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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> canon 50mm 1.2L....EXTREME disappointment
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05/02/2008 12:04:57 AM · #1
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I messed with it for quite a while today and after much fussing using manual focus i managed to get one really really beautiful sharp photo. It is significantly backfocusing though so I am going to send it back and get a replacement and hopefully that one won't be backfocused.

Thanks for all the feedback. I was really upset and now that things seem to be more under control I am really happy. I am going to stick with this lens but I want to get it better calibrated so its not backfocused any more.
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Message edited by author 2008-05-02 20:01:08.
05/02/2008 12:11:13 AM · #2
This test is pretty sketchy, but as an example, here are a picture I took on my canon today at f/1.2 and a picture I took on my sony a while back with my 1.7

[thumb]675290[/thumb] [thumb]675291[/thumb]

Am I crazy to expect better? The picture on the left was taken with a 1300 dollar lens and the one on the right with a 150 dollar lens....it makes no sense!

Message edited by author 2008-05-02 00:12:00.
05/02/2008 12:12:13 AM · #3
when you say it is crappy what do you mean? out of focus? poor contrast? poor build? your minolta 50 is a 1.7 i would think that that was probably a pretty good lens also. try some different settings on your camera then you might like the len's better i know when i got my 40d at first i wasn't impressed
05/02/2008 12:14:30 AM · #4
I really like the 40d itself. The setup of it is much better than my camera. By crappy I mean not sharp. In a picture where there is a clear transition from out of focus to in focus back to out of focus, the sharpest place just is not sharp enough for my taste. Because of the "quality" of this lens I can't believe that i have failed to get any results that are comparable to those I got with my sony yet.
05/02/2008 12:19:24 AM · #5
are you using all the focus points? try just the center 1 see if that makes a difference if not you should try taking a pic of a dollar bill taped to the wall from about 10' or so and see what kind of detail you have ---when i got my 100-400l i had to send it back to canon because it didn't focus properly
05/02/2008 12:22:38 AM · #6
Take a look at this post from Fred Miranda...they explain some about the lens and its good and bad points...seems like a lot to spend for something that's not a sure thing... //www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=305&cpage=2&sort=&perpage=15&cat=2

Message edited by author 2008-05-02 00:22:53.
05/02/2008 12:24:03 AM · #7
it should look quite dramatically better than that.

Here's a shot from a 100mm unsharpened, //www.pbase.com/gordonmcgregor/image/69749635

Are you sure:
1/ the AF is switched on on the lens
2/ you aren't within the minimum focusing distance for the lens

What's it like at a distance of say 10 feet from the subject ?

Are you focusing where you think you are ?
Are you focusing and then recomposing (which will pretty much not work at f1.2 when you are close)
05/02/2008 12:25:33 AM · #8
You've got either camera shake or missed focus on the 1.2 image. Remember, at 1.2 the DOF is 1/8 of an inch maybe. I LOVE my 50 1.2. It has a rep for back focusing at near min focus distances around F2 or so. I shoot it wide open and don't have an issue. It takes some getting used to though!
These are just snapshots of my kids on easter sunday morning, 50 1.2 at 1.2 on my back porch.
675294.jpg 675295.jpg

the 50 at 2.5
666461.jpg

Message edited by author 2008-05-02 00:31:10.
05/02/2008 12:26:43 AM · #9
First, you are shooting at f/1.2, i don't think the dof gets any smaller than that so it could be that you have missed your focus point. Second. have you tried to stop down a bit and what are the results? A lens, even really quality lenses, are softest wide open. Try f/2 and see how sharp it is and then try f/8, I bet that it will probably knock your socks off. I heard someone say before that just b/c your lens can go that low doesn't mean you should. Post some more test shots at different apatures, don't fret yet!
05/02/2008 12:27:26 AM · #10
The difference could be due to the different depth of fields in the two pics. depth of field depends on 3 things - the focal length, the aperture and the distance from the subject.

The 50mm one looks like it was taken from much closer than the other picture - say 1 meter away. Using the 50mm lense at F5.6 you would expect a depth of field of about 3cm. I am not sure what you would get at f1.2 but I would expect around 0.5cm

The other pic is taken from further away - if it was also a 50mm lense - say from 2 meters at f5.6 you would expect a depth of field of about 12 cms - ie 4 times more than if you took the pic from 1 meter

Using that lense at f1.2 from 1 meter you could expect to get just an eyeball in focus

05/02/2008 12:27:41 AM · #11
Take all the gear back and shift to Nikon! :)

OK, more seriously...looks like a focus issue. I reckon their cheap 50mm 1.8 is a better lens anyway...just an opinion
05/02/2008 12:30:32 AM · #12
I hate nikon, sorry, I have tried it

alright I am not an idiot. I have tried all apertures from 1.2-16 from distances as close as I can get to as far as I can get. I do not see any significantly awesome sharpness ANYWHERE. I wish I had seen all the stuff about its backfocusing issues before I bought it because it does backfocus a lot....

I have also tried both manual and autofocus at ALL the focus point. No matter WHAT i do it is just...soft...
05/02/2008 12:32:15 AM · #13
Gordon mentioned what I was going to say. At f/1.2, you probably won't get away with focus-recompose. Your best bet is to use the closest AF point and avoid shifting the camera after you lock focus.

One more thing, just to make sure it's not the lens: Testing Lens AF Accuracy


05/02/2008 12:33:13 AM · #14
do a test with it on a trypod and if still bad call canon they will probably ask for some test shots and have it back to you within a week
05/02/2008 12:33:37 AM · #15
666461.jpg

Sharp? Yeah. BUT that's not necessarily why you go L. It's for the indescribably IQ..tones, contrast - just that something special an L has that a non-L lacks.
I can shoot my 17-55 2.8 at 50 2.8 and the 50 L at 2.8. The 50 has some quality to it that I can't put my finger on, but it's there. My next lens will be the 24-70 just for that L look.
05/02/2008 12:40:36 AM · #16
i really like my 24-70 but i'm starting to believe that canon has a problem with their focus in camera--especially on soft targets like birds
05/02/2008 12:46:19 AM · #17
I am not sure how I missed all these terrible reviews of the 50mm about the awful focusing issues and having to get multiple copies before getting something right...what does it TAKE to get a good lens?!
05/02/2008 12:55:26 AM · #18
I think you've been unlucky, I brought the 1.2 about 2 months ago and its amazing, tack sharp even at 1.2, definitely worth the money I reckon.

The backfocus thing has been covered loads, you need to use another focus point other than centre point sometimes.

Hope you get it sorted :)
05/02/2008 04:22:16 AM · #19
I'd send off to Canon - looks like you've been unlucky with that particular lens. If you'd rather not have another 1.2 the 1.4 is an extremely fine lens as well.
05/02/2008 05:39:00 AM · #20
could it be the AF issues that have been supposedly been plaguing the 40d? I was using my 85mm 1.8 yesterday and was a little perturbed at the amount of shots that missed focus.. it said it was in focus, but when you review the pics on the pc, they definitely aren't.

Does your other lens work fine? If I were you, i'd try the lens on someone elses canon camera and see what happens with that. I half suspect it will be a 40d issue as I am not yet totally convinced about the AF accuracy.
05/02/2008 06:11:28 AM · #21
We may have a new Nikon user in this thread <_<;
05/02/2008 06:51:24 AM · #22
Claire,

I had a look around various forums trying to see if this was a common problem with this lens. Guess what? It is!

On Fred Miranda ( FM Canon 50mm f/1.2 ) there's a whole bunch of ppl saying it back focuses in the extreme. Anyways, here is a little story you may find helpful:

HERE IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING:

1. the technician DID find that it backfocused.
2. he said that 4 CM was "within the spec" for the product.

i found this preposterous and asked him to have a crack at calibrating it.

he did.

in 20 minutes he was able to get the lens focusing properly on my 5D.

this 20 minutes was the culmination of 2 weeks of persistance.

in short:
- my copy of the lens did backfocus (i actually tried TWO copies: both with this problem)
- it was correctable.
- it was a terrible ordeal
- i have yet to determine if it was worth the time and aggravation.


It seems the opinion is to either get it calibrated to sort the focus, or exchange it for the 50mm 1.4 and keep the $1000 in change... if i were you, i'd opt for the latter.

I find it hard to fathom that Canon can't QC their top spec products better. This isn't a cheap plasticky lens being discussed... and with the 40d/ 1d mk 3 AF problems circulating too, i think they need to kick themselves up the ass to get this sorted.

Message edited by author 2008-05-02 06:56:22.
05/02/2008 07:09:33 AM · #23
I don´t know what to tell you, mine is spot on. Have only had it for a month though but I love mine, I did use to have the 50mm 1.4 and this one is better, I can´t put my finger on it but it´s the same between the 85mm 1.8 and the 1.2, there is that "x-factor", better bokeh, contrast and colors.
05/02/2008 07:47:38 AM · #24
first, I have the 24-70 and mine is tack on.

Second, as with anything that needs to be calibrated, your issue probably lays there. When shipping, much like anything else, it can be knocked out of calibration and your lens will appear soft. Also, at 1.2, you are working with a very minimal DOF, one slight shift left right back or forward and you will be out of focus.

Center focus, hold and reposition WILL NOT WORK.
05/02/2008 08:02:39 AM · #25
675367.jpg
I am pleased with my 60mm Macro.
Can you see the fly or bee top right of the horse's head

Message edited by author 2008-05-02 08:03:16.
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