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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
395 1200222 Apr 18, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.57
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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pziasd
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Registered: Dec 27, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 576
Review Date: Apr 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $309.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Price and speed
Cons:
Backfocus issue

I bought this lens new from Adorama and I decided to test this lens to see if this copy would have a focus problem that seems to plague other owners...and yes...my copy has focusing issues too. Instead of sending it back to Adorama for an exchange I sent this lens to Canon Factory Service Center, I also sent a CD with the test photos I took...this lens was soft from f1.4 to f2.8, beyond that it got sharper. The diagnosis from Canon was that it did have a focus problem and it was corrected electronically, the electronics were tested and the lens cleaned...not that it needed cleaning since it was NIB. I'm expecting delivery tomorrow afternoon and I'll test it again to make sure it has really been fixed.

Apr 4, 2007
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Sensorman
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Registered: Mar 23, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 23, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $310.00

 
Pros: Could have been sharp if it werent for backfocus.
Cons:
Backfocus makes it unusable.

This lens has a terrible backfocus problems.
I tested 3 brand new lenses on 2 Canon 20D bodies.
All had exactly the same problem. Backfocus.
99 percent of the reviews here insist that this lens is soft at f/1.4. I think this "diagnosis" is wrong. It's exceptionally sharp at f1.4. The problem is that it is sharp on everything behind the focusing point.
At first I thought I had a bad one, so I exchanged it. The second one had exactly the same results, then I exchange the second one and brought another D20 camera body for the tests. All to no avail. Backfocus. Backfocus. Backfocus.
On the other hand my Canons 35mm f/2.0, 85mm f/1.8 and 70-200mm f/4.0L lenses were all perfect on my now two 20D bodies. In rare cases when I got lucky and "caught" it sharp and properly focused, then the shots looked sharp, although excessively warm.
Most of the time this lens cannot be trusted. The unnatural warmth is also annoying. I also tried 50mm f1.8 - the same results, although without the pesky warm cast. Which makes me think that 50mm lenses and 20D are simply incompatible by design.
When you step down to f/4 it gets much much much better. But we don't really buy this lens to use it at f/4. The whole idea of it is f/1.4, isn't it? That's why I am giving the lowest possible rating.
My 35mm F/2.0, however, produces excellent results, although a bit noisy and with a slower AF. In fact I did compare it with 35mm f/1.4L and I didn't see much difference, really except $900 difference in price. The same with 85mm f/1.8 USM and 85mm f/1.2L - the result are almost the same, the price $1400 less.
The 70-200 f/4L however is a completely different story. This one is just absolutely incredible. There's so much clarity and air in that glass! The color and saturation are a perfection.
Once you try it there's no way back, nothing compares to it.



Mar 23, 2007
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mottainai
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Registered: Feb 12, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 7
Review Date: Mar 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light, small, 1.4, relatively cheap
Cons:
could not find one

This is my lens for low light fotography (I use it on a 5D).

Mar 22, 2007
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temalibero
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Registered: Sep 18, 2005
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, good color, USM
Cons:
none.

The best one 50mm for the 35mm cameras.

Mar 18, 2007
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KevinA
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Registered: Dec 5, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Sharp after f4
Cons:
unsharp below f4,

It's not really a fast lens as wide open it's very soft, stopped down it's nice and sharp. I'm hopeing the new f1.2 performs at the wide end.
Don't buy this lens if you want a sharp fast lens, buy it if you want a sharp f4.


Mar 4, 2007
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rthrbfshn
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Registered: Oct 21, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 39
Review Date: Mar 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Cost, quality of photos
Cons:
None discovered

This lense and my 85 f1.8 are used more than my L-zooms. Perhaps when I progress to more L primes I will notice some faults posted by other users, so far this and the 85 rule.

Mar 4, 2007
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Digipat
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Registered: Aug 3, 2005
Location: France
Posts: 141
Review Date: Feb 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: read...
Cons:
purple fringing at 1.4 to 1.8

On a 350D (rebel XT)

Let's go straight to the main concern of a lot of people: "resolution" when the picture is viewed on a screen at 100%:
at f1.4: good
f1.6 & 1.8: very good
f2 & 2.2: excellent
f2.5 and "slower": incredible.

Acording to me, purple fringing is rather bothering at 1.4 down to 1.8. (hight at 1.4) for some subjects.

Borders are on par with center. (350D)

I like the contrast from 1.8.

Focus is very precise and rather fast.

Bokeh is a bit weird from time to time as I am not accustomed to these apertures.

In the field, for what I use it for: excellent for portraits. Portraits printed on A4, show no problem at f1.4...
It is real that they appear to be rather "soft" at 1,4 on 100% crops but I think that it is due to the small DOF (often 2cm on these moving targets...) and the lack of strong light (low contrast and a rather slow shutter speed in general). I took night shots of buildings at 1.4 and (except for the purple fringing that appear on this kind of subjects) the results are very good!
Do not imagine that with 1.4 you can take picture at candle light (as I often read) if you do not like to use higher iso than 400...

Remember that on A4, even at 1.4, it is very good.



Feb 22, 2007
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Peter Eavis
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Registered: Feb 5, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $310.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp and pleasing above 2.8. Unimposing (don't underestimate that). Better than most L-zooms at 50mm. Cheap, comparatively. Warm colors. Good bokeh.
Cons:
AF hunts a little too much in low lights. Somewhat soft below 2.8. Purple fringing occurs just a bit too often.

I don't get the sharpness with this non-L 50mm that I do at wide (f/3.2+) apertures on my 135mm and my 35mm L-lenses. That might seem obvious to some, but I mention it in case you are thinking you're picking up something very close to prime for a much lower price. That said, the results on this lens can be stunning above f/3.2. It doesn't render images overly harsh, like the non-L 35mm.

All in all, this is definitely worth having if you're going to party and don't want an imposing lens.

The question really is: What sort of light does it stop excelling in? In a window lit room with a fair amount of light, this lens can be opened to 2.8 -3.2 and give great results, results that are comparable with primes.

But if we get into bulb-lit scenarios, it starts to underperform markedly, compared with the primes. So, think about what you need it for.

Some shots:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eavis/393252675/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eavis/393252768/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eavis/393252890/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eavis/393253022/


Feb 17, 2007
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Dan Doucette
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Registered: Nov 2, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 27
Review Date: Feb 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $310.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Affordable, small, lightweight, discreet, portable, f/1.4 for use in a jam, did I mention how affordable it is? It's very affordable.
Cons:
Poor image quality in the f/1.4-f/1.8 range, just acceptable build quality (but what do you expect for this price).

I bought this lens to use only in the f/1.4-f/2 range when lighting conditions fell below what I could hand hold my f/2.8 zooms in. I never used it in the f/2.8-22 range (except for tests). My comments about this lens must be viewed from the perspective of only using the lens for hand-held, low-light, indoor/outdoor shooting.

I have mixed feelings about this lens.

I love the small size and light weight. It is somewhat discreet and unimposing. I could carry it in a pocket if needed. The price is amazingly affordable for a f/1.4 lens. The colors and contrast that the lens produces are great. It's a fun lens to use and small enough to go everywhere. When stopped down below f/2, the image quality is good and below f/2.8 its great. But I was not using the lens often at these stopped down apertures.

I was using it almost exclusively in the f/1.4-f/2 range for low-light, hand-held shooting, and often at these apertures, the image quality was not good enough for my needs. The lens was soft in the f/1.4-f/1.8 range and produced halos around bright highlights. Sometimes there was a "dreamy" overall softness and "smudging" in pictures at f/1.4 The lens, at these wide apertures, works best for pictures where the subject is close to the camera. As they get farther sway, the image quality degrades significantly. People say that you need to stop this lens down a bit to get good image quality and they are right, but I did not buy this lens to use it stopped down, I needed f/1.4-1.8 performance, and in this respect the lens was lacking.

I ended up selling it (and a 24L) and getting a 35L (with provides better wide aperture performance). The results, for my demanding low light shooting are much better.

I still recommend this lens, but with a note of caution. Its a great bargain because it's an f/1.4 lens for $300. In many respects the lens performs great, like when stopped down a bit to f/2. The colors and contrast are good. Just don't expect stellar performance from a $300 lens when shooting at f/1.4. I wish it had performed better because it was a great little lens to use.

-Dan Doucette
www.infotography.com


Feb 16, 2007
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tcphoto
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Registered: Mar 29, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1022
Review Date: Feb 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $295.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: The 1.4 is a solidly built lens. The boken is very pleasant and sharp from F2.0 and up. A relatively low price for the speed. The build quality is much better than the 1.8II.
Cons:
Rarely can you achieve a truly sharp image at F1.4.

I traded up from the 1.8II version when I bought a FF body. The 1.8II plastic lens mount instilled no confidence and I'm happy to have sold it. I am very happy with the boken and the 1.4 is sharper compared to the previous lens. The viewfinder is a bit brighter which makes manual focus easier. I rarely use autofocus in my work, so I cannot comment on it's focusing speed.

Feb 14, 2007
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AndrewTee
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Registered: Dec 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 288
Review Date: Jan 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, outstanding in low light, small, price
Cons:

This was my first lens for my 30D and it is still my favorite. It simply takes great photos, especially in low light. Upon seeing the photos from this lens my wife asked me why I did not get a "real" camera sooner. Compared to many other quality lenses the price is cheap too. It works well for people shots on a 1.6x crop camera. An all-around fantastic lens and one that I would recommend for almost any lens stable.

Jan 31, 2007
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Tom Steele
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Registered: Dec 15, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 287
Review Date: Jan 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $289.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Tack sharp and well made.
Cons:
A little pricey, and you have to be careful with such a shallow DOF at close range. Can be a little long for indoor shooting on a 1.6 crop factor camera.

This lens is very sharp. DOF gets very shallow as you get below f/2.8 at close range, but you can easily take no-flash photos indoors with this lens and have them turn out excellent. Did I mention that this lens is very sharp? Great portriat lens for the 1.6 crop factor cameras.

Jan 29, 2007
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Krosavcheg
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Registered: Apr 9, 2006
Location: Japan
Posts: 2785
Review Date: Jan 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, colors, design, price, weight
Cons:
Would be unbeatable with sharper results at f1.4.

All I got to say is that I am extremely happy with this lens and I do recommend it.
It is exactly how people describe it and when you see the results you just don’t want to stop shooting.

Quality lens honestly priced.


Jan 28, 2007
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jvarszegi
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Registered: Jun 5, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 3931
Review Date: Jan 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $260.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, size, price
Cons:
low contrast at f/1.4

This lens is great. It is used to good effect by professional photographers the world over, and its reputation for sharpness is well-founded.

Most copies (perhaps all?) of this lens are a little dreamy wide open, but become excellent from f/2 and up. Mine is no different. I use it below f/2 without worry, but knowing that it will be a little softer.

AF speed is pretty good, although it's not as fast as my 100mm f/2. AF accuracy is good. Build quality is solid. It is in all ways a nice lens, and a great value for the price.


Jan 13, 2007
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surfgatinho
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Registered: Jan 12, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp enough at 1.4. Cheap. Small and light
Cons:
Slowish focusing. Not too close minimum focus. Tacky gold decals around the lens

I read the reviews posted here and was expecting to only be able to use this lens effectively at F1.8 up, if I was lucky. However, I've found that I can get pretty sharp results even at 1.4.
Maybe I'm lucky and got a good copy, or maybe I'm not as fussy as some. Anyway, here's a shot taken at 1.4:
http://www.photodaily.co.uk/image24.htm

The colour version of this pic does have some very slight red fringing on the white, but only visible at 100%


Jan 12, 2007
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John Abbey
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Registered: Jan 6, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $315.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The lens is very lightweight and fast. It is also fairly cheap compared to most other lenses.
Cons:
The lens is soft at 1.4. From 2.0 up it is very sharp (sharper than my 24-70 L).

For $325 US dollars you won't find a better lens. It is very light and takes great images. My 50mm 1.4 is sharper than my 24-70 L lens and the colors look the same to me. This lens is great for shooting without flash, but wide open I find this lens to be soft and lacking contrast. Still very usable though. From 2.8 on it is the sharpest lens I own. It is a great lens and built much better than the 50 1.8. Save you money and buy this lens you won't regret it.


Here are some available light pictures I have taken:

http://www.johnsfilm.com/html/animals.html


Jan 6, 2007
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
395 1200222 Apr 18, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.57
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.71
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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