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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
387 1165219 May 15, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $320.79
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.73
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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AndrewTee
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Registered: Dec 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 260
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: 2691
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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David4099
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Registered: Aug 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Dec 21, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Small, 1.4, reasonably priced
Cons:
Slow focus, soft wide open.

I bought this to shoot indoor sports in low light. The focus is uselessly slow and inconsistent. I have no confidence in it. It is soft at 1.4, but I bought it to use at 1.4, not 2.0 or 2.8 were I have to boost the iso to get the sharpness.

I always regret using this lens on action sports. The 85 mm 1.8 isn't too bad and my 2.8 Ls are far better.

May be a decent lens, but not at all for what I needed.


Dec 21, 2006
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ryan aguas
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Registered: Dec 7, 2006
Location: Philippines
Posts: 42
Review Date: Dec 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: sharp starting at f2.8, light and sturdy built, stealthy and unobstrusive
Cons:
f1.4 is useless, contrast is "so-so", micro-USM is not as fast nor as accurate as ring-type usm

This is the only non-L canon lens i own, and i'm selling it. I'm not satisfied with this lens for the following reasons:

1. the lens is advertised as f/1.4 when in fact, it is only usable (professionally) starting at f/2.8...At 1.4 the image is very soft even at the center, most apparent when used on subjects beyond 4 feet distance.
2. the af is very inaccurate and quite sluggish compared to my 17-40 f4 or 24-105 f4 zoom lenses
3. no weather sealing
4. hood is sold separately
5. IQ is not at par with canon L series prime lenses. (no wonder it doesn't have a red ring around it)

I'm planning to upgrade to the 50 1.2...as for my experience with L-series prime lenses, there are no compromises on image quality even when used at full aperture. I currently own the 35 1.4 L, 85 1.2 L-II, and the 135 2.0 L -- three of the most highly regarded canon L series prime lenses.


Dec 7, 2006
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Hans im Glueck
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Registered: Dec 6, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 17
Review Date: Dec 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, light ,bright, AF fast
Cons:
non if you got a good copy

If you are looking for a small affordable high quality lens in that range, try this one. Look for a good cpoy. Mine is perfect at 1.4 That of a friend needs to be stopped down at 2.0 to be that sharp.

Dec 7, 2006
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Geisterfahrer
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Registered: Nov 30, 2006
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness; great colour rendition; small and lightweight; not expensive
Cons:
Can't think of any... Well, it could benefit from a Ring USM instead of the Micro USM, but that's really nitpicking in my opinion.

This is indeed a fine lens for its price. Images come out very sharp and detailed from about f/2.8 on, but even when taken at full aperture they don't look too fuzzy - especially in the centre and providing you get the focus right. Colors are rich and saturated; the lens yields neither cool nor warm casts of any sort. Pictures look also free from distortions. Weighing only 290g the lens is light, easy to carry and definitely not intimidating, making it a great choice for head-and-shoulder or full figure portraits, especially on a full-frame camera. Minimum focus distance is 45 cm, which is more than adequate for a lens giving this angle of view.

Yes, the Micro USM is not as fast as the Ring USM, and not as accurate (especially in low light), but it's still better than AFD; moreover, the lens allows full-time manual focusing if you feel the need of using it.

Of all the 50 mm Canon lenses, this is the one with the better quality-price ratio; I recommend this one over the f/1.8 because of the extra stop - more than once that 1.4 setting allowed me to take pictures where other lenses simply couldn't -, better build - the f/1.8 feels like a toy lens in comparison -, better focusing and better overall sharpness and colour rendition. Really a gem of a lens!


Dec 6, 2006
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DLai
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Registered: Nov 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1130
Review Date: Nov 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: f1.4, weight, size, sharp
Cons:
Non-L build, cheap whiny micro USM motor, hunts in low light



Nov 28, 2006
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jirok12944
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Registered: Nov 22, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, contrast, price
Cons:
many bad copies

With all its limitation it is still most usable lens in studio. I had it serviced to fix AF, and it is very sharp (maybe not as sharp as 100mm f/2.8). Yes, it hunts, AF is not too quick, you need to stop down (couple stops), and it has reputation of a lens with AF problems…. but still it would be an excellent value even to be 1.5 times more expensive.

Nov 22, 2006
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Christopher-J
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Registered: Jun 9, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 320
Review Date: Nov 18, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Leightweight, Fast AF, 90% sharp.
Cons:
It is boring to use. The 50mm f1.8 MKII just as good IMO.

Chalk me up as a guy that only likes telephoto primes but I find that this lens is somewhat boring. It takes great pictures and are 90% sharp all the time but the focal length on a APS-C camera is just too long where you only can get head shots in a medium sized room. With that said I can't see myself keeping this lens for too much longer as my Nifty 50 (f1.8 MKII) does the same job and quality.

Do I recommend? No! Save yourself money and buy the 50mm f1.8 MKII.


Nov 18, 2006
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Thomas Ware
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Registered: Nov 17, 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF-speed, sharpness, bokeh
Cons:
None.

Either this or its brother, the 85/1.8, will probaply offer most bang for the buck in current line up. The results are sharp, AF is quick and bokeh is very nice. Definetyly worth the price.

Nov 17, 2006
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galaksi26
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Registered: Mar 12, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 12, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Cheap compare to 50 L and light
Cons:
Too soft

I have problem with this lens (50mm f1.4). I sent it to canon 7 times and couple times with my body. I still have the same problem with this lens. I also compare this lens with L series (24-105, 17-40, 70-200 f2.8 IS)and non L series (28-135). My 28-135 IS will give me sharper image than 50 mm with the same set up.
If I use f11, 1/1000 and flash, I will get pretty sharp picture. I will get soft/back focus for f2.8 and bigger opening with speed 1/80 or slower. I do not recommend to buy this lens if you want to use for low light with no flash. I wish I get a good copy of my lens.


Nov 12, 2006
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Dave Indech
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Registered: Apr 13, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 53
Review Date: Nov 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp at f/1.4, extraordinary at f/5.6, excellent bokeh, relatively quick AF
Cons:
Strong halation f/1.4-1.6, tentative build quality, AF is inconsistent in low light, some barrel distortion

This is my favorite Canon lens.

I use it primarily for portraits on a crop body, alongside a 100/2 and a 200/2.8.

It's not a head and shoulders lens. If you try that, the close perspective combined with barrel distortion will give everyone a bulbous head. Waist-up shots, though, are extraordinary.


Opitcs:

When I first bought it used, it was soft at f/1.4, decent at f/2.8, and sharp at f/5.6. It was also front focusing on my 300D. At one point, I dropped my camera about two inches to hardwood floors. The lens never hit the ground, but the rear element popped out.

I sent it to Canon with the body.

When I got it back, it was sharp at f/1.4, and extremely sharp from f/2.8 and up. But it was still front focusing. I sent it back again, for the third time, and they finally got it right. Now it's both sharp and accurate. And with DOF at close distance of less than inch, that's critical. It was my least favorite lens until it stopped front-focusing.

People say this lens is soft wide open, but that hasn't been my experience. It's very sharp indeed (in the center). What it doesn't have is contrast; f/1.4 and f/1.6 have a dreamy look caused by halation. It improves dramatically stopped down; by f/1.8, contrast is fine. Frankly, for portraits, the dreamy look is precisely what I want.

No problems with flare.



Build:

Heft is fine, but it feels like a metal wrapper around a pile of very delicate parts. My 100/2 is much better built, and the 200/2.8 is a tank.


Compared to the other two primes:

AF is similar across the range. The 100 and 200 are very fast. The 50 trails, but it's still not slow. Accuracy is stellar with the 200, followed by the 100, with the 50 in last by quite a lot.

Standing in my kitchen at night under moderate fluorescents, I can nail eyelashes from across the room with the 200 with no hunting. The 50 won't hunt either, but more often than not, it'll get it wrong. Calibration helps. An ST-E2 would help a lot more.

Optically, the advantage of the L is that I don't have to think to use it. Every aperture is about the same; f/2.8 looks like f/8.

The 50 isn't as consistent until it gets to f/2, but it is better than the 100 at every aperture. It's sharper at f/1.4 than the 100 is at f/2, though the latter improves dramatically at f/2.8.

As to contrast, they're all similar. Slight nod to the L, followed by the 50 and 100.

In sum, the 50/1.4 is an optically superlative, though slightly delicate and with AF not quite befitting a lens of this speed. Still, totally worthwhile.


Nov 2, 2006
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
387 1165219 May 15, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $320.79
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.73
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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