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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
388 1170774 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.32
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.91
8.70
8.8
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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deriscal
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Registered: Dec 5, 2005
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: A very nice portrait lens, great bokeh, fast and silent, bright.
Cons:
in comparison to 50mm 1.8 should not be that expensive especially with that plastic finish.



Jan 1, 2008
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andylaiphoto
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Registered: May 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2871
Review Date: Dec 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality, price..
Cons:
Cheap build

Of all my photographic purchases this one proves to be one of my favorites. When I want to get away from the commercial grind I put this on my 5D and just shoot. No rules, deadlines, or requirements. This combination reminds me of why I like to do what I do.

The image quality is excellent. Vignettes a bit wide open but so do all lenses on the 5D. I manual focus so I can't speak of the AF speed or accuracy, but I haven't had issues yet when I do my random AF tests....which are very unscientific or structured. Just once in a while I'll use the AF to play.

The only gripe is the build quality and materials used. I've been spoiled by L lenses and the focus ring on this feels like a Playskool my first 50mm.

Other than that this lens rocks. I couldn't justify the price difference between this and the 1.2 despite the L build quality. The image quality is not that far off from one another. And this one is less bulk.

I love this lens.



Dec 22, 2007
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gobenho
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Registered: Mar 18, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very sharp @ f/1.8. Fast and silent focusing. Cheap filters.
Cons:
f/1.6 and below has some serious softness in the corners.

I've been shooting with this lens for about a month now and I'm really enjoying its results. It doesn't draw much attention and is great in low light conditions. It's great being able to shoot at ISO400 f/1.8 instead of ISO800 f/2.8.

I highly recommend doing a focus test with this lens if you choose to buy it. My copy fortunately did not have front/back focus issues; I was able to confirm this easily with a printable focus chart that I found online (http://www.focustestchart.com/chart.

On my crop body, it's a great lens for tight portraits, when I (eventually) get a Full Frame body, it'll be an even better walk-around lens.


Dec 18, 2007
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7591
Review Date: Nov 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price, good (not excellent) IQ, sharpness, light, inconspicuous
Cons:
front focus issue, AF accuracy, build, no lenshood included

I bought this lens because the 35L wasn't in stock and I needed something for full body shots in available (low) light. I had it checked by Canon Service. It turns out the lens had a front focus. But since the 50mm 1.4 is an old design, it isn't possible to calibrate it by using software, like with newer lenses. Calibration is possible, to some extent, by making changes to the actual lens itself. The technician couldn't get it set to "zero". For that he had to take the lens apart. So even after calibration a slight front focus remains.

Now, how does this front focus show? When I shoot flat test objects like a newspaper on a wall, it only comes into focus at around f/2. Up till f/2 it is very soft (unusable). But, in real life shooting the front focus strangely enough doesn't show up. I even get properly focused and sharp images at f/1.8.

So when focus is right, I would say the 50mm f/1.4 sample I have is already sharp at f/1.8. At f/2.2 it becomes noticebly sharper. From f/2.8 and further it is really very sharp up till f/11. An excellent performance. But sharpness isn't all. Bokeh is smooth under f/2.8. Above f/2.8 it is average. Colors are good, so is contrast. Not up to the same levels as my (L) primes, but still good.

AF is fast. Sometimes it has difficulty grabbing on to something. Particularly when contrast is low or when there isn't enough light. Maybe the slight front focus has something to do with this. Maybe the lens uses outdated AF algorithms. In any case, AF accuracy could be better.

Build quality is OK for the price. Lots of plastics, metal mount. Good feel on the MF ring. Very light and inconspicuous. Perfect for travelling. Too bad a lenshood isn't included.



Nov 16, 2007
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toma7
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Registered: Jan 31, 2007
Location: Austria
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: bokeh, fast focus, sharp from f/2, size, weight, cheap, low distortion, from f/2 not worse than 50mm 1.2
Cons:
soft until f/2, build, image quality not really better than from 50mm 1.8
Nov 12, 2007
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Doug Weasner
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Registered: Oct 24, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 221
Review Date: Oct 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Like having a set of night vision goggles.
Cons:
None.

Flash free hand held shots with a lens that is less than three inches long produce excellent candid shots at parties and the like. F/1.4 is incredible - coupled with ISO 800 you can get usable shots in what seems like no light. The results only get better, at least from a technical perspective, with a flash at lower ISO and stopped down some.

I replaced a 50 1.8 with this unit, and am glad I did. My 50 1.4 is somewhat soft but usable for candids and small prints wide open, an improvement over the 1.8's wide open halation. USM (although not ring type) is an improvement, as is the better build (metal mount, etc). A worthy piece of glass for indoor work. Basically, this lens improves on the 50 1.8 in pretty much every way, while keeping the price reasonable.


Oct 24, 2007
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Jeroen Kransen
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Registered: Oct 2, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 2, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Incredibly useful focal length on small-sensor (equivalent 80mm), f/1.4, great lens for any family with a baby owning a small-sensor body
Cons:
Some "ghosting" at f/1.4

I bought this lens because I needed a fast lens for our baby's baptising in a darkish church. Tripod or flash would be too intrusive.

After considering Sigma's 30mm f/1.4 and Canon's 28 f/1.8, this was my final choice. I thought that in the long run, 50mm would be a more useful focal length, although 30mm would be considered "standard" on a small sensor. I already own (a.o.) the Tamron 28-75 and I noticed from the EXIF data that I often end up at or close to 50mm with my 30D. I was right, it's just enough tele to make it a good portrait lens, while at the same end it's not too tele in that I can use it all the time in our apartment to shoot baby and/or mother, without taking a lot of distance. The lens is very compact, compared to most zooms, making it very handholdable while e.g. playing with the baby and also not too intimidating.

Shooting in available light is often much better than flashing, at first the softer light looks better often and the flash also scares the baby.

Beware only of the paper-thin DoF at wide apertures. This feature is not specific for this lens, but is good to consider when you plan to shoot at wide apertures rather than to flash.

My copy creates some "ghosting" at f/1.4, an apartment building against a light sky displayed a copy edge in the sky, a few pixels away from the real edge. Maybe it's just flare. I only noticed it at 1.4 and who whould shoot at 1.4 with that much light anyway?

At photo.net, the review of Canon's 85mm f/1.8 recommends it as a must-have for any family with a new baby. I did not try that lens, but I would like to make exactly that statement about this lens! I think 85mm will often be too long at least indoors.


Oct 2, 2007
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Atle Goutbeek
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Registered: Sep 14, 2007
Location: Norway
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: It's a prime so very high quality for price, tack sharp at f2.0 and up, light, fast focus, L-quality colours, very nice bokeh, did I say cheap? Very cheap!
Cons:
Not 'L-build', f1.8 not good enough for my use, and 1.4 useless. But hey,this is only small minus, that you can expect when you look at the price.

Offcourse I would reather have the 50mm f1.0 for it's build quality and sharpness wide open, but if you want a nice lens with high quality picture at f2.0 and up, this is the one. The IQ is a lot better then it's respected little brothe, the 1.8 and the ekstra money seems to me welle spend. The f1.4 can save you with 'okay' pictures in low light in stead of none at all.
I've heard some rumors that there are a some blurry examples on the used marked, so try first before you buy.

I can reccomend this lens to anyone with a small wallet that like good vallue for his money.


Sep 14, 2007
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William Austin
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Registered: Sep 30, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very fast focusing, sharp, compact
Cons:
none

I got this lens and the Canon 10-22mm for documentary and street photography, I wanted something light and compact but sharp and fast focusing, the 50mm f1.4 fits that bill dead on, the 10-22mm and 50mm combo works very well for me.

IQ from the 50mm f1.4 is pin sharp at f2.2 and up but I've not really use it at wider than f2.2 so I don't know what it's like at 1.4, but I didn't buy it for that anyway.

I've had both the Canon 50mm f1.8 MK1 and the Canon 50mm f2.5 macro as well, out of all 3 the 50mm f2.5 macro was the sharpest but it was too bulky and very slow at focusing.

If your in the market for a good cheap 50mm lens then this might just be the one for you

used on Canon 30D & 40D


Sep 13, 2007
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Review Date: Sep 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small size, little weight, good image outputs
Cons:
Build could be a little better, comes without a hood

It is a very good lens, bokeh is much better than in 50 1.8. At f2.0 it produces a very creamy stuff in the background like here http://szche.ru/index.php?showimage=11 but against very bright background it produces a quite awful thing, so use it wisely Wink

It gets very sharp from 2.8 and provides a good contrast and quite acceptable from 2.0. Mine had no back or front focus. The only bad thing i can say about it is the focusing ring, it feels like a large piece of glass wool got under it when you spin it…


Sep 5, 2007
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anthonygh
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Registered: Jan 8, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1852
Review Date: Sep 3, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: See two reviews down
Cons:
See two reviews down

I have spent a bit more time with this lens and I am increasingly impressed!

My initial doubts were unfounded in that my focussing technique was the problem - focussing at 1.4 has to be spot on as the DoF is so shallow it's easy to get it wrong - get it right and this lens is sharp from 1.4 (with some USM) to exceptional sharp by 2.8...really really sharp. I did the comparison with my fd equivalent (B+W Ilford FP4 film) and sharp as that lens is this version is sharper.

I am still more than happy with build quality, focussing speed etc...it's not a 'L' grade lens build wise but (like my 1.8 85mm) it's a decent bit of kit.

The down side really is that I bought it to use for portraits on a 10D and I don't think I will use it that much as I'm not really a shallow DoF person ( this lens might change that) and at my usual studio aperture (around f8) my 28 - 128 is pretty good and more flexible! And for head shots the 85mm 1.8 is unbeatable.

But I don't think I will be selling it for some time yet!


Sep 3, 2007
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wiyum
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Registered: Oct 6, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Maximum aperture, build quality, image quality, size, weight... pretty much everything. Even the price is reasonable.
Cons:
Maybe not 3 times better than the 50mm 1.8, to justify 3 times the cost

I've had this lens for a little over two years and I love it. On my film body it is a perfect walk-around lens, and it is an ideal portrait lens on my 20d. I've been consistently impressed with the image quality. It is built very well, just shy of the L-quality that I've reserved the "10" rating for. I couldn't be happier.

The question, I guess, is if I'm that much happier than I'd have been with the 50/1.8, at a third of the price. The build quality, certainly, is vastly better. The extra half stop is nice... not essential, but nice. I haven't shot with the 50/1.8, so I couldn't compare IQ, but I couldn't ask for much more from the 1.4. Some users have need for quiet autofocus, so the USM is another advantage for those users. In the end, I'm glad I spring for this lens, but as good as I hear the 1.8 is, I think there's a case to be made either way.

As a final note, I have the hood and normally use it, but I haven't noticed a huge benefit on this lens, unlike my 28/1.8 where the hood has made a huge difference. I'm all in favor of hoods, but if you're budget-strapped and on the fence, you can probably get by without it most of the time.


Aug 26, 2007
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anthonygh
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Registered: Jan 8, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1852
Review Date: Aug 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Well made for its price bracket...exceptionally sharp at f4 plus
Cons:
Seems soft wide open (particularly when compared to my 85mm) and needs some skill to get decent results.

I was in two minds about buying this lens after some of the comments here but I am a T90 user as well and have the excellent FD 1.4 lens so I felt this must be better! To be honest, now I'm not so sure; it seems harder to get a good result; but to some extent I put that down to the shallow DoF and the need for critical focussing (on my 10D) which seems less of a problem with the manual focus T90 / FD lens.

After some considerable experimentation I found that (for some reason) images on the monitor looked soft (at f1.4) but they sharpened up amazingly with a decent dose of sharpening...providing I had focussed on the right spot. From about f2 the results were very decent. from f4 as sharp as any other lens I own...apart from the 70 - 200 L f4, which seems to be in a class of its own.

The more I play with this lens the better I like it. I'm not willing to do a studio shoot with it yet (I actually bought it as a '85mm' for my Canon 10D) but I'm getting there. I will probably use it on my EOS 3 very soon which will be interesting as I can make a more direct comparison between it and the FD f1.4 I own - if anything interesting crops up I will add another review.

PS: There have been several moans about noise during focussing etc compared to USM. People are being picky in my opinion; focussing is swift, accurate, and virtually silent. USM lenses might be better..but the difference is effectively meaningless in the real world...out there in the field, so to speak!


Aug 21, 2007
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jayceooi
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Registered: Jul 23, 2007
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 14
Review Date: Jul 25, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: $284.00

 
Pros: Fast, light, good for portrait.
Cons:
None for the moment.

This first lens that I have. It is great. Just started to play with it. It is not wide enough on 1.6x crop body. Check out these link for the photo quality.

Butterfly Farm at Cameron Highlands, Pahang

Kok Lim Self Plucking Strawberry Farm at Cameron Highlands

Cactus Valley at Cameron Highlands, Pahang

Cactus Point at Cameron Highlands


Jul 25, 2007
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HMZRHS
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Registered: Apr 10, 2007
Location: Brunei
Posts: 62
Review Date: Jul 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast good for Low Light and Potriats
Cons:
None
Jul 19, 2007
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Vincent Armato
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Registered: Jul 15, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very light sensitive. Good price for the lens quality.
Cons:
Build quality could be better.

A great lens for the money!

I used to use my 50mm f/1.8 'plastic fantastic' and was fairly pleased with it. The bokeh and loud, slower focusing wasn't too pleasing however so I decided to upgrade.

The 50mm f/1.4 is VERY sensitive to light...I love it! It is my go to lens for natural light conditions, particularly inside and in the evening outdoors.

Another handy use for this light sensitivity is fast shutter action shots when there is adequate lighting. Yes, you have a fixed length, but you can stop the action is a split second with adequate lighting conditions while staying at an ISO of 100 or 200. This gives great sports shots if you can place yourself in a key spot....for instance home plate shots in baseball.

The bokeh is stellar....very smooth for the price of the lens. The autofocus speed is quite adequate for most situations.

It is exceptionally sharp for me at f/2.0 or higher, but still adequately sharp at f/1.4. Sometimes I find a touch of sharpening with a good software package can really help if you want better sharpness and you need the shallower depth of field and more sensitivity to light.

The portraits are fantastic with this lens - definitely the lens I go to when I have a setup shot condition and I want the absolute best color, clarity and smooth background.

I also like the small and unobtrusive size of the lens.

If you are thinking that you don't need this lens because you are carrying an L zoom lens that covers the focal length, remember that this will outperform the L for sharpness at f/2.8 and most importantly can carry you into much smaller DOF and light sensitive scenarios.

Get it! It's a great value if you can't afford the 50 or 85mm f/1.2 L lenses.

- Vince


Jul 15, 2007
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
388 1170774 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.32
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.91
8.70
8.8
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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