Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

Started Jul 1, 2014 | Discussions
Nicollino Junior Member • Posts: 31
Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

Hey lads,

Not post much but always reading the forum. Today I need your help!

After a long time hesitating I have decided to take the plunge for a 5d Mark 3 and a 50mm L 1.2 (to complete a forthcoming 70-200 2.8 Is 2). I received these 2 last week and I have 10 more days to test it. The toss up was between the Canon 50 mm L lens and the new 50mm Art from Sigma.

What made me go for the canon was 1) its size, being more compact (I intend to use it pretty much everyday) and yet very well built, 2) the slightly faster lens(F 1.2 vs F1.4 - I love shooting below F2) and the weather sealing (again for everyday use).

Today I ran it through different tests and what I had known before my purchase was “cruelly" showing on my screen : the softness at very large aperture. I can easily see the Sigma 50 Art outperforming the Canon 50L on that matter. I have to say that I don’t mind so much about the vignetting, and I actually like the dreamier bokeh of the Canon when used in real conditions but the result of these tests show me the truth of that lens : yes the bokeh is beautifully creamy but woow that lens is pretty soft when wide open.

My question is for those who own the Canon 50L and those who own or have owned both that lens and the Sigma 50 Art. What do you think of the performance of my lens from these tests? Is it particularly soft compared to yours? Is it common and what I should expect from that lens?

Unfortunately I can’t run the same tests for the sigma lens as I don't own it but from what I heard and saw from numerous reviews, it is much sharper. Do you think I should return the lens and get instead a 50mm Art or should I ignore these tests on the basis that in real life, the lack of sharpness wide open is not something that should make you want to swap?

Thanks in advance for your input!

Nicollino.

Canon 5D Mark III + Canon 50mm L F1.2 @ F1.2, Iso 200, 1/800 (tripod)

Canon 5D Mark III + Canon 50mm L F1.2 @ F1.4, Iso 200, 1/640 (tripod)

Canon 5D Mark III + Canon 50mm L F1.2 @ F2, Iso 200, 1/320 (tripod)

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lighthunter80
lighthunter80 Contributing Member • Posts: 753
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

I think many 50L owner baught this lens because there was never a decent enough alternative in the Canon lineup or 3rd party manufacturers.

I owned the 50L about 3 years and sold it because of not enough use. For sitting in the bag most of the time it was too expensive. Also at that time no Sigma 50Art existed. Today I would for price and sharpnes take the Sigma any time. I own the 35Art and love it. The 50L has perhaps a slightly softer bokeh but that would not justify the huge price difference for me.

Id send it back or get the 85L instead which has no focus shift issues due to a floating element. I didn't have this issue at wide apertures but it's often reported at higher f numbers.
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Al Downie Senior Member • Posts: 1,393
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?
1

Nicollino wrote:

My question is for those who own the Canon 50L and those who own or have owned both that lens and the Sigma 50 Art. What do you think of the performance of my lens from these tests? Is it particularly soft compared to yours? Is it common and what I should expect from that lens?

I own the 50L and I have to say that I think your test results are consistent with my own, BUT... I hasten to add that, in my opinion, it doesn't cope with tests very well - it's definitely a lens for photographers, not testers! My advice is to use the time you have to get out and start taking *real* photos with the lens, with subjects at all distances, at all apertures, and make a judgement of the lens's value based on that experience rather than the results of the test above. I just did a rummage through my flickr files and put all the 1.2 shots into an album, just in case it's useful - I think they should all be viewable at 2048 pixels. Some are sharper than others, but for me at any rate, I'm not really bothered by the variation.

50mm @ f1.2

I love the 50L. Like my Italian wife. It's frustrating at times; it drives me nuts at times; but it makes the best lasagne in the world when everything comes together it's magical. Testing it will just screw up your head and discourage you.

I've been watching with interest the photos that are starting to appear in Flickr from the 50A, and to be honest if I didn't own and love the 50L right now, and if I hadn't had such a bad experience with the 35A, I would probably opt for the 50A if I was buying from scratch. The bokeh is very slightly rougher than the 50L, but if the focusing of the 50A is that much easier and more reliable, then I'd be prepared to accept the compromised bokeh. But given my experience with the 35A, I don't have that confidence and for the time being I'll stick with the L.

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tz9pz2
tz9pz2 Regular Member • Posts: 122
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

Did you try micro adjusting? It might just be out of focus rather than soft.

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Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

First, do a proper test. The only thing that is kinda in focus in your f/1.2 test is the sign Family. Everything else is OOF. If you have focused at 1m, the DOF is 3mm, and for pixelpeeping reasons - even less. Do not focus so closely wide open!

Here is a crop off the center with this lens. Closer to the center it gets better.

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OP Nicollino Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

Thanks for your input!

Price is not so much of an issue, as there are "only" few hundred euros difference between the 2, and I intend to use this lens for a very long time.

I hear you about the 85mm but I own a 85 1.8 and don't find this range suitable to my style. I would actually consider investing in a couple of years in a 135 F2 as walk around lens as opposed to the 70-200 that Id use for assignment only.

Love your Flick Page btw !

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OP Nicollino Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

Ah ah, yeah I am not usually a pixel peeper, reason why my test has not been run in a very scientific kinda way.  I will deffo shoot in real conditions. From what I have shot already, it lives up with what I expected, a sort of vintage film photography kind of look, less clinically looking than the latest modern lenses.

So I suppose the last thing you want to do, is run these lab test. Is it the reason why DPR have not tested it either?

Anyhow I will spend more time test it in real conditions before making a call.

Thanks.

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OP Nicollino Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?
1

I haven't gone down that road yet but will deffo micro adjust if I decide to keep it.

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OP Nicollino Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

Bang on, I was pretty much one meter away from the point of focus. I didn't know that you had to do those tests at farther distance. Again I usually don't run these tests, Im going to shoot in real conditions, more my kind of things

Hopefully it will help make a choice...

Thanks !

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davel33 Senior Member • Posts: 1,886
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

Do your testing at the distance you will use the lens

Dave

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PalmettoFellow Senior Member • Posts: 1,171
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?
1

I haven't gone down that road yet but will deffo micro adjust if I decide to keep it.

The micro adjust may be needed to help you decide if it's a keeper.

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Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

Nicollino wrote:

Bang on, I was pretty much one meter away from the point of focus. I didn't know that you had to do those tests at farther distance. Again I usually don't run these tests, Im going to shoot in real conditions, more my kind of things

You do not normally shoot wide open at 1m. Not that there is a law against it... I personally like my main object to be much further away when I open it wide.

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Jonathan Brady
Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 6,725
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

I haven't gone down that road yet but will deffo micro adjust if I decide to keep it.

Agree 100%!!!!!!
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In other words - takes one to know one. And you lack creativity.
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l_d_allan
l_d_allan Veteran Member • Posts: 5,087
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

tz9pz2 wrote:
Did you try micro adjusting? It might just be out of focus rather than soft.

LiveView at 10x removes the issue of whether the MFA is off. That's generally the preferred way to obtain critical focus on a tripod with a static subject.

If you decide to keep the lens, you'll definitely want to do MFA on it. MagicLantern works really well on the 5d3, and has the capability of "Auto Dot Tune" for MFA.

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TransientEye Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

I think that people overplay the differences between these lenses. In particular, differences in sharpness and bokeh smoothness can be compensated for to a very large extent by careful post processing.

The choice between the Canon and Sigma really boils down to what you want to use the lens for. The Sigma is slightly cheaper and slightly sharper. The Canon is slightly "creamier" , significantly smaller and lighter, and also is weather sealed. What you prefer depends on what you want to shoot.

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Dan_168 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,796
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

lighthunter80 wrote:

I think many 50L owner baught this lens because there was never a decent enough alternative in the Canon lineup or 3rd party manufacturers.

I owned the 50L about 3 years and sold it because of not enough use. For sitting in the bag most of the time it was too expensive. Also at that time no Sigma 50Art existed. Today I would for price and sharpnes take the Sigma any time. I own the 35Art and love it. The 50L has perhaps a slightly softer bokeh but that would not justify the huge price difference for me.

Id send it back or get the 85L instead which has no focus shift issues due to a floating element. I didn't have this issue at wide apertures but it's often reported at higher f numbers.
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I did exactly that, bought the 50L because I just can't stand the EF 50 1.4 and there is no Sigma 50 back then, but never really that happy with the 50L even it's sure much better than the 50 1.4 EF, so sold it for 85L II and been really happy with the 85L II, and then bought a old Sigma 50 F1.4 HSM when it came out, for the occasional need of a 50 F1.4 shooting, but if space permits, I always prefer the 85L II, the 85L II is one of those lens makes me keep coming back to the 1DS3 even I have the D800E, I just can't find a equally great portrait lens in the Nikon and Sigma line up yet, the Sigma 85 1.4, 85 1.4G, Nikon 105DC.... none of them can replace it, I also sold both my 35L and 35G for the Sigma 35 Art and wish this lens came out 5 earlier.

lighthunter80
lighthunter80 Contributing Member • Posts: 753
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

lighthunter80 wrote:

I think many 50L owner baught this lens because there was never a decent enough alternative in the Canon lineup or 3rd party manufacturers.

I owned the 50L about 3 years and sold it because of not enough use. For sitting in the bag most of the time it was too expensive. Also at that time no Sigma 50Art existed. Today I would for price and sharpnes take the Sigma any time. I own the 35Art and love it. The 50L has perhaps a slightly softer bokeh but that would not justify the huge price difference for me.

Id send it back or get the 85L instead which has no focus shift issues due to a floating element. I didn't have this issue at wide apertures but it's often reported at higher f numbers.
--
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I did exactly that, bought the 50L because I just can't stand the EF 50 1.4 and there is no Sigma 50 back then, but never really that happy with the 50L even it's sure much better than the 50 1.4 EF, so sold it for 85L II and been really happy with the 85L II, and then bought a old Sigma 50 F1.4 HSM when it came out, for the occasional need of a 50 F1.4 shooting, but if space permits, I always prefer the 85L II, the 85L II is one of those lens makes me keep coming back to the 1DS3 even I have the D800E, I just can't find a equally great portrait lens in the Nikon and Sigma line up yet, the Sigma 85 1.4, 85 1.4G, Nikon 105DC.... none of them can replace it, I also sold both my 35L and 35G for the Sigma 35 Art and wish this lens came out 5 earlier.

Lol, I also sold my 35L for the Sigma 35 but never plunged down the money for the 85L.
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biza43 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,799
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?
1

Some ideas:

1. The 50 1.2 L is not designed for sharpness wide open. It is designed to have a "soft and dreamy" character wide open;

2. The Sigma 50 Art is designed to be sharp wide open, so it renders differently. Sometimes, there is more to an image than just sharpness.

You need to choose according to what you want to do with the lens.

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mu55 Senior Member • Posts: 1,403
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

i loved my 50L and have now had it and the sigma side by side for a week - the 50L will be up for sale soon
The sigma is sharper, i find it's bokeh just as good, contrast is better wide open, f1.2 was really just bragging rights for me, i don't however like the size and weight of the 50art - i think i'll be using my 40mm pancake when i can't be bothered carrying it

remember with portraits you might not want to see every little skin imperfection, and the 50L has just the right amount of softness in that regard

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Steve W Veteran Member • Posts: 4,714
Re: Keep my new 50LF1.2 or return it for a 50mmArt ?!?

I own the 50L which seemed to be giving me issues so I put a 50A on order about a month ago.  In the mean time I go up off my rear end last weekend and final used my copy of FoCal and did a AFMA adjustment on my 50L, 85L II and 35L. Interesting they came out +7, +2, and +7 on the first pass of my 5D III. From what I can tell I'm now getting much better image on all of them. Was surprised most by the 35L since I was really happy with its results and didn't expect that it needed any adjustment at all. Also none of these seemed to need adjustment on my 5D II.

Got notified yesterday by B&H that my 50A shipped and will be here on Monday.  Took almost a month to come in. Now I'll have to compare them against each other to see if what I'll keep.

Also I will end up comparing my collection 50mm or their equivalents on my other platforms to see how they all stack up. I have the Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8 for the Sony A7R, the Zeiss ZM 1,5/50 and 2,0/50 that I use on my Zeiss Ikon but I'll mount them on the Sony for this test. Then their are the 35mm and 32mm I have for my XF mount and my old Pentax-M SMC 50mm f/1.4 which was the first 50 that got me to fall in love with this focal length. DxO claims the 55mm when combined with the A7R should resolve better than the 50A on the 5D III but we'll see.

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