1.8 was really sharp too, even wide open.


Aug 18, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Upgrading a 50mm lens


The EF 50 2.5 CM is Canon's sharpest and most distortion free 50, has a very smooth MF ring and is built decently with metal mount and heavier plastics. Both my 50 1.8 and 50 1.4 were nice but suffered extreme barrel distortion at 2 meters or nearer. The 50 2.5 is straight as an arrow from edge to edge at any distance and was a notch sharper than my other 50s up to F5.6 or so. The 50 2.5 is my fav for shooting paintings and small products but stays in my bag most of the time since it is so small and light.


Aug 18, 2012 at 08:13 PM





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