Friday, March 2, 2012

Camera lust redirect: how a 50 mm lens might stave off cravings for a fuji x-pro 1

fuji x-pro1 via
Is it pathetic to have dreams about camera equipment? Don't answer that.
The fuji x-pro 1 camera is expected to start shipping around the end of March, and although $1700 is not cheap (body only—around $600 more per lens), it's about $5300 less than a Leica M9—the dream that is absolutely out of reach for my budget. Not that it's in the same league. For one thing, the fuji x-pro 1 is not a full-frame sensor. But it does have that classic rangefinder styling, a sensor that supposedly pushes it into Canon 5D Mark II quality, hd video, etc. etc.  I'm not a tech blog, so I won't even try to go into specs. For that, I recommend dpreview's thorough preview. My point is that this is the most exciting new street photography camera (at least that's what I'd use it for) since the fuji x100.

But can I justify getting a the fuji x-pro 1 when I already have a Canon 5D Mark II? I'm trying to convince myself that I can't. Hence, the re-direct. I usually carry around a 24-70L lens (my favorite) and a 70-200L lens. They're such versatile lenses that I have never bothered to get a 50mm lens. But suddenly it seems like the perfect solution to stave of the higher-end cravings. If you don't already have a decent 50mm lens, watch this video (this guy has the best camera videos on Youtube):

For me, the idea of getting a lens that is less bulky, well suited to street photography, and fast (i.e. low f-number) at a good price, might be the perfect redirect. Getting a new lens is almost like getting a new camera. I could go cheap:
50 mm f1.8 II for only $118. Out of more than 1,800 reviews on Amazon, it gets 4.5 out of 5 stars. The  pro/con boils down to "sharp, fast, inexpensive" vs. "great images, poor build quality." Some say it "feels like a toy" (I'm sure that the all-plastic construction doesn't help much). In some ways, the "toy" aspect, which extends to high susceptibility to flare, might be a plus, if you're going for that look.
Then there's the faster and better built 50mm f1.4 USM for $399. A lot users report that it is not very sharp when it's wide open, but once you get to f2 it looks great. You may have to go up to f2.8 to get a really sharp picture without soft edges, which is kind of frustrating when you thought you were buying f1.4. dpreview gives it a "highly recommended" rating. More comparisons (with images) between the f1.8 and f1.4 at

Finally, there's the much more expensive option, the 50mm f1.2 L. But at $1500, it defeats my purpose of getting something new without spending too much. Although it's superior (it had better be at that price) in most ways, it is apparently not as sharp as you would expect.
Conclusion: Let me sleep on it. After doing this post at 2 a.m. will I dream about 50mm lenses instead of the x-pro 1?


Michelle said...

I desperately want to leave a comment...because I know that you and I both love getting comments. Unfortunately, I know nothing about camera equipment which makes it difficult to comment let me say this: it would look really cute with a bird on it.

Brenda said...

I love love love my 50 1.4. Just sayin'.

marc said...

Although I haven't yet had a dream about the 50 1.4, I'm getting closer and closer to ordering one.

marc said...

I did it. I ordered the f1.4 at 1 a.m. (under the influence of Ambien). No regrets.