Which 50mm lens for these needs?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by robert_thommes|1, May 27, 2012.

  1. I shoot with a T1i, and was looking to upgrade my current 50 1.8 II lens. Here are my points of greatest interest as researched my possible purchase:
    1) Best IQ when used for general photography
    2) Closest minimal focus(for capturing floral blooms)
    3) Which lens has the best IQ (specifically sharpness) at it's widest aperture
    50mm lenses being considered: 50 1.8 II, 50 1.4, 50 2.5 Compact Macro.
    Which lens comes closest to satisfying all 3 points? I realize that none of them satisfy all 3.
    But which comes the closest? If I were to toss in the Canon 35 f2 lens, would change anything?
  2. The answer so far as IQ in general is probably the f/1.4, but wide open? That's not for IQ, that's for "bokeh".
    Any of the lenses should get close enough for anything but really tiny blossoms.
    Obviously the minimum focus distance is from the macro lens.
    You're over-analyzing what is not a big deal. Any of the lenses works pretty well, and each has its own niche. The f/1.8 niche is "cheap and still serviceable".
  3. Thanks JDM. I do tend to over-analyze. Sorry. Just don't want to make some dumb (and overlooked) mistake (lens short-coming)when purchasing.
    I'm guessing that either the 50 1.4 or 50 2.5 are the true contenders right now. Do you feel that the 50 2.5 at f2.5 would rival the quality of the 50 1.4 at it's 1.8(or 2.5)?
  4. I would also tell you to look at the 60mm f/2.8, if you can do with a little more focal length. Since you didn't dictate that
    speed was critical, this lens will probably fulfill all of your requirements.
  5. There is one which is far superior to the other 2 and most of the third party competitors. The 50/2.5 CM is it.
    1) Best IQ overall -50/2.5
    2) Closest focus -50/2.5
    3) Best IQ (sharpness) WO - 50/2.5 (even though by f2.5 the others are nearly as good but @ f1.8 & f1.4 (their WO apertures) they both really kind of suck)
    If you want to throw another couple in the ring, I'd consider the Sig 50/2.8 EX Macro, as it's just as 'buzzy' as your 1.8II, and the 50/2.5 is, only it is a proper 1:1 Macro, and is incredibly sharp WO. If you like portraiture, then the Sig 50/1.4 is the best choice (since even at f1.4 it has a gorgeous sweet spot), and if you really don't need anything wider than f2, and don't have a particular macro need, than the good 'ol EF 50/1.4 USM is a fine lens for 'GP' photography...
  6. Like Mark says the EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro, it beats the socks off any of them for your uses.
    Between your two choices the 50 f1.4 is easily the better lens but you will need a 12mm extension tube to get close to the macro focus magnification, thought the 50 macro only does 1:2 natively.
  7. Of the 3 you're considering, the 50mm 2.5 CM would certainly be the best. Although the 60mm 2.8 is incredible!
  8. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 has incredible image quality (on par with the 50mm f1.2L in my opinion) but comes with the usual Sigma lucky dip hassle when buying. As others have said the 60mm is easily the best choice for macro.
  9. Thanks for the comments, folks. Actual MACRO is probably the least important to me. But one of the selling points for the 50 2.5 right now is that it focuses closer than the others for close-up, but not necessarily macro, shots. So, at this point it's either the 50 2.5 or the 50 1.4(which has the furthest minimal focus distance------it's major 'con' right now).
  10. I really really like the Canon 50 f1.4 and I use it a lot. The Sigma tests better at the edges but not as sharp in the center wide open, but it seems sample variation can swap those results. The IQ of my Canon 50 f1.4 is stellar, I regularly use it with an extension tube too. Here it is with a 12mm tube.
  11. There is also the Tamron 60mm f/2 macro.
  12. Those 60mm Macro lenses would be pushing my spending limits. So, though maybe the best option, unaffordable for me for now. But thanks anyway.
  13. I have a T1i and Canon 50mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4 and 50mm f2.5 CM lenses. I've leased the Sigma 1.4. The CM is by far and away the most fun. I never leave home without it. It shines at macro, portrait, landscape -- everything.
    While the 50mm f1.4 is probably the best of the many fast fifties I've owned, it is rarely distinguishable from the 1.8, so I don't think it adds much to your kit. In general, fast apertures are just not very useful at distances less than about twenty feet from your subject, with modern high resolution sensors (and pixel peeping photographers). Closer than that, and the variation in sharpness is just too evident.
  14. I like the idea of a lens that allows me to get closer to things like floral blooms and the like. Doesn't have to be a true macro. Just with close minimal focus distance. The 2.5 allows for getting almost twice as close as do the 1.4 and 1.8 50s.
    Now, at what wide aperture does the 2.5 start to get truly sharp? Is it decently sharp wide open? I'm doubting that. But if it is, I might be inclined to get it. I'm thinking that the 1.4 gets sharper at about 1.8 or 2, and the 1.8 50 gets sharper at 2.8 or so.
    Thanks for all of the comments. But still unsure.
  15. I'd say the CM's resolution is similar to the 1.8 at f2.8, with a slight contrast advantage to the CM. The 1.4 is better than both. But I forgot to mention the 35mm f2.0! This lens focuses down to 25cm vs 45cm for the two fast fifties. Otherwise its behavior is like that of the fifties: good at 2.8, stellar at 5.6. Its field of view is much more useful as a general purpose lens than the fifties. It happens that I have taken most of my flower pictures with this lens, with very good results, so it's worth considering.
  16. I think the C.M. lens also focuses around 25cm or even a little closer. Would I be able to get close shots with the 35mm.....as good as with the 50 2.5. I'm mainly concerned about close-ups (not macro) of flowers.
  17. Conclusion:
    I just bought a Canon 35mm f2 lens. Is reasonably fast, and allows for close focusing, and decent sharpness across the apertures. Perhaps a bit of a compromise, but looks like it'll do everything that I was looking for in one of the 50mm lenses.

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