Thinking about upgrading from my 50/1.4 to 50/1.2L Anyone with first hand info?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by marknagel, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. I'm thinking about upgrading from my 50/1.4 to a 50/1.2L. I've done my
    research, and when it first came out there were many reports of focusing issues
    and poor sharpness. Any new opinions? Money isn't a huge issue, so I don't
    need the cost opinions, but if anyone has made the switch, what are your
    thoughts? Is the lens better (sharpness, focus accuracy, color, etc)


  2. Hi Mark,
    Yes I did the same and did not ever regret. The F/1.2 lens is definitely sharper wide open. After F/2 there is no difference. Also I like the Better contrast the L lens produces. The only disadvantage is the size. I liked to carry the F/1.4 lens in my pocket and switch to it whenever needed. With the L lense I can't really do that.
    Hope this helps.
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member


    From your practical experience with the two lenses:

    1. do you feel / think the F1.2 Auto Focus better (i.e. more accurately more often) in low light or difficult.

    2. do you feel / think the F1.2 Manual focus more smoothly (i.e. feel to the finger tips)?


  4. I moved from the 1.4 to the 1.2 because of:

    1. Better performance between f/1.2 and f/2. If you want better performance in this region, this is the lens to go. Contrast and flare resistance are very good. You do not buy a fast lens to use it at f/8.

    2. Better AF. Not faster, but a lot less erratic. I know about the "many reports" (basically only a handful of people, statistically insignificant) about back-focus ettc. I am not saying that some lenses do not the problem. However, time after time, with real world subjects, I have never had a problem.

    If money is not a problem for you, buy the lens and try it. It's the only way.
  5. There have been a few tests done - here are two.


  6. I tried three copies of a 50/1.2L, and none of them was as good as my 50/1.4.

    Two of the lenses did not focus accurately close up and wide open. The third did focus
    accurately, but still was not as good at 1.4-2.8 as my old 1.4 lens.

    The bokeh of the 1.2L lens is better, but the 1.4 is already very good in that respect. I did
    not compare color or flare resistance. Color is going to be manipulated in PS, and i can't ever
    recall having a problem with flare, with any lens.
  7. "I tried three copies of a 50/1.2L, and none of them was as good as my 50/1.4."

    You must have the best 50 1.4 USM ever made. Don't sell it. My EF 50 1.4 USM was poor until
    F5.6 and pretty good at F8. It was unusable wide open. My 24-105 4L whipped it and good
    at F4.

    On the other hand, my EF 50 2.5 CM is among the best lenses I have owned, and is critically
    sharp even wide open.
  8. Peter, I think you must have had a poor copy of the 50/1.4. Mine seems to fit pretty squarely into the middle of the range of comments about this lens, namely that it's a good f/2 and an excellent f/2.8. I tested it at f/4 against my first 24~105, and found little difference, which I took to be an indication of how good the zoom is. Interestingly, the 85/1.8 at f/4 was noticeably, if only slightly, better than the zoom. It does seem from the comments that there is some sample variation in both the 50/1.4 and 50/1.2L, so any comparison based on a single one of each needs to be treated with caution.
  9. I didn't used to use my 50mm f1.4 that much - somehow didn't inspire me. BUT as soon as I bought and started using the 50mm f1.2 then its become one of my mainstay lenses - its the one that stays on the camera by default. My primary DSLR is a 5D but I also use a 30D and a 10D. And its not about ultimate sharpness; its about using the lens wide open (or nearly so) and getting a wonderfully smooth bokeh that makes pictures that invoke that dreaded comment: "these pictures are great you must have a really good camera".
  10. The 50/1.2 has better contrast and sharpness at f/1.4 than the 50/1.4.
    Whether that matters is open for debate. I find the dreamy look of the 50/1.4 flattering for portraits, which is my primary use of the lens. If you demand superior fast optics for astrophotography or somesuch, the 50/1.2 may be a better choice.
    While slow, the focusing of my 50/1.4 has been highly accurate on every body I've used at all distances.
    Per bokeh, I posted this in an earlier thread:
    50/1.4 @ 1.4
    It seems slightly misguided to buy the 50/1.2 for background blur. Longer focals will produce smoother bokeh at less cost. A 5D with an 85/1.8 would offer similar results to a 40D with a 50/1.2. A 5D with an 85/1.2 would be well superior.
  11. Puppy Face

    I am very happy with my 50/1.4, but not at 1.4. At f2, it's fantastic. But, i don't think i'm
    unique. I've seen lots of images by other photographers shooting this lens at 1.7 or 2 and
    getting very sharp results. But, yes, there are many accounts of sample variation. If you
    can sort out the lemons, the 1.4 is the business.

    David Indech

    "It seems slightly misguided to buy the 50/1.2 for background blur. Longer focals will
    produce smoother bokeh at less cost."

    The issue is not purely about the 'quantity' of bokeh. Obviously, if one were to shoot the
    same subject with a 200mm/f2, the background would be blown out more than with a
    50mm lens. But, the object, at least for me, is to get a 'natural'/'normal' perspective,
    without the effects of compression, and still be able to blur the background. The aesthetic
    grows closer to that of medium and large format. With a 6x6 camera, the normal lens is an
    80mm. You get a 'normal' look, but the bokeh of an 80mm lens. With large format, the
    lens could be a 360mm. You get increased subject-to-background Separation, without
    looking like the image was shot from 50 yards away, and without squashing everything
    into one plane of focus.
  12. Perspective is dictated by subject distance. It's not clear what camera the OP is using. I was merely pointing out that if he's on a crop body, it would make more sense to move to full-frame before investing in what will become a very expensive portrait lens.

    If he's already on fullframe, that's a different story. I should have been more clear.


Share This Page