Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 33

Thread: 50mm Prime Lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gujarat, India
    Posts
    163
    Real Name
    Bedanta

    50mm Prime Lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Hi, I got my new Canon 550D with 18-55mm kit lens last month. Not very satisfied with the sharpness of close-ups (mostly flowers) and low light ability (indoor portraits) of the lens. In fact, my p&s (SX120IS) was better in terms of sharpness!!! I'm thinking of buying a 50mm f/1.8 after going through all the reviews about this "nifty fifty". Should I also consider 50mm f/2.5 (macro) lens because of its macro ability or should I go for the nifty fifty because of its bigger aperture? Basically, I need a general purpose lens with some macro ability. Also, the macro lens is almost 3 times costlier than the nifty fifty, is it worth investing?

    Option 1: Go for the nifty fifty right now, and buy a 1:1 macro lens with longer focal length in future
    Option 2: Go for the 50mm f/2.5 (macro) lens

    Really confused, seeking your valuable inputs............

    Thanks

  2. #2
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,658
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    First, are you a novice? If so, don't assume that the sharpness you are getting is just a function of the lens. All digital images require sharpening. Many P&S cameras sharpen a great deal, while some DSLRs sharpen less. You might be experiencing the lower level of sharpening in the camera. The solution is to take control of this, by learning to do at least rudimentary postprocessing yourself.

    Re macro: the f/2.5 is a very sharp lens, although not very fast-focusing. however, it is 1:2 lens, not a true 1:1 macro, and with the "life size adapter", it costs about as much as a 1:1. It's a fine and inexpensive way to start on macro if 1:2 is sufficient for your purposes.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,646
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Hello, and welcome to CiC. Thanks for joining. I hope this will be the first post of many in the course of a long-term involvement with the forum.

    First up - So that you don't continue to get people asking you what your proper name is, because most us use that on here, you can go to Edit Profile and enter your proper name under 'Real Name'. Then it will appear underneath your Username in all your posts. You can also enter your location so that it does the same, just as in my details alongside this message. Then we all know where everyone is in the world.

    And as for your question - I see on the Wex Photographic site that the reviews for the f2.5 macro are very good. But I don't know this lens at all and I think lots of people on here may suggest that there are much better macros out there that would come onto the wish list before this one. You note the point yourself about going for a longer lens than 50mm for a macro. I think the macro shooters on here would endorse that view.

    Only you know what your budget now and possibly in the future is going to be.

    The other thing to consider - Are you now shooting RAW or are you shooting JPG? If you're shooting RAW and not sharpening in post-processing, then your images are going to be softer than the JPGs you got out of your P & S. So, please don't write-off your kit lens unless you know you're sharpening properly.

    The nifty-fifty is fine (I've got one), but remember it is Canon's cheapest lens. So the quality is not going to be a lot different than your 18-55 (indeed it may be poorer). Of course it's a lot faster.

    The bottom line is that, as you write, you've had your DSLR and the kit lens for a month. I'd suggest that this is far too short a period for you to draw any conclusions about the lens. You need to work with it a lot more and put it through its paces so that you can fully assess what it can and cannot do.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gujarat, India
    Posts
    163
    Real Name
    Bedanta

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Thanks DanK,

    As far as DSLR and post-processing is concerned, I'm a novice. Till last month I was using my P&S (SX120IS which I bought 2 yrs. ago) only without any serious post-processing. During these 2 yrs. I have fully experimented with the P&S (with full manual control) and once I started realizing its limitation (like poor low light ability etc.), I decided to upgrade and bought the 550D with kit lens. At the same time, I also installed CS5and right now trying some basic post-processing.

    I want all my photos to be tack sharp, which, I'm afraid, not the case with my present set-up. Very disappointing indeed to have invested hundreds of dollars in a DSLR to end up with not-so-sharp pictures. I'm ready to invest some more to get the desired result; hence the question: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    15,982
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Hi Bedanta,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me.

    I have to support Donald's suggestion not to rush into buying another lens.

    If you're not experienced at PP and are not effectively sharpening, no lens is going to make you happy.

    It might help us to see an example photo, with EXIF data, just in case there is also some contribution to softness at the shooting stage. One example I can think of is that you will be experiencing about 4 stops less Depth of Field for any given aperture value compared to the SX120is - is that part of the problem I wonder?

    Cheers,

  6. #6
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,658
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Hi Bedanta,

    As both Donald and I suggested, the problem is probably not with your equipment. The problem is probably that your photos are not as highly sharpened as you are used to. The kit lens has a pretty good reputation, and your camera body is very good. When I got my first DSLR, I had the same reaction: jpegs out of the camera were not as sharp as photos from my P&S. The DSLR was a much better, but the images needed sharpening.

    To get the best out of the DSLR, you should shoot raw. However, I would save that until you have a little more experience. Instead,check out CS5. It is a very powerful editing program, although not easy to start with. I don't have CS5 on this computer, but I believe the sharpening options are on the filter menu. Try smart sharpen as a starting point.

    Dan

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    52
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Greetings and welcome to the CiC. I would echo the several comments made here that it probably isn't our lens or camera or combination thereof. Point and Shoot cameras that save jpeg files are doing quite a bit of sharpening internally, whereas in a DSLR, with much more control, there may be much less, depending on the camera settings. The manual can help you out there, although Canon manuals are not always easy reading.

    I would also echo the point made here that plunging into shooting in RAW will open a new world of photography for you. Digital Software Professional software was included with your camera and it makes the initial plunge into RAW processing pretty easy--Photoshop CSx doesn't have that reputation. If you decide to stay with jpeg for the time being, you can adjust the sharpening settings and that should help.

    Hope this helps,
    Richard

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    52
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Oops, I should have said Digital Photo Professional, or DPP --the included software.

  9. #9
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,773
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    double post pls see below

  10. #10
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,773
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Quote Originally Posted by bedantabd View Post
    I want all my photos to be tack sharp, which, I'm afraid, not the case with my present set-up. Very disappointing indeed to have invested hundreds of dollars in a DSLR to end up with not-so-sharp pictures. I'm ready to invest some more to get the desired result; hence the question: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?
    Not much I can add, other than encourage you to post sample or two with EXIF attached.

    There are several variables which are the possible cause of soft images.

    All versions of the EF-S 18 to 55F/3.5~5.6 are quite sharp lenses I expect that you would have the latest version: the least sharp is the first release, non USM version, used to make this:

    50mm Prime Lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?
    Technical: FL =18mm, F/3.5, 1/50s HH, ISO800 Manual Exposure(EOS 20D)

    Enlargement:
    50mm Prime Lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Do not mistake lack of noise treatment, for lack of sharpness
    Note, for this sample shot, the lens was used at full maximum aperture and at full wide zoom –where we would expect the lens to perform the worst.

    Open the samples and expand them to "actual size"

    ***

    The EF50/2.5 is one of the sharpest and flattest lenses in the Canon EF lens line up.

    The EF50/1.8MkII is quite sharp from about F/2.2 and smaller – which will give you just over two stops of lens speed on the kit zoom lens at 50mm.

    At about F/7 there will be little, if any difference, between the 50/1.8MkII and the kit zoom apropos sharpness and I feel you will be pixel peeping to find a difference even at F/5.6: however the kit zoom lens at F/5.6 will exhibit more Chromatic aberration than the Prime.


    WW

  11. #11
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,773
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Quote Originally Posted by bedantabd View Post
    Basically, I need a general purpose lens with some macro ability. Also, the macro lens is almost 3 times costlier than the nifty fifty, is it worth investing?
    Regarding "some macro ability" - you might also consider extension tubes: for use either with the EF50F/1.8MkII or the kit zoom lens which you have at the moment.

    I would suggest the the SECOND release of the KENKO DG SERIES set of THREE tubes.

    This particular set of three, will mate with BOTH your EF-S Kit Zoom Lens and also the EF50F/1.8MkII.


    WW

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    Posts
    12
    Real Name
    Kirk Thibault

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    If you desire a fast lens with macro capability, consider the Zeiss 50mm MakroPlanar f/2. The trade-off will be that you will have to focus manually - once you use Live View and manual focus, you will probably start to realize why a lot of your images are soft. Have you tried manual focus with live view using your current body+lens? Try this first before dismissing your current set up. Correcting operator error is a lot less expensive than buying an expensive lens. Having gracefully entered my early 40's over the last couple of years, I have found my close vision is blurring, so I use Live View on the 5DII with the 50mm and I manually focus with the camera's 5x and 10x display zoom and a Hoodman Loupe to magnify the LCD and block light off of the LCD.

    Give it a shot and see if your images improve. The 50mm macro is a super versatile lens once you get the hang of it, but you might find that all you need is better focus with your current set up.

    good luck,

    kirk
    Last edited by kirkt; 2nd April 2012 at 02:13 PM.

  13. #13
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    12,172
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    The 50mm f/2.5 macro is quite sharp but, is older technology. It is relatively slow in autofocus because it is not equipped with the Canon USM (ultra sonic motor) focusing system. As mentioned above, it cannot do 1:1 macro work without an adapter which is almost the price of the lens itself. The largest image ratio that a bare f/2.5 lens can manage is 1:2. This is realy enough for a lot of close-up photography since it can cover an area of 44.2 x 29.6mm (About 1.75 x 1.16 inches).

    The Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro seems to run about $300 (all prices USA and in US Dollars) new and not much less used. I personally would not pay that price for a lens with its capabilities. If I were seeking a macro lens at a good price, I would look into a new or used 90mm f/2.8 Tamron, either a new AF SP Di model or a used AF SP (without the Di designator).

    A new Di model can be had for about $400 while a used (non-Di) model can be had for anywhere between $100 and $200. I have the non-Di model for which I paid around $100 used on eBay several years ago. It is an extremely sharp lens with 1:1 capability. It is also a nice portrait lens.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 2nd April 2012 at 02:46 PM.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gujarat, India
    Posts
    163
    Real Name
    Bedanta

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Thanks all for your comments. Here is one of the snaps (Original1)taken today with EXIF data:
    Shooting Mode Manual Exposure
    Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/50
    Av( Aperture Value ) 4.5
    Metering Mode Evaluative Metering
    ISO Speed 100
    Auto ISO Speed OFF
    Lens EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II
    Focal Length 37.0mm
    Image Size 5184x3456
    Image Quality Fine
    Flash Off
    FE lock OFF
    White Balance Mode Daylight
    AF Mode One-Shot AF
    AF area select mode Manual selection
    Picture Style Standard
    Sharpness 3
    Contrast 0
    Saturation 0
    Color tone 0
    Color Space sRGB
    Long exposure noise reduction 2:On
    High ISO speed noise reduction 2:Strong
    Highlight tone priority 0isable
    Auto Lighting Optimizer Standard
    Peripheral illumination correction Enable
    Dust Delete Data No
    File Size 5286KB
    Drive Mode Single shooting

    Also I tried to sharpen the image using CS5 Unsharp Mask, looks much sharper (Sharpened1).

    Hope this will help you to help me better.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,773
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Thanks for posting the two images.
    Difficult to tell if there is anything substandard with the lens from the low res / small images:
    But I have several questions specific to the image:

    1. Could you please supply an high quality crop of the section of the steering wheel and its shaft where to where the shaft connects to the body of the car AND to include the hinge area and a small part of the yellow seat?
    2. Was IS turned “ON”?
    3. Was the image taken hand held or did you use a tripod and remote release?
    4. Was there a filter on the lens?
    5. What AF point was used to achieve focus?
    6. On what point on the toy, was focus attempted to be achieved?

    And also some statements to make:

    Assuming that image is the full frame crop of the file –

    The image has about 10cm (4½ inches) Depth of Field.
    This will comprise approximately 4cm in front of the Plane of Sharp Focus and about 6cm behind it.

    A sharp eye, looking at a reasonable quality monitor and at 50% or greater crop, should begin to “see some softenss” at about 2cm or 3cm, either side of the Plane of Sharp Focus.

    Considering these facts and without the answers to the questions I posed, I strongly suspect that the cause of the “lack of sharpness” you see exhibited in this image, is, in the main, likely due to Shallow Depth of Field.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 2nd April 2012 at 08:22 PM.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gujarat, India
    Posts
    163
    Real Name
    Bedanta

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Bill, sorry for the delay; here are the details you were looking for:

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Thanks for posting the two images.
    Difficult to tell if there is anything substandard with the lens from the low res / small images:
    But I have several questions specific to the image:

    1. Could you please supply an high quality crop of the section of the steering wheel and its shaft where to where the shaft connects to the body of the car AND to include the hinge area and a small part of the yellow seat?
    Here is a 100% crop section of the original image
    50mm Prime Lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Here is a 100% crop section of the sharpened image
    50mm Prime Lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?


    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    2. Was IS turned “ON”?
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    3. Was the image taken hand held or did you use a tripod and remote release?
    Hand held, no tripod / remote release

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    4. Was there a filter on the lens?
    No filter

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    5. What AF point was used to achieve focus?
    Centre focus point

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    6. On what point on the toy, was focus attempted to be achieved?
    50mm Prime Lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 7th April 2012 at 10:39 PM.

  17. #17
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,773
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Thank you for providing the detail I requested.

    Quote Originally Posted by bedantabd View Post
    How on earth can you tell the DOF just by looking at the image? Did the EXIF data help?
    I have photographed many children and am reasonably experienced with children’s toys.
    My guess is that ride-on toy is about 24 inches long – give or take a few inches. And it is photographed at an angle of about 15° - so it occupies a tad less than 24 inches across the frame. There is about 6” in front of it and 3 inches behind, to the edges of the frame.

    So roughly – across the frame the distance - FoV (Field of View) is 24 inches .That was the first element I required.

    You stated in Post #1 that you have a 550D – that is APS-C format. That was the second element I required.

    In Post #14 that you used F/4.5 for the shot. That was the third and last element I required.

    I know that for a TIGHT SHOT, Horizontal Format - which is 2ft (24”) across the frame - and using APS-C camera and at F/4 - there will about 3” DoF.

    As you used F/4.5 the DoF would be a bit more: but not much.

    That’s how I know the DoF.

    ***

    The lens you used was set at 37mm – which is a little more telephoto than a “Normal Lens” for your format – so that allowed me to estimate the Spread of the DoF – which would be about 2:3 ratio.

    That’s how I know the spread of the DoF.

    ***

    Read this if you want more information: EV, distance to object

    Especially Post #7 and Post #15

    ***
    Looking closely at the crop images, and taking into account the recent information provided – my opinion confirms my previous postulation:

    1.The lens exhibits good to very good image quality at the AF point and for the expected DoF behind and in front of it.

    2. There is a small amount of Chromatic Aberration, which is systemic in all lenses in that lens model.

    3. The lens focussed sharply at the prescribed AF point – and under a reasonably difficult contrast scenario.


    SUMMARY:

    I see nothing wrong with that lens from this sample.

    If the poor quality you “see” is at the front and back of the toy, then those areas very much Out of Focus – because of the shallow DoF.

    You will be disappointed if you spend money on another lens, take the same framed shot at the same aperture and expect that the front and back of the toy will be sharp - it will not and it will not, and can not, because of mathematics: not optics.

    WW

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gujarat, India
    Posts
    163
    Real Name
    Bedanta

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Thank you for providing the detail I requested.



    I have photographed many children and am reasonably experienced with children’s toys.
    My guess is that ride-on toy is about 24 inches long – give or take a few inches. And it is photographed at an angle of about 15° - so it occupies a tad less than 24 inches across the frame. There is about 6” in front of it and 3 inches behind, to the edges of the frame.

    So roughly – across the frame the distance - FoV (Field of View) is 24 inches .That was the first element I required.

    You stated in Post #1 that you have a 550D – that is APS-C format. That was the second element I required.

    In Post #14 that you used F/4.5 for the shot. That was the third and last element I required.

    I know that for a TIGHT SHOT, Horizontal Format - which is 2ft (24”) across the frame - and using APS-C camera and at F/4 - there will about 3” DoF.

    As you used F/4.5 the DoF would be a bit more: but not much.

    That’s how I know the DoF.

    ***

    The lens you used was set at 37mm – which is a little more telephoto than a “Normal Lens” for your format – so that allowed me to estimate the Spread of the DoF – which would be about 2:3 ratio.

    That’s how I know the spread of the DoF.

    ***

    Read this if you want more information: EV, distance to object

    Especially Post #7 and Post #15

    ***
    Looking closely at the crop images, and taking into account the recent information provided – my opinion confirms my previous postulation:

    1.The lens exhibits good to very good image quality at the AF point and for the expected DoF behind and in front of it.

    2. There is a small amount of Chromatic Aberration, which is systemic in all lenses in that lens model.

    3. The lens focussed sharply at the prescribed AF point – and under a reasonably difficult contrast scenario.


    SUMMARY:

    I see nothing wrong with that lens from this sample.

    If the poor quality you “see” is at the front and back of the toy, then those areas very much Out of Focus – because of the shallow DoF.

    You will be disappointed if you spend money on another lens, take the same framed shot at the same aperture and expect that the front and back of the toy will be sharp - it will not and it will not, and can not, because of mathematics: not optics.

    WW
    Thanks Bill, for the detailed explanation. The DOF estimation part.........quite heavy stuff............went well above my head. May be I shall be able to understand these things someday.

    So, if there is no apparent problem with my kit lens, may be I'm facing this problem because of the transition from a 1/2.5-inch sensor P&S camera to a APS-C DSLR, I wonder!!! What aperture setting should I set for this particular case to get everything of the toy in focus while throwing everything else out of focus?

    If I'm taking a close up shot of, say, a flower and my entire viewfinder is filled with the flower only and I want everything of the flower to be in sharp focus, what should be my aperture setting (much smaller than the pevious example, I suppose?)

  19. #19
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    15,982
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    Hi Bedanta,

    I had to edit your post to get the quote tags working properly from Bill's post.

    One suggestion I have, noting where the red (pressumably selected) focus point is.

    Quote Originally Posted by bedantabd View Post
    50mm Prime Lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?
    It is on an area of the toy with minimal contrast difference for the AF to lock on to.

    I am not sure if many people realise that just placing an AF point on a flat surface doesn't guarantee successful focusing - yes we humans know it is there at a certain distance, but the camera's AF circuitry doesn't understand the image, it usually just looks for edges to focus on and here it has no real edges.

    You may have done this anyway, so forgive me if I suggest something unnecessary.

    Clearly a good "target" for AF would be the checkerboard pattern printed on the door, or perhaps the junction between steering column and car body to get the quite thin DoF slightly more central to the model. The suggestion is to aim the central focus point at one of those areas, half press (to lock focus), then recompose and shoot, all with out lifting off the shutter button.

    Cheers,

  20. #20
    William W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sraylya
    Posts
    3,773
    Real Name
    William (call me Bill)

    Re: 50mm prime lens: f/1.8 or f/2.5 (macro)?

    If the toy is about 8” ~ 10” wide, then at that framing you would need about F/16 to F/22 to get close to the toy in reasonable focus, from front to back – and then maybe it will not be as acceptable as you require.

    You could step back, using the same 37mm lens, i.e. framing the toy with more air around it and then crop the image in post – if you stepped back to about 7’ ~ 8’ and still used the lens at 37mm, the toy would appear smaller in the frame, but at F/4.5 all the toy would be in very good focus. As the DoF would be about 2ft.

    You can also use a T/S lens:
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ft-lenses2.htm

    For a close up of a flower, using F/16 will assist, but for close up work the DoF is very small.
    You might investigate FOCUS STACKING.
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...s-stacking.htm

    WW
    PS – what Dave wrote about in detail, was the same point touched upon here in Post #17:

    "3. The lens focussed sharply at the prescribed AF point – and under a reasonably difficult contrast scenario."
    Last edited by William W; 7th April 2012 at 11:53 PM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •