µ43 for Photographic Beginners or the Lack of "Nifty-Fifty"-ness Part 2:

October 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The Canon EF 50mm f 1.8 STM: The "Nifty Fifty" - aca "the Plastic Phantastic"

As promised in Part 1 of this series: I bought the Nifty-Fifty in the actual version which is named "Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM" - officially. An I had to use it (mainly) on my APSC-Camera - an EOS 7D MkII. I know, this is kind of unfair because the 7D2 is a very special camera in terms of speed and autofocus. But I do have it and therefore it´s the one to use.

The Nifty-Fifty shooting experience....

Technically spoken this lens is a 80mm f1.8 lens on an APS-C body -beside all discussions of the f-numbers and multiplication with the crop factor because of less shallow depth of field etc. This means it is not a wide angle lens and it has a special look and feel. With 80mm it is a light telephoto lens, great in portraiture and some kind of landscape. But in street photography it will have some kind of limitations.

First of all: this is an amazing piece of glass. I own the 3x more expensive 1.4 50mm from Canon: I know I can scrap it: this lens is rubbish just in comparison of the image quality - but more about this later.

I took the lens on my camera and went shooting. just to get the feeling what I can do and what´s fun with it - and maybe what´s not... The first photos I shoot more to less in our backyard and on the way into our city. Here some excamples: 

 

For me the photos shot wide open came out too soft - I decided to prefer to use the lens mostly stopped down to f2.8 or f4 for these kind of environment.

When I entered the city i did some more street photography style of images. Here the autofocus system of the 7D2 helps a lot delivering tack sharp images....​

ISO 200, f2.8 1/1250s 

ISO 200, f4 1/200s 

ISO 200, f4 1/200s 

ISO 200, f4 1/500s 

ISO 200, f4 1/320s 

ISO 200, f4 1/600s 

 

ISO 200, f4 1/1000s 

ISO 200, f4 1/800s 

 

The lens delivers what you can expect: Nice Bokeh, and a really kind of focused view angle:

 

Bokeh!!!!

 

In total I am quite happy with the photos I can take with the lens. But the feeling of shooting close by get lost: due to my taste this lens is easier to handle on a full frame than on an APS-C body. In the other side: for beginners it is maybe better to get a closer shot without getting that close....

Some Remarks on Image Quality

As said earlier: the image quality has blown me away. Especially in comparison to the EF 50mm f1.4. But it has some limitations, too. My main concerns are: Beeing soft wide open paired with chromatic abberrations....

Here are 2 excamples for CA which I do not find very nice. It show the limitations of the lens to shoot really wide open...

This can be corrected in Camera Raw but it will soften the image additionally.

 

Another topic is the lens softness wide open, mainly at short distances

f1.8 vs f4 @ ISO 800

f1.8 vs f4 @ ISO 400

This image shows the comparison wide open f1.8 vs. 2.8: interestingly @ infinity the difference is less.

 

Comparison between the EF 50mm f1.4 USM and the EF 50mm f1.8 STM

I do have an old Zeiss 1.4 50mm since ever: I love this lens - it gave me really nice shots... even in the Canon environment. But than I decided to have an autofocus lens - and the EF 50mm f1.2 L USM was a bit expensive.... Therefore I decided for the f1.4. At this time maybe the right decision. But today: clearly the wrong decision. The following shots were all shot on a tripod with cable remote. Best conditions for really sharp images....

In the following images the f1.4 is left, the f1.8 is on the right...

This photo are shot @ f2 ans 100 ISO. It is the upper left side - and the result is terrible - but only for the f1.4 version. the f1.8 looks pretty acceptable.

The difference is reduces @ f4 - but still not acceptable.

The next test was @ f11. I thought that the f 1.4 ill be comparable - but this is definitely not the case.... The f1.4 is softer - even stopped down.

Showing stars... These crops represent the center of the images.  Both shots @ f8. The f 1.4 has less stars in comparison to the f1.8 - even if the number of blades are less....

These crops represent the left side of the images but not the extreme.  Both shots @ f8 - and the f 1.4 is again pretty disappointing for me.

Verdict

The Nifty Fifty is really an asset in the Canon ecosystem. It delivers very nice results.  Due to my taste: it´s even better on FF than on APS-C - but due to the focal length. Maybe I will add some photos in the near future. 

And I clearly see: there is a lot of space for improvement: And I will fill this. I do want a lens which is sharp wide open without chromatic aberrations...

What´s next

After this experience the next step will be a side by side comparison between the nifty fifty and the nifty thirty@ µ 43.... But this will include some remarks - and maybe some video sequences about the usage of both ecosystems - which makes a huge difference on the fun factor side...

And I will look for really good 50mm lens, maybe one of the new Zeiss Milvus lenses...

Some Remarks

All photos were shot with the EOS 7DMkII - with the exception of the photo of the 7dMkII itself: this was shot with the Lumix GM5 and the Leica Elmarit 45mm f2.8.

If you want to have a closer look to the images: 

http://goo.gl/tGF3By

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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