Which 50mm Lens Should You Buy? Kai From DigitalRev Compares Models

The always entertaining Kai from DigitalRev TV takes to the streets, armed with 3 different models of Canon 50mm lenses: The 1.8, 1.4, and 1.2L. Using phrases like "sphincter twitching" and "buying meth", he colorfully illustrates his points about choosing the right lens based on your budget and compares the look and feel of each model.

I've used the two models on the cheaper side of things, and agree with Kai's feelings about the plasticy feel of the 1.8. Automatic focusing is slow, and manual focusing is awkward with the placement and feel of the focus ring. The 1.4 has a heavier feel and stronger build to it, so I always will go for that (unless a friend wants to borrow a 50, in that case I share with them the 1.8!)

If you're still doing some research and trying to decide which 50mm to buy, try out this tool from the Digital Picture to compare lens models.

Which 50mm do you prefer? Have you ever really needed 1.2 over 1.4? Share your comments below.

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I've owned my canon 50mm. 1.4 for 15 years. Hasn't let me down yet.

I had the 50mm 1.4 for awhile until it broke down, the autofocus ring got jammed inside the lens. I got it fixed but the same thing happened to me again with the same lens. Sold it to my sister and bought the 1.2L - never been happier.

I also borrowed the SIGMA 50 1.4 for one wedding. The bokeh was way better, really sharp at 1.4, better built quality than the canon made. The sigma 50mm 1.4 would be my choise over the canon 1.4.

I kept waiting for this video to be helpful and informative. I was hoping sitting through all the smugness would eventually pay off. Maybe there could have been a discussion of different glass for different types of photography other than walking around a shopping center taking snaps of people walking around. Hmmm.

That usually his style. He barely gets to the point about 10 minutes in. I always just fast forward.

The 35mm f1.4 has proven itself to be more versatile and does make a case.

Agreed. The 50mm focal length is the most overrated focal range for some reason.

Someone who doesn't see the difference between the both 1.2 and 1.4 lenses should stay with his 1.8 lens...The 1.2 glass is just pure magic!

The title is a bit off... Shouldn't it read Which Canon 50mm Lens Should You Buy? I love watching Kai from Digital Rev. He's entertaining and informative. It would have be a bit more fair if the Nikon, Sigma or Zeiss.

I went to Unique Photo in Wayne New Jersey to pick up the Canon 50mm 1.2L. While there I asked to test out the Zeiss. After comparing the two lenses back to back under the same photo conditions, I found the Zeiss 50mm 1.4 gave me the same quality. I found the Bokeh on the Ziess to be more flattering towards my tastes. And the sharpness at extremely low light to be excellent on the Zeiss.

The Zeiss 50mm 1.4 is $625. Slightly more than the Canon 50mm F1.4 but far less than the Canon 50mm 1.2L As far as Sigma is concerned. I've not had much luck with their sharpness. I do know that Sigma will tell you, its best to micro focus your Sigma lens to your camera, for best performance. I don't see the point towards getting a Sigma 50 F1.4 if you have to go through that. Especially when the Sigma is $100 USD more than the Canon F1.4.

To a view sample of photos I've taken visit http://bit.ly/1dnRP7b or for a photo of the actual Zeiss lens I purchased go to http://bit.ly/1amf2XT

Good luck in your choice.

The great fall of the Zeiss 50mm is the luck of auto focus function. I love the Zeiss lenses but for a pro photographer, who works in events, weddings, etc, a fast auto focus is a BIG thing.
Abous Sigma 50mm 1.4, it´s rocks! For the money, It gives you more than the Canon 1.4, great sharpness, auto focus it´s great, and built quality far superior. No micro focus needed. I shoot with my 60D great!

I'm all for the Zeiss. Is by far the most used lens I have in the kit. Allways, all my clients, when shuffling across the pictures in the camera, 90% of the times they go 'I Like this one!' is a picture done with the 50mm Zeiss.

As far as my experience goes, I take it as a good sign.

I tend to avoid this guy's videos like a plague. His general persona, tone of voice and his tired/bored outlook on photography sucks all the enthusiasm for taking pictures out of me!

Kai-I like your delivery, your style, and the pace of your videos. I like the way that the technical information is there-this is more a conversation than a boring talking head. With Hong Kong as a backdrop-you have my attention everytime!

I agree with your point that it's a budget thing when it comes to a lens. Buy the best you can afford, AND more importantly, that you can use. What good is a *uck off big lens with a razor thin slice of DOF if you keep missing the object of your "Bresson" moment?

You must be doing something right judging from all the "sour grapes" comments! I have yet to see a video by any one of these nay sayers that comes close to what you do.

Keep up the good work! Can't wait to see your next video.

I absolutely hate his persona also(digitalrev host). I usually feel bad saying such things, but he comes off so cocky and emotionless. Their content and information is great, but the way they present it turns me off.

My name is Alexander Perel and I am wedding video photographer in Israel.

I have Canon 50mm f/1.4 and 50mm F1.2 L, the difference between the two in night and day! For me, Canon 50mm f1.4 is usable from 2.8! and 50mm f1.2 L usable for me from f1.2. I am getting beautiful flares with 50mm L. Here wedding clip that I shot on Canon c100, Canon 17-55mm IS at the preparations, and all oputdoor footage was taken with Canon 50mm f1.2 L : http://alexanderperel.com/2013/08/16/241/

I like to use 1 lens on a body for photo walks and street shooting (when I'm not using my x100s). So I prefer the 1.4 over the 1.2L for the size and weight.

I have the Sigma 1.4 50mm and it's awesome, I use it for all of my weddings

he talked a helluva a lot, and yet never shot anything in low light, which is where the difference becomes interesting

uhhh i hate the weight thing like oh no your gears to heavy?? its called the gym

Why does he only ever focus on Canon products?

Have you ever watched DigitalRev TV before? Kai uses Nikon most of the time.

I have both nikon 50 1.4 and canon 1.2, lately i have been reaching for the canon.

I love my Canon 50mm f/1.4. I've had it for about 2 years.