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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
385 1159423 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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M-E-P
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Registered: Jun 6, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 939
Review Date: Aug 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $309.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Speed, Sharp as a tack, Light weight,
Cons:
none

this is a fantastic Lens. this Lens LIVES on my camera for most of my shooting when I'm not working (Kids Sports). I have shot some great candid portraits with this lens. Nice Bokeh and GREAT DOF. there should be one of these in EVERY camera bag.

Aug 12, 2005
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smpetty
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Registered: Feb 20, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1407
Review Date: Jul 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: tack sharp, L-quality images at a bargain price
Cons:
none

Just got back from the Bahamas on a family trip. I took my best lenses including mostly L primes from 24 to 400mm. I used all of the lenses and took boatloads (pun intended) of photos. When I sat down to review the images, I was blown away to find that the 50 f/1.4 was as a rule sharper and better in color and contrast than it's "L" 24mm and 35mm cousins. The pictures from this lens were simply perfect, even wide open. No CA, no softness, just perfection.

This lens (along with the Canon 85 f/1.8 and the Canon EF-S 10-22) is a must buy bargain from Canon. Highly recommended!


Jul 31, 2005
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Pell
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Registered: Apr 26, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 1592
Review Date: Jul 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, Light, Decent Build Quality, FAST, USM Motor, excellent for the price. Almost L quality.
Cons:
None! Simply perfect.

I bought this lens used, and had read reviews on this site about its sharpness @ 1.4 . Well, they were right, but the sharpness @ 1.4 is still quite good. It wouldnt make ANY difference on a 4x6 print. Only pixel peepers would really have a problem with it.

This lens is small, fast, and built well. The images themselves are excellent, the bokeh is gorgeous. The only thing I noticed, is wide open below F2, the Purple Fringing can get bad. (on extreme contrasy highlights) . Otherwise its perfect for the price you pay.


Jul 29, 2005
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makron
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Registered: Jun 30, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 399
Review Date: Jul 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Nice background blur or bokeh. AF is adequate. Sharp from f2.8 onwards.
Cons:
Soft at f1.4 and CA is present.

I love the perspective of the 50mm lens on a 1.6x crop camera (20D).

AF: Low light focusing is OK. I didn't experience any excessive focus hunting in low light condition. Focusing speed although not as fast as the L or ring type USM lens, it's however, fast enough for my purpose ie. Candid shots.

Sharpness: Soft at f1.4 and f2. CA also present at these 2 apertures. But lens get significantly better from f2.8 onwards.

Built: No complaint here. Well build for a plastic lens.


Jul 25, 2005
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TFischer
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Registered: Oct 8, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 29
Review Date: Jul 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $309.95 | Rating: 9 

Pros: f/1.4, sharp, great for low light situation, size and weight
Cons:
Somewhat difficult to attach with "fat" fingers. Focusing ring feel little loose.

This is great prime lens for many shooting situations but it really shines in low light (f1.4). Perfect for indoors pictures when flash or speedlite can not be used. I get 90% success rate with 20D, ISO set to 800 or 1600 with f/1.4. Great AF and sharpness even when wide open. For once I like the lens hood too Smile

Jul 5, 2005
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davidrwilliams
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Registered: Nov 15, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 441
Review Date: Jul 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, beautiful colour, contrasty, light and very portable, and very inexpensive for the overall image quality. Much smoother background blur than 50mm f/1.8 with much more rounding to background out-of-focus highlights.
Cons:
Build could be better, and could be sharper wide open.

Superb lens once stopped down to f/2.5 or further. Quite usable wide open and to f/2.5, but sharpness and resolution are superb once closed down a bit.

Very nice colour reproduction and contrast. AF is fast enough for most purposes, but can tend to hunt a bit under low light. The bayonet attached lenshood is very secure - I wish the 85mm f/1.8 had a similar hood design.

I'm on my third copy of this lens, but not because of any dissatisfaction - quite the contrary, after selling the first I felt regret at losing it's capabilities and re-invested. After selling the second to help finance an investment in Medium Format, I'm back into a third copy of this lens for my 20D. All three copies have had the same superb image quality, but each had their own somewhat different feel to the manual focus ... this may be a good lens to purchase locally to look at various copies to ensure you're happy with the feel of the manual focus system, as some copies can tend to be less than smooth.

Before my first 1.4, I shot with the 50/1.8 (Mk I with metal mount). The 1.8 drove me nuts - the price was great, the lens was very sharp, but the buzzy focus motor and the harsh and cluttered out-of-focus background character led me to look at the more expensive 1.4. If you consider the quality of the backgrounds to your images to be important, I feel the 1.4 is a much better choice.

I've also shot with the 50/2.5 Compact Macro, and prefer the overall image quality of the 1.4 at similar apertures, with the fast AF and low light capability of the 1.4 making this a better decision for me.

I strongly recommend this lens to anyone looking for this focal length who needs speed and/or portability.


Jul 3, 2005
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milesd
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Registered: Jun 9, 2005
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, nice bookeh, good resolution
Cons:
none



Jun 30, 2005
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gwhitegeog
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Registered: Jun 16, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jun 23, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good build quality, internal focussing, full time manual focussing (FTM). The optical quality is very good, far better than the f1.8 version. The recent price drop in Europe / UK makes the lens even better value
Cons:
Slightly wobbly front elment; not the absolute pinnacle of optical quality

I personally don't like zoom lenses (even the 'top drawer' ones) and I would rather ran a set of light, fast prime lenses any day. This lens fits the bill. I have used this lens extensively on my EOS 3 and EOS 10D - on the latter it makes a blistering 35mm equivalent 85mm f1.4 portrait lens!

Focussing is a joy and optical quality with a digital body is superb. With prime lenses, I don't think you need bother with 'L' series on the whole - I have Canon EF 24, 28, 35, 50 and 85mm primes and they are all superb ('L' series zooms, on the other hand, are worth the investment). The 50mm f1.4 is a 'must have' lens for travel and reportage and low-light photography - give me one of these rather than a slow consumer 28-70 or 28-105 zoom any day.


Jun 23, 2005
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severin koller
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Registered: Jun 16, 2005
Location: Austria
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Price, (quite)silent USM, size/weight, focus range, mostly sharp from f2.0 and very sharp at f4.0-f8.0, bokeh is nice, on 1.6 crop good portrait lens, no real visible disortion, sharp but not too sharp for face and skin, good balance so to say
Cons:
not a real f1.4 lens but f1.8/f2.0. chromatic aberration from f1.4 to f1.8 ! sometimes even at f2.8 but only a bit. autofocus is good(speed) but not accurate(except center and top AF) > using canon 20d

So i've been using this lens for about 4 month now. I'm shooting architecture mainly and when i use the 50mm for details, i mostly use it at f8.0 and it is very sharp at that aperture.

It's the only lens beside my wide angles (12-24mm sigma, 28mm f1.8 sigma) so when i do portraits and street photos, i only use the 50mm f1.4.

I really enjoy the bokeh, especially at close-ups like: http://www.deviantart.com/view/14469266/
(taken at f1.4, iso400 and minimal focus distance of 45cm on a 1.6xcrop 20d)

The f1.4 option is not often useable. The farer i have to focus, the softer the photo is. I think it is useable up to 2meters distance but then the focus gets way to soft. So on distance apertures from f1.4 to f2.0 are not highly recommended.

I sometimes ask myself why they write f1.4 on it when it's not useable in most cases... i wish canon would offer a 50mm prime for ~700bucks that IS useable at f1.4.

Well what is this lens good for ?

I have had good experiences for portraits, low light shots (on concerts even, my best (imo) was taken with this lens ( http://www.deviantart.com/view/18711159/ ) at f2.2 and manual focus (which doesn't always work on a 20d, because the viewfinder is so small in comparison to 1d series or 35mm cameras)

It's a useful focal lenght for 1.6x crop to take photos on the street but i think also on a full frame even better.

So in short:

mostly bad experiences from f1.4-f2.0 (soft, chromatic aberration, focus is not accurate for distance). AF isn't so good (might be my 20d)

Useful f1.4 only for close ups, but then it works pretty nice.
Good for low light, small and light. Very sharp from f4.0 and best at f8.0



Jun 16, 2005
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emiliohm
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Registered: Jun 7, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Superb quality. Extremely sharp and fantastic colours. Fast focus.
Cons:
I do not really find any negative aspect.

Before buying this lens I thought that a fix focal would put a limit to my photography possibilities, but now this is the lens I usually take everywhere. Its quality is superb and its price is really good.

Jun 7, 2005
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Gorham
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Registered: Jun 1, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 18, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Great construction, smooth USM motor, excellent metal mount.
Cons:
Image color is trifle 'warm'. Slow AF in low light. Small filter size.

I've seen user reviews across the board in this lens and think it may be on the the infamous Canon variables where you either have a honey of a lens or a bit of a dud.

For indoors with no flash, I'm just not wild about it. But I do like the 'feel' of the lens and have no problem with it with flash or outdoors.

But, I'm actually happier with my 50/1.8 in the kit, truth to tell.


May 18, 2005
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Non Plus Ultra
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Registered: May 12, 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: light, sharp optics, very lightsensitive
Cons:
a bit too much plastic for my taste, AF tends to hunt and is not really fast.

Everything is said... optics are great, lightweight, versatile. I wish they build it a bit more tank-quality like we are used from Canon.

May 12, 2005
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ollram
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Registered: Oct 20, 2004
Location: Estonia
Posts: 923
Review Date: May 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, Sharp, large aperture
Cons:
not L lens

An excellent lens for indoor photography (when you don't like to use flash), specially at home!
I like this lens and i recommend it


May 9, 2005
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squirrel777
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Registered: May 8, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp optics, fairly fast focus, large aperture, better than average build quality, and a small body for such good quality.
Cons:
Terrible chromatic aberations wide open, micro USM focus motor, and is overpriced if you ask me.

I use this lens on my Canon 20D and Elan 7 for low light photography. My only real complaint is the problem this lens has with chromatic aberations when using larger apertures (f/2.8 and larger).

I don't like the idea that the lens has a micro USM focus motor, but at least it still has full time manual focusing. However it does focus faster than other Canon micro USM lenses like the 75-300 IS USM.

Overall I would suggest this lens for low light photography, or portrait work. I wouldn't suggest it for a walk around lens on digital though, the 1.6 crop makes the lens hard to work with for most subjects. For film though, it works excellent as a walk around lens, low light, and portraits.


May 8, 2005
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justruss
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Registered: Jul 5, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4186
Review Date: May 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Gorgeous colors, sharp wide open (my copy), f/1.4
Cons:
no real complaints for the money

I really don't have too much to add that hasn't been said before. But what stands out to me is the color that this lens produces. Saturated, crisp and beautiful. I'm comparing this to a 135L, and while wide open it's not 135L sharp (though it is fairly sharp), its color is perfect. I want to reiterate-- my copy, at least, is plenty sharp at f/1.4, I never hesitate to shoot here if I need to.

Cheers,

Russ


May 3, 2005
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lensjunky
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Registered: Apr 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 83
Review Date: Apr 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: the usual color contrast Blah blah, but also backrgound subject isolation at smaller aperatures, and weight.
Cons:
plastic body-I think, but for optics this freakin fantastic for $300? WHO CARES!!?

when I go out and shoot and I dont want to carry lots of equipment, or stand out like a sore thumb, I use only this lens, and get some amazing results, when you limit yourself with one focal length, your creativity starts flowing, and it shows when you get your film or dig back. I cant believe the L quality colors, contrast, and sharpnes that comes out of this lens. Canon has almost all but stopped selling the 50 f1 L because pros prefer this lens. why pay $1000 for 0.4 more, plus a pound or two in bulk.
Use this lens exclusivly for a couple of shoots and you will rethink your dependence on zooms.


Apr 26, 2005
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
385 1159423 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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