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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM...hi guys, Well done on the new look site, should be the start of something good. I am after a ...
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Old 09-06-2006, 00:07   #1 (permalink)
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Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

hi guys,

Well done on the new look site, should be the start of something good.

I am after a nice lens for portraits in the main for a 10D , is there a major difference in quality between the Canon EF 1.8 and the 1.4? as there is a big difference in price (1.4 around £250 ish 1.8 £80) Not too concerned about build quality more the optical quality Just wondering if anyone has any of these or lenses or could recommend something else.... ps my 10D cant take the new EFS lenses.

thanks scott
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Old 09-06-2006, 08:17   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Hi Scott

The main differences between the lenses you have on your list is indeed build quality and ability to shoot in lower light. The 1.4 also has more blades to open/close the aperture which can result in a more natural 'bokeh', any highlights will apear smoother and halos will be rounder. Obviously the 1.4 will also allow for a narrower depth of field as well but at 1.8 this can still be pretty narrow.

Both lenses offer supurb, tack sharp results and the 'cheap' price of the 1.8 should not fool you into thinking that the results it will give would be low quality. Most Canon shooters highly recommend adding the 50mm 1.8 to your kit list just for that reason alone, its cheap, the quality is supurb and it will also force you to improve your techniques and make you move to frame your pictures, more so if you have become use to zoom lenses.

The 1.8 is a stunning lens, the 1.4 is even better but value for money wise not as good. I would say the results from both are similiar.

One last thing to thing about is that the 1.4 will be sharper than the 1.6 when used at f1.8

Here are our reviews on the Canon EF 50mm f1.8 MKII
If you want any more info or to see some sample pictures from the 1.8 version just shout
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Old 10-06-2006, 16:01   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

I've also got the 50mm f/1.8 , although for Nikon. The optics are that good I cannot justify the f/1.4 . In fact I judge all new lenses by the f/1.8, so will be comparing it against a lens I have aquired that has a list price 10x the price. Should be interesting
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:03   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

thankyou both very much, will do some tinternet reseach this week and read your reviews Steve on the 1.8... cheers. have got a f1.7 50mm manual lens on a contax 35mm film cam which i love but selling my film gear now as i dont use it, so the 1.8 canon would fit the bill

thanks again
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Old 12-06-2006, 08:09   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Agree with all the above - and from a value for money point of view you can't beat the 1.8. Just to add, if you are buying used then you'll come across Mark 1 and Mark 2 versions of the 1.8. The only difference is that the Mk 1 has a metal mount and the Mk 2 has plastic. I'm told that optically they are the same. I was lucky and picked up a used Mk 1 for £80 but there some silly prices being touted on Ebay for it. For less than that you can pick up a new Mk2.

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Old 12-06-2006, 08:19   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Doesn't the MK1 also have the hyperfocal distance markings on the lens?
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:21   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Yes - that's correct, Steve.

regards
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Old 17-06-2006, 12:10   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Just a quick one ..what about the canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
would this produce good bokeh? and would it be sharp at the 70mm end for portraits? was going to get the 50mm 1.8 but just found out i am photographing my mates wedding(ohh Betty, nerves..sweaty panic sets in!) in Vietnam in december so would the zoom be more use for that than prime. I am selling all my film gear hopefully soon to fund some canon lenses, the 24-70 is abt £700 at one stop digital. Have the 17-40L but just not long enough sometimes

cheers scott
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Old 17-06-2006, 12:23   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Yes the Canon 24-70 L would be better for weddings, if you pop into the review section you will see a couple of reviews on that lens and it is mentioned more than once that for weddings it is the choice of the professionals. Couple that with your 17-40L and you should be able to cover most, if not all of the shots needed.

I would suggest that you add a flash gun to your list as well though
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Old 18-06-2006, 00:38   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Steve,

Thanks again for the fast response and good advice. Is the bokeh strong enough on the 24-70L for portraits. I was planning on getting the 70-300 IS for wildlife stuff before dabbling in portraits, so i am confused as to what to purchase as regards the next ideal focal length from the 17-40.I am worried that i wont use the 50mm prime so much now but the f1.8 aperture is appealling, maybe shooting some concert/live band stuff soon as well for a friends band so a zoom lens thats good for this as well as portraits is looking. Should i get the cheaper 50mm 1.8 along with another zoom as the 1.8 is fairly cheap, or what about the EF24-105mm f4 L IS ? ohh god this photography lark gets confusing.

steve , i dont want to buy something that i have to sell later and lose money on to upgrade eg. i doubt i will sell the 17-40L, but if i had got the sigma or tamron equivelent i would of wanted to sell it to get the 17-40. sorry for waffling Steve
many thanks scott
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Old 18-06-2006, 09:20   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

You are fast finding out that photography is an expensive hobby and no matter what we own we always need something else

The 50mm 1.8 lense should be in everyone’s kit bag simply due to its low light shooting capability, how good it is at portraits, its sharpness, its small size and above all its cost. You simply cannot get another lens that offers so much for so little. However it is not suitable as a ‘complete solution’ to wedding photography. If you have two bodies and can leave the 50mm on one while using a variable length zoom of the other then great, but changing lenses will slow things down and you will miss shots if you don’t.

I have not used the EF24-105mm f4 L IS, although the reviews are very good and the range would be excellent for weddings. However the F4 will certainly not be fast enough for all circumstances and will not allow you to throw out the background as much as on the F2.8 of the 24-70L. It does have a longer zoom though which will compensate slightly for the bokeh but means you will have to work at full zoom and especially in a wedding situation where you will be doing portraits, being close to your subjects to develop a report and command their full attention is a massive advantage. There are enough distractions and diversions for the wedding guests without you fighting to keep their attention and instruct them from further away.

My advice is that for weddings the 24-70L would be perfect but if you are only going to shoot one or two then the 24-105 will probably be a better all round lens. Whichever you buy, also seriously consider adding the 50mm prime for the times when you need low level shooting or ridiculously narrow depth of field. For the money it’s a no brainer

Hope that helps
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Old 18-06-2006, 13:17   #12 (permalink)
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50mm prime or 24-70L

Certainly does steve, i will buy the 50 1.8, and then see if funds will allow for another L lens (24-70) if i sell my Contax film kit. The wedding is a one off no pressure thing Steve, its in Vietnam, and as he wasnt getting a photographer in, and i was taking my photographic kit for the holiday anyway he asked me if i fancied a go...so why not, good practice.

Not good enough/or experienced yet for a wedding, only bought my first camera 18 months ago,and only got an SLR in November for the A level course i started in September. Have got an A grade in my first year(AS) but the buggers at blackpool and fylde college are scrapping the part time photography courses, so might not be able to get the full A level as soon as i was hoping. Its not a degree but im quite chuffed with the A so far. How long have you been into photography Steve? How did you get into it?

thanks again scott
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Old 18-06-2006, 13:44   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

I have my father to thank for getting me into photography. He was keen photographer and when I was very young he bought me an old Zenith SLR. I used that for a good few years but found the costs of developing a strain on my pocket money Later on when I began working I bought a Minolta SLR and became quite serious and creative with my photography, here again the enthusiasm was quickly curbed by the quality of high street processing, often they would ‘correct’ my attempts at being creative and as I neither had the time, space, knowledge or skill to process my own I basically lost interest.

Several years later I bought my first digital camera (Nikon 885) it was a very basic point and shoot affair but totally removed the need for processing, I again found it limiting and upgraded to a Canon G3 which I had some serious fun with and returned some photos that I am still very proud of. From that I took a Photoshop course at collage and as luck would have it met a photographer that ran her own studio. I ended up doing wedding photography for her and that in turn gave me the funds to buy my DSLR equipment. I now currently have two Canon DSLR bodies, a few lenses, and all the other bits and bobs that go along with it.

So I guess I have about 20 years of photography experience in different guises, 3 years of point and shoot digital and maybe 5 years plus of serious DSLR use. Two years of wedding photography (almost every weekend and on some 2 weddings), One Photoshop course under my belt and many late nights, cold mornings and missed photo opportunities Of course I still consider myself a beginner and regularly see much better work from people that have less experience. It can be inspiring and be a great driving force to improve.
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Old 21-06-2006, 00:21   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

With regard to the 50mm 1.8 first, GET IT, this is a cracking lens, get Steve to post his flower shots to prove this. You can get this for £60 on ebay using a chap called kerso at flash camera, its advertised at £64.99 but if you do the deal outside eaby he can lower the price. Secondly I've just purcahsed the 24-105mm and can only praise it, if you need that bit extra for lower light then go for the 24-70, but the 24-105 is perfect for me as I wanted L quality for my next purchase and also I wanted to take just one lens when I go on holiday, but will sneak in the nifty 50mm too. I payed £694.99 inc vat + £8 del, from Callumet. Ordered @ 3.30pm Tues of last week, came 10.30am Wednesday...good service. Also not sure of the prices you've found for the 24-70, but again Kerso has this for £759 which is very keen. HTH.
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Old 22-06-2006, 16:33   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Hare are a couple of flower shots taken with the 50mm and extension tubes.





And one using just the 50mm by itself

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Old 22-06-2006, 18:07   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Another vote here for the f/1.8. You can also use the built-in flash as a macro light, even with extension tube(s) fitted, as with this one....

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Old 22-06-2006, 20:37   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

You have cut some of its wing off sir

I have to admit that you have controlled the flash power very well for this shot,especially as it was the on board. Was it a bright day when it was taken?
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Old 22-06-2006, 21:34   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Yes, I'm afraid he was partially de-winged, but you see I had the wrong tube on (the longest) and had to get terribly close (nervous - both of us) and that pic is uncropped vertically! So it was a choice of de-winging or de-antenna-ing (or something like that). By the time I'd swapped for a shorter tube he'd flown away.

This is why I'm wanting a Sigma 150mm macro, which would make me and the bees less nervous, although it could worry my bank manager.

Oh, and I probably want a proper macro ring-light too. (Well, it's only money. ) The light from the built-in flash was too harsh, so I had to process from RAW at two different exposures and then do a Photomatix fiddle to prevent blowing the highlights on the petals. Hmmm. Well anyway it shows what the 50mm lens can do if you don't get stung.
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Old 22-06-2006, 23:49   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Very nice guys

Sorry ive not had chance to respond to your posts for a few days,been hectic with work. First off excellent photos you have both posted.thank you for showing them. Thanks Steve for your detailed answer to my question on how you got into photography.Hope i didnt appear too nosey, its just nice to find out how people came to take up photography I think you are underselling yourself by still describing yourself as a beginner, far from it..your so modest...lol. (put the lol in so you dont think i am being sarkey).Photography is a matter of taste and opinion a lot of the time, like art and music. An image that i think is fantastic could be considered very average by others, it keeps it interesting anyway.

I look at other peoples images sometimes and it makes me think i am not worthy to own a pro SLR, such the quality of the work, and depending on my mood i either think of giving up and selling my gear, or it drives me on to try and produce pictures on a equal level, luckily it's the latter that i settle on most of time and i remind myself i have only being taking photos since September. Other times i come across photos that i think are nothing special, and rightly or wrongly leave me feelin all warm and fuzzy inside with the knowledge that some of my images are of higher quality(back to the personal taste / opinion thing).......anyway back to the lens, i have the 50 1.8 hopefully arriving from warehouse express tomorrow for £79 inc delivery, i have my very first portrait job coming up soon so i will be looking to suck knowledge from the fantastic pixalo members.....the photographic leech that i am

cheers Steve, Dave, Silkstone and Stepheno
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Old 23-06-2006, 01:34   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

asd - I reckon photography is 80% down to being able to compose a good pic, and a lot of that can come from looking at good pics and working out why you like them. Some of it comes from guidelines, tutorials, tips or books such as Charlie Waite's "The Making of Landscape Photographs" which give some useful advice - whether or not you actually like all the pics.

About 20% is down to the technology and technique, and that's my problem because I'm an engineer and I can too easily let the technology take over, so I end up with a technically good but aesthetically flawed photo. It's better to be the other way around.
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Old 23-06-2006, 08:03   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Canon EF- 50mm prime f1.8 or 1.4 USM

Quote:
Originally Posted by asd
Very nice guys

I think you are underselling yourself by still describing yourself as a beginner, far from it..your so modest...lol. (put the lol in so you dont think i am being sarkey).
Beginner is probably the wrong word yes, but I still learn more about photography each day and I have seen many 'beginners' work that puts mine to shame. Some of it is lucky shots, right place at the right time stuff and others have been photographed using natural skill and hard work. Fair play to them

Quote:
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Photography is a matter of taste and opinion a lot of the time, like art and music. An image that i think is fantastic could be considered very average by others, it keeps it interesting anyway.
That is half the fun of it for me, I see a great variety of subjects shot in many different ways, all of them individual and yes, some I like and some I don't, but you can guarantee that mine is just one opinion and others will disagree. For the majority of the time we photograph for ourselves, its only if doing a commission or shooting for a competition with a remit that you have to attempt to appeal to the biggest audience. For those tasks you have to distance yourself from your own work.
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