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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM vs f1.4
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09/22/2019 05:10:17 PM · #1
I recently traded in my Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II because I hated its clunky auto focus. However, despite the fact that I've been using vintage manual lenses a lot lately, there are times when I want a fast lens with AF.

The shop I buy from currently had 2nd hand copies of both the f1.8 STM and the f1.4 in stock so I'm really tempted to buy one, but which? The f1.8 STM is a lot cheaper and it's newer technology. Is the f1.4 really worth the extra expense?
09/22/2019 06:51:38 PM · #2
I wish I had a clear answer for that question... the 1.4 was a good lens in its day, but frankly it also had its warts. One thing I never really liked about it was the extending barrel during focus. On older Canon bodies it was also rather erratic in focusing. The 1.8STM is kind of an unknown quantity to me. I haven't looked back since moving to the Sigma 50/1.4 Art. Canon needs a good updated 50/1.4.
09/22/2019 07:33:17 PM · #3
Thanks. I thought I'd read similar complaints about the 1.4 a while back, but can't remember where I saw them. Unfortunately the Sigma isn't an option for me because of its size. The move to mirrorless has allowed me to carry extra lenses which I never did before. The Sigma would removed that option.
09/22/2019 09:28:05 PM · #4
Yep, the Sigma is a beast, and also expensive. Definitely some room for Canon to bring a better 50/1.4 while keeping it compact. I'm wondering, though, if that will happen only for RF mount.
09/22/2019 10:09:10 PM · #5
I will say, I'm VERY happy with the new little 24mm F/2.8 IS I picked up. Fun lens.

Dunno what you're doing with the 50, but that cheap 24 has been a hoot to shoot with.

I do, admittedly, like the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 better, but.. I could buy 3 24mm f/2.8's for the price of that one.
09/22/2019 11:59:19 PM · #6
How about Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM? It's not 1.8 but I am quite happy with it on my old (already) 6D. I am mostly using my phone these days ...
09/23/2019 05:06:59 AM · #7
I've got a 24mm f2.8 pancake lens which I hardly ever use as well as EF-M 28mm f3.5 macro, but I really want f1.8 or better, and something with a bit more reach than those lenses. Something small and light that can give me results like my last entry with the 50mm lens I traded without having to spend time on focusing manually.

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At the moment I could only get this kind of depth of field with a manual lens, but wouldn't have the time to get focus on moving people.
09/23/2019 08:17:22 AM · #8
I have 50mm 1.4 and also Sigma 35mm 1.4 and to me now I start using 35mm 1.4 more often and it became my walk around lens :)

I will share the results of bokeh in both the cases this evening in case if you are interested.
09/23/2019 10:23:03 AM · #9
I'd be interested to see, but I'm probably going to buy the 50mm 1.8 this afternoon. The fact that the 50mm 1.4 is such old technology is putting me off.

Edit: I was planning to go to the shop this afternoon but due to ongoing technical difficulties I've had to change my plans. The soonest I'll be able to go is Wednesday, so I hope the lens will still be available then.

Of course the benefit is that it gives me a little extra time to do the necessary research.

Message edited by author 2019-09-23 10:33:44.
09/23/2019 01:38:05 PM · #10
So, because I was really curious, I took a few minutes to do a little research. There are numerous improvements in the 50/1.8 STM vs. the 50/1.8 II. One of them is not optics. The optical formula is exactly the same. There are new coatings, but that's it optically. You can take a peek at this review for a summary of the changes.
09/23/2019 01:46:47 PM · #11
Originally posted by kirbic:

So, because I was really curious, I took a few minutes to do a little research. There are numerous improvements in the 50/1.8 STM vs. the 50/1.8 II. One of them is not optics. The optical formula is exactly the same. There are new coatings, but that's it optically. You can take a peek at this review for a summary of the changes.


Thanks. I'm not home now but I'll look later. Optically I was happy with the older version but using it was really unpleasant.

Oh, and as far as I know the minimum focusing distance is closer on the STM.
09/23/2019 05:01:13 PM · #12
Thanks Fritz. What I read in that review sounds encouraging.

The other prime I find tempting right now is the EF-M 32mm f1.4, but it costs more than I want to spend and it's wider than I want, so I guess I'll be buying the 50mm f1.8 STM as planned - assuming they don't sell it to someone else first.
09/23/2019 07:55:57 PM · #13
My gut says you will enjoy it. On further reflection, even though the optical formula is the same, there is one improvement that may well affect optical performance positively, and that is the 9-bladed aperture (with rounded blades) which will help bokeh. The 50/1.8 II was not noted for beautiful bokeh. I don't expect the STM will be either, but it should be improved. The other big plusses are the build quality and the full-time manual focus. For the price and given the small size/weight, it should be a winner.
09/24/2019 03:56:17 AM · #14
Definitely sounds better. Even the review said it was worth an upgrade.
09/24/2019 06:08:00 AM · #15
I know itís not exactly comparing apples, but I got myself Nikonís new z mount 50mm f1.8 and I absolutely love it! Every portrait seems to pop, unlike anything Iíve been able to do before. I donít go anywhere without it.

Nikon 50mm f1.8
09/24/2019 10:17:44 AM · #16
That lens looks huge compared to the Canon STM. I'm a small woman and as I get older it's becoming increasingly important for me to keep things small.
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