50 f/1.2 vs 50 f/1.4 - How much extra light?
/forum/topic/1146363/3

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alundeb
Registered: Nov 06, 2005
Total Posts: 4194
Country: Norway

Technically, you get more enlightened by reading all the posts in a thread than just one of them, but I think the percentage is worth a discusssion.



jcolwell
Registered: Feb 10, 2005
Total Posts: 19079
Country: Canada

ctrlcctrlv wrote:
To answer your question, technically: by moving from 1.4 to 1.2, you get approximately 25.99% more light.


Really? Going one full stop (1 EV) from f/1.4 to f/1.0 doubles the amount of light. That would be a 100% increase in light. Wouldn't a half-stop increase from f/1.4 to f/1.2 be a 50% increase in light?



ctrlcctrlv
Registered: Apr 21, 2009
Total Posts: 93
Country: United States

jcolwell wrote:
ctrlcctrlv wrote:
To answer your question, technically: by moving from 1.4 to 1.2, you get approximately 25.99% more light.


Really? Going one full stop (1 EV) from f/1.4 to f/1.0 doubles the amount of light. That would be a 100% increase in light. Wouldn't a half-stop increase from f/1.4 to f/1.2 be a 50% increase in light?


Well 1.4 and 1.2 are approximations. What's funny is that they are 1/2 and 1/3 stops away in the half-stop and third-stop systems, respectively. Though the increase in light is 36.11% (this number only holds if the camera actually does adjust the aperture accordingly to, exactly, 1.2 and 1.4.

But my previous comment about the 25.99% increase in light is the technical/theoretical amount as it applies only if they are TRULY third-stops, rather than convenient numbers such as 1.2 and 1.4. The math checks out because 1 times 1.2599^3 is 2, thus a factor of 2.

However, if we were to go a 1/3 stop down, it would be a decrease of 20.63%.



Gunzorro
Registered: Aug 28, 2010
Total Posts: 6060
Country: United States

Dan -- I agree that we don't have to own every lens to know their general characteristics. But the reason you were called out on the 50/1.2L is that you are coming across as having intimate knowledge and experience, but you are saying things that betray that as not a possibility. I know you mean well, and are making statements based on what you've read and similar experiences you've had. But like other specialty lenses (17TSE, 135/2, 85/1.2, etc) we can't really lecture on owner's needs or the qualities of their specific character without having personal experience.

Sorry, don't mean to lecture on lecturing -- I'm only an enthusiastic photo maker.

**************
I agree that the 50L isn't going to be for everyone, but not necessarily for the reasons that have been cited in various postings. Cost would be the biggest issue as far as I can see. Cost is what kept me from owning the lens until today. But I was convinced earlier through CPS loaner that I used to cover a wedding as my second camera, and additional testing and familiarization with the lens' characteristics.

My use of the lens convinced me it was quite different from the EF 50/1.4 that I'd previously owned. Quite different in very plain and positive ways.

I was concerned, until I got my own copy, that the naysayers might be right and the CPS model was a fluke, and there wouldn't be much difference to separate the 1.2 from the 1.4 at smaller apertures. I'm relieved to report that my UA (2012) model is better than my 1.4, and has outstanding sharpness and detail rendering at f/6.7 and is usable up through f/11 if needed. Best sharpness seems to be from 4.5 to 6.7, making it a perfect general purpose lens for even average users, provided they want to pay the freight.

Everything reported by others regarding f/1.2 to 2.0 is correct -- the lens is outstanding with core sharpness and surrounding softness from spherical aberration, but lacking "veiling haze" so common in extremely large apertures. My lens starts getting clinically sharp at f/2.5 -- very sharp indeed -- from closer up to infinity subjects.

I think too much of the thread discussion has been concerned over the light gathering capabilities of this lens (not that it isn't interesting, academically speaking). Frankly, there isn't a lot of advantage in the 1.2 over the 1.4 for light gathering or light fall-off. You shouldn't buy this lens with that consideration as a main reason -- you should be buying for how it handles details, colors and edge roll-off starting right at 1.2. By the time you take it up to 1.4, you can see more sharpness and quality than the 1.4 lens starting out. I'd say the 1.2 is drastically superior at these wider apertures, up through f/2.0 certainly, and may retain the advantage even into smaller apertures until they both soften from diffraction at f/8.0. That is the real life advantage -- special image quality starting at f/1.2, and carrying though smaller apertures.

Anyway, I just want to put fears to rest, that might have been making potential buyers uneasy. My experience so far with two samples of recent vintage: both were excellent and exceeded my expectations and hopes (both of which were very high for this expensive lens).

I'm going to get busy and review and take more images with this lens -- I paid for it, so I'd better get my money out of it! So far so good, and on the block will go my last Zeiss lens: C/Y 50/1.4 -- not needed now. Keeping my EF 50/2.5 Macro to go with the 1.2L, for those times I need super-sharp details and close-ups.



snapsy
Registered: Feb 24, 2008
Total Posts: 3944
Country: United States

Gunzorro, agree completely. The 50L is one of those lenses where either you'll appreciate its unique rendering or you wont. And by rendering I don't mean the usual romantic classifications like "3D effect" or "zeiss look"...IMO it's one of the few lenses that has a rendering that most anyone can distinguish from other lenses of its class. It's the sole reason I recently repurchased a Canon FF body.



halie
Registered: Jan 12, 2006
Total Posts: 918
Country: United States

gdanmitchell wrote:
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.

Dan


Don't be so quick to dismiss the value of impressing people. It's really a chick magnet for geeky sexy photo girls, that's the main reason I got it.



Gunzorro
Registered: Aug 28, 2010
Total Posts: 6060
Country: United States

I'm still mid-excitement. This morning, I tried the 50/1.2L on 1Ds2 and 5D2. I'm really knocked out by the performance and subtle variation between these three camera bodies. I'm particularly impressed by the 1Ds2, which confirms my first experience with the wedding shots. The 1Ds2 has a pronounced light fall-off with the lens wide open that really adds an emphasis effect. Possibly the RAWs are less processed with the earlier Digic 2?

Not saying the other two bodies aren't great, just a bit more clinical.

Sharpness is really impressive wide open in the overcast conditions I was shooting in today (yes, after our awful heatwave the past two months!).

Focus seems to be a touch back-focus on the 1Ds2 (no MA), but near zero wide open. The 5D2 took -2 MA, which is the standard for the camera. I haven't tried to zero the CPS loaner 5D3 yet, but that will be my next task, along with checking how it performs on the 60D.

I'm really blown away, and feel this will be one of my favorite lenses ever. Granted some of this is new toy excitement, but it became magnified when reviewing the test shots -- I wanted to make big prints and have a gallery show. Maybe it won't seem so trick in a day, but I doubt it.



boingyman
Registered: Jun 29, 2012
Total Posts: 747
Country: United States

I would love a 50L one day, but it would be hard to decide if I'd rather spend the $ on a 45 TSE or 50L.



Gunzorro
Registered: Aug 28, 2010
Total Posts: 6060
Country: United States

Since I have both, it's easy for me to say -- the 50L. You can also buy the amazing little cheapie 40/2.8 STM and have a nice set for little more than the 50L. Both are sharper than the 45TS-E, but lack its movements and subtle rendering (partly due to its aberrations).



jerbear00
Registered: Jan 17, 2011
Total Posts: 665
Country: N/A

I didn't really like the 45 tse.... 2.8 was a little slow and I wanted wider for tse so I bought a 50L and 24tse2 ad sold the 45tse... Just me though



jerbear00
Registered: Jan 17, 2011
Total Posts: 665
Country: N/A

The 50L is really a personal choice. To me it's the best canon 50 available. The improvements over the over 50s justified the cost to me.



retrofocus
Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Total Posts: 3159
Country: United States

I should add to my earlier post that the 50/1.2 is one of the unique lenses in my collection which takes photos I rarely need to post-process afterwards. They come out perfectly fine right out of the box especially in regard to sharpness, contrast and saturation.



Gunzorro
Registered: Aug 28, 2010
Total Posts: 6060
Country: United States

retrofocus -- Here's one that sort of goes along the lines of what you were saying. I didn't use the LR lens profile, only some minor adjusting besides sharpness. Original images shot at f/2.8, 1/1250 @ ISO 50 with 5D2.

Reagan Presidential Library, hand held 8-shot pano in landscape format.







retrofocus
Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Total Posts: 3159
Country: United States

Beautiful panorama! Glad that you enjoy this lens, too !



bcguy
Registered: Apr 17, 2010
Total Posts: 305
Country: Canada

Gochugogi wrote:

Neither one has even remotely enough vignette for my taste. In the old days I used a special filter for vignette but now I add it in PP.


I agree!



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 4742
Country: United States

OntheRez wrote:

I've never touched (or seen) a 50mm f/1.2. It does appear to quite a lovely device.


It's nice in the hands. Nice to work with. Moreso than the 50/1.4



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 4742
Country: United States

lexvo wrote:
The 50/1.2 has very good color and contrast, but the 50/1.4 is quite good in this regard too.


After using both, I was surprised how close the 50/1.4 is to the 1.2 in regards to color. Not much difference.

Contrast I don't know ... The halation of the 1.4 is pretty bad if not stopped down a bit.



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 4742
Country: United States

I have the definitive answer!

I did a controlled comparison of the two lenses. Shot same scene on tripod, same lighting, same camera settings. (I actually shot two different scenes to increase my sampling and the results were the same.) Took the images that resulted and put them through a software program which gave numerical values according to the brightness of the images. I got numerical brightness for the full frame of the image. I also took brightness readings of solely the center 2/3 of the images, to try to take vignetting and the edge of the frame out of the equation.


The results?

When looking at the center 2/3 of the frame ...

Comparing both lenses wide open, the 50/1.2 transmits between 1/3 and 1/2 stop more light. (A hair closer to 1/2 than 1/3.)

Comparing both at 1.4, the 50/1.2 transmits 1/3 stop more light. This is due to the 50/1.4's heavy vignetting wide open, which vignetting is lifting on the 50/1.2 at 1.4.

Comparing both at 1.6, the 50/1.2 transmits 1/6 stop more light.

Comparing both at 1.8, the 50/1.2 transmits the same light.

The full frame brightness results were not much different, with the 50/1.2 transmitting just a bit more light [in the area of 1/6 of a stop] than the 2/3 frame results due to less vignetting on the 1.2 when matched f-stop for f-stop.



Gunzorro
Registered: Aug 28, 2010
Total Posts: 6060
Country: United States

D. -- Good to know! Thanks for testing the actual transmittance values.

Back to the OP, and Lars' response at the the beginning of the thread:

Lars is right that we don't buy the lenses particularly for its light gathering capability. Personally, I like the soft transitional effects of the wider apertures, from f/1.2 to f/2.5, and think that is where the L shows its superiority to the 1.4. At 2.5, they even up their quality, and finally, the 1.4 takes the lead in IQ at about 4.0-5.6.

Even at the smaller apertures of 2.8-8.0, the L has wonderful quirky imaging qualities that remind me of lenses from bygone eras, notably 120 folding cameras. The 1.4 is more neutral and has less aberrations.

That said, I do like having near 1/2 stop of extra light gathering ability, along with a cool looking image with super-shallow DOF and vignetting (if I want it).



badlydrawnboy
Registered: Mar 19, 2006
Total Posts: 1855
Country: United States

Peter Kotsa wrote:
The extra $1000 in this lens will be found in ......Micro-contrast, Colour, Bokeh, Build, and lastly f1.2
Also the resolution of the 50L at 1.2 is incredible.

The 50 1.4 only really becomes useable at around f2-2.2 (as sharpness and contrast finally catch up).
I have had three copies of the 50 1.4 in 15 years...all have been the same.....sharp from f2 up.

I purchased one copy of the 50L and have never looked back...great optic.


Ditto. I mostly shoot people, and 80% of the time it's wide open. I only own primes: the 35L, 50L, 85L and 40/2.8.

I used to have the 50/1.4, but was not impressed with it from f/1.4 to f/2.0. Above f/2.0 it's an excellent lens. If I regularly shot between f/2 and f/8, I would have kept the 50/1.4.

But like Peter, I saw a considerable difference in micro-contrast, color, bokeh, resolution and rendering with the 50L at the apertures I shoot at most, i.e. f/1.2 - f/2.

That's why I prefer the 50/1.2.

As a side note: my first copy of the 50/1.2 had to be returned because of AF issues. My second copy was also off in this regard, and despite multiple attempts to micro-adjust it with Reikan FoCal it was still off. At the recommendation of someone in this forum, I sent it in to CPS for adjustment. When it came back it felt like a completely different lens. Now it nails focus every time and it's a joy to use.



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