$80 50mm f/1.2 lens vs. $1,500 50 mm f/1.2 lenses: how do they compare?

Sep 12, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

$80 50mm f/1.2 lens vs. $1,500 50 mm f/1.2 lenses: how do they compare?

Sep 12, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Vintage lenses have their quirks, but they also have a certain charm. Many of them are well-built and tack sharp, yet very affordable. Photographer Mathieu Stern is a great fan of vintage glass, so he decided to do a little test. He compared a vintage manual 50mm f/1.2 lens he paid $80 with a modern AF 50mm f/1.2 lens that costs almost $1,500. Are they comparable at all? Let’s take a look.

YouTube video

For the video, Mathieu compared a Porst Color 50mm f/1.2 UMC and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM. Obviously, the advantage of the Canon glass is that it has autofocus. But does it produce better images? Here are a couple of examples of photos taken at the same locations with both lenses, so you can see for yourself.

Personally, I think that you can take great photos with both lenses and I don’t pick a clear winner here. Although, I do like the bokeh better in some of the photos with the Porst, but it’s a matter of personal preference. So the point is that you can still get a decent lens and take smashing shots even without buying pricey gear. And if your budget is tight and you want a fast 50mm lens, I hope this video has inspired you to browse through eBay or your local flea market. Who knows, you might stumble upon a real gem!

[$80 F1.2 Lens ?? $1500 Lens | Mathieu Stern]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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13 responses to “$80 50mm f/1.2 lens vs. $1,500 50 mm f/1.2 lenses: how do they compare?”

  1. barbrabsuh Avatar
    barbrabsuh

    Please tell me where I can buy A 50 1.2 Porst for 80$.

    Everybody knows the quality of these lenses and the current price is more 400$ !

  2. Ed Selby Avatar
    Ed Selby

    Kinda hard to make a comparison since, in my not so humble opinion, the photo quality in all of them is not good. Exposure is different. White balance is different. Camera bodies are different. All you really showed was, yeah, the inexpensive manual lens still works.

  3. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    Not quite an objective comparison. Besides, buying a lens from eBay is not an indicator of a cheap lens. The two lenses must be simultaneously available somehow through the same venue or market (and would be better from the same vendor). I suggest shooting a typical chart made for testing lenses and checking the chromatic aberrations closely and for various apertures. I, also, can’t understand that difference in saturation between the two images always; Were the two taken at the same exposure time with same aperture? RAW or JPEG? Processed simultaneously with the same steps for both? It’s hard to call this a comparison.

  4. Alex Rainchik Avatar
    Alex Rainchik

    Where can you get this lens for $80?

  5. Jimmy Harris Avatar
    Jimmy Harris

    As others have stated, the Porst 50/1.2 usually sells for over $200. Also, the Porst examples are underexposed and the white balance is too warm.

    I do like the Bokeh of the Canon better though. The Porst is pretty distracting with all of those hard circles and doesn’t really allow your eye to focus on the subject, which is usually the point of shooting portraits at such wide apertures. But that’s about the only thing I can take away from this test.

  6. Viggo Næss Avatar
    Viggo Næss

    And for the record, I’ve had 4 of the EF 50 L and it sucks, plain and simple. Have faith in the new RF though?

  7. HyperJ Avatar
    HyperJ

    So… He just underexposed the $80 lens??? Bokeh aside, with proper exposure and white balance you should be able to make a much more objective comparison. He didn’t even try to make them look similar.

  8. Frédéric Schneider Avatar
    Frédéric Schneider

    1.6 is not 1.2…

  9. Andrew Sharpe Avatar
    Andrew Sharpe

    Don’t use a Porst, for heaven’s sake, use a Pentax Takumar. It would easily hold it’s own, especially the 1.4 M42 mount.

  10. Mike Avatar
    Mike

    This article is a good reason to go somewhere else.

  11. Atakan Uzun Avatar
    Atakan Uzun

    who sells 1.2 lens for 80$???

    1. Rob Julien Avatar
      Rob Julien

      Typo…chill.

  12. theo antoniou Avatar
    theo antoniou

    Just look at the shot(s) and see if you like them or not. We need to get over the technical stuff and regain our spontaneity and intuitiveness. Isn’t that the bedrock of creativity?