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Canon 50/1.2 goes onto R-D1
Old 12-30-2004   #1
jlw
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Canon 50/1.2 goes onto R-D1

This evening I tried out the 50/1.2 Canon I received the other day from Don.

In terms of sharpness, it's okay although not quite as sharp aperture for aperture as my usual Canon 50/1.4.

What struck me as distinctive about the 50/1.2, though, was the way it treats out-of-focus areas -- at the first two apertures, it more or less obliterates them. (Stopped down it's more normal.)

This means there's even less margin for error than usual in focusing (areas that are out of focus are going to look 'way out of focus!) But for some kinds of subjects, I really like the abstract, sort of sketchy appearance that the OOF areas pick up.

The attached image isn't much of a shot editorially, but it illustrates what I mean. You won't see the effect much in the upper, reduced-size image -- but look at the girl's foot in the lower inset. This foot wasn't all that distant from the plane of best focus, which was around the boy's right shoulder -- but look how "smeared" it is!

I'm afraid this sort of thing eventually is going to turn me into some kind of lens wanker, collecting a whole palette of different 50s so I can choose the "artistic effect" I want for various photos. It's kind of fun for the moment, though!

Last edited by jlw : 12-30-2004 at 18:55.
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Comparison image with 50/1.4
Old 12-30-2004   #2
jlw
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Comparison image with 50/1.4

For comparison, here's an image from a similar distance with the Canon 50/1.4. (Both this and the above image were shot at f/1.4, so the difference in appearance isn't solely because of the f/1.2's slightly wider aperture.)

In this picture, the out-of-focus girls were about the same distance from the plane of best focus as the foot in the 50/1.2 photo above.

But (to my eyes, at least) the out-of-focus areas of the 50/1.4 image are more compact and have more definite outlines. It's a bit hard to see the effect because the shots themselves are so different, but that's the impression I get.

I can see how there might be times when I'd want one effect, and times when I'd want the other. Oh, that'd be great, carrying a whole camera bag of nothing but 50s...
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Old 12-30-2004   #3
Doug
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Y'know... decades ago I don't recall paying any attention to lens "character"... It was sharpness, and only sharpness. One lives and one learns, hopefully, and develops some sensitivity to how the image is being resolved. I feel your pain, jlw!
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Old 12-31-2004   #4
Brian Sweeney
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Yeah! That's it I have a Palette of 50mm Lenses so I can carefully choose the artistic effect that I want!

Actually, somewhat true in my case. Even supposed "copies" are different in these areas, the lens designer always makes a design trade-off. The biggest difference between the Sonnar 5cm F1.5 and Nikkor 5cm F1.4 is the way the two lenses treat the OOF regions; the Sonnar is much "creamier". The Nikon designer went all out for sharpness at F1.4 and close-up, but over-corrected for spherical abberration. Made me modify one S2 to focus better with the Sonnar. However, some of my best close-ups are with the Nikkor.
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Old 02-21-2005   #5
Sean Reid
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jlw,

I would love to see some R-D1 samples of the Canon 50/1.2 and 50/1.4 wide open and at F/2. Any chance you send me some unretouched JPEGs? [email protected] Do they both focus accurately on the Epson?

Thanks,

Sean
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