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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
385 1159384 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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dkyeah
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Registered: Dec 10, 2013
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 26, 2014 Recommend? no | Price paid: $389.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Price, size, sharpness
Cons:
Construction, AF, durability, no weather sealing

I bought this lens about a year ago in the hope of replacing my 50 1.8 which was too loud for wedding photography. The first few days I was pretty excited about it, it worked great. Though it's not stellar and not an L lens by any means, for less than 500$ it was quite good.
Then I took it out with me on a wedding and things didn't go as expected… Most of the shots were either front or back focused depending on how far the subject was. For example if I shot an environmental portrait the lens would front focus and if I shot something closeup it would back focus… So MAF wasn't an option. I tried to shoot with smaller apertures, but it didn't change a thing. I sent it back to Canon under warranty and they changed the AF motor. It worked for about a week or two and then the problems started again.

I can't wait for Sigma to get their new 50mm 1.4 Art Serie out! I will then decide if I get the Sigma or the 1.2. Will see, but either way the 1.8 is a better option than the 50 1.4, except for the loudy AF.

I've shot the following wedding mostly with the 50mm 1.4 if you want to see sample images. The one display on the link are in focus though :P http://quentindecaillet.com/blog/3213-photo-mariage-erica-alphadio.html


Mar 26, 2014
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avi monin
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Registered: Mar 14, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 351
Review Date: Oct 4, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $349.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, 1.4!!!
Cons:
none so far

I've had this lens for a few months now, maybe I am lucky I dont know but my copy is very sharp (kicks the Tamron 28-75's behind), I just love the 1.4, the images gets a nice flow from sharpness to bokeh.
It is built much better than the 1.8 version.
why spend the money of this lens? well you get very well built lens, much better glass which leads to sharper image, and the 1.4 is just lovely.


Oct 4, 2013
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grizzlywon
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Registered: Apr 14, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 232
Review Date: Oct 4, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price. The quality is amazing for a lens you can get for $300-350.
Cons:
Not great at focusing in low light, but way better than the 1.8

Unless you make a lot of money doing photography I would recommend this over the 1.2 just do to the fact that it's only $300-350.

Oct 4, 2013
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scott_scheetz
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Registered: Oct 31, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 9, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $287.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice image quality, great bokeh, good AF, Sharp
Cons:
Micro-USM, build quality

This lens lives on my camera most of the time. I love the 50mm focal length, its just right. The image quality is great, and the bokeh is quite lovely, but the build quality is sub-par. Its not even on the same level as the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, and the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM, which in my opinion, it should be on that level at least. The price is very similar to both the 85mm and the 28mm.

My next compliant is the lousy AF motor. It says "ultrasonic" on the lens, but its actually a micro-USM, so its not as fast or durable as a real USM motor, and isn't as accurate in low light. Its also not quiet. You can hear a slight wiring of gears as it focuses. I would have been more than happy to pay $50-$100 more for a lens with a real a real USM motor in it like the 85mm and the 28mm.

Other than the build quality and the AF motor, I love this lens. Its sharp, great colors, and marvelous bokeh.

Some sample images on the Canon 5D:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottscheetz/9684526258/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottscheetz/9481963519/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottscheetz/9681288107/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottscheetz/9681285985/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottscheetz/9262848829/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottscheetz/9096239571/


Sep 9, 2013
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oldshutterhand
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Registered: Jan 24, 2012
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 21, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very unique and excellent image quality, good and quiet autofocus
Cons:
perhaps some distortion on FF, and built quality little fragile


This is a wonderful lens for portrait or for wedding. I can imagine a sharper lens, but this lens makes excellent images even when out of focus, or completely in the shade. F1.4 sharpness is very useful in a dark room. I highly recommend this lens if you after image quality and need this focal length. I heard about different quality copies though.


See in more detail at:
http://oldshutterhand.com/equipment-reviews/canon-1-4-50mm/


Aug 21, 2013
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JCollett
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Registered: May 8, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 8, 2013 Recommend? no | Price paid: $310.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Um, I guess inexpensive but not really. Good center sharpness at f/5.6 to f/8
Cons:
EXTREMELY soft in centerfrom f/1.4 to f/2. Very soft until f/4. Inconsistent focus lock.

This was a lens I've wanted for some time. The very first EF lens I purchased was a 1987 EF 50mm f/1.8; the original one with the metal mount. Been a decent lens but nothing to write home about. Got the 40mm f/2.8 STM this past year and have loved it for its size and great sharpness from 2.8 to the diffraction limit. Got the 50mm f/1.4 USM brand new thinking this should at least improve on the 50 1.8 that is 26 years old and purchased 2nd hand. NOPE! The old lens wide open at 1.8 was a bit sharper than the new 1.4 lens at 1.8! The lens only gets good at f/4 and is very good f/5.6 to f/8 but what lens isn't? My 24-105 f/4L zoom can do just fine at f/4 and is far more versatile. For size reasons, the 1.8 is even smaller and getting equivalent sharpness. So the only minor advantages this lens showed was manual focus override and a somewhat quieter autofocus. The lens will be going back and I have to really think if it is worth attempting another copy. Really wanted a normal lens with a wide aperture; may have to keep waiting to see if Canon ever updates this like the 35, 28, and 24 have.
For those interested, here is the Reikan FoCal Aperture Sharpness test results for the lens.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5pigd2s97sxpkt9/130507_183425_FoCal_ApSharpness_5DmkII_3621701455_EF50mm%20f_1.4%20USM_50mm.PDF


May 8, 2013
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rater
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Registered: Mar 26, 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 22
Review Date: Apr 19, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great for low light environments, nice optics.
Cons:
None.

Since I bought this lens it has been on my camera much of the time I have been shooting. In a crop sensor makes a great portrait lens and in full frame I find is wide enough as a walk around lens.

Although some people complains about build quality, if you are upgrading to this lens from a 50mm 1.8 you will be positively satisfied with its quality. Obviously, you can not compare to the build quality of an L lens, but then the price is not the same.


Apr 19, 2013
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ImNOTpermanent
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Registered: Feb 13, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Feb 16, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: beautiful background blur, incredibly fast autofocus, sharp pictures
Cons:
on a cropped sensor there's less in the frame than ideal.

great price, great lens. on a cropped sensor it doesnt leave much in the frame and i constantly found myself wanting to move further and further back and sometimes not having that option became frustrating. otherwise the lens produced incredible quality images. great color, great contrast, beautiful bokeh. and on a full frame this lens would be the absolutely perfect combination of price, performance and size. i'd highly recommend it for full frame cameras, otherwise if you're sticking to a cropped sensor i'd sooner recommend the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 at about the same price and performance.

Feb 16, 2013
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asanduloiu
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Registered: Feb 2, 2009
Location: Romania
Posts: 377
Review Date: Feb 3, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great opportunity for indoor use! Good autofocus, sharp even at an open aperture.
Cons:
Not an L, but also far from the L price...

Already enthusiastic about the possibilities offered by this lens. I do owe some three L lenses, but all of them are f4. Some pictures on www.sanduloiu.ro

Feb 3, 2013
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Gunzorro
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Registered: Aug 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 6057
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: 29
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: 297
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: 0
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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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
385 1159384 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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