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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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385 1159524 Mar 26, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $320.09
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.94
8.72
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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kengroff
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Registered: Jan 5, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Lightweight, very useful indoors, sharp from 2.0 and up, great walkaround lens.
Cons:
Fairly soft from 1.4-1.8

Picked this lens up back in the summer, after buying the 100mm macro lens where I have no hesitation to use wide open I was slightly disappointed that its pretty soft from 1.4-1.8. Once I use it at f2 I find it is very sharp and I usually set it at that aperture for available light indoor shooting. Focusing I find is accurate, the lens is nice and light, great for walking around and small group portraits. Overall very happy with the lens and the speed is much appreciated over the kit lens for my 30D(18-55mm 3.5-5.6) and the build quality is better too.

Jan 5, 2009
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anorphirith
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Registered: Apr 13, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 1099
Review Date: Nov 2, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: VERY sharp after f/2.0 , small and portable, very light, 50mm leads to nice compositions
Cons:
you pay to have a f/1.4 lens that you cannot use at 1.4 !!, if you are looking for a low light performer, I'd recommend 85mm 1.2



Nov 2, 2008
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Phast1
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Registered: Jul 14, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2082
Review Date: Oct 31, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: compact, cheap, sharp, fast.
Cons:
soft wide open

I've had several copies of this lens over the years but never wrote a review so here it is...

I've used this lens on 20d,30d,40d,5d,1dMkII-n.
The lens is soft at f/1.4-1.8.
From f/2-2.2 is very usable. I'd go so far as to say that this lens is an f/2.2 because from there on in it's wonderful.
This is not to say I don't use this lens at it's widest apertures, I do. Sharpness is subjective. The bokeh is beautiful.

Focus is fast. I've used it for ringside sports without a hitch.
I also use this lens for portraiture on a crop body and it has never let me down. Renders fine detail nicely.

For the price you certainly get your money's worth from the 50 1.4.



Oct 31, 2008
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skibum5
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Registered: Jan 20, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 15152
Review Date: Oct 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: exceedingly sharp stopped down, very fast at f/1.4, compact and light
Cons:
very poor build for the cost, terrible AF

every bit as good as the zeiss contax 50mm 1.4

does get some halation from f/1.4-1.8 under certain conditions

abysmal AF accuracy anywhere near wide open (and i've used six different copies, they varied from beyond abysmal to abysmal) for any subject more than like 5' away.

AF clutch a weak point and my first copy was broken right out of the box

they badly need to stick in a proper ring USM!

incredibly sharp corner to corner stopped down and decent bokeh and incredibly low CA

quite prone to PF anywhere near wide open



Oct 13, 2008
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bklyn_g
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Registered: Oct 8, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp as can be when stopped down, light, nice bokeh, cheap.
Cons:
soft to 1.6, flimsy focus ring, cheaper build quality.

My copy is sharpER than any lens I have ever seen at f8. This thing redefines what I thought possible as far as non-L sharpness. Opened up, however, it is very soft with the "dreaminess" everyone talks about. Not nearly as sharp as my sigma 30mm at f1.4...which is very sharp all the way through the range to f11 or so...

Build is average quality. Glass is surely high quality. For the price its a great lens.

Colors are saturated and accurate. Classic Canon in this regard. AF is fast and quiet and very accurate.

Here's examples (sharpened):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycgeo/2928485984/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycgeo/2928485846/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycgeo/2927626157/

...Shot with 450D.


Oct 9, 2008
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lubutterfly
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Registered: Sep 6, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, F1.4
Cons:
Build, Slower AF but much faster than 85L or 50 F1.8 MKII, Soft till F2.

Plus,

Price. There is nothing to say here. for the price its a great lens.

F1.4. Remember all those photos that you couldn't take before because 1, you had no flash or 2, your lens was F4 ? well thats problem is solved now.

Down.

Build. The build is not great. one of my mates dropped his from 30cm hight ... broken AF

Slow AF and Hunts in low light. But much faster than the F1.8MKII

Soft till F2/F2.2, sweet spot at F5.6 on a Crop and Great from F3.5 to F8 on a FF.


Sep 6, 2008
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Fevernight70
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Registered: May 20, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, cheap, very nice bokeh, sharp
Cons:
CA from f1.4 to f1.8, slow AF in very low light environments

I have been looking for half a year for a lense which could deliver very nice results for both portraits and very low light environments.

I had read very good critics about the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM and the EF 135mm f/2L USM, but for a beginner like me without any prior experience on using primes spending that big amount of money was not an option. After checking the very good critics on the reviews for the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, I rented one for the weekend and eventually bought one.

I got a good deal on a 2nd hand lense and since the moment I attached it to my camera, it has hardly been replaced for any other. Using a prime itself has refreshed my joy about photography. But the results that this lense delivers are what I was actually looking for.

On portraits you can get an incredible soft bokeh, and the colours out of it are very good. From f1.8 onwards its sharpness is also hard to top. Below that is a little soft, but I guess that must be the difference to the L-glass lenses.

For low lite environments (mainly concerts in my case), also superb. I can at last shoot concerts without having to use flash and thus getting pictures which do not catch the atmosphere of the moment or getting blurred pictures because of a slow lense/shutter speed. Most of the pictures are simply amazing, but you can often appreciate CA on chromed or metallic parts if shooting at f1.4-1.6 (again no L-glass; from f2.0 onwards problem solved) and the AF can be sometimes a little slow if the light is very very low (I guess it also has to do with using a 400D. It will probably be much better on a 40D or 5D).

I do definitely recommend this lense, since the only primes able to deliver better results are L-glass lenses, and that is simply a different league. If you are on budget, get it. No regrets.


Aug 27, 2008
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raczkevi
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Registered: Aug 14, 2008
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 14, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: IQ,blur,focus ring,USM,very good plastic,iron mouth,acceptable price for this IQ distinguished price value proportion
Cons:
plastic,the sunshade doesn't belong to the objective,

I use this excellent lens for my new 450D comlement the Canon EF-S 18-55 IS + EF 55-250 IS "big kit".
I was demanding already unfortunately onto the good brightness ...That's why this is on the machine the cases in 80%.. ;o)
I hade the small brother 50/1.8,but I fear for it because of it will disintegrate soon ..
The 50/1.8 is a toy,the 50/1.4 is a good lens for foto ;o)
Better blur,colors,sharpness..
The USM is great after the 1.8's micromotor..
Under 1.8 it is soft,but really nice.

I love this lens,and recommend for everibody-especially who buy it cheaper than I did here in Hungary...

Every digital things are expensive here.. >o(
Hereby are some new,fresh fotoes with this excellent baby :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/apuc/


Aug 14, 2008
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rentedmule
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Registered: Jun 13, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 41
Review Date: Aug 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, good focal length for indoor people shots on crop camera, light
Cons:
Only dependable after 1.8

When I first got this lens it was pretty bad between 1.4 and 2.8. Sent it to the Canon service center in Irvine. Now it is still soft at 1.4 but good at 1.8 and great at 2.0 and above. At 2.0 it is still a fast lens w/ great IQ for a little over $300. I love this lens on my 40D. Focus is fast in all but the darkest conditions. In my case if it won't focus it is too dark to shoot. Everybody is different but I am happy as I would bet the IQ at 2.0 and above is comparable to the 50 f/1.2L for a $1000 less.

I would pocket the savings over the 50L as they seem to have quite a bit of lens variation and put it towards the 85 f/1.2L II for your future full frame camera. That lens is spooky sharp everywhere.


Aug 4, 2008
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Tim Dollear
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Registered: Sep 11, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1168
Review Date: Jul 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: F1.4 opens lots of indoor no-flash possibilities. solid build and nice feel to the focus ring. Fast autofocus. takes 58mm filter size.
Cons:
Pretty unforgiving if anything is just slightly off.

I have had this lens for about 6 mos. It's hard not to compare it to the 50mm f1.8 (which is a great value but, let's face it, not a great lens). I have been really happy with a lot of the pictures I have taken, especially indoors. I also am sometimes disappointed with the pictures I take. It could be my lack of skills, but when you are shooting at less than f2.8, you have a razor thin focal depth. there's no way around that.

I also have the 100mm f2.8 macro and in my mind the two lenses compliment each other perfectly. They both take 58mm filters so you can share a polarizer. Filters in general are less expensive at 58mm, so I just replaced both cheapo UV filters (tamron) for B&W for about $30 a piece. I digress.

50mm is a great length on a crop camera (I am sure it's also great for FF but I don't own one). I take a lot of pics of my dogs and you can pretty much hold them back at arms length and get the full head in frame. If you have to use a prime for a walkabout lens, this would probably be the one.

While this isnt' an L lens, it feels really solid, esp compared to the all-plastic 50mm 1.8. I think as I get more skilled with this lens, I will improve my keeper rate.

Here is a picture of my weiner dog taken indoors with light from a picture window providing illumination. This was at F4.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2626801540/in/set-72157605638689767/


Jul 29, 2008
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Strat60
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Registered: Jun 15, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 308
Review Date: Jul 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent low light performance; sharp even at 1.4 if you hit it right; a serious step up from the 50 1.8 II
Cons:
No lens hood included; plastic, but still a high quality plastic; hard to find things I don't like

I have had the "Nifty Fifty" for about 1.5 years and that lens got me hooked on primes.

I find this 1.4 lens to be superior in most every way to the 50 1.8 II.

First, sharpness. It can be hard to nail the focus at f/1.4, especially on a 5D at closer distances. But when you hit it, this is still quite sharp wide open. Stopped down to 2.0, 2.8, wow. I shot a bunch of portraits last week between f/5 and f/8 and they were stunning.

As a point of reference, I have a 24-70L, 24-105L, 70-200 4L, and the 85 1.8 to compare this lens to.

I have a very hard time telling the difference in IQ between this lens and the 24-70 at 50mm. I usually have to look at EXIF data to figure out which lens I was using, unless the photo is so sharp you get a paper cut, then I can tell it was the 50 1.4.

Next--Price? After dropping $1200 US on the 24-70, and $2800 on the 5D kit with the 24-105L kit, $325 US just doesn't seem like a lot of money. This lens is relatively much more money than the 50 1.8, but I'll tell you, the 1.8 II doesn't see any use except on my Rebel XT in my kids' hands these days. If there were no 1.8 available for $90 I don't think anyone would think the 1.4 costs a lot. It doesn't, especially when you start looking at how much the L lineup goes for.

AF--If you are wondering whether to settle for the 1.8 MkII, I can tell you I enjoyed the II, but the 1.4 is far superior in AF accuracy, speed and volume. The 1.8 II is loud and buzzy, it hunts, especially in low light (and sometimes never achieves focus), and misfocuses quite a lot. The 1.4's USM is very nice. Not as fast as the L lenses I own, but worlds ahead of the MkII. It is quiet, and seems to be much more accurate and consistent.

Build--While not metal, and not L quality by any means, it is still far superior to the toy-like MkII. The plastic is tougher. I think it is the same build quality as the 85 1.8 (seems like it). Also, there is a real focus ring here which I find to be quite smooth and useful. It has a metal mount too, not plastic like the MkII.

Bokeh--The MkII bokeh is chunky and blocky. The 1.4's bokeh is much smoother and is very much more pleasing to my eye. While not quite up to the bokeh I get from the 24-70L, it appears every bit as good as the 85 1.8.

In your kit--The 50mm f/1.4makes a great complement to the 85mm f/1.8 as I have both a 5D and a 40D. With the 85 on the 5D and the 50 on the 40D, my wife and I can shoot a kids/family portrait shoot with almost identical focal lengths.

With the 50mm on the 5D and the 85mm on the 40D, it's like having a 50 and a 135mm and switching between the two bodies with those two focal lengths is very useful.

I have not noticed significant CA, as some have noted, but I did not go looking for it either, so maybe if I hunt I'll find some.

All in all, this lens is an incredible piece of glass for what I believe to be a very good price. Really, if you can get a good lens this good for less than $500, you can't complain can you?

I would highly recommend this to anyone, even if you already have the 1.8 II. While the Nifty Fifty is an awesome bang for the buck and the two lenses seem to be pretty close IQ wise, the 1.4 is still a huge step up in quality.


Jul 26, 2008
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the_rebel
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Registered: Oct 25, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 1230
Review Date: Jul 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: 1.4, small, light, price
Cons:
price, cheapish feel, old USM, CA

This lens has some of the worst CA i've seen, and it's especially visible at 1.4 in good light.
if this is not something that bothers you by all means get it.

I still use the lens for my wedding work as it is 1.4, and 50mm is a very workable distance as opposed to 85mm L which requires a little more leg room, however, this is comparing apples and oranges.


It's a nice little lens and i do recommend it if you can live with the Chromatic Aberrations


Jul 25, 2008
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JustForFun
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Registered: Jul 23, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $299.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fantastic Image Quality and Bokeh for its Price.
Cons:
Could be of better build

I own 3 L Zoom lenses including the highly rated EF 70-200 f/4 L IS USM but this lens, in sharpness, contrast and bokeh, is awesome for the money I paid for, It is simply GREAT VALUE.

I use it mainly on my EOS 40D and with the 1.6x crop, it just gives you the ideal potrait focal length of 80mm for FF with a f/1.4 aperture. Needless to say, a fast prime is a joy to use indoors.

Micromotor USM is a only noisy if you are use to the soft whispers of a Ring Type USM. Compared with the Nikkor AF50 f1.4D which I used many years ago on Nikon D1 and film base FM2 to F5 series, the focusing sound is a bit more tolerable but both lenses are just as fast.

Canon could definitely improve its build quality. Need not be a AF 50/1.2L but at least like the EF-S 17-85 f4.5-5.6 or EF-S 17-55 f2.8.

This lens just reminded how good in quality and value primes can be.


Jul 23, 2008
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whereswheats
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Registered: Jan 16, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Incredible sharpness from f/2.0 onwards
Cons:
Focus ring a little "rough", stopped down bokeh is not as smooth as it could be.

I just purchased this lens refurbished a few weeks ago, and although a tad softer wide open than when stopped down, the image quality is still quite excellent.

Stopped down to f/2.0 the sharpness is amazing on my 5D, sharper than my 85 f/1.8 which until now has been my favourite lens, and noticably sharper than my 24-70L (which I am using less and less as I discover the joy of shooting with primes).

I don't have the 135mm f/2.0 yet, that will be my next purchase and from all reports maybe the only lens I'll ever own that could beat this. I can't afford the 50 or 85 1.2 lenses, and judging from the results I can get from the cheaper equivalents, I doubt the difference would be all that much anyway.

My 85 produces slightly better bokeh when stopped down, it's not quite circular on the 50, and the focus ring isn't quite as smooth either, but other than this I can't really pick any faults. This lens is quickly becoming a favourite, it has stayed on the camera since I bought it.

Very impressed so far!


Jul 9, 2008
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Herjulfr
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Registered: Jul 5, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 37
Review Date: Jul 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compact, relatively low price, sharp at all apertures
Cons:
Cheap construction, prone to flare

After having tried the 50mm f1.8 for a few weeks, I have decided to get the 50mm f1.4 for its superior image quality, its decent focus ring (compared to the f1.8) and the USM. This lens is sharp wide open and the softness that many will experience is quite probably due to mis-focusing. Focusing is indeed inconsistent with my EOS 350D (it can hunt wildly for a few seconds in low light), while it is spot on with my EOS 1N.

Construction-wise, the lens feels very cheap for its price (and especially when compared to an old FD 50mm f1.8). It is surprising light compared to my other lenses (135mm L and 17-40L). I was disappointed by the cheep feeling of the focus ring. It is far from being as smooth as on my other lenses. All this said, it does its job correctly and focusing is much easier than on the 50mm f1.8.

All in all, it is a great lens optically (as I have said, sharp from f1.4, but you will see some CA and sometimes halation at this aperture), but it would be nice if it had the construction of the other non-L USM lenses.

Oh, and there is no lens hood included. Since the lens is prone to flare, this accessory is almost mandatory.



Jul 7, 2008
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Conrad Tan
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Registered: Dec 8, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 28372
Review Date: Jun 30, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: $315.00

Pros: Suuuuuuuuper fast! Bokeh is excellent! Price is very reasonable for the results you can get.
Cons:
Feels cheap compared to an L lens... but that's ok considering the price.

This baby lets me shoot in near dark conditions, not as well as my buddy's 50mm f1.2L, but I get JUST AS GOOD results as he does IQ wise without paying for the f1.2L price! Luckily my copy is super sharp. Go get one, you'll love it!
This was taken in near darkness!
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3101/2628630048_359b5da516.jpg


Jun 30, 2008
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
385 1159524 Mar 26, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $320.09
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.94
8.72
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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