Selecting a 50mm lens can be a tricky business. It is my favourite fixed focal length but up until now all of the Canon options have left me disappointed.
The Canon 50mm f/1.8 takes great images for it's low price, but the build quality is only a step above a disposable camera.
The mid-range 50mm f/1.4 somewhat improves on the build but still has a very cheap plastic feel. You gain some speed in the f-stop, but the sharpness at f/1.4 is pretty iffy. It will miss focus quite often and when it is accurate, it's still pretty soft.
The top of the line f/1.2 improves sharpness at f/1.4 but will miss focus about as often. Shooting at f/1.2, very little of . It's bokeh is creamy and beautiful but so few of your images are in focus I would usually stay above 1.4. And don't forget the chromatic aberration, which can be so bad it might leave you wondering "Canon, is this the best you can do?".
After owning and selling all three of these lenses, I have been waiting for a magic bullet to come along, and (hopefully) that will be the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Series lens.
While exploring Tokyo we wandered in to the massive Yodobashi Camera and found the new Sigma on display. We only had time to snap a few quick sample photos in store but so far I am impressed. Focus was very fast and responsive, The weight was less than I had worried about, and image quality was superb.
It was very tempting to buy it at that moment but I know it will be cheaper waiting to get back to Calgary, where we are already on the waiting list at The Camera Store.
I'm going to withhold judgment until I have really put it through it's paces, but so far my impression is that this lens may live up to its hype. The real test will be having confidence that I can shoot with the aperture wide open.