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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
387 1167093 May 15, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $320.79
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.73
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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justruss
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Registered: Jul 5, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4453
Review Date: May 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Gorgeous colors, sharp wide open (my copy), f/1.4
Cons:
no real complaints for the money

I really don't have too much to add that hasn't been said before. But what stands out to me is the color that this lens produces. Saturated, crisp and beautiful. I'm comparing this to a 135L, and while wide open it's not 135L sharp (though it is fairly sharp), its color is perfect. I want to reiterate-- my copy, at least, is plenty sharp at f/1.4, I never hesitate to shoot here if I need to.

Cheers,

Russ


May 3, 2005
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lensjunky
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Registered: Apr 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 83
Review Date: Apr 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: the usual color contrast Blah blah, but also backrgound subject isolation at smaller aperatures, and weight.
Cons:
plastic body-I think, but for optics this freakin fantastic for $300? WHO CARES!!?

when I go out and shoot and I dont want to carry lots of equipment, or stand out like a sore thumb, I use only this lens, and get some amazing results, when you limit yourself with one focal length, your creativity starts flowing, and it shows when you get your film or dig back. I cant believe the L quality colors, contrast, and sharpnes that comes out of this lens. Canon has almost all but stopped selling the 50 f1 L because pros prefer this lens. why pay $1000 for 0.4 more, plus a pound or two in bulk.
Use this lens exclusivly for a couple of shoots and you will rethink your dependence on zooms.


Apr 26, 2005
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jazzy17
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Registered: Apr 3, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 102
Review Date: Apr 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: excellent image quality, affordable at new lens price
Cons:
build quality (focus ring has some 'give')

Well worth upgrading from the f1.8 version for improved build quality. The biggest improvement comes in picture quality... this lens is amazing and does indeed deserve a red strip on it.

I have used this lens for available light portraits and low light concert/gig photography and it has proven to be a fantastic lens. For indoor portraits things may get tight on physical space in smaller location especially if you are using a crop sensor camera.

If you have no other prime in your kit make sure this the one you do have. If I pay any other compliments I will just be repeating what others have already have said... read them and believe them.



Apr 25, 2005
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dan212
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Registered: Apr 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 99
Review Date: Apr 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: tack sharp and fast
Cons:
it isn't a zoom - golly

This lens is just so good compared to the best that the "L" zooms can offer. I have "L" zooms but this is better. The build quality isn't the same but zooming isn't alchemy. You compromise to zoom. I used to shoot 35mm mostly wtih a Nikon 105/2.8. This 50/1.4 is great for available light and moderately long on a 1.6 crop digital camera. It is a great available light lens. The 85mm 1.8 is also great, and matches what my 35mm eyes are used to, but the 1.4 speed lets you take available light shots without silly ISO speeds at great resolution. As you go longer that speed translates into shallow DOF and perfect focus is necessary. I have a Canon 20D. I can focus manually exactly where I want, but even the 20D can't automatically figure out where subject sharpness matters and drop off doesn't bother the eye.

The 50/1.4 doesn't have the same build quality as the "L" series, but it is an insane bargain and the budding photographer would do well to add it to their kit and learn to use it before zooming. Zooms are a guilty pleasure and a crutch. YES - I HAVE three "L" zooms, but I like available light shots and the best stuff I have gotten is with the 50/1.4 and the 80/1.8 both add up to less than a 24-70/2.8 (which I have)

The ability to shoot at 1.4 counts for a LOT.


Apr 21, 2005
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cprofit
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Registered: Jan 5, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 570
Review Date: Apr 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great bokeh, shallow DOF, weight, size.
Cons:
A bit slow focusing and not too sharp at f/1.4.

I love this lens - a definite must have in every camera bag. Beautiful bokeh, amazing DOF and great low light performance.

I knew the negatives going in, and love it. People say it is light and has a poor build quality, which I disagree with. Just because something is heavy doesn't make it durable - I design structures for a living.


Apr 18, 2005
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Hecate
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Registered: Apr 13, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 17
Review Date: Apr 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bitingly sharp. Light. Fast.Good colour. Good bokeh.
Cons:
It doesn't have a red stripe around it.

If Canon didn't produce a 1.0 lens, this is the standard lens that would have the red stripe round it. I got mine slightly used, sold by some poor fool who thought that 50mm lenses were old tech and wanted a zoom. It's brilliant for everyday photography, and superb at low light. Because of it's lightness you can hand hold at speeds you wouldn't think possible. If was given a choice of only having one lens in my collection, this would be it because the quality means that even if you really needed a short telephoto, you'd still be able to do a selective enlargement with minimal loss of quality. Of course, me going out with just one lens is completely in the realms of fantasy Smile

Apr 15, 2005
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Review Date: Apr 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $309.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, Fast, Sharp, Color, Detail, Fast quite AF, bag for the buck.
Cons:
Hood could be a bit larger at the bottom to get access of cap better CA @ 1.4 indoors need preparation to avoided

This is a stellar lens for the money and is well worth the admission price.

Takes traffic high resolution pictures with detail that rivals any CS lens IMHO.

There is a bit of CA in low light indoor shots and can be avoided and the hood could be a bit larger at the base to get the lens cap off easier but other wise a gem.

AF is fast and quite and goes with me on every outing.


Apr 13, 2005
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lusitaneo
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Registered: Jan 10, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 64
Review Date: Apr 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Produces gorgeous pictures. Nuff said.
Cons:
I said NUFF SAID!

I often shoot wide open in strong light with this baby. I dont need to but it just magics up an aura around brightly lit objects that's worth gold. I'd say it's worth it's weight in gold... but it's so light it's not saying much - one of the advantages of cheap plastic construction!
I do street photography. Consequently I dont give a gnat's arse about lppm. Once I've put down my photo mags, I get out and shoot what happens.
Beautiful colours, pearlescent bokeh, gorgeous slice-thin depth of field when wanted, light as a feather. Reasonably cheap too so you dont treat it like a museum piece as you do with an L lens. This is a lens you can use & forget about - you come back home, pop yr pics on the 'puter & drop your chin on something soft.
Closest I've come to falling in love with a piece of hardware. After I got this I sold my L's (& my 1.8, it's geeky cousin...!) & started enjoying DOING photography, not thinking about it.
It's a fine-looking little thing as well - not the detailing but in terms of proportion. Not that it matters... but it does! Why do we buy nice clothes after all?
This is it for me, 20d + 50 f1.4. At least until Leica get their finger out their ass & produce a decent piece of digital rangefinder gear. I'm not holding my breath!


Apr 8, 2005
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dhphoto
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Registered: Feb 15, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 9803
Review Date: Apr 5, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Sharp from 2.8 down
Cons:
Awful build for 'the best standard lens' that Canon make. Graunchy focusing, plasticky, not A PATCH on the old 50mm 1.4 FD lens

Nowhere near as good as I'd hoped. Bought to upgrade my 1.8 II 50mm as I needed the extra light, this lens is not worth the extra money.

Though a good solid performer, sharp and with goodish quiet autofocus, the build quality isn't much better than a consumer zoom. The focus ring is 'rough' and not easy to use.

As this is the 'best' 50mm Canon make it should be MUCH better.

If you have the other slower 50's, don't bother to upgrade.



Apr 5, 2005
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kodos
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Registered: Nov 12, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 2
Review Date: Apr 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, great low light capability (esp w/20D), natural contrast, natural colors. Awesome bokeh.
Cons:
Slightly loose focus ring (why?).

Best quality lens I've owned, and I have the 17-40f4L, Tamron 28-75f2.8, 50mm 1.8, 70-200f4L, 100-400L lenses as comparison. My 50/1.8 never focused correctly in wider apertures. So instead of sending the cheap thing in for calibration, I decided to spring for the 50/1.4 instead. A world of difference for those who have an extra $250+ to spend on this lens. I've shot from f2.0 to f8.0 and noticed how sharp and natural that the shots I've seen from this lens are. A lot of L-caliber lenses have IMHO excessive contrast, and excessive saturation on colors. This lens is the closest I've used that just *nails* it in a natural yet pleasing fashion. I rarely do anything but add a touch of USM to my pictures after using the 50mm, but am always futzing around with the L-lenses in my collection.

I've been setting up a home studio for taking pictures of my son, and I must say that this lens is going to be *it*. Unfortunately 50mm on a 1.6x body is rather long (80mm effective), so I'm going to need some space for full body shots.

The bokeh on this lens is to die for. When I need a blurred out background, this nifty thing is going to be pulled out from now on.

Best lens I own, and cheap (relatively) too!


Apr 3, 2005
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sylphe
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Registered: Apr 2, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 22
Review Date: Apr 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Razor sharp by f2.8, f1.4 possibility, outstanding colors, fast AF with FTM, light and small
Cons:
Soft at 1.4 (no surprise there, but it still usable), flimsy construction.

IMHO, an excellent piece of optic in a crappy package. Everything feel loose on this lense, especially the focussing ring.

By now, with the 1.6X crop dSLR, its not a focal lense I use that much (any portrait photographer would praise it more than me). In the world of the future, when average Joe will be able to buy a full frame dSLR, this lense may come out of my bag to stick front of camera more often.

I wish then to see Canon re-edited this lense - ok, let's dream... - 45 f1.2L !?!


Apr 2, 2005
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B_Lebsanft
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Registered: Feb 26, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast, beautiful bokeh, metal mount, excellent lens!
Cons:



Mar 29, 2005
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gerrit p
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Registered: Jun 10, 2003
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 2
Review Date: Mar 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: can be used almost wide open, fast AF, exellent quality.
Cons:
none



Mar 18, 2005
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Thang
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Registered: Jan 25, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8535
Review Date: Mar 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $220.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, Sharp, and Compact
Cons:
None

I am a zoom guy and this is the only short prime lens I have in my setup. A perfect lens for portrait on a 1.6x crop cameras. AF is lightning fast. F1.4 is a bless. Image quality is simply stunning. I recommend everyone to skip the 1.8 version and go straight to this lens. Yes, it's 3x the price of the 1.8 but the built and glass quality is so much better. I used to own both version I and II of the 1.8 lens. In both copies, the lenses were pretty much useless at 1.8 and sharpness did not improve until f4. With the 1.4 version, sharpness is just awesome at 1.8 or higher. I highly recommend this lens to everyone. It's another must have if one is serious enough with low light photography.

Mar 15, 2005
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Heechee
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Registered: Dec 19, 2004
Location: Finland
Posts: 383
Review Date: Mar 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent bokeh, small size, good handling, and good focal length on a film camera
Cons:
Not too usable below f2.0, not a nice focal length on a 20D

I like the 50mm 1.4 on a film body. It's usable as a walk-around lens if you have the time to walk backwards and forwards a lot, and the resulting camera is very small. I tried it on a 20D, but I didn't like the focal length at all.

My 50mm 1.4, when shot with a 20D at 1.4 or 1.8 produces a slight soft-focus effect when viewed at 100% magnification, not good unless used as a special effect.

I bought the lens for the bokeh, which is EXCELLENT. When I want to get a nicely blurred background, I use this lens, otherwise I usually use the 17-40L, both on a film body.


Mar 6, 2005
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c08as2
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Registered: Dec 29, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 505
Review Date: Feb 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $304.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Cheap, Sharp, fast, light...
Cons:
The Micro USM is a little slow, the focus just doesn't snap. It's a little too long on the 20d.

I've been very happy with this lens so far, yet I am very disappointed with the micro usm. I played around with my friend’s kit lens and was shocked at how poorly the focus is on the 50mm compared to the kit lens. On the positive note, the lens is extremely sharp and the build quality is much better than the f/1.8(for me worth the extra $200). Overall, I'm very happy with the lens and a strong recommendation to any photog.

Feb 26, 2005
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
387 1167093 May 15, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $320.79
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.73
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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