40mm f/2.8 STM vs. the 50mm f/1.4

Started Jun 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Shorthand Senior Member • Posts: 2,972
40mm f/2.8 STM vs. the 50mm f/1.4

Thankfully, Roger C @ Lensrentals has done resolution tests (MTF-50) on both the 40mm f/2.8 STM and a whole line-up of 50mm options.

What we can now tell:

@ F2.8 (center/avg)

  • 40mm f/2.8 STM: 870/775

  • 50mm f/1.4: 920/690


  • 50mm f/1.4: 960/890


  • 40mm f/2.8 STM: ~900

Therefore we can say:

The 40mm f/2.8 is sharper across the frame @ f/2.8 than either the 50mm f/1.4 or 50mm f/1.8, but as soon as either of them are stopped down to f/4, they're substantially sharper than the 40mm f/2.8. (Note: the 50's reach peak sharpness right around f/4 and dont add much by going to f/5.6, especially on crop bodies.)

Still, I think its safe to start recommending the 40mm f/2.8 instead of the nifty fifty as a starter fast prime ... at least once the street price settles.

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