M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?

Started Aug 13, 2015 | Questions
Michal Minich Junior Member • Posts: 39
M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?

I'm considering to buy Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM. I want to achieve subject separation for portraits and video, while still within an usable focal range on APS-C as well as compactness. But this lens is on list of Lenses with limited support, which makes me worry how reliably it is able to AF. I don't assume it will be able to AF in video at 1.4, but I would certainly want it for photos. I also have M, with which I would use this lens too, but M3 is my primary interest. Thank you.

 Michal Minich's gear list:Michal Minich's gear list
Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM +7 more
ANSWER:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EOS M3
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
thedanj
thedanj Regular Member • Posts: 332
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?
1

You are much better off with the new 50mm 1.8 STM lens. The 1.4 does not focus well at all on the M, but the new 1.8 is much, much better.

nnowak Veteran Member • Posts: 3,059
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?
1

It works, but it is very dependent on how far out of focus you are at the start of the AF cycle.  If the lens is relatively close to being in focus, then the M3 will focus the 50mm f1.4 with reasonable speed.  However, for example, if the lens was set to the MFD of 450mm and you pointed the camera at a subject 10m away, the M3 would hunt a couple times and then completely fail to achieve focus.

I never tried the 50mm f1.4 for video on the M3, but my guess is it would probably work OK, as long as it didn't need to make any major moves.

I really like the 50mm f1.4 for low light and portraits, but for use on the M3, you are probably better off getting the new 50mm f1.8 STM.  Besides, the 50mm f1.4 is really soft wide open and needs to be stopped down to f2.  At which point, it is just slightly sharper than the 50mm f1.8.

OP Michal Minich Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?

It appears I should reconsider the STM lens. I'm well aware of optical qualities of lenses for Canon and I prefer 1.4 for 1.8 STM because of amount and quality of blur, and over Sigma 1.4 because of size. Aperture is also favorable for high ISO shooting, which is also an use case for me.

The convenience of shooting and ability of capture more in-focus shot is also an important factor. This is in fact main reason I want to replace my 1.8 II. It was usable on DSLR, but on Ms it is too much hunting.

An interesting think to know would be how different is 1.4 focusing compared to 1.8 II? If it is improvement for small focus changes, the 1.4 still might be interesting for me, since I got M I learned to prefocus often

I might buy the STM and try it, it should be resealable easily as it is new model.

 Michal Minich's gear list:Michal Minich's gear list
Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM +7 more
The Great Gazoo
The Great Gazoo Regular Member • Posts: 450
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?
1

Also consider this especially on such a small body... Canon 50mm 1.4 is external focus.

If the barrel of the 50mm 1.4 is extended & it occurs the slightest contact say goodbye to the AF...

50mm 1.4 Autofocus woes

 The Great Gazoo's gear list:The Great Gazoo's gear list
Agfa ePhoto CL30 Clik! +1 more
Laqup Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?
2

I have tried the 50mm f1.4 USM on all three M iterations (M, M2, M3).

On the M the lense is quite slow, but most of the time it will focus properly. It's "bearable".

On the M3 it's more or less unusable. Sometimes it even fails to focus in bright light and it takes several focus attempts at clearly visible edges to get into the right general direction of focus again.. After that it will find focus on more difficult subjects most of the time, but really slow and unrealiable. Would not recommend it.

On the M2 it works best of all. Of course it's not superfast but it's enjoyable.

I found myself using the 40mm f2.8 STM pancake on the M and M3 quite often. Works well and the combo is quite small, even with the adapter.

If the 50mm 1.8 STM behaves the same way the 40mm lense does, it should be really fun to use.

 Laqup's gear list:Laqup's gear list
Canon G7 X II Canon EOS M Canon EOS M3 Canon EOS M6 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +10 more
selected answer This post was selected as the answer by the original poster.
nnowak Veteran Member • Posts: 3,059
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?

Laqup wrote:

I have tried the 50mm f1.4 USM on all three M iterations (M, M2, M3).

On the M the lense is quite slow, but most of the time it will focus properly. It's "bearable".

On the M3 it's more or less unusable. Sometimes it even fails to focus in bright light and it takes several focus attempts at clearly visible edges to get into the right general direction of focus again.. After that it will find focus on more difficult subjects most of the time, but really slow and unrealiable. Would not recommend it.

On the M2 it works best of all. Of course it's not superfast but it's enjoyable.

Your experiences with all three M varieties matches my experiences too.  The behavior of the 50mm f1.4 on the M3 is one of the reasons I sold it and replaced it with an M2.

collinong Regular Member • Posts: 148
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?

Laqup wrote:

On the M3 it's more or less unusable. Sometimes it even fails to focus in bright light and it takes several focus attempts at clearly visible edges to get into the right general direction of focus again.. After that it will find focus on more difficult subjects most of the time, but really slow and unrealiable. Would not recommend it.

I was going to write up my own experiences but Laqup did a better job of describing it.  I'll also add that in low light it can complete fail to achieve focus at all, which is a problem because I most often want to use it during low light situations.

Nicholas Laidler
Nicholas Laidler Forum Member • Posts: 62
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?

I've got the M, M3 and 50 1.4

My experience mirrors what everybody else is saying. on the M the 1.4 is slow but generally predictable, on the M3 it's quite unpredictable and frustratingly slow a lot of the time. Sometimes it's very quick to focus on the M3, like I said, it's unpredictable, which in some ways is worse than it being slow.

I like the bokeh of the 1.4 compared to the 1.8 which is why I chose it but it takes a fair amount of work to get good images out of the M3-1.4 combination. I've got a lot of nice shots out of the M3+1.4 but I find I've got to work quite hard to get them and I've got an awful lot of bad shots because the moment was lost while the lens was still hunting for focus.

For still's there are a few ways to work around the focus speed limitations of the M3+1.4, if your subject isn't moving, you can focus, flick the lens to MF and hit the shutter release when your subject is doing something worth taking a photograph of (instant response because the lens isn't hunting for focus), general stuff like that. For manual focus I find I'm no good at all trying to track moving subjects at wide apertures, even using focus peaking. Your MF results tracking moving subjects may vary, but for me it's not a good option.

Now for video, if focus tracking is important to you, the 1.4 is not the lens you want, I don't like the way it behaves. I've never used the 1.8 STM but I'd still recommend it because the 1.4 is bad at tracking and the focus steps are jerky and not very pleasant to watch. Image quality is decent but not astounding so if you don't care about tracking you may get away with the 1.4.
I shoot almost exclusively stills, I value the bokeh and IQ of the 1.4 and I can mostly work around the focus limitations of the M3+1.4 with the subjects I shoot and the way I shoot. It isn't the best experience and it can be frustrating, but I do still get a lot of good shots so I'll hang on to the 1.4.

If you need fast focus response and tracking for your subjects, shooting style, I'd recommend the 1.8 STM. If you want any sort of focus with video go with the 1.8. If you don't mind a bit of fighting the camera and lens and you want that tiny bit of extra sharpness and bokeh, you may get away with the 1.4, but only then, for everything else I'd say go for the 1.8.

 Nicholas Laidler's gear list:Nicholas Laidler's gear list
Canon EOS M Canon EOS M3 Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM +4 more
OP Michal Minich Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: M3 with Canon 50mm f/1.4 - Experiences?
2

So I bought the 1.8 STM. It took a while to learn to shoot with it. I have it for few weeks now and it is just stuck to camera almost all of the time. My wife likes it too.

At the beginning I had trouble focusing, and was not very happy with the lens, but after a week I learned to not to allow it to defocus too much. Now I have many many keepers. Of course there are some missed shots, and it is not possible to shoot person just walking towards you, but this is more limitation of M3. I also expected the bokeh to look bit nicer, but it is satisfactory and not too much disturbing. Also the sharpens is very good at 1.8, for lens of this price. The fringing is present quite often, but it is OK for me. I would highly recommend this lens. It is worth the price.

 Michal Minich's gear list:Michal Minich's gear list
Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM +7 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads