Comparing photos of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II with Pricing the Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM

They are fast, low-priced, and can produce some of the most pleasing images in photography.

Low aperture lenses – They are truly the tiny lenses that you can stick in your bag and take anywhere. The lightest Canon EF lenses which give your photo  that “butter like” blur in your backgrounds. Lets compare the 50mm f/1.8 II with the Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM

50mm 1.4 and 1.8-0017

Left: Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM Right: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

I found very little difference between the f/1.4 and a f/1.8 50mm image quality. I’ve used both for many years but lets drill down into the actual photo quality (pixel peep even).

  • Do the different lenses translate into better image quality?
  • All settings being equal, does one lens outperform the other?
  • Can we justify you spending the difference in price to the 1.4?

Let’s find out

For the purposes of this test we are using a issue of Lighting Magazine www.lighting.co.uk

For the purposes of this test we are using a issue of Lighting Magazine http://www.lighting.co.uk

All the images are taken handheld at a minimum of 125th shutterspeed. Both lenses are mounted on a Canon 550d Don’t forget if you have a APS-sized sensor (crop sensor) the equivalent angle of coverage of a 50mm is more like 75mm.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Overview

At around £75-85, the 50mm f/1.8 lens may be one of the most widely hyped compact, high performance standard lens in photography. So it is not a surprise that it feels like a novelty. Reminds me of a plastic cookie cutter . Not to mention the funky noises it makes when focusing, is not easy to nail your focus when shooting wide open.

Pros

Blurring the background in a picture is good

  • Isolating the subject
  • Sharp Image
  • Light

Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM

A ultrasonic motor drives auto-focus extremely quickly with near silent focusing system. a full-time manual override makes it possible to adjust focus without leaving AF mode. Sharp foreground objects stand out against a smooth blurred background. It has a great build quality, feels nice, has a smooth focus action,

Pros

  • Ultrasonic focusing
  • wide open at f/1.4
  • with full-time manual focus override
  • Smooth background blur
  • Super Spectra coating

My Views

I have used both lenses for a good few years and find myself reaching for the 1.4 more frequently. This is mainly due to its better feel and build quality. Both lenses have there place and because i started with the cheap 1.8 moving to the 1.4 and finally the ending on the 1.2. Each lens holds its own place in my setups.. It was difficult to get the camera to focus where I wanted with the 50 f/1.4. I would expect more from the more expensive 50mm f/1.4. We use the 1.2 a lot in our fashion shoots, its actually out today soo I will be doing a separate review on the 1.2 soon.

I did a quick search today to see what these lenses currently retail at. As of 29th December 2014 I found these deals available at UK photography stores, Wilkinson Cameras and Jessops.

Pricing

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Canon EF 50MM F1.8 II £72.00 – Wilkinson Cameras ( Price includes a 20% discount use code: CAN20 at checkout) Offer valid: 25/12/14 to 01/01/15

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 MK2 £74.99Jessops (offer Price Match)

Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens £278.00Jessops (offer Price Match)

Canon EF 50MM F1.4 USM £259.00Wilkinson Cameras ( Price includes a 20% discount use code: CAN20 at checkout) Offer valid: 25/12/14 to 01/01/15

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