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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:48 pm 
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I have the Canon 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8. Of those, I use the 35mm most, 85mm next, and hardly ever the 50mm due to the handling of the lens. Specifically for close up still life work, I do wish I had a nice 50 to go in there, so I've been thinking about upgrading.

Requirements:
Must be sharp for most of frame (crop sensor) at f/2.8.
Bigger aperture than f/2.8 is nice to have but not essential.
Smooth bokeh quality is of very high importance, more so than roundness. e.g. I'd take a smooth polygon over a harsh circle.
Native higher magnification is a big plus, more than 1:4 is good, 1:2 excellent.
Otherwise should be able to take extension tubes well.
Doesn't need to be AF - therefore any manual lens is a consideration.
Doesn't need infinity focus, as long as it can focus out to a few meters is ok.
Can be prime or zoom. Should at least cover part of range 45mm to 60mm, ideally 50mm.

I've made some rough notes on some lenses below, some that I've owned to give indication of what my expectations are, and some that I've considered. It is by no means comprehensive. I could use suggestions for other manual lenses, Nikon (with aperture ring, no G stuff) and other brands too.

So far I think the Zeiss 50mm f/2 macro is the best quality lens to meet my needs, but I'm not sure it is worth its price. I'd very likely make do with something cheaper if not as good.

Lenses I've used:
Canon 35mm f/2.0 - bokeh could be better, hints of purple fringing on highlights
Canon 50mm f/1.8 - low magnification, focus ring, purple fringing risk
Canon 85mm f/1.8 - low magnification, strong purple fringing
Sony 50mm f/1.4 - low magnification, bokeh could be better
Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 - far too soft at f/2.8

More interesting possibilities:
Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 macro - expensive, MF only
Canon 60mm f/2.8 macro - bokeh could be better
Canon 50mm f/1.2 - expensive, purple fringing risk, low magnification
Canon 50mm f/1.4 - IQ??? low magnification
Canon TS-E 45mm - IQ??? low magnification

Less interesting possibilities:
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 - focus shift alone is deal breaker
Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 - probably not sharp enough, slight focus shift
Canon 50mm f/2.5 macro - probably not sharp enough at f/2.8
Canon 17-55 f/2.8 - low magnification, bokeh could be better
Canon 24-70 f/2.8L - not sure if it's sharp enough at f/2.8

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:32 am 
I say Sigma 50mm F/1.4 or the Canon 17-55mm F/2.8. The versatility of the Canon could be very useful,depends on your needs.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:12 am 
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about the Canon 50/1.4 USM
interesting side by side with Zeiss and Sigma

http://www.lenstip.com/216.4-Lens_review-Canon_EF_50_mm_f_1.4_USM_Image_resolution.html

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Radu
Canon PowerShot S100
Canon 50D , SIGMA 10-20 f3.5 ,Canon EF 24-105 L IS USM, Canon EF 100/2.8 macro Canon EF 50/1.4 ,Canon EF 85 f1.8,Canon EF-S17-85 4-5.6 Old Tamron 28-300 inherited from my Canon Rebel G film camera
Canon580EXII
http://www.errre.net


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:36 am 
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Razvan, as mentioned before the Sigma has a deal breaking flaw - focus shift with aperture. In the intended use that is going to be something I need to consider as I tend to work close to or inside MFD. The 17-55 f/2.8 is unremarkable in performance and expensive for this application. No Nikon suggestions?

Radu, thanks for the link. I haven't gone through reviews at many sites yet, and that one does make me reconsider dropping the Canon f/1.4.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:14 am 
You're correct,the 17-55 is very expensive.
Well,the Nikon 50mm F/1.4 is a great performer. Other than that,I can't think of another very good lens in the 50-ish range. (with autofocus,of course)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:23 am 
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That's the AF, not the AF-S G right? AF doesn't matter at all since I will be mounting it on a Canon, hence why it rules out Nikon G lenses. I haven't looked around Nikon lenses yet.

MF lenses are ok for this application, and may be a plus as they handle better. The usage will be macro-like where AF isn't really accurate enough.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:22 pm 
why not the canon 50mm F/1.4 anyway? it's a great little lens.
low magnification or not,it's very sharp & distorsion free


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:49 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Minolta MD 50mm 1,7?
With the glassless MD-EOS adapter youll be using the full sharpness of it, which is EXCELENT.
Im totaly in love with this lens.
Remember: The adapter costs 10$, the lens around 25$.
You got a nice MF ring, and a very nice aperture ring.
Small and light, not to forget.
cheers

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:57 pm 
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Still haven't looked up further lenses due to recent travels. Why not the Canon 50mm f/1.4? It's cheap but rather unremarkable. I'd still need extension tubes to get enough focus distance.

The MD lens is a maybe, shall have to look it up.

I did remember there's also the Tamron 60mm f/2 macro, but from memory the reviews generally slated the focus ring design.

I do really like what I've seen of the Zeiss 50mm f/2 macro, except for the 4 figure price tag! How close can you get for how much less?

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:27 pm 
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Sigma 50mm F/2.8 macro? Quite cheap, and pretty sharp.

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I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:25 am 
Nikon 1.8 is as good as the 1.4 just a bit slower but .4 is not alot and its really excellent value for money


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:34 am 
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I never formally closed this thread, but regulars would have seen my posts elsewhere that I've bought two lenses to fill this gap now.

1: Canon FD 50mm f/1.2
2: Zeiss 50mm f/2 makro

The 2nd one is working great. The first one is still in pieces on my desk while I get bits made to finish converting it to EF mount.

And if the Nikon standard primes are anything like the Canon ones, they're great for regular use, but fall over at higher magnifications when pushed beyond their design.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:20 pm 
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Posts: 466
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Pointless mentioning now, but this lens:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/50mm-f12.htm

Not to expensive and can be converted without the need of adapters with an optical element.

Looking forward to see previews of that Canon FD. =)

_________________
Canon 5D MkII -|- Sigma 24mm f/1.8 | Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 | Canon 50mm f/1.4 | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Lensbaby Composer
Canon A-1 -|- Canon 28mm f/2 | Canon 35mm f/2.8 | Canon 50mm f/3.5 Macro


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:18 pm 
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It's not that cheap new. Well, perhaps cheap for a f/1.2, but not cheep. And the focus ring is on backwards :P

The one thing putting me off "standard" 50s is that most of them would require extension to reach the semi-macro levels I'm after. Having attempted it a bit more on the Canon f/1.8, it was less fun than even my low expectations hence the native macro, even half macro of the Zeiss, just makes for easier working for me. The FD f1.2 will only be a plaything if I ever finish the conversion. It's not the L version so I'm not raising my hopes on its wide open performance. Mechanically it is quite messy to do the mount conversion, and I definitely don't want to do this again! Now, how strong is double sided tape?... :D

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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