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Archive 2012 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?
  
 
Tom K.
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


A short video about Canon 50mm lenses. How much extra light for all the money the f/1.2 costs. Is it worth it? Watch the video and judge for yourself.

http://vimeo.com/28007728



Sep 06, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


Not many people buy it for the extra light There is many other reasons to buy it when comparing it with the Canon 50/1,4 lens


Sep 06, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


It's not as simple as F1.2 vs 1.4 as there are many other reasons to own the 50 1.2L such as quality of bokeh, AF speed and reliability, increased build quality, reduced distortion below 2 meters and better IQ at or near wide open.


Sep 06, 2012 at 09:13 AM
jcolwell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


I have both the 50/1.2L and 50/1.4. I almost always use the 50/1.2L wide open. Can't say the same for the 50/1.4. Same but different at 24mm, 35mm, and 85mm.


Sep 06, 2012 at 10:40 AM
retrofocus
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


Lars Johnsson wrote:
Not many people buy it for the extra light There is many other reasons to buy it when comparing it with the Canon 50/1,4 lens


It was the main reason for me to buy this lens. And I have no regrets - it is a "light sucker"! In normal light conditions I often need to underexpose -2/3 stops with this lens. IMO this is the main difference to the 50/1.4 which I also own. The 1/3 stop faster in aperture makes not a big difference, but the 50/1.2 focuses better and is excellent to be used in dim light or night shot conditions. Highly recommended.



Sep 06, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Sneakyracer
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


I agree with most that the 1.2L is much more than a faster version of the 1.4. Its WORLDS better mechanically and in overall build quality and feel. Honestly the main reason a lot of people buy the 1.2L is because the 1.4 is pretty bad in those regards.


Sep 06, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


retrofocus wrote:
It was the main reason for me to buy this lens. And I have no regrets - it is a "light sucker"! In normal light conditions I often need to underexpose -2/3 stops with this lens. IMO this is the main difference to the 50/1.4 which I also own. The 1/3 stop faster in aperture makes not a big difference, but the 50/1.2 focuses better and is excellent to be used in dim light or night shot conditions. Highly recommended.


So you bought it because the AF focus better in low light and dim conditions So maybe it was the better ring-type USM instead of the micro USM that was your reason



Sep 06, 2012 at 02:05 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


Lars Johnsson wrote:
Not many people buy it for the extra light There is many other reasons to buy it when comparing it with the Canon 50/1,4 lens


A bit more information might be helpful for people considering the L 50mm lens because "it must be the best - it is bigger, more expensive, and goes to f/1.2!"

It is what most would think of as very much a special purpose lens, and the vast majority of those imagining that it will produce remarkably better photographs will be disappointed. Although they may be able to impress some folks with their Really Cool Gear, it is a rare photograph that would look significantly different if shot with this lens rather than, say, the 50mm f/1.4.

Think logically about the low light capabilities. It gives you about a half stop or so. So in a situation in which f/1.4 would not work because you need 1/2 stop more light on the sensor (how often does that happen!?) it could make a difference. Admittedly, the overall IQ will be better at f/1.4 - the non-L lens shows halation that you'll need to correct in post. At smaller apertures? No so much. And, while I know this is obvious to some who read this, others need to be reminded that there is a DOF effect that may or may not be so beneficial when shooting at such apertures - e.g. DOF becomes extremely small, to the point that focus becomes a more touchy issue. And this is even more so if you are shooting handheld.

There are some reasons for such a lens... but keep in mind that the most expensive thing is not always the best thing for your purposes.

Dan



Sep 06, 2012 at 04:07 PM
PhilDrinkwater
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


gdanmitchell wrote:
It is what most would think of as very much a special purpose lens, and the vast majority of those imagining that it will produce remarkably better photographs will be disappointed. Although they may be able to impress some folks with their Really Cool Gear, it is a rare photograph that would look significantly different if shot with this lens rather than, say, the 50mm f/1.4.


The bokeh difference between the two means that anything shot at a low DOF looks different enough to notice, at least to the majority of photographers that I know. That's the majority of the work which I shoot with it, so I wouldn't say it was "rare" for me. Plus the 1.2 doesn't break easily.

If you're not using low DOF or you can be careful with your lens, the difference is usually not worth it.



Sep 06, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


gdanmitchell wrote:
A bit more information might be helpful for people considering the L 50mm lens because "it must be the best - it is bigger, more expensive, and goes to f/1.2!"

It is what most would think of as very much a special purpose lens, and the vast majority of those imagining that it will produce remarkably better photographs will be disappointed. Although they may be able to impress some folks with their Really Cool Gear, it is a rare photograph that would look significantly different if shot with this lens rather than, say, the 50mm f/1.4.

Think logically about the low light
...Show more

You should also remember that all people are not the same. Or have the same interest. Yes some people like to have the most "expensive" lenses. Other the "fastest, largest, sharpest, smallest best build or whatever" lenses. They even show it in their equipment list or profile.
Others don't care about such things. Instead they like to show that they have their blogs, websites, G+, facebook pages, twitter, flickr and other stuff.........some even advertise that they have all those for their pics.
(keep in mind that the most is not always the best thing for your purposes in this case either)

Remember that not everyone is the same or share the same interest here



Sep 06, 2012 at 04:32 PM
 

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retrofocus
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


gdanmitchell wrote:
A bit more information might be helpful for people considering the L 50mm lens because "it must be the best - it is bigger, more expensive, and goes to f/1.2!"

It is what most would think of as very much a special purpose lens, and the vast majority of those imagining that it will produce remarkably better photographs will be disappointed. Although they may be able to impress some folks with their Really Cool Gear, it is a rare photograph that would look significantly different if shot with this lens rather than, say, the 50mm f/1.4.

Think logically about the low light
...Show more

Consider optics and see the difference in the diameter size of the lens. This makes the difference in light performance, not the 1/3 stop faster!



Sep 06, 2012 at 04:52 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


Lars Johnsson wrote:
You should also remember that all people are not the same. Or have the same interest. Yes some people like to have the most "expensive" lenses. Other the "fastest, largest, sharpest, smallest best build or whatever" lenses. They even show it in their equipment list or profile.
Others don't care about such things. Instead they like to show that they have their blogs, websites, G+, facebook pages, twitter, flickr and other stuff.........some even advertise that they have all those for their pics.
(keep in mind that the most is not always the best thing for your purposes in this case either)

Remember
...Show more

I have given your advice about the use of social media and web sites all due consideration. :-)

Beyond that, my point pretty much was that "all people are not the same," with the further point being that just because someone tells you that they are really fond of, say, the 50mm f/1.2 L you still need to look carefully at your own circumstances and needs and make a decision that best reflects them - rather than simply assuming that Big Lens Good, Small Lens Bad. ;-)

After reading far too many posts by people buying their first DSLR and wondering whether they should run right out and get a series of L primes, because somebody told them they were the best lenses, this reminder is quite useful I think.

Take care,

Dan



Sep 07, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Jeff_Stapleton
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


I used the 50/1.2L and fell in love. I used a Canon 50/1.4, but didn't use it enough to get a great feel for it.

I bought, however, a Sigma 50/1.4 and absolutely love it.



Sep 07, 2012 at 03:32 AM
pumaknight
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


I had the 50 1.4 and loved it....but I still traded up to the 1.2 after I used it for a few weeks on a road trip....can't tell you why, other than the AF is streets better....there is a certain look to the photos with the 1.2 that just works....a moment of artistic recognition rather than science....


Sep 07, 2012 at 10:20 AM
melcat
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


gdanmitchell wrote:
It is what most would think of as very much a special purpose lens...


Dan, do you or have you owned the lens? There's a lot of false things posted about it, and it does happen to perform very well at f/8 and moderate distances. Given its focal length, I call it fairly general purpose, admittedly not as much as a normal zoom, but serviceable.

it is a rare photograph that would look significantly different if shot with this lens rather than, say, the 50mm f/1.4.

I won't presume to comment on the f/1.4 because I don't own it, but I do know it's not weather-sealed and I have shot in rainstorms with the f/1.2. Those shots look significantly different because I took them and I wouldn't have risked a non-weather-sealed lens doing it. I have no other EF lens at that focal length.

My reasons for buying it were very simple: (1) I've had very bad experiences with f/1.4 lenses from other makers, and have no reason to assume Canon's is any better, (2) I don't use any other lens that takes 58mm filters but I do have a nice 72mm C-POL, and (3) I don't like stuff that breaks.

There is just about no circumstance in which I would consider the extra speed of the lens in itself important. The lack of "halation" wide open does, however, make it much easier to manually focus wide open than f/1.4 lenses I've used for other camera systems in the past.



Sep 07, 2012 at 11:40 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


One does not have to own every lens to comment in ways that are useful and valid. Sometimes the question is based more on principles concerning how lenses with certain features are best used. For example, a person who does not own a fisheye lens can certainly comment on the usefulness or not of such a lens. A person who does not own a tilt/shift lens may understand very well how they work and the circumstances in which they may or may not be useful.

Sometimes the decision to not own a lens was based on a great deal of investigation and careful thought - and a person who chose to get something else may well have done so because of their careful investigation. (And, in a general sense, the notion that we can only know meaningful things about items we own is nonsensical in the grand scheme of things. I'm sure you can think of plenty of examples of things you don't own about which you are knowledgable.)

In addition, it seems to me that a number of you (who I presume may own the lens or desire it) are missing the point of my post. I did not insult the quality of the 50mm f/1.2 L, nor was that my point. In fact, I acknowledged that it is a fine lens that could be the right tool for some small subset of people who need a 50mm prime and desire is specialized performance features.

My point was - and it is hard to see how I could have made this more clear - that such a lens is unlikely to be the best choice for the vast majority of people considering a 50mm prime - and especially that those who are thinking they need it because "it is an L lens so it must be better than the alternatives" should look much more carefully at their real needs and the actual performance of lenses when it comes to those needs. (It probably also wouldn't hurt to look around and notice the number of excellent photographers using 50mm primes who choose other lenses.)

In the specific context of this thread, it is always good to remember what the question was and its context. Here it was - and still is, according to the thread title - "How much extra light?" The answer to that question might be: "A half a stop or so."

Dan

melcat wrote:
Dan, do you or have you owned the lens? There's a lot of false things posted about it, and it does happen to perform very well at f/8 and moderate distances. Given its focal length, I call it fairly general purpose, admittedly not as much as a normal zoom, but serviceable.

I won't presume to comment on the f/1.4 because I don't own it, but I do know it's not weather-sealed and I have shot in rainstorms with the f/1.2. Those shots look significantly different because I took them and I wouldn't have risked a non-weather-sealed lens doing it. I have
...Show more



Sep 07, 2012 at 03:37 PM
melcat
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


gdanmitchell wrote:
One does not have to own every lens to comment in ways that are useful and valid.


Fair enough; I should have asked whether you had been able to test one in person. If you were going by results at test sites, what subject distance do you think their test charts were at? Right, they almost never tell you. Given the lens has no floating element, how do you extrapolate its performance at infinity from tests conducted most likely in someone's spare room?

In fact, I acknowledged that it is a fine lens that could be the right tool for some small subset of people who need a 50mm prime and desire is specialized performance features.

What do you think those are, though? I often see it praised for its sharpness and bokeh wide open, but I'm unimpressed with that myself.

My point was - and it is hard to see how I could have made this more clear - that such a lens is unlikely to be the best choice for the vast majority of people considering a 50mm prime...

IMO most of these people would be better off with a normal zoom. Given that Canon sell four 50mm lenses, but only one, the f/1.2, is a modern one, they probably think so too. I wish it were an f/2, but they didn't do that.

It probably also wouldn't hurt to look around and notice the number of excellent photographers using 50mm primes who choose other lenses.

The lens they use is about the last thing I'm thinking of, and they usually don't tell you.



Sep 07, 2012 at 05:08 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


Dan quite correctly points out that the 1.2 is 1/2 stop faster than the 1.4 and goes on to note that the usefulness of this quite expensive lens depends on what the photographer is trying to do. There are of course other attributes of the f/1.2 beyond its aperture.

I've never touched (or seen) a 50mm f/1.2. It does appear to quite a lovely device. In my case I'm using the 50mm lens (f/1.4) for sports work in very dark gyms. Reason? I'm desperate to get shutter speed up so that I can stop action. My f/2.8 lenses just aren't up to the task. I find using the 50mm f/1.4, the 85mm f/1.8, and the 135 f/2.0L the only method available to meet the demands of this job. Yes, it would be nice if the f/1.4 focused faster. The 135 is an order of magnitude better. Still, I really wonder if the f/1.2 would be all that much better in THIS situation. Shooting in Tv mode, apertures are generally in the f/1.8 - 2.2 range. I get acceptable though not stellar results from my 50mm f/1.4. I'd love to have a better 50mm but given the narrow DOF I currently struggle with, I can't imagine a sports photo at f/1.2. Somewhere between the lavish f/1.2 and the quite pedestrian f/1.8, one would think Canon could provide a dependable 50mm lens. I survive with the f/1.4, but it has its limits including durability.

Robert



Sep 07, 2012 at 05:56 PM
snapsy
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


I have both and the 50L is all about its rendering at f/1.2 - f/1.6, particularly the bokeh, which is highly unique. I actually prefer the 50 f/1.4 for general shooting because it's so incredibly sharp and less unwieldy.

Btw, most of the extra light of the 50L is wasted:
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Insights/F-stop-blues



Sep 07, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Hulot
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?


OntheRez wrote:
Dan quite correctly points out that the 1.2 is 1/2 stop faster than the 1.4

Robert


I really believe it is only 1/3 of a stop (as Canon has used a 1/3 stop number scale)



Sep 07, 2012 at 06:23 PM
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