Bad rap on Canon 50 1.4

Started Nov 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
graphikal Senior Member • Posts: 2,783
Re: may the sweet lord bless you

liquid stereo wrote:

graphikal wrote:

liquid stereo wrote:

graphikal wrote:

You can't compare a fast consumer-grade normal prime to a pro-level f/4 zoom with both wide open. It's kumquats and oranges.

The lenses I compare Canon's 50/1.4 to are (1) Sony/Zeiss 85/1.4, (2) Minolta 35/1.4 G, (3) Minolta 28-70/2.8 G, and (4) Sony 50/1.4. These are all relatively fast lenses.

Another lens which blows it out of the water is Fuji's 35/1.4.


It's also apples and oranges to compare a 35mm lens to an 85mm lens, since the designs are so different. But compare away-- I'm not seeing an actual huge difference here.

In your original post, you were lamenting the optical differences between f/4 pro-grade telephoto zooms to an f/1.4 consumer-grade prime. Compare them at f/4, and you may change your tune-- and that's the only way you can possibly compare them for sharpness. And contrary to your assertions above, test results show you're wrong there as well.

You're happy with the 50/1.4. Awesome.

What I was "lamenting" earlier was the lack of "specialness" from the 50/1.4. A cursory glance at the 50/1.4 reviews on this very website is illustrative. The Sony and the Sigma 50/1.4 lenses stand out. The Canon and the Nikon do not.

We all make mistakes. My Canon mistake is/was the 50/1.4.

Maybe you just needed to learn how to use it better.  It's a decent lens, and many stunning images have been captured with it.  Just not by you.  

Here are some comparisons with the Sigma 50mm.  There are some optical differences, yes.  Note that the Sigma is more optimized for contrast wide open, but sharpness-wise the Canon actually has some advantages.  At f/1.4 and f/2 the Canon is actually sharper in the corners, though the Sigma offers more contrast.  By f/2.8 the Canon is pretty clearly superior optically.

And, of course, the Canon's AF is far more reliable.  If one wants a superior-performing lens all around, the Canon is the correct choice.  If one wants a lens with good contrast at f/1.4 and isn't afraid of manual focus or a higher miss rate, the Sigma may be a fine choice.

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