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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
390 1190766 Nov 10, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.55
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.71
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_

Specifications:
Standard lens featuring superb quality and portability. Two high-refraction lens elements and new Gaussian optics eliminate astigmatism and suppress astigmatic difference. Crisp images with little flare are obtained even at the maximum aperture.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 50mm 1:1.4
Lens Construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 46
Focus Adjustment: Overall linear extension system with USM
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.45m / 1.5 ft.
Filter Size: 58mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 2.9" x 2.0", 10.2 oz. / 73.8 x 50.5mm, 290g


 


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Gunzorro
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Registered: Aug 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 8468
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Terrific imaging, great size.
Cons:
Micro USM motor, older EF lens design.

Great lens for the price.

Often criticized, but it is hard to fault the imaging. I've read some Zeiss fans say the lens is "flat", but I disagree. The lens has very nice tones and is very sharp. I prefer it to the ZE 50/1.4, and it doesn't have that lens' severe focus shift.

If I sound bitter about the ZE, I am. Wink I sold this Canon to help finance the ZE, only to find out it was no better in imaging for my needs, and had the worst focus shift I'd ever seen. Sold it, and that adventure left me without this nice Canon.

Needs to be redesigned and rebuild for the mechanics, but the optics are first class.


Sep 26, 2012
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Henning
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Registered: Jun 9, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 49
Review Date: Sep 9, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Not very expensive, light, sharp in the middle from f/2.
Cons:
Too expensive for what you get. Fragile focussing action, mushy and dull in the corners.

Focussing manually or via AF was never smooth nor accurate, then it started binding and refusing to AF under 3ft. Was told that repair was pointless, as these lenses had issues with the focussing. I'm glad I listened, as a number of acquaintances also had problems which in the end didn't get resolved by Canon.

Got the 50/1.8 and have been happy at least about the price/performance ration.

I have a number of other 50's from other manufacturers and I would rate every one of them higher.


Sep 9, 2012
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wuxiekeji
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Registered: Sep 6, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 373
Review Date: Sep 7, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Image quality, portability
Cons:
Build quality, autofocus accuracy, horrible manual focus throw, no manual aperture

Optics are great, but it's VERY poorly designed.

1. For a 50mm lens, which I use for about 70% of my photos, it stays on my camera for a VERY large fraction of the time. This means it NEEDS to be able to take a beating. Mine has already basically fallen apart, the AF/MF switch fell out, and the focus ring has become completely unusable. Plastic build? Unacceptable. I mean, come on, there are so many cheap 50's made in the past 15-20 years that perform well AND made of solid metal.

2. Autofocus cannot possibly focus a f/1.4 lens accurately enough. Period. Think DOFs so thin that it makes a difference whether you focus on the nose, eyes, eyeglasses, or eyelashes for portraits. Whether or not autofocus is desired at times, manual focus is a fact of f/1.4 photography and should be supported. I need this kind of control from a large aperture lens, and that means focus throws should be long and precise. Complete fail.

After my 50mm literally fell apart I switched to a Zeiss Planar (C-Y adapted to EOS) and have been happy ever since. And the cost isn't that much different from Canon.


Sep 7, 2012
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Prasann Patel
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Registered: Mar 20, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 3
Review Date: Jul 13, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, light, good sized focus ring, decent build quality
Cons:
Better on a full frame rather than crop sensor

For the price you pay, the 50mm f/1.4 is a fantastic lens. The image quality is considerably better than the 50mm f/1.8 and the build quality is adequate.

The focus ring is a nice size and is rubber for good traction. Focusing is also quick.

I've used this on a 5D mkII and on my 7D. Both produced great, sharp images, but the the crop factor of the 7D made me lean more in favor towards the 5D mkII.

Great overall lens, and an excellent way to start building your lens kit.


Jul 13, 2012
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nelvayut
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Registered: Apr 26, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 104
Review Date: Jul 6, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: small, inexpensive, sharp, and light weight
Cons:
none

Great lens for the price.

Jul 6, 2012
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amesbah
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Registered: Mar 19, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 12
Review Date: Jun 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Low light and Bokeh
Cons:
Fragile feel and a little soft wide open

There is a lot to like about this fast lens with USM which excels in low light and DoF. The USM isnt quite the instant and silent affair you get in L lenses and its also not as consistent in hitting focus every time.

It is very light and well priced. If only Canon could build it like the 85 1.8!


Jun 26, 2012
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Thomas Richter
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Registered: Jun 17, 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 17, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: f1.4, already usable at that aperture, nice portrait lens on the crop-body I have used up to now (40D), reliant AF, light, inexpensive
Cons:
Like many others mine had to be sent in for repair due to broken AF.

I've bought this lens in 2004 for my 10D, used it then with the 40D. Being so light it is always in my bag, and I assume that even now with the 85/1.2L II it may stay the "travel light" alternative to this. Though of course the IQ of the 85/1.2L II is in another world.
I have recently purchased a cheap 3rd party lens hood, which will hopefully help to protect the damageable AF mechanics in transportation.
However, considering the very good image quality and big aperture, together with low weight and cost, this is a highly recommendable lens for low-light, portraiture and travel.


Jun 17, 2012
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Fr3lncr
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Registered: Jun 6, 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 13
Review Date: Jun 6, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Inexpensive, fast lens
Cons:
Poor low light focusing

This seems to be a staple lens that you should have in your collection. Unfortunately, for my style of shooting, I rarely use it. Maybe if I had full frame I would use it more but on a crop sensor, I don't find it wide enough for when I would want to use a prime lens (again, just my style of shooting).

I don't know if it is my copy of the lens or my camera (7D), but I have trouble shooting in low light with this lens. Maybe it needs to be calibrated but it seems I'm not the only one who has had issues.

Regardless of the issues, I guess it is still a lens everyone should own as it will come in handy from time to time.


Jun 6, 2012
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hokiejimbo
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Registered: Aug 24, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 10
Review Date: May 22, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Super-fast aperture, Great sharpness, Quick to focus
Cons:
non-ring USM

Fantastic value for a great lens. I love to walk at night, and with this lens, ISO 1600 or 3200 plus center AF, you can capture about anything. I've never had a problem with the focusing mechanism and this lens has traveled the world with me... never treated it very kindly. Lens hood is always on - the size of the lens is great, as the hood doesn't make the lens too big.

May 22, 2012
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aestiva
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Registered: Feb 17, 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 15, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: small, fast, sharp
Cons:
AF quality

Very good lens for the price. De AF quality is poor. It brokes two times.

This lens is also a little bit sharper than my 50 1.2L, but the bokeh is a lot better of my 50 1.2.

This lens is a very good upgrade for the 1.8

Look at my site for a few samples
www.totaalfotografie.nl


May 15, 2012
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nswelton
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Registered: Jan 16, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 263
Review Date: Apr 11, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: none
Cons:
flow to focus, inaccurate, poor image quality, really poorly made

i hate this thing. after not very long, the lens stopped focusing. it went back to canon three or four times and eventually a tech told me to use it as a paperweight. recently the rear element FELL OUT OF THE LENS WHILE THE LENS WAS ATTACHED TO MY CAMERA!!! the glass was rattling around INSIDE THE MIRROR BOX. Total piece of junk.

Apr 11, 2012
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Xoa.
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Registered: Apr 11, 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 10
Review Date: Dec 13, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Small/Light with F1.4. Good optics at F2.0 and beyond.
Cons:
Fragile, Flimsy construction. Prone to needing repairs. Over priced. Soft wide open.

The build construction is fragile.
The focusing gets jammed up.

The body is constructed of flimsy plastic, and can jam the focusing plastic barrel parts. google: canon 50mm F1.4 repair autofocus

Optically it can take great photos. If you need a short lens that can do candid low lights on a budget, you will _really_ enjoy it for that (just understand its limitations, and baby it). AF needs some patience in low light.

If you are stepping up from a kit lens, optically it will amaze you. If you are used to L primes, you _may be_ a bit disappointed.

Personally I would not recommend this lens, primarily because of how fragile it is. Personally, I am just going to forsake AF and stick with my old manual lens.


Dec 13, 2011
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dimitris77
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Registered: Aug 28, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 553
Review Date: Dec 13, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Small size, 1.4
Cons:
Inconsistent AF, soft wide open, bokeh with no character, overall dull rendering.

Canon seems to have dropped the ball on this one. Shame because they can make nice non L lenses like the 85mm and 50mm lenses are easy to build. The lack of consistent AF is annoying especially when the image quality isn't something to write home about.

Dec 13, 2011
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teglis
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Registered: Aug 31, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1094
Review Date: Oct 20, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Reasonably sharp from f/2.8 on
Cons:
Abysmal build quality; soft from f/1.4-f/2.8; lens hood not included

This lens worked fine for a few years though it seemed very soft wide open. But last year the autofocus stopped working. It could focus in one direction but not the other. I sent it to Canon, paid them to repair it, and it came back working again. Recently, however, it stopped working with exactly the same problem, and Canon makes it pretty clear that I'll have to pay again for the same repair. I have used it for less than 50 pictures in the intervening year. It always "felt cheap", but this experience has been very disappointing. I've had the Canon 85/1.8 and 135/2 primes and they have never had any problem, despite greater use.

Oct 20, 2011
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willis
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Registered: Jul 23, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 516
Review Date: Oct 9, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good value, very sharp from f2, small and light.
Cons:
Soft wide open, OK build quality, AF not quite as fast and accurate as L primes (though much better than the 50 f1.8II in my experience).

A very good lens for the money but only usable for smallish prints wide open. Stopped down past f2 its as sharp as any L prime. Bokeh not as good as more expensive options. Build is not too bad but the micro-usm focus motor shows its age and is rumoured to be prone to failure.

Oct 9, 2011
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Beverly Guhl
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Registered: Nov 11, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 3113
Review Date: Jul 16, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, lightweight, inexpensive, handy focal length
Cons:
Autofocus hunts a little in really low light.

I've owned the 50mm 1.8 and rarely used it, but after seeing various images shot with the 1.4 (and 1.2) by other photographers, I was intrigued. I debated getting the 1.2, but since I mostly wanted a fast, lightweight prime lens to take available low light pics of my 1 y.o. granddaughter, I didn't think I needed to get a 1.2. I have the 85L (puts me too far from her) and the 35L (puts me too close to her sometimes, and I risk distortion, or she reaches up and grabs the glass)! I often need one hand free when I'm photographing her, which means I have to hold my 5DMKII in the other hand, and that gets heavy after a while (especially with the 85L on there). So, I liked that the 1.4 is so lightweight, and I figured what it would lack in "L" quality I could make up for in LR3 or Photoshop. Well, I got far more than I bargained for. I got a very sharp copy which truly blew me away. It compares to L glass wide open, and to prove it I'm posting a link to shots of my granddaughter with the Canon 35mm f/1.4 L and with this much cheaper 50mm f/1.4 (FY: both were shot at 2.0 because I prefer that aperture and bokeh for close ups of this baby.)...

Technical Disclaimer: the link below is a casual but stunning comparison just for the heck of it. Maybe it's helpful if you, like me were to say, "Gee, do I want to buy a cheap 50 1.4 to photograph babies/dogs/cats or spend $1,000 more and buy the amazing 35 1.4L ?" (Though there are a lot more considerations when choosing either lens, we know that!) Check out the link below and see for yourself just how hard it is to tell the casual $1,000 difference.

http://www.beverlyguhl.com/50mm_vs_35mm/35L_vs_50.html

Is there anything I don't like about this lens? Well, it seems to hunt a bit in really low light. For the price this is a an amazing bang for the buck. It's so lightweight, I can toss it in my purse as a second lens and never feel a thing. And it's cheap enough if anything happens to it I'm not going to scream like I would if it were a 1.2!


Jul 16, 2011
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
390 1190766 Nov 10, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.55
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.71
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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