Which 50mm should you buy?

"A 50mm f/1.8 lens tends to cost in the $100-150 range—the same as a kit lens—while an f/1.4 lens costs at least twice as much. At their widest apertures, these lenses produce a very narrow depth of focus and create separation between subject and background (or foreground) that adds dimensionality to your photos for flattering portraits.

There’s so little difference, spec-wise, between an f/1.4 and an f/1.8, but the difference in price is huge. How does that translate as far as image quality? All settings being equal, does one lens outperform the other?"

Read more here: http://www.adorama.com/alc/0012817/article/50mm-lens-shoot-out-f18-or-f14

(For those who don’t want to geek out, let me give you the summary and spoil the ending: For both Nikon and Canon 50mm lenses, overall image quality is generally sharper, with less vignetting and fewer aberrations over the range of apertures with the less expensive f/1.8 version. In most (but not all) cases, this makes the f/1.8 a more desirable lens. Why? Read on!)

Photo credits: Alvera.


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October 28, 2012


Try to shoot against a +2 EV white background for isolated pictures and see if 1.8 is a great lens :-)

October 28, 2012


I have the 1.8 and it`s really a great lens! I would recommend it to anyone!

October 27, 2012


Ok - the 1.8/50 is a bargain - its a better choice than any other kit lens - from the optics to the creativity factor - I'm using it quite a lot - on the crop camera it's a fantastic portrait tele and on full frame perfect for everyday shooting - but I still want to change to the 1.4/50 USM as soon as I can because the built and the manual focus of the 1.8 are rather "toyish" - and there are situations you want that extra 1/3 aperture ....

October 24, 2012


IQ is only one piece of the puzzle when evaluating a lens. Other factors include the weight of the lens (making it more comfortable to hold), rotating front mount (annoying with polarizers), different size front element (requiring adapters to use standard size filters), number of aperture blades (you usually get a rounder aperture the more you spend), distance scales, and full time manual (and silent) focus. I played with both the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and f/1.4 and in the end went with the 1.4 mainly for the focusing and overall build quality. The f/1.8 had more distracting background blur as well... Take a look at the blur quality in this review between the 3 Canon 50's when stopped down to f/2.8.

Of course, now I shoot with the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lens as my 'standard' lens and it is beautiful at f/1.4 :) Probably a benefit of the smaller format - the 25mm focal length means the aperture is smaller, and thus the light is likely not hitting the sensor at such an oblique angle.

October 24, 2012


Off-topic: Hey, web designer, I wonder why the USEFUL button is placed on top right and not at bottom right or left. Is so useless there, nobody can see it. The reading, on Planet Earth, is from top to bottom.

October 24, 2012


As mentioned....the f1.8 remains best value for money. I have heard many users of the f1.4 not really using the f1.4 and the two lenses are so close at f1.8 the extra money is not worth it. The added value on the f1.8 though is that the lens is more robust and sturdy with a metal mount.

October 24, 2012


For those people on a limited budget, I would highly recommend the Canon 50mm 1.8.

Fantastic value for money with good quality results.

Thanks for posting the blog. interesting read.

October 24, 2012


The big surprise is that 1.8 is better than 1.4 :) Of course, in laboratory :) Read at the end.

October 24, 2012


I.ve bought a canon 50 1.8mm... and it's really a good lens.

October 24, 2012


The canon 50mm 1.8 is a great lens, I agree. It is the lens I use the most and would recommend to to any photographer wishing to break away from kit lenses and produce a much better image.

October 23, 2012


"As you go further than f/4,to f/2 and wider, the accrued quantity of light falls marginally onto the sensor. A stronger and stronger part of this additional light is blocked or lost."

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