I really feel like Canon has to step up their game in regards to their 50mm EF 1.8 lens.

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by rick_shanahan, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. The build quality of Nikon's 50mm 1.8 offering is so much better than Canons. It has a metal mount, a nice dampened rubber focus ring, a distance scale. There is really no excuse for the flimsy plastic lens that Canon offers, they have to do better than this. I know that optically it's great, but I've gone through three of them in 5 years because they have all lost their ability to focus accurately. I've done extensive testing, and they all begin to back focus after about ten feet. They have all started off with nice accurate focusing. It's not at all abuse, I baby my lenses. I believe it's simply the extremely cheap plastic body and gearing of the focus mechanism.
    Some have said that Canon keeps this lens so shoddy because they feel like no one would buy their 50mm 1.4 if the build on the 1.8 was good. To this I say, it works for Nikon. They have a high quality 1.4 and 1.8 and sell both.
    I know I can get an old mark I 1.8 on eBay, but I'd rather canon create a new, high quality 50mm 1.8 prime. I would gladly spend $200 or $225 if they had a lens with a build quality on par with Nikon's.
    Thank you.
  2. Why not just buy the f:1.4?
  3. When EOS was released back in 1987 they made a really nice quality metal mount 50mm 1.8 lens that was their mainstay until the 50mm 1.4 was released in 1992.I have no idea why it was replaced with 'the plastic fantastic' current version.A sad situation because the 50mm 1.4 is very failure prone and a nice clean early 50 1.8 are much sought after these days and the cost is high.A lot of folks pick up a clean used 50mm EOS macro instead.Yes,Canon needs to rethink both their standard 50mm lenses.
  4. Keep wishing, or buy a Nikon.
    Canon seem very set in their ways, they seem to see themselves and Nikon as the only two competitors in the photographic world, they are both so worried about what the other is doing they spend too much time and effort matching each other, like the stupid red D3100/1100D, rather than just trying their best and looking over their shoulders at Sony, Fuji and Pentax who are throwing out cameras consumers seem to want. The writing is on the wall for high volume DSLR's as we know them. The Rebel won't be the best selling camera in the world for long if they just keep rolling out incremental increases in its ability, or flashy colour options.
    But this is all old news and has been well covered by business analysts and insightful bloggers.
    P.S. I really like my 50 f1.4, I use it most days and don't baby it in the slightest, it has proven more durable than several L lenses when treated exactly the same.
  5. Leonard-
    The 1.4 is $379.00, a bit steep for me.
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I've been using this lens for years with no problems, and I shoot in harsh environments. I use the 1.4 also, but it's a bit heavy and I care more about the potential for destruction with it than the cheap 1.8.
  7. I'd like to see a good quality 40/1.4 normal for EF-S.
  8. I'd rather canon create a new, high quality 50mm 1.8 prime.​
    I'd rather that Canon create a new, high quality 50mm 1.4 prime with Ring USM and IF design. I'd also rather that Canon keeps the current, high quality 50mm 1.8 prime as is, and especially with the current affordable price.
    Happy shooting,
  9. ^What he said. I have the 1.4, it works, but feels clunk and rough. Canon should update it and hold the price.
  10. I'm guessing if Canon improves the nifty fifty the price goes up and people complain... I've always thought of the 1.8 as beginners choice... a working prime lens that most can afford.
    Choices are great. Energy is too valuable to waste on wanting/wishing a giant company to cater to your needs.
  11. but I've gone through three of them in 5 years​
    Hmmm, that brings you not too far out from a 50 f/1.4 in total cost. I know it's a one-time hit rather than spread over time, but that might work better for you in the long run. There are also numerous Mk I's available used and in good condition, so that may be your only "within budget" option at this juncture.
    Not sure how much Canon's 50 f/2.5 macro would set you back; I imagine it's in your ballpark. You do lose a bit of aperture but from what I have seen, it is one of the sharpest lenses available.
    For the record, I have owned two of the nifty fifties (only bought second one because my original one got stolen). I have found it to be a very capable lens. Accidentally dropped twice on tarmac and on concrete with no ill-effects.
  12. I agree it would be nice for Canon to offer a second 50 F1.8 with the better build quality of the new Nikon - they may even do so as they are very focused on Nikon. The decline in build quality is simply due to what users expect to pay combined with the fact that most consumers never use manual focus. To put things in perspective the FD 50 F1.8 was $102 back in 1985 - so not much cheaper than today. Given that today's lens has AF and is significantly bigger than the old FD lens you can see what has happened to materials quality and mechanical construction. If you want build quality Voigtlander makes a very nice 40mm F2 for about $500.
    The simple fact is that engineered plastics and moulded lenses provide good optical results and are very cheap to make. Thus they are used extensively in lens construction as most people want a cheaper lens at the expense of quality. This is especially true in the consumer (Rebel) market - where the 50 F1.8 is more likely to sell (as an upgrade to an XXD or XXD body). Since the body is built to a price why should they build the lens to a higher standard.
    As others have set - if you want higher quality - spend more. Next time you are in a camera store ask to look at a Rangefinder lens (Leica if they have them). Then you will see what build quality is about. Ask the price and you will see the economics of low volume and high quality (Leica does not make big profits as a business).
    Personally I wish Canon would improve the optical quality of their 50 F1.4. It is a great lens but (at least my copy) is very soft until F2.
  13. Both the silly 50 1.4 and 1.8 are losers IMO -- I posted about this yesterday in the Grail Lens thread here:
    Those two lenses are two that Canon should be rid of -- combine them into one superb EF 50 mm -- maybe f/1.7 with real, modern USM like they have with their 85 1.8. ! The cost would be around $325 to $450, fine with me... hoping some day... some day.
  14. The Canon is $120, the Nikon is $220 and the Canon 1.4 is $379 and the Nikon 1.4 is $439. I would hope for almost twice as much that the Nikon 1.8 would have better build quality. It is expected. If the lens is taken care of I don't think the Canon nifty fifty is bad. It is high quality where it matters - optically. You can buy a 2nd as a backup and still be about where Nikon charges for theirs.
    I think Canon has it correct with the lower build quality and dirt cheap price of an excellent lens optically that anyone can afford and if you want higher end build quality the 1.4 fits the bill. I would love to see Canon make some more primes like that are cheap and optically very good. They have the 28mm f2.8 that is cheap and supposed to be good, but a 100mm and/or 135mm f2.8 would be nice in the under $250 range. They have the 85mm f1.8 which is reasonable price and excellent optically.
  15. It costs, what, about $80? If it fits on your camera and actually makes photographs it is a great deal at that price. If you want something better, get the f/1.4.
    From an objective point of view, I doubt that Canon has much interest in or justification for investing in improvements to a $80 50mm prime lens that likely sells a rather small number of copies. This is doubly true at a time when most people who might want such an inexpensive lens are shooting entry-level cropped sensor cameras - where the 50mm focal length provides an entirely different and more limited functionality, and where an inexpensive entry-level zoom provides a much more appealing option to the large majority of users. (The number of people buying full frame DSLRs and then using a $80 prime has to be extremely small.)
    It is unlikely that they would ever recoup their product development investment if they upgraded this lens. What they apparently have chosen to do is continue to produce this old, inexpensive, and decent lens in its current form - those providing a real budget option for those few who still want a very cheap 50mm lens.
  16. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.
    Shame on you. Either track down the older, metal-mount EF 50mm f/1.8 or buy the really optically wonderful (Ken always has strong opinions....) f/1.4. The EF 50mm f/1.4 is fairly fragile, to be sure, but treated properly they serve well.
    There's also the EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro, and of course a nice EF 50mm f/1.2 L, but both of these are more special purpose.
    If you like the Nikkor lenses, buy a nice $15 adapter, and get the MF Nikkor-H 50mm f/2 or the Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 to use. A Biotar 58mm f/2 will still outshoot most lenses and it comes in several adaptable mounts including M42 and Exakta. Not to mention modern MF Zeisses in EF mount.
    In short, Canon EOS cameras have probably the largest usable collection of 50mm lenses of any full-size (APS-C and 35mm formats) camera ever built (possibly excepting the FD mounts, but it's harder to find the adapters there).
    I like the plastic fantastic and the other, ancient, 1st or 2nd generation EF mount lenses that are sold for a song, by current standards.
  17. While Canon may not make the exact 50mm lens you want, their "game" isn't exactly feeble with four choices (more than most): EF 50 1.8 II, EF 50 2.5 CM, EF 50 1.4 USM and 50 1.2L USM. And the EF-S 60 2.8 USM is within spitting range for APS lovers. The EF 5- 2.5 CM is the sharpest and best corrected among the 50s and probably Canon's least appreciated bargain optic.
  18. Canon basically has three lens lines - "no ring/white ring" or bottom of line, "gold ring" or middle of line , and "red ring" or top of the line. The prices also follow this scheme. If Canon made a $300-400 50 1.8 it would compete with the 50 1.4 lens. I'm sure the marketing department at Canon has done their homework and makes what their research says is most sellable..
  19. " If Canon made a $300-400 50 1.8 it would compete with the 50 1.4 lens. "
    Well, I'm not asking for that. I would just like Canon to improve the build quality of the 50 1.8 and charge $200 for it, like Nikon. The existing 1.8 is just not up to standards set by Canons competitors. If they were willing to improve their 18-55 kit lens, then why not the 50 1.8? I think it would sell like hotcakes if they did as I'm suggesting.
    The best optics in the world are useless if the build quality is so bad that it stops focusing accurately after a year.
  20. If you want a quality 50mm in Canon mount, then just buy a Zeiss lens. I like the fact that Canon and Nikon have cheap 50mm lenses. As a prime lens shooter, I think the more beginners that are encouraged to buy these cheap little lenses, the better their photography will be if they decide to switch to zooms.
  21. Buy a used f/1.4.
  22. If you want a quality 50mm in Canon mount, then just buy a Zeiss lens.​
    While BQ of the ZE 50/1.4 deserves every praise in the book (just like any Zeiss lens), IQ is nothing to rave about.
    Happy shooting,
  23. well I thought build quality was what we were talking about
  24. Rick:
    You have three options at 50mm: $120, $380, and $1550.
    For most people, the $120 lens will take photos that are fantastic. I would be hard pressed to believe that creating a 4th option would generate a revenue return to make the investment worthwhile.
    I wonder if a brand new camera and lens mount were introduced today if it would even have the option of a 50/1.8 lens. I suspect the number of people buying such a lens today is very small.
  25. Eric,
    As others have said, you do actually have four Canon brand options:
    1. 50mm f1.8 - $ 105
    2. 50mm f1.4 - $ 379
    3. 50mm f1.2 - $1,549
    4. 50mm f2.5 - $ 284 This is the macro lens and has superb flat field reproduction and very little distortion.
    And if you shoot crop you also have the EF-s 60 for $449. The 50mm focal length is hardly an area lacking in choices, and that is before you go third party.
  26. I am personally very happy that Canon makes a very inexpensive 50mm f/1.8. It's a high quality lens for what you pay. My copy is very, very sharp. I have had it for many years now, and I've managed to avoid dropping it. The build quality isn't a problem. In fact, I find it very useful in part because it's light as a feather and very compact. If it's not on my camera, it's in my pocket. I cannot say that about every lens that I own.
  27. the EF 5- 2.5 CM is the sharpest and best corrected among the 50s​
    So easily stated, but where's the evidence? This certainly applies at close-macro distances, but not at infinity from what I have read.
    I agree with the others that the Nikon equivalents are more expensive - always the case with Nikon, and yet not any better optically.
  28. Hmmm. Interesting. I abuse my lenses, and my 8-year-old 50/1.8 is doing just fine.
    As for improvements, all I ask for is four more aperture blades. And maybe a focus distance scale.
  29. I looked up Canon lenses on the website of a high volume retailer in the UK where you can list them by 'best selling' and other options. The order ...
    Canon 50 / 1.8
    Canon 50 /.1.4
    etc. Looks as though Canon know what they are doing.
  30. If you are a rough user then even dublex stanless steel will not be good with you I have the 50 mm F1.8 for more than a year and I am regularly shooting with it and never had a prblem. Whether its made of plastic or paper it depend how you take care of it
    if you need a tank build that will sweep out all other 50 mm's try the sigma 50 mm f1.4 it has better IQ than both canon & nikon 1.4 and coast 450 $
  31. I've owned the 50/1.8 lens for 5 or 6 years. It has been my "winter walk" lens for several winters. When I don't want to take the 17-55 IS out in the cold, I put the 50 on and it works, very well. It has also been my portrait lens of choice ( on the 30D, 50D, and now 7D) for all of those years. I have had two 1.4's that haven't given significantly better image so I've sold them.
    It takes great images, has stood up to the trials I have thrown at it, and keeps working.
    Would I like to have USM and full time manual focusing? Sure! But for the $80 I spent on this lens it is the best value in my camera bag by far.
  32. Well, let me pose this question:
    Putting aside all other Canon 50mm options, would you rather spend $100 on the existing 50mm 1.8, or spend $200 on one that was on par with the build of the Nikon?
    My answer, I'd rather spend a bit more (but still a cheap lens even at $200) on the better build.
  33. well I thought build quality was what we were talking about​
    Indeed so but what good it is to have superb BQ if IQ is inferior even to the 50/1.8? I just wanted to set the priorities in the right order. I currently have the ZE 50/1.4 and have no intent of putting it on my camera for the purpose of taking actual (i.e. not test) photographs. I mean, it's the photographs that we're after, right?
    Happy shooting,
  34. I agree with Yakim; IQ does not have to be identified, does it? I believe it is a given, when we are all talking about lenses, that even when we are talking about build quality we always have the goal of high image quality.
    I also agree with Yakim on the Zeiss. I have had several Zeiss 50 1.4 (Contax/Zeiss) and I was surprised when the Canon easily equalled or beat them.
    As far as the Sigma, is it really better IQ than the Canon 1.4? If so, this would seem to be a great solution for folks concerned with build quality on the Canon 1.4.
  35. As far as the Sigma, is it really better IQ than the Canon 1.4?​
    WRT bokeh, absolutely. Other IQ issues are rather similar. Here's a pic from the Sigma 50/1.4. To say it's creamy is an understatement.
    Happy shooting,
  36. While not being an EOS user I can say I agree that the 50/1.4 ZF's bokeh at f/1.4 is poor but the lens is excellent at f/2.8 and in some ways its rendering there is better than Nikkors I've used (for specific purposes). Bokeh stopped down is also very smooth. It just depends on what you want to do with it. The premium Zeiss 50mm is the 50/2 Makro Planar.
  37. I have the 50mm 1.8 and its alright by me im not afraid of some plastic :)
  38. I had the 50 f/1.8 and now have the 50 f/1.4.
    I am now craving for a new f/1.4 modern lens with:
    • Fast Ring USM FTM autofocus
    • Eight rounded aperture blades for a silky bokeh
    • Spectra coating on the rear lens to reduce flare from sensor reflections
    • E-TTL 2 flash compatibility
    • A real and large depth of field indicator window
    • Same lens formula as the current f/1.4
    Just dreaming, it will never happen...
  39. Well, I picked up an old mark I on ebay in beautiful shape and I immediately noticed that my pictures at all focusing distances are much sharper. I will never buy the cheap plastic mark II again.
  40. Well it took four years, but Canon finally listened to me:

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