50 mm f1.8 vs 50 mm f1.4
So, before I go into which 50 mm deserves your hard-earned cash let me just say that out off all lenses and equipment that photographers should have, a 50 mm lens I consider an absolute must.
This lens is the closest to the focused field of human vision. Because of this it is (in my opinion) the best lens to use to develop your eye as a photographer. Bear in mind that if you use a 50 mm with a cropped sensor it will be closer to 75 mm with the multiplication factor but nonetheless is still a superb focal length for several reasons. Before I break down which is better let’s look at the overall reasons to invest in this focal length.
The Wide aperture
This is the most obvious reason for going for these lenses. The low f-stop makes these lenses ideal for indoor use and for portraits. If you are after near perfect Bokeh look no further!
The Focal length
As I mentioned above this focal length is close to what the human eye sees. So, you can really develop your photographers eye with these lenses. There is little distortion on the edges of these lenses and while they wouldn’t be the optimal focal length for portraits (that is 85 mm IMO) it does not create too much of an egg effect on the face. These are even better for portraits on a cropped sensor.
Using fixed lenses for filming is much better than using zoom lenses as these can be very tricky to try and zoom while maintaining focus. The 50mm is easy to use and focus with, and with that wide aperture it can really help you to isolate your subject in a shot.
Now that I have established why you should have a 50mm between the f1.8 and the f1.4 which should you go for? I am excluding the f1.2 Canon as it is simply too expensive and puts it out of the running.
This lens is available in every single brand that is out there (more or less) and will range from €100 – 250. These are very lightweight lenses and have very few elements (Glass) inside. This means that they are not likely to malfunction easily, however the body is plastic. They are very sharp for this price range too!
This lens is a little heavier and more durable. Its clear advantage is that extra light that you get from that f.1 aperture. And before you ask yes it really does make a difference in exposure, depth of field and lowlight situations. Theses lenses are sharper then the f1.8 versions due to that wider aperture, this means you ‘sweet spot’ of sharpness from f5.6 to f 11/f16 is greater then on the f1.8. And a higher quality of glass and internal construction also contribute to this greater sharpness. But it is considerably more expensive at about €300 – €500.
If you have not got a 50mm and are tentative about buying on go with the f1.8 – you cannot go wrong (also makes a great gift for any photographer out there) but the clear winner here is the f1.4 versions, even with the higher price. Unlike a lot of other lenses with inflated price tags with not much notable differences, with the f1.4 you do see a difference and is worth the price increase if you can afford it.