Good 50mm Lens For Sony Nex ... on a Budget?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
ProfHankD
Senior MemberPosts: 1,908Gear list
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Re: Canon FDn vs. others
In reply to boardsy, Mar 28, 2013

boardsy wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

From what I've seen, Canon FDn lenses tend to have very good contrast, but other IQ attributes (color, bokeh, edge sharpness, etc.) are often poorer than for competitors. For the two Canon 50mm f/1.4 I've tested, I found the "silvernose" FD to be surprisingly different from, and significantly better in build and IQ overall than, the FDn.

Really? According to your fdreview.com review "Around f/5.6, this lens is a winner...."

Yes, really. Here's a larger intact quote:

"Around f/5.6, this lens is a winner: perfectly sharp with high contrast across the APS-C frame. At wider apertures, bokeh are better than average (MUCH better than its f/1.8 siblings), but that seems to come from undercorrected SA, which also gives glow and low contrast wide open. Overall, it's a bit below average in IQ wide open. Of course, a bit below average is still darn good when talking about fast 50s."


I guess I also should mention that I don't buy a fast 50 primarily to use at f/5.6...  still, my FDReview gave it scores of IQ 8.5/10 and build 8/10 -- and I stand by that. My FDReview of my "silvernose" f/1.4 gives it IQ 9/10 and build 8.5/10.  My FDReview of the FDn f/1.8 gives 7/10 for both IQ and build... so yes, I really do think the f/1.4 versions are much better than Canon's f/1.8.

Let's compare some more.  My PentaxForums review of the SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 gives it 10/10 overall (for the best bokeh of any fast 50) with detailed breakdown of Sharpness: 9, Aberrations: 9, Bokeh: 10, Handling: 9, and Value: 10. The Tak's 55mm f/1.8 brother I gave 9/10 overall, with Sharpness: 10, Aberrations: 9, Bokeh: 9, Handling: 10, and Value: 10.  The M42 Mamiya/Sekor 55mm f/1.4 (which I would call the best of my fast 50s overall) I rated 10/10, with details Sharpness: 10, Aberrations: 10, Bokeh: 9, Handling: 10, and Value: 10 ... and it cost me $30 shipped.

In summary, Canon's 50mm f/1.4 is a very respectable lens -- slightly below average for a fast 50, but way better than Canon's f/1.8 versions (which are still pretty good, as nearly all fast 50s are).

The thing that drives me nuts is seeing people say what a bargain an FDn 50mm f/1.4 is at $100 when the average similar lens that outperforms it sells for more like $20-$50. I understand that people are not entirely rational about these things. For example, http://www.dpreview.com/news/2011/11/18/customersvaluenikonfound that Nikon and Canon benefit from consumers being increasingly willing to pay more simply because of the brand. However, I'm an engineering professor, so brand overriding performance forces me to comment.

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