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Author Topic: need a sharp 50mm lens for canon, any recommendations?  (Read 1369 times)
stacibeth
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« on: November 25, 2013, 01:23:33 AM »
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I am looking for a nice sharp 50mm prime lens. Any recommendations?  When shooting interiors, I find the wide angles 24mm and 28mm are just too wide for vignettes and such.
Thanks in advance
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Phil Indeblanc
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 01:41:25 PM »
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Did you try the Canon?
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bcooter
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 01:54:14 PM »
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I am looking for a nice sharp 50mm prime lens. Any recommendations?  When shooting interiors, I find the wide angles 24mm and 28mm are just too wide for vignettes and such.
Thanks in advance

Zeiss and live view.

IMO

BC
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HSakols
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 02:36:56 PM »
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Aren't all 50mm lenses pretty darn sharp.  What is a 50mm lens that is not sharp?  I'm just curious.  Sure it would be fun to use the new zeiss 58mm, but I can't imagine what I'd actually gain.  I don't mean to put down the question, but am curious.  In prints can anyone tell the difference between 50mm lenses? 
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 04:43:12 PM »
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My manual 1.8/50mm Nikkor is pretty darn good; but I only see its pictures - never looked up a chart of any kind for it.

Rob C
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2013, 05:26:03 PM »
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Hi,

Depends on aperture. At f/8 most lenses are pretty good. At f/1.4 it may be a different world.

Best regards
Erik

Aren't all 50mm lenses pretty darn sharp.  What is a 50mm lens that is not sharp?  I'm just curious.  Sure it would be fun to use the new zeiss 58mm, but I can't imagine what I'd actually gain.  I don't mean to put down the question, but am curious.  In prints can anyone tell the difference between 50mm lenses? 
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Harold Clark
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2013, 06:09:26 PM »
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I am looking for a nice sharp 50mm prime lens. Any recommendations?  When shooting interiors, I find the wide angles 24mm and 28mm are just too wide for vignettes and such.
Thanks in advance

I use the Canon 50/1.4, one of my sharpest lenses when stopped down a bit, but soft wide open. Apparently the 50/1.8 is also very good, and even less expensive.
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k bennett
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 07:38:56 PM »
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Hi,

Depends on aperture. At f/8 most lenses are pretty good. At f/1.4 it may be a different world.

Best regards
Erik



Right, this. For interiors, I would normally want to shoot it on a tripod, carefully focused and composed using Live View. Any of the Canon 50mm lenses would do well, along with any of the Canon mid-range zooms. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 gets decent reviews. The Canon 50/1.2 is the newest design, but expensive if one doesn't need the aperture. The f/1.4 is much older, but still good, and the 1.8 is cheap build quality but plenty sharp especially at mid-range apertures. At $100 or so, it's an inexpensive way to see if a 50mm is really what you want.

When I want to shoot details of interiors, I use my 24-70 zoom, at f/8 or f/11, on a tripod and get excellent results. The zoom gives me the flexibility to frame exactly what I want. If I decide to use a much wider aperture to isolate a detail against a soft background, then I can use the prime.
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2013, 03:16:24 AM »
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Well, the old Canon 50mm macro f2.5 is as sharp as they come, right from the f2.5 aperture. And with the benefits of no distortion and no curvature on the field of view. There is also the TSE 45mm, not a 50mm lens, but I suppose the TS could be handy for interiors.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2013, 05:36:50 AM »
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Wouldn't rooms require a zone-focus technique if there were no camera movements available? That was certainly the only way I could approach interiors when I did holiday brochures, and yes, I'm the first to say that I claim no expertise in architectural work - just handled what came along as best I could at that particular time.

When you zone-focus, it hardly requires Live View; more the ability of your lens to work well stopped far down.

(On that matter, why is there currently this confusion on LuLa about apertures? Some write almost anything except stopping 'down' or opening 'up', which indicates to me that the traditional sense of using wide apertures being thought of as an 'opening' of the lens and stopping 'down' a closing of that aperture, has slipped from a clear, unequivocal interpretation of meaning to a far more vague and imprecise terminology that varies by the user; hardly a good thing. I've even read here people referring to 'high numbers' when they refer to stops; does that mean high, in the sense of 22 being 'higher' than 1, or high in the sense of 1.4 being 'higher' than 22?

It becomes needlessly vague, unhelpful and possibly misleading to some newer snappers. Hell, it obviously confuses me, or why would I think to mention it?)

Rob C
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 05:39:19 AM by Rob C » Logged

tino tedaldi
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2013, 12:48:27 PM »
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seconded (zeiss+live view)
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Misirlou
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2013, 03:48:53 PM »
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I had the Canon 1.8 for a long time, and still have a 1.4. The 1.4 is better in pretty much every way, except for cost. But the 1.4 is just over $300 brand new at B&H right now, so it's hard to complain much about price. Sadly, the AF motor failed on my 1.4, and from what I read, that's fairly common with that model.

A lot of people dismiss the 1.4 because it's soft in the corners wide open. I think a lot of that comes from lack of field flatness. A not so great quality for copy work, but a really nice one for portraits on an APS-C camera.

At small apertures, the 18-55 2.8 zoom is actually sharper. But, it doesn't get to 1.4, and it only works on an APS-C body.

Don't laugh, but I think the new 40 f/2.8 pancake lens is a good alternative to all of them. 40mm turns out to be a nice, useful focal length for me. AF is slow, but very smooth and quiet. The lens is tiny, and in my tests, as sharp as the 1.4, maybe even better. Superior bokeh than the 1.4 I'd say. The corners are pretty dark wide open on my 6D, though software takes care of that. I paid $114 for my 40 brand new. But again, at 2.8, it's a lot slower than the 1.4.

If you care about sharpness wide open, with a big aperture, I imagine the Sigma is probably the best for the money. And if money is no object, just get the Zeiss and be done with it.
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JeanMichel
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2013, 05:43:09 PM »
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Fo my 5d2 I purchased a 40 mm f/2 Voigtlander lens. Not a 50, of course, but small and very sharp. No problem focusing with the regular screen with the aid of the focus points, usually the centre one. It even comes with a close-up lens that is not bad at all for occasional use. I also have their 20 mm lens and it is also excellent.
Jean-Michel
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2013, 04:38:18 AM »
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The Zeiss 50mm f2 macro is superb in live view, beautifully built and very easy to focus.  But as has been said, most 50mm lenses would be fine optically if stopped down.  With the Canon's, the 1.8 is basic, the 1.4 poor build quality, the 1.2 very heavy and expensive.  Depends on how much you want to spend, but if tripod based I think the Zeiss is great.  Incidentally the Zeiss 35mm f2 is also excellent.

To add, we also have the Sigma 50mm 1.4, and that is a lot better than the Canon 1.4 - both optically, but more importantly in build quality.

Jim
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 04:40:32 AM by Jim Pascoe » Logged
stevesanacore
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2013, 06:24:44 AM »
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I have been shooting with Canon for over ten years and have most of their prime lenses and zooms. I can say in my experience with a comparison I recently did on a shoot, the new 24-70 2.8 seems sharper than any of their prime lenses in that range. I was using the 35mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.2 and the new zoom was sharper, (i'm very critical). Seems like a better more flexible solution for you than just a 50mm anyway. It's a vast improvement to the earlier 24-70 which was soft in the corners.

The Canon 24-70 2.8 would be my choice in your situation. You'll love it.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 06:31:28 AM by stevesanacore » Logged

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jsch
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« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2013, 09:23:09 AM »
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I am looking for a nice sharp 50mm prime lens. Any recommendations?  When shooting interiors, I find the wide angles 24mm and 28mm are just too wide for vignettes and such.
Thanks in advance

I am looking for a nice sharp 50mm prime lens. Any recommendations?  When shooting interiors, I find the wide angles 24mm and 28mm are just too wide for vignettes and such.
Thanks in advance

As others said, sharp at which f-stop? I'm a 50-mm-lover and own and use depending on the circumstances:
Canon 50/1.2L (1.22.8 Portait, to play with depth of field in interiors)
Canon 50/1.8 (~4 to get the 5-corner f-stop marks if I photograph into light sources and to borrow it to "friends" who tend to abuse photo equipment)
Canon 50/2.5 Macro (~8 mainly to digitize mf film quick and dirty)
Canon TS-E 45/2.8 (8-11 architecture interiors/exteriors and flat stich panorama, 2.8-4 anti-tilt for portraiture)
Canon 24-70/2.8L 1st version @ 50 (if I only have this lens with me for everything, love it because it does everything good and hate it because it is heavy and has no character)
Olympus OM 50/1.4MC (2-5.6 if I want to feel young)
Nikkor 50/1.8 (because I'm a sentimental guy, it was the first Nikon lens I bought)

Leica 60/2,8 Makro (I borrow it from a friend, if it has to be sharp (er) than the Canon macro)
Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50/1.5 (I tried it and like it, but I have no camera for it)

And clearly I will have a look, if I can test an Zeiss Otus or the Sonar 50/1.8 for the Sony alpha 7R. So far I don't like the Zeiss offerings. The 50 mm Planar is not the sharpest tool in the shed and the 50 mm Makro is in my opinion not better than the Leica 60.

For interiors I have a Olympus OM 35mm shift, which is a spectacular little lens.

If you want only one lens I would use the Canon 24-70/2.8 or 4 zoom in its latest incarnation if you have the money. If it has to be cheap and good buy a used Olympus OM 50/1.4 close it down at least to 2.8 and you get for 50 Euro a wonderful and sharp lens.

Best,
Johannes
p.s.: For my 8x10 inch camera I have 6 lenses in the 300-360 mm range which equals the 50 mm DSLR lens.
p.p.s.: You are allowed to call me 50-mm-lens-crazy.
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