Canon 60 f/2.8 vs. 50 f/1.8

Started May 4, 2012 | Discussions
007peter
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,076Gear list
Like?
Love the 60, but "Ultra-SHARP" is not desirable in Portrait Photography
In reply to DoctorPDA, May 8, 2012

I have the pleasure of borrowing both Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro and 60mm f/2.8 Macro to do some indepth comparison. I find Canon 60mm f/2.8 Macro   BITINGLY SHARP! Having own 19+ lens, Canon 60mm f/2.8 macro is easily sharpest lens that I ever have the pleasure of using. It is sharper than even the EF 100mm f/2.8 macro.

However, ultra-sharpness is NOT DESIRABLE in portrait photography:

  • nobody want to see their ACNE SCAR and every crevices on their face

  • nobody want to see their CROW FEET magnified with biting sharpness

  • fact is - most people are not models

  • fact is - most people don't have porcelain skin

  • fact is - most adult's face are flawed with acne, dark-spots, winkles, etc...

That is why Canon 50mm f/1.8 II is the better portrait lens. It is sharp enough wide open, but no so sharp to pickup every facial flaw on a person's face. It is useless to pit 50mm f/1.8 vs 60mm f/2.8 macro, since they are 2 different lens for 2 different purposes .

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
DoctorPDA
Forum MemberPosts: 60
Like?
Re: Love the 60, but "Ultra-SHARP" is not desirable in Portrait Photography
In reply to 007peter, May 9, 2012

007peter wrote:

That is why Canon 50mm f/1.8 II is the better portrait lens. It is sharp enough wide open, but no so sharp to pickup every facial flaw on a person's face. It is useless to pit 50mm f/1.8 vs 60mm f/2.8 macro, since they are 2 different lens for 2 different purposes .

Thanks, makes sense....

I eventually decided on the 50 f/1.8 which I'm very impressed with, and also the kit lens (18-55 IS), which I'm not as impressed with, mainly because of the higher max aperatures at the longer focal lengths. Unfortunately, although I find that the 50 mm f/1.8 is awesome, the field of view is too narrow, so I have to keep changing to the kit lens for wider angles, which is a bit cumbersome.

I thought about using 2 primes, the 50 mm f/1/8, and a lower focal length prime, but doesn't seem like there are many options. The 35 mm f/2 is not wide enough for me. The 28 f/1.8 seems like it's not that good, and probably not wide enough. The 24 f/2.8 would be perfect focal length for me, but doesn't seem to be that much better than the kit lens from reviews (ex. Photozone.de), but not sure about that..... Is the 24 f/2.8 better than the kit lens at 24 mm??? I don't want to spend more than $500, so the more expensive Canon primes are out of question for now. The Sigma primes that are 20 or 24 mm didn't seem that great. I think Sigma 30 mm would be too narrow as well.

The other alternative is a zoom lens, where the versatility seems really nice. So, the magical question is, what is the best zoom lens for less than $500? I don't really want to spend $1000 on a lens at this point (ex. Canon 17-55 f/2.8). After a lot of research, it seems like it's the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. I've heard about it being "soft" at 2.8 by some, but "sharp" by others. Not sure what to think. The reviews make it more confusing. For example, on Photozone.de, the Canon 18-55 3.5-5.6 Kit lens has same resolution values as the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8!!!! I thought it was a mistake, since everywhere else the Tamron is "sharp as a knife mostly" (bythom.com), or it "it figuratively mops the floor with Canon and Nikon's "kit" lenses" (SLRgear). Is the main benefit of the Tamron for the constant 2.8 aperature, which will give you lower ISO's? Does it have higher resolution than the kit lens?

Would appreciate any advice....

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
007peter
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,076Gear list
Like?
Re: Love the 60, but "Ultra-SHARP" is not desirable in Portrait Photography
In reply to DoctorPDA, May 9, 2012

let me reply you with my own experience. Draw your own conclusion

  1. I bought 50mm f/1.8 II - love it

  2. but 50mm is too tight, so I bought a 35mm f/2

  3. not impressed with 35mm f/2 . Too much purple fringe @f2, facial distortion, and very annoying loud af motor. I also find the focal length " neither here nor there "

  4. bought a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (non-vc)

  5. sold 50mm f/1.8 II and 35mm f/2 ( draw your own conclusion )

  6. was happy for 3 months, but (1) poor AF in low light (2) random AF error (3) strong barrel distortion (4) bad field curvature at 17mm that induce radial softness in corners

  7. sold the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8

  8. replace it with Sigma 18-50 f2/.8 macro - love this lens, zero AF problem

  9. happy for 1 whole year, but really missed the Image Stabilization

  10. bought a 2nd copy of Canon 50mm f/1.8 II - can't live without

  11. sold canon 18-55 IS, canon 17-85is, canon 28-135is , and sigma 18-50 f/2.8

  12. and bought myself a Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 is AMAZING. It is sharper wide open at f/2.8 than Sigma 18-50 f2.8 macro is at f/5.6 step down. If you buy this lens, you won't regret it. I was happy with this setup for whole 3 years.

But there are some annoyance: (1) build quality is only so-so, same plastic build as a Canon 17-85mm IS, (2) sealing isn't great, will accumulate some dust (3) no zoom lock = potential zoom creep problem down the road (4) expensive (5) heavy

so I bought myself a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC (vibration control) to test out the lens. As you recall, I was NOT HAPPY with the older 17-50, so I really took a chance on the new VC. I'm very pleasantly surprised by how well the new VC performs:

  • build is awesome, improved over older non-vc

  • VC is as good as canon's IS but more quiet

  • unlike the older non-vc, I had zero AF problem

  • focus is fast and reliable even in very low light (unexpected surprised)

  • zoom lock to prevent zoom-creep

I went on vacation with just a Tamron 17-50 VC this time, 856 photos later, not a single out of focus. I'm so impressed that I just did the unimaginable: I sold the canon 17-55 f/2.8 .

Now, I'm not saying tamron vc is better than c17-55; it isn't! Canon is still far sharper at the corners at f/2.8. But for everything else, I find this tamron vc deliver 90% of canon's quality at fraction of the cost. Not only is my keeper rate 100%, the smaller size + zoom lock makes it an ideal traveling lens when using black rapid rs-4 strap.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
DoctorPDA
Forum MemberPosts: 60
Like?
Re: Love the 60, but "Ultra-SHARP" is not desirable in Portrait Photography
In reply to 007peter, May 13, 2012

007peter wrote:

let me reply you with my own experience. Draw your own conclusion

Thanks so much for sharing your lens story. Was very helpful...

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jonathan Brady
Senior MemberPosts: 1,589Gear list
Like?
Re: Canon 60 f/2.8 vs. 50 f/1.8
In reply to DoctorPDA, May 13, 2012

Had I seen this thread when you started, I would have steered you towards a wider focal length or a constant aperture zoom like the Tamron 17-50 VC.

But, I would have also included two images taken with my 60mm macro...

Low light example - 1/13, f2.8, ISO5000 on a 60D

Fast AF example (try nailing focus on a hyperactive Siberian Husky with any camera, yeah the 60D's focus system is mostly to credit but you still need a lens that'll lock on - Al Servo, center point, 1/1250, f2.8, ISO100, also on 60D

Like everyone else said, it's incredibly sharp close up, but does have other uses including low light indoors. In the pic above, my pregnant wife was playing that musical seahorse for our daughter just before we went to bed. The only light on was a light on the second floor which illuminates the stairs. Other than that, it was dark in the house. This shot almost definitely wouldn't have been possible hand-held (I braced it against the floor and used the 60D's swiveling screen to frame the shot) due to no IS but it might have been with the 50/1.8. But, the 50/1.8 can't do this...

1:1 focusing is AWESOME!!!

From your post below, it sounds like perhaps the decision for the 50mm isn't working out due to the field of view. It would have been worse with the 60mm. I'd recommend selling the kit lens and the 50/1.8 (unless you can return them for a full refund) and picking up the Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC. It sounds like it's going to be the best compromise for you. And that's what all lenses are, a compromise in some way.

Good luck!

 Jonathan Brady's gear list:Jonathan Brady's gear list
Canon EOS 70D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM +9 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
filmluvr
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,093
Like?
Wrong body for portraits
In reply to DoctorPDA, May 14, 2012

The problem you're facing is that the 60mm isn't quite fast enough for shooting children under average indoor lighting, and the 50mm isn't a portrait lens. The optical formula of most 50mm lenses exhibits poor bokeh under many conditions (related to distance to subject and distance to background), and therefore inconsistent IQ.

The other difficulty you're facing is that there are no true portrait lenses that will be convenient to use indoors on a crop body, due to their magnification. For the work you're describing, you would be miles ahead with a full frame body and the 85mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2. Even the first 5D is a very competent body with excellent image quality. They're reasonably priced on the used market.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
biggles267
Regular MemberPosts: 207
Like?
Re: Canon 60 f/2.8 vs. 50 f/1.8
In reply to Peter 13, May 14, 2012

+2

Peter 13 wrote:

liya wrote:

I have both of these. The 50 f1.8 sits collecting dust cause the AF is so poor that I miss 80% of the shots.
60mm is great though.

+1

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dr567
New MemberPosts: 18Gear list
Like?
Re: Love the 60, but "Ultra-SHARP" is not desirable in Portrait Photography
In reply to DoctorPDA, May 15, 2012

This is my new favorite thread on this forum.

DoctorPDA wrote:

007peter wrote:

That is why Canon 50mm f/1.8 II is the better portrait lens. It is sharp enough wide open, but no so sharp to pickup every facial flaw on a person's face. It is useless to pit 50mm f/1.8 vs 60mm f/2.8 macro, since they are 2 different lens for 2 different purposes .

Thanks, makes sense....

I eventually decided on the 50 f/1.8 which I'm very impressed with, and also the kit lens (18-55 IS), which I'm not as impressed with, mainly because of the higher max aperatures at the longer focal lengths. Unfortunately, although I find that the 50 mm f/1.8 is awesome, the field of view is too narrow, so I have to keep changing to the kit lens for wider angles, which is a bit cumbersome.

I thought about using 2 primes, the 50 mm f/1/8, and a lower focal length prime, but doesn't seem like there are many options. The 35 mm f/2 is not wide enough for me. The 28 f/1.8 seems like it's not that good, and probably not wide enough. The 24 f/2.8 would be perfect focal length for me, but doesn't seem to be that much better than the kit lens from reviews (ex. Photozone.de), but not sure about that..... Is the 24 f/2.8 better than the kit lens at 24 mm???

Not sure, but i believe a new IS vesion has been announced for june, but in the $800 range.

I don't want to spend more than $500, so the more expensive Canon primes are out of question for now. The Sigma primes that are 20 or 24 mm didn't seem that great. I think Sigma 30 mm would be too narrow as well.

The other alternative is a zoom lens, where the versatility seems really nice. So, the magical question is, what is the best zoom lens for less than $500? I don't really want to spend $1000 on a lens at this point (ex. Canon 17-55 f/2.8).

And now you have arrived. You have come down the path all crop sensor owners have taken on the search for the holy grail. You have walked down that long hallway, tried the knob of every one of the dozens of doors you passed, but none of them opened for you. This is the end, the place where you have to turn around, decide which door to go back to and kick in. This is a very crowded place.

After a lot of research, it seems like it's the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. I've heard about it being "soft" at 2.8 by some, but "sharp" by others. Not sure what to think. The reviews make it more confusing. For example, on Photozone.de, the Canon 18-55 3.5-5.6 Kit lens has same resolution values as the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8!!!! I thought it was a mistake, since everywhere else the Tamron is "sharp as a knife mostly" (bythom.com), or it "it figuratively mops the floor with Canon and Nikon's "kit" lenses" (SLRgear). Is the main benefit of the Tamron for the constant 2.8 aperature, which will give you lower ISO's? Does it have higher resolution than the kit lens?

Everything ive read here says that the 18-55 kit is very sharp and capable. I'm not sure that's a knock on the tamron. The definite benefit is the wide aperture throughout the range.

The Sigma 17-50/2.8 seems to get better reviews, but I know costs more.

I would suggest renting as an option to try before you buy. I rented the canon 17-55 and found it larger & heavier and VERY subject to lens creep.

 dr567's gear list:dr567's gear list
Canon EOS 550D Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads