After getting my Sony a7 II I got Tamron 28-75 f2.8 as all around lens but is was heavy and big so I needed some bright alternative for carry around. I was searching online and knowing that Canon have reputation for great glass I was on hunt for Canon nFD 50mm f1.4 but prices were pretty high so I sat back and wait till I got mein for 40€ and I will tell you right now that this price was really low considering the IQ and BQ of this lens. I did have one more nifty fifty on my Sony before and that was Konica AR 50mm f1.4 and it is beautiful lens and I will be writing about it but I will say this Canon is much better lens wide open at f1.4 but Konica have “that look”… So fast forward to Black Friday dealZZZZZ and my purchase of Sony FE 50mm f1.8 for as little as 150€ and I was thinking well it is native lens and have AF and it is much lighter so why not? Well let me tell you why NOT, AF is terrible to be honest but it was light and nifty 😀 and as I did have both I wanted to test them and so I did. I dont want to spoil anything but as all of us know Sony is not that great at making great affordable lenses, even Zeiss line is really messed up…
So lets start with Canon nFD 50mm f1.4. I did simple sharpness test on this Five Pawns Liquid package. I encourage you to take a closer look at DOF and sharpness by opening full size photos and also crop images under the first full size set in your browser.
As you can see at f1.4 is is soft and a bit hazy but that is “normal” for this old formula and when shooting portraits it would be actually useful to have that look. After stopping down to f1.8 it is totally different story and I think that peak sharpness in the middle of the frame is at f8 and at f11 and above diffraction start to creep in so I wouldn’t go above f11 if sharpness is goal. But non the less I was blown away at IQ of this 40€ lens to be honest. In my review of this lens I will talk about focusing and IQ more of course.
Lets jump to the Sony FE 50mm f1.8 and right here is the point where I got really pissed at Sony and that AF, maaan it is really terrible, most of the time I was just using this lens with manual focusing and even then that fly by wire ring was not that responsive… All in all I was disappointed and only nice thing was weight… I am saying all of this since I was using 40€ Old glass against it and if you ask me it failed badly this lens should be at most 90€… And lets be clear I am not saying it is useless but it is overpriced almost manual lens but one can still take some nice shots with it with a bit more effort, but again I advise opening images and seeing for yourself.
Here are the Crops so you can take closer look and it is not that bad…
And now lets jump to the Vignetting and Canon fails here miserably 😀 and I assume that is thanks to the all that software and shading corrections applied to the Sony lens but non the less it is worse on Canon than it is on the Sony even on same f stop until f4. You can Right Click on the GIF and open it in new window for better seeing.
Vignetting is heavy on Canon and much more pronounced .
Even with Vignetting Corrections enabled in Adobe Lightroom (there is profile for Canon FD 50mm f1.4) Vignetting is strong and untill f2.8 there is not that much improvements…
With corrections applied in Lightroom there is slight improvement.
Now the Sony and modern masters of Software corrections and hiding things from us, but I must give them props they did it really nicely and I don’t even want to see what is under the hood 😀
Vignetting is much better controlled on Sony.
Now with Corrections it is much better than Canon I must say…
On Sony it is a different, this lens have better software corrections applied .
Now the BOOOKEH, oooh that sweet illusion and misconception, just kidding I love it 😀
Here is Canon in action with its bright aperarature at f1.4 and I felt like I was attacked by Cats (Cats eyes get it?) 😉 but look at that roundness and clean circle in the middle.
Now Sony, oh dear Sony. Sometimes I think that all those lenses they make are just because they must and not because they like it or want it to be nice.. Cats are attacking here too and BOOOKEH Balls are smaller but that is normal since this lens is at f1.8 but look at that circle in the middle they look like when I cut potatoes when my wife needs help in the kitchen 😀 but at least we don’t have Onions…
Now closest focusing distance under the natural light on overcast day, perfect for test. Canon is again a bit soft at f1.4 and shows a bit of haze (but mid tones are still perfect) but at f1.8 it is almost perfect and in my opinion better than Sony with that nice circle BOOOKEH ball in background 🙂
Now Sony is not that bad at f1.8 outside on nicely litt scene but sharpness and mid tones are not that good as with Canon.
When it comes to CA and PF both lenses are OK. Canon is really bad at f1.4 but at f1.8 everything is fine.
On the other hand Sony is good at controlling CA and PF but Canon is better overall since Sony is pretty purplish at f1.8
And now only thing that Sony is better at is weight since Canon is almost double the weight with metal adapter. But in my case much better than Tamron 28-75 f2.8 in terms of weight but not even close in terms of IQ. I will be talking about Tamron soon…
To finish this rather long Post I will say this Get the Canon (or for that mater any Vintage nice glass) you will save money get better IQ and get to use those lenses on your new Cameras from other brands in the future.
Now for the record I will say that I was a bit hard on Sony and it is not that terrible lens parse but considering all of this it is a shame on Sony to have something like this on their amazing sensors and looking at how old is Canon and how new and modern Sony is I am more than disappointed and lets not forget that AF that HORRIBLE AF…
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