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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
395 1205969 Nov 29, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.89
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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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: 616
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: 526
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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jaybrams
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Registered: Jun 10, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 172
Review Date: May 15, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $449.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good for low light, sharper than expected at wide apertures, light and easy to carry.
Cons:
Not particularly useful at slow apertures

I am slowly moving back to primes and faster lenses on my 50D. I bought this lens to be a versatile walk around lens and to take portraits under low light indoors without a flash. So far, I'm impressed. I have needed flash a few times when I thought the lens should handle the existing lighting, but overall, it is performing well. I find it a major improvement in build, operation, and features over my 1.8 II which is strong lens on its own. I wouldn't have upgraded if I hadn't planned to make primes the major focus of my photography from now on. Bokeh is pleasing on this lens, and it is light weight and easy to hand hold. This separated it for me from the Sigma 50/1.4 which seemed way to bulky and heavy to hold when I'm trying to get a shot handheld indoors without a flash. This lens in manufactured to work perfectly with my 50D (and all Canon bodies) and I can rest assured as bodies evolve, this lens will work for me in either crop format or FF.

May 15, 2011
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L.J.G.
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Registered: May 12, 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 36
Review Date: May 12, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $430.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharper at f1.4 than the nifty fifty is a f1.8, quick focus in good light, still small and light, better bokeh than the nifty fifty.
Cons:
Slower autofocus in low light situations.

I purchased this lens after becoming disenchanted with the pentagonal shaped highlights of the cheaper nifty fifty f1.8. I considered the Sigma 50 f1.4 but went Canon instead and I was not disappointed. This lens is sharper than the nifty fifty wide open and is very sharp above f2. Silent fast AF in good light and nice bokeh. Build quality is quite good and it is still quite small and compact with little weight.

May 12, 2011
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wfrank
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Registered: Feb 9, 2011
Location: Sweden
Posts: 3279
Review Date: Mar 31, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Dead sharp from F/1.4, accurate AF, fast, silent
Cons:
Varying copies (?)

When upgrading from 7D to FF (5DMkII) I had a limited set of lenses that fitted the new camera. So I bought it with the 50/1.4 and was pleasantly surprised with the IQ. The copy I got does not resemble at all any of the negative ratings found here. Even at 1.4 it focuses sharp both near and infinity - and that with AF no manual override.

As being one of a few lenses I had initially for the camera I used it extensively and it was a nice experience going "back to basics" with only a 50mm at hand. I am pretty picky with sharpness and this particular lens performs so well that I do not feel the need to take several shots on the same subject as I know normally the first will be focused spot on where I choose. It also produces a nice soft bokeh and is capable of nice 3D-isolation. I cant find any flaw with this lens, the only thing that could improve is the build. But this one is still miles ahead of the 50/1.8. I use no filters, the lens hood is protective enough. And the hood construction is good - as opposed to the flimsy mount Canon makes for eg the 85/1.8 or 50/1.8.

So either I am lucky, or theres bad copies out there and/or perhaps handling issues for some users that dont realize just how short the DOF gets.


Mar 31, 2011
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ruffaandmike
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Registered: Mar 16, 2011
Location: Philippines
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 16, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: f1.8 – sharp f2 – very sharp. Lovable bokeh and nice contrast.
Cons:
Inconsistent focus from f1.4 – 1.8.

I love this lens on my 5D mk1 @f2... it produced a natural color and makes the skin flawless most of the time. Bokeh is good also as well as contrast, don’t forget to buy a hood for this lens for its protection.

I just stayed the aperture to f2 I am very satisfied with it…

Here are some samples.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruffaandmike/5505765508/in/set-72157626214414462/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruffaandmike/5511274472/in/set-72157626068541853/


Mar 16, 2011
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agnesleung
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Registered: Dec 12, 2010
Location: China
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 8, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: weight & size, color, bokeh, f1.4, price, picture quality.
Cons:
AF performance in low light.

This is a very good lens which priced reasonably. It is a light and compact lens, the built is decent but not great.

I suppose my copy of this lens is a sharp one, but it is not as sharp as my Canon EF 35mm f1.4L (which is very sharp from f1.4) until stopped down to f2.8. The color it rendors is not as vivid as my 35L, yet it is natural and pleasing in my eyes.

It is an excellent portrait lens with my crop body Canon 400D (Rebel XTi), and it is also a wonderful walk around lens with my Canon 5D mark II.

The downside of this lens is the AF performance - it hunts in low light situations. If you don't mind using menu focus in low light shooting, then it is not a really big issue for you.

The picture quality of this lens really impressed me. I own other Canon L zoom lenses, such as Canon EF17-40mm f4L and EF 24-105mm f4L, this lens out performed or on par with my L zooms in terms of image quality.

You can see some samples of this lens from the photos I took using this lens:

http://agnesleung.com/tag/canon-50mm-f1-4/





Mar 8, 2011
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markd61
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Registered: May 25, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 659
Review Date: Jan 17, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $344.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Small, light, sharp at smaller apertures
Cons:
Won't focus at infinity. Iffy AF at distances greater than 20 feet.

I did a lot of research on 50's as there seems to be no clear winner in this field. There are the MF options from Zeiss and adapted alt gear. Then there are the AF offerings from Canon and Sigma. MF is not for me no matter how splendid the optics. Thus my choice were winnowed to the Canon 50 1.4 and the Sigma.
On balance the Canon won for having the best mix of performance (allegedly) and price.
When my Canon 50 1.4 arrived I immediately shot a series of test images to verify that my copy was a good one. I shot mostly wide open and had a lot of good shots but maybe only 25% tack sharp ones. I attributed this to user error. However placing the camera on a tripod and focusing on still life objects I found that at anything over 5 feet distant was soft and infinity focus was unusable. Clearly there is a problem with this lens. More testing at smaller apertures demonstrated that it is capable of extremely sharp images but because of the focus problem I can not trust this lens in a professional situation.

I wanted to like it but I am going to swap it for a Sigma and pray that I get a good one.


Jan 17, 2011
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r.reule
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Registered: Oct 23, 2010
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: fast and not to big.
Cons:
expensive instead of the 1.8.

I replace my old 1.8 for this bigger 1.4. The usm is perfect but the picture quality is almost the same, they are both good enough. The big ring for manual focus works ferry nice.

Herwith some pictures with this lens:

www.flickr.com/photos/robertreule/5103257934/in/set-72157625088116123/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertreule/5118721284/in/set-72157625088116123/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertreule/5102662881/in/set-72157625088116123/


Oct 29, 2010
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hoyerd
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Registered: Jun 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Oct 11, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: cheap
Cons:
poor center at least to f2.8

Compared this lens to a Voightlander 40mm f2 at equivalent image size. On Canon 5DMII from f1.4-2.8 this lens is soft in the center relative to the Voightlander, but a bit sharper at the extremes of the frame. Hazing/veiling at f1.4 but this is not unexpected.

Oct 11, 2010
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zoka.m
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Registered: Mar 1, 2010
Location: Serbia & Montenegro
Posts: 119
Review Date: Oct 9, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Big aperture, great colours, nice bokeh, small and light, very sharp even wide open....
Cons:
Nothing that I can think of...

Just buy it, you will not regret it... :D

Oct 9, 2010
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Todd Klassy
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Registered: Sep 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 290
Review Date: Sep 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp > f/2 and good at f/1.8. Good value for the money, nice bokeh, and good colors rendition. Inexpensive.
Cons:
Not as well-built as a L-quality lens, what do you expect for the money?

I enjoy using my Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens very much. For the money, it hard to go wrong having this lens in your camera bag. Prior to owning this lens I used a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 USM, which is also a very good lens for the money, but not nearly as good as this lens...especially when mated to a camera with a ton of resolution, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

I have owned this camera now for four years and it is always the lens I take with me when I want to pack light and if I don't want to intimidate people with too large or too fancy a lens. While the build quality is not on par with a L-lens, one would not expect it with a $300 lens.

I considered replacing it with the much, much more expensive Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM, but couldn't justify purchasing it given the fine quality images this lens produces. Those dollars and cents IMHO are better used in the bank or on a different lens.

Here are examples of photographs I have taken back home in Wisconsin with this lens:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2366084365/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2428660207/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/1881110128/

This portrait was taken wide open at f/1.4:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2807122789/

Overall it is an excellent lens for the money.



Sep 29, 2010
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trigrad
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Registered: Jan 26, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Sep 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp from f/2 (after MA), Good focus performance, Ok build for the money
Cons:
Focus ring is not smooth.

Not sharp wide open, but it does well by f/2.

Bokeh is about what you expect for the focal length and design. Better than the 1.8, but not as nice as a longer lens. Can be busy/nervous with some scenes.

I haven't had any focus problems with mine, but it did benefit from a small amount of micro-adjust.

The build is ok, but focus mechanism durability concerns me. Because of this I set focus to infinity when I put it away to prevent the inner barrel from protruding. Have had no trouble after several years of travel and use.


Sep 13, 2010
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
395 1205969 Nov 29, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.89
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.71
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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