How many would choose stellar 50mm f/2 IS over a mediocre 50mm f/1.4/1.2?

Started Jan 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
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How many would choose stellar 50mm f/2 IS over a mediocre 50mm f/1.4/1.2?
Jan 20, 2013

It's no secret that past f/2.8 the 50mm focal length has some serious image quality challenges. If you look at resolution for every 50mm out there from Nikon to Pentax to Leica to Zeiss to Canon to Sony to Sigma you see that all these 50mm lenses perform about as well at f/2.8 as most primes do at f/1.4. For example the 24,35 & 85mm Canon Nikon Sony and Sigma Pro primes all perform as well at f/1.4 as any 50mm lens at f/2.8 for the most part.

So here's the question.

If Canon made a 50mm f/2.0 IS L, with 9 circular aperture blades, that had one full stop more resolution and contrast than any current offering, and had low distortion, CA, vignette, and LoCA and great color and bokeh. Would you buy that for $1350, over the current Canon 50mm 1.2 L for $1400?

You can only chose one.

Keep in mind the little known fact that digital sensors unlike film do not receive more light at apertures above f/1.8 (the camera simply bumps the ISO behind the scenes) so you won't get an apreciable benefit in low light performance between the two. The difference would be in increased background blur.

I'm curious to see the answers because I wonder if people really value having just over a stop more background blur versus a stop more resolution and contrast and 4 stops of IS.

Hopefully this generates some interesting discussion too.

I would pick the resolution and IS every single time personally.

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