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50mm f1.4 vs f1.8

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by mikebass1, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. mikebass1


    Jun 3, 2007
    How much advantage is there in having a 50mm f1.4 vs f1.8? I'm trying to decide on which lens to get. I'm sure this question has been brought up before...I'm fairly new to the Cafe.
  2. DBrim


    May 30, 2007
    Boston, MA
    IQ on both is fairly similar. So is build quality. The real question is if you want that extra speed for the extra money. I have the 50/1.8 and I love it. I'm sure you'll hear valid reasons for both, though.
  3. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    Same here. I haven't used my 50/1.8 in months now. I was thinking of selling it, but it might come in handy for when my little girl starts crawling and toddling around in the house and for portrait type stuff in parks as she gets a little older. In that case the 35/2 might not quite have the reach but the 50/1.8 likely would. We'll see. If it doesn't get some use during that phase then I'll never use it and will just let it go on here probably. I'd probably try to pick up a more telephoto prime in its place like the 85/1.8 or similar.
  4. You've already got 3 ways to yield 50mm, so clearly you don't need the focal length. And I doubt that either 50/f1.x's is all that much better than the 17-55 in mid-aperture or later. So you're really after low light capability - so the real answer is whether or not you really need that extra half-stop. A half-stop is the difference between 1/30th and 1/45th shutter speed. I doubt that the DOF difference associated with a half-stop is all that significant.
  5. If you don't feel the need for the extra little bit of light gathering, then save your $$$ and get the 50mm 1.8. I wound up wanting the extra little bit for indoor sports events and got the 1.4.

  6. Guys,

    I'm no math wiz but if I remember the whole integral powers of the square root of two thing, isn't f/1.8 something more like 1.33333 stops faster than f/2.8?

    So you're looking at more like the difference between 1/30th and 1/60th+, no?

    Like I said, I'm no math wiz though. I'm sure I'm just getting it wrong in my head. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

    Anyway, I shoot my 50/1.8 AF at f/1.8 sometimes and it's pretty useful, IMO. Here are a few from May:



    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

  7. Ah, I see--I must have been thrown by Brian's comments about his existing lenses already covering 50mm. Compared to his existing lenses at 50mm he's gaining either 1.33 stops or 2 stops (a big jump, either way--so I agree with both of you).

    As a sleep-deprived parent of two little little ones, I should try to pay more attention ;) 

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2007
  8. gvk


    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    When my eldest son (now about to turn 27) was an infant, I don't think that he slept for the first year of his life! Ok, so I'm exaggerating a little, but it seemed like it then. :smile: Fortunately, I had a 50 mm f/1.4 (old non-AI version from the early 1970s) mounted on my F2 loaded with Tri-X pushed to ISO 800 so I could document the awful faces he made when his exasperated mother sent me in to calm him in the middle of the night.
  9. vadimg


    May 23, 2007
    ny, ny
    If you could, I would personally recommend getting one of the old 50/1.4s if you can find one cheap. I lucked out and got one bargain condition on KEH, great deal. The build quality went down in the AF-D version, and the D really doesn't affect anything. Could be hard to find though.
  10. mikebass1


    Jun 3, 2007
    Hey Mr Bitmaker, haven't we met before? Isn't your wife a clown with a hairy monkey?
  11. nbmro

    nbmro Guest

    I have the 1.8 version and it really feets my needs. (indoor photos of my little girl). actually, I took pictures in conditions that i don't think that even 1.4 would be enough.
    but for me, it was cheaper at that time and it still is :) 
  12. mikebass1


    Jun 3, 2007
    Yep she's a clown also; with no hairy monkey, just me.
  13. mikebass1


    Jun 3, 2007
    Thanks everyone! I appreciate all the input.
  14. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    I just got the 50mm 1.8 yesterday. I have not been able to use yet. On your flower picture are you using extention tubes or is this just the lens? Are you having to use a tripod for this picture?

    Thanks, Gary
  15. The rose leaves at f/1.8? That was just the 50mm, handheld, at or near the minimum focus distance.

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