Jump to content

I've been reading and watching too many lens reviews!


Recommended Posts

I decided to compare my EF 50mm f1.8 STM vs. my recently acquired EF 85mm f1.8 USM.  So, I tried to emulate a lens test similar to the many online lens reviews/comparisons and YouTube videos I've read and watched over the years.

Methodology:  Camera on tripod, ISO 100, Aperture priority, 2 second shutter delay (to eliminate any camera shake - my tripod isn't that robust) and framing visually as similar as possible.  The the subject being a stationary object (our older propane BBQ grill with “character”).   The center focus point was selected with black letters on a brushed stainless-steel background lying under the active focus point.  Shots were in open shade with bright sunshine illuminating the little bit of background included in the shot.  A series of shots were taken at apertures f1.8, f2.0 and then at full stops to f22.  All shots were in RAW and compared using Canon DPP version  The only correction applied was the Digital Lens Optimizer tool in DPP.  This is probably nerdy enough to sound officious but probably falls short of the controlled methods the "experts" use to conduct and publish similar lens test. 

Other nerdy stuff:  The 50 has a Waka multicoated UV filter on it purchased from Amazon (as do some of my other lenses) and the 85 has a B&W UV filter that I purchased used from KEH when I bought the 85.  The 50 with hood & filter weighs 7.1 oz (201.3 grams) and the 85 with hood and filter weighs 16.5 oz (467.77 grams).  Note that I consider myself a semi-serious amateur photographer and shoot for enjoyment.    

Hypothesis/expectations:  The 2 lenses would perform similarly at larger apertures (f1.8 to 4.0) and the 50 would pull ahead at f8 and beyond.

Results/Opinion:  My hypothesis was semi correct.  In my opinion, the 85 was noticeably sharper/better from 1.8 to 5.6, tied with the 50 f8.  The 50mm seemed sharper from f11 to f22.  Contrast comparisons were similar to the sharpness observations.  In other words, the 85 was better at wider apertures, the 50 better at smaller apertures.  In the "real world" both lenses are sharp and produce really nice images.  I have no complaints with either lens. 

Conclusion:  I've been spending too much time reading/viewing lens and equipment reviews and not enough time shooting and enjoying the gear that I have!

Afterthought:  I used to have a "nifty-fifty" when I shot film with an EOS camera and sold it when I disposed of my film gear.  I also had an 85mm f1.8 and never did as detailed a comparison of those 2 lenses as I did above.  Back then, liked both lenses a lot and considered the 85mm my favorite lens.  But that nifty 50 with its 5 bladed diaphragm and noisy focus motor was special - particularly wide open.  I'm thinking - should I get my hands on a nifty-fifty and do a similar comparison vs. the 85 and maybe vs. the 50 STM?  Answer:  No!  With all the reviews and YouTube comparison videos out there, someone probably already did the comparison and I should just get out and shoot!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...