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Difference Between 50mm 1.4 And 1.8

By | 22/08/2022

Welcome to Part 1 of the 50mm focal range of the SLR Lounge Canon Lens Wars series. We have 7 lenses in this grouping, so in this first part, we will be discussing only the 50mm primes.

  • Canon 50mm f/one.8 2
  • Catechism 50mm f/i.4
  • Canon 50mm f/one.2L

In part two, since we are using the same zoom lens setup as in the 35mm focal range, we will briefly talk through the zooms, then compare them to the primes.

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For those that are new to the SLR Lounge Catechism Lens Wars serial, be sure to check out the Lens Wars Teaser video, where we introduce the series and our testing methodology as well every bit all the other videos on each focal length.

Spotter the 50mm Canon Prime Lens Wars Video

Canon 50mm f/1.2 at f/1.2

Canon 50mm f/i.2L at f/ane.two

Of the three 50mm primes we tested, not merely did the 50 f/1.2L had the most bokeh, but it too had the all-time aesthetic quality to the bokeh which can be seen in the samples below.



On top of that, the 50mm f/ane.2L’s paradigm was abrupt plenty when wide open to actually utilize (different the 50mm f/1.four), and the colour and contrast were far superior to both the other 50s as can be seen below. Sadly, the 50mm f/1.4 was outperformed in sharpness by even the “great fifty” the Canon 50mm f/1.8 2



Moving on to the next nearly expensive 50mm prime, we take the Canon 50mm f/1.4, and unfortunately, this lens left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

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The problem with the Canon 50mm f/i.4’s image quality and bokeh was that it was as well hazy and dreamy. The overall image was then soft that I would say it that the lens is not really usable at wide open, unless y’all are looking for that soft dreamy vibe. It virtually reminds me of smearing the lens with oil or vaseline for a soft focus outcome.


In improver, with both the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Two and the f/1.4, at that place was something just a bit “artificial” about their bokeh. This was especially noticeable when zooming in over the tree co-operative surface area.


In comparison, the 50mm f/1.2L had a better and smoother bokeh rendition seen below.


Surprisingly, of the iii lenses, my second favorite was the Canon 50mm f/1.eight II. While it did accept a flake less bokeh at f/1.8 than the other two 50’s, at to the lowest degree its paradigm was not unusably soft. It was still a chip soft and dreamy looking, but not shut to as bad equally the 50mm f/i.4.


Particular Comparison at Wide Open Aperture

In the images below, when we test center frame sharpness by zooming in over the model’s clothes, we tin see that at a wide open aperture, the Canon 50mm f/1.eight II is indeed sharper than the Canon 50mm f/1.4. The Catechism 50mm f/one.2L surpassed both lenses when information technology comes to dissimilarity and clarity.



Epitome Quality at The Widest Common Aperture

Let’southward step up to the the aperture of f/2.0 and meet how they all fare in regards to sharpness. Here, you can get-go to see the Canon 50mm f/1.four pulling abroad from the fifty f/one.8 in terms of sharpness.


Yet, the overall winner is withal expectedly the Canon 50mm f/1.2L, which is tack abrupt over our subject as seen below.



While the 50mm f/1.2L always remained a step ahead of its lesser siblings, we did notice that the visual differences in image detail and sharpness start to equalize at around f/iv. Although color rendition is still noticeably ameliorate, as we would expect, on the L serial lens.

Dress f4-50mmf1.2-50mm1.4

Dress f4-50mmf1.2-50mm1.8

Canon 50mm 1.2 vs ane.4 vs ane.8 Bokeh at Widest Mutual Aperture

Going back to the mutual aperture of f/two, the Catechism 50mm f/1.2L still renders more bokeh, and with amend aesthetic quality to its bokeh, although not by a huge margin. The bokeh on the 50mm f/ane.2L was merely a scrap larger and smoother than that of the 50mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.viii.



The Canon 50mm f/one.4 did accept a scrap more pleasing bokeh than the i.viii, but not past that much. It certainly wasn’t noticeable when viewing the images at full screen.


Just like sharpness, the bulk of the aesthetic differences in bokeh equalized effectually f/4 for the three 50mm primes as tin be seen in the following images.



Despite having the similarities in image quality from f/4 and upward, when it comes to color and dissimilarity rendition all three 50mm primes performed right on par to their classes. The Canon 50mm f/1.2L was the best of the bunch with the most vivid contrast and accurate color rendition, the Catechism 50mm f/1.iv was next, and the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Ii was third.

A Note on Build Quality for each Catechism 50mm Prime number Lens

This is one of those times where I want to also mention the feel and build quality of each of these lenses. The Catechism 50mm f/1.2L really sets the standard betwixt the three 50mm primes. It has a swell build quality, feels squeamish, has a smooth focus action, and is exactly what you would wait from a Canon L lens.

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As for the other two 50mm primes, the ane.8’southward and the i.four’due south build quality get out a lot to be desired. I practise not call up about of united states of america accept a lot of expectations for quality on the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II because it is quite cheap. At around $125 (sometimes fifty-fifty less), it has been given the name of the “swell fifty” considering it is cheap and takes great pictures. So information technology is not a surprise that it feels cheap and “plasticky”, that the focus action is not smooth, that it makes funny noises, and that is non piece of cake to to nail your focus when shooting wide open. But, all in all, still a great value for the coin.

Past comparison, the Canon 50mm f/1.4 is simply that much more disappointing considering although it is three-4x more than expensive than the 50mm f/one.eight, its build quality and overall prototype performance doesn’t come to justifying the additional toll.

Unlike the 35mm f/ii IS from our 35mm Canon Lens Wars Shootout, the 50mm f/1.4 feels quite cheap for a $400 lens. Not quite every bit cheaply congenital as the keen fifty, but withal cheap.

In addition, it was also quite difficult to get the camera to focus where I wanted with the l f/1.4. This is something that can be expected with the 50mm f/1.eight, but it is not what I would expect from the more expensive 50mm f/1.4.

The Terminal Conclusion for Canon 50mm 1.2 vs 1.4 vs i.8

And so, hither is the final conclusion betwixt these three lenses

The Best Bang For Your Cadet – The “Groovy-Fifty”

Canon 50mm f/1.8
I would say that if y’all are simply starting out and y’all want a 50mm prime lens, get the Canon 50mm f/i.eight Ii. At effectually $125, the 50mm one.8 is a real bargain and information technology can practise 95% of what the 50mm 1.iv tin.

And so if you are looking for a standard 50mm prime, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Two is going to be the best bang for your buck by far and the “go-to” 50mm lens for beginners.

The One to Avoid – The “Shifty Fifty”

Canon 50mm f/1.4
It goes without proverb that the Canon 50mm f/i.iv is simply non worth the 3-4x toll of the 50mm f/i.8.

Fifty-fifty though it has a maximum aperture of f/1.4, its overly soft image quality at broad open nullifies that extra half cease advantage. And if you stop down to f/1.8 or f/2.0, then there really not plenty aesthetic departure in advent to the 50mm f/i.8. On pinnacle of that, its build quality is barely any amend than the 50mm f/1.8.

For all of these reasons, if the 50mm f/ane.8 is dubbed the “Nifty L,” nosotros are going to dub the Canon 50mm f/1.four as the “Shifty L.”

So my communication is if yous are choosing between the two is to save the money and opt for the Canon 50mm f/i.8 Ii instead of the Canon 50mm f/1.4.

The Best Overall 50mm Lens – The “Gimme! Fifty”

Canon 50mm f/1.2L
The Canon 50mm f/ane.2L is without a doubt the best 50mm prime lens from Canon. When you want a 50mm for low light, for ultra low depth of field, and for shots that yous would not be able to become otherwise from the other l’s, and then salvage up your money, skip the 50mm 1.four and just spring direct to the Canon 50mm f/1.2L.

At around $1600 bucks, it is far more than expensive than the other ii 50mm primes, but at to the lowest degree it does a lot more than likewise. It is really abrupt and usable when wide open up and it can open up a full stop brighter than the 1.8. This prime lens gives you lot more than flossy bokeh and just more bokeh in general. It’s price is actually justifiable in its overall performance, image quality and features.

All around, if yous desire the best image quality at the 50mm focal length, then the Catechism 50mm f/1.2L should be at the meridian or near the top of your shopping list and nosotros are dubbing it the “Gimme! 50.” As in “requite me that l crusade I want it!!!!”

I hope you enjoyed office ane of the 50mm prime focal range in the SLR Lounge Catechism Lens Wars series. Be sure to check out the rest of the SLR Lounge Canon Lens Wars Series.

Source: https://www.slrlounge.com/canon-50mm-prime/