Canon Lens 50mm f 1.4 USM

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by viola_powell, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. I am shooting a small wedding for a friend - she knows I am not a professional but trusts me that I will do anything I can to make the pictures look right. Okay so...I bought the Canon 1.8 the other day and played with it since it is in a catholic church and the lighting is dim. The test pictures were ok - but I want better. Right now, I am going to go for it and buy the Canon f 1.4 and maybe I will be happier. My question is should I still shoot at 1600 and app. 1.4 - since with the 1.8 I was shooting at 1600 and app. 1.8? This is probably a no brainer - but thought I would ask. I have to say - the test pictures had good lighting - but just a little grainy, not too bad.
  2. What other equipment do you have?
    Do you have a tripod?
  3. I have both lens. IMHO use the f1.4 the same way you use your f1.8. You will find the f1.4 yield nicer pictures from f1.8 to f2.5. You also get to use f1.4 but with less Depth of Field (DOF). The difference between f1.4 and f1.8 is about 2/3 stop. I would use it to gain shutter speed when required and when the picture can handle less DOF.
  4. f1.4 is only a smidge wider than f1.8, so if by 'better', you mean ability to shoot in dimmer light, it isn't going to be that much better. The f1.4 version is generally thought to have a bit nicer bokeh and is supposedly a bit sharper at the same apertures (as on the f1.8 version), but we are talking 'slight' here. The build quality is better but the f1.4 version is not robust in the focusing mechanism department. It is known to break easily (the focusing mechanism). Mine went out after falling only 8" on soft carpet.
    To answer your question, you should shoot at the aperture you need for the subject matter at hand. A consideration is the ability to handhold the lens without shake, hence the use of higher ISOs. If you are shooting at ISO 1600 and f1.8, and that is the correct exposure for your scene, then f1.4 will give you a bit over that. Whether that is the correct exposure or not is something you need to determine. When photographing at such wide apertures, remember that DOF is quite narrow. This is fine for shots from a distance (such as the couple standing at the altar from a distance down the aisle) because DOF is affected by subject distance, plus they are usually on the same plane.
    If your shots have noise, also remember that underexposure makes noise worse. So don't underexpose.
  5. As Tommy says, use the 1.4 at f1.8 or smaller and you will like the results better. I found the use of that lens at f1.4 to be a bit tought to get correct focus, actually at 1.8 it juse looks better than the 1.8.
  6. Martin,
    I have a monopod and a tripod, but I am just thinking that alot of the pictures will be in portrait not landscape and so that probably would not work right?
  7. So Tommy and David,
    Use my 1.4 on f1.8 and the pictures will look better, should I keep the ISO 1600? The light is dim in that church.
  8. Why would shooting portrait not work with a tripod? It works fine.
    You should set the ISO where it is needed for the shutter speeds you need. Why would you not keep the ISO at 1600 when f1.4 is only a bit wider than f1.8? On most Canon cameras except the 5DII, ISO 3200 needs care when exposing.
  9. I should have said, why would you not keep the ISO at 1600 if it, plus f1.8 equals good exposure?
  10. Martin,
    I like that...I am going to have to get me one of those! Thanks.
    Nadine - thank you!
  11. Are you planning on doing weddings for a living? If not, save your money and keep the 1.8. It's actually one of Canons best lenses for the money. Here's the deal. Your depth of field is much less with the 1.4 and even worse with the 1.2, however these are fine lenses. When you shoot at 1.8 only the people you are aiming at will be in focus, everything behind them and in front of them will be out of focus. Is this what you are looking for?

    Even with some professional cameras ISO 1600 can look grainy. Recently, both Canon and Nikon have greatly improved this. I'm not a big fan of shooting at 1600 even with pro cameras. I didn't say I never do, but I can say the last time I shot at 1600 has been at least 6 months. So if you aren't happy with the image grain quality you shot at ISO 1600, perhaps you should plan on making the highest setting at ISO 800.

    A quality tripod does wonders when you can't use a flash. In most churches and temples you can get away with ISO 800 at F4 or so, at a 15th to a 30th of a second. On a good quality tripod, if the people are pretty much still of motion, you can get away with an 1/8 of a second at F11, but take 4 or 5 shots at this speed to assure you didn't get any movement. With an F4 or even F5.6 will keep your DOF (depth of field) much wider. By the way, the short lenses have more DOF latitude compared to a longer 400mm lens. For example when photographing the head of a dog with a 400mm lens at F2.8 the eyes may be razor sharp, but the nose will be soft because the depth of field is so low. At F16 the entire head of the dog will be sharp.

    So my point is faster lenses aren't always the answer to your lack of light problem. By the way most altars at catholic churches are well lit and I find that at ISO 800 at F4 and at 30th of a second is a good place to start with your camera settings. Then make your final adjustment from these settings.
  12. isa


    Well: you must have on another body with you, because is impossible to repeat the event, and if impossible you keep away another battery.If you are not a prof, you shoud make few thinghs and made well. But perhaps is better no make wedding at all if you are not sure. It's a great responsability and you will have never another chance to repeat something of wrong.
  13. Viola, I bought this lens not so long ago for my canon eos 40d. regarding the focal length and aperture - it is a cheaper version of a fantastic 50/1.4 Sigma and the reason I didn't buy Sigma was the price. Now, if I was given the chance to take it back, I'd rather save up longer for a sigma, spend more and buy a better lens. Sigma has a better performance wide open than a Canon, let alone the built quality. The only issue, as always, might be the AF problem, as often is the case with Sigma lenses on Canon body.
  14. If you can get a good exposure at 1600, F1.8 and an appropriate SS, then go for it (assuming your camera can handle that iso OK).
    BTW, I have the Sigma 50/1.4 HSM and shoot it no wider than F1.6, but more often at F1.8 or narrower. I is pretty nice when you compare an F1.8 from that lens to an F1.8 from the 50/1.8. Just my opinion though.

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