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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
387 1165127 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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chris78cpr
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Registered: Aug 27, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5667
Review Date: Mar 14, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $260.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Weight, size, price, quality!
Cons:
Um, micro usm is a bit of a pain i guess!!! Not totally sharp at f1.4, but what is???



Mar 14, 2004
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Lars Johnsson
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Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Location: Thailand
Posts: 33640
Review Date: Mar 5, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast, Sharp(from f/2) & nice colour, Optics good,
Cons:
Soft wide open, Micro USM, Build quality

It,s very sharp from about f/2. But I don't like the cheap build quality & micro-USM.

Mar 5, 2004
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Tom_W
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Registered: Jan 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5379
Review Date: Feb 28, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality good at 2.0, excellent 2.8 and above. Nice bokeh.
Cons:
A little soft at 1.4, not a true USM focus system

If you shoot a lot of indoor available-light, this lens is great. Though not a true USM, it focuses fairly fast, and much more accurately than my 50 1.8 did. Its light, easy to handle, and serves as a good portrait lens on the 10D. Also, it uses the same 58 mm filters as other midrange canon lenses.

Feb 28, 2004
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Brian1121
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Registered: Feb 19, 2004
Location: China
Posts: 1
Review Date: Feb 19, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Beautiful colour and background blur, contrast and sharpness are good if not wide open, large aperture especially useful for dim light indoor condition, light weight, good build quality, look smart
Cons:
Very very subject to lens flare even a hod is installed, AF hunting when mounted on EOS 10D, a little bit over priced

After all, I should recommended this lens to your bag of lens. It takes bright and sharp photos even in dim lighting. However, the prominent lens flare is quite annoyance. You should inspect carefully for flare and adjust accordingly before a satisfactory picture could be taken.

Feb 19, 2004
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vince
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Registered: Mar 18, 2002
Location: China
Posts: 306
Review Date: Feb 12, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Sharp optics, excellent color rendition, decent build.
Cons:
Barrel distortion, slow AF.

The sharpness and color I get from this lens is excellent. Build is much better than my cheap 50/1.8-II. However when shooting full frame (I shoot film, primarily), my three samples all suffered from serious barrel distortion. With straight lines near the edges the results looked quite ugly. Some other samples I tested (borrowed off a friend) didn't show this much distortion. Weird. I sold mine and re-purchased a 50/1.8-II which has served me well ever since.

Feb 12, 2004
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Armin
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Registered: Jan 5, 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 37
Review Date: Feb 8, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, quiet focusing, fits the 10D quite well, perfect for availible light demands - my favourite lense next to the 70-200 IS...
Cons:
Could be slightly better produced...but it's in the green field, definitively better than the 50/1.8

This was the first prime for my 10D...I made pretty good shots with this lense, also at 1.4!

Here in Europe it's still expensive (500$ !) - but I didn't care, it's worth the money (&%$"/!" ;-). The Canon 50 1.8 got the same picture quality and is much cheaper, but sounds horrible while zooming (It's not slower).

I shot a couple of availible light scenes with good results @ 1.4. Nearly 30 % of the shots was accurate (with my 10D), so the challenge is to keep the DOF under control - depending on Your object distance there are only a few mm left! I guess, that's the reason, why a lot of people talking about "softness" wide open Wink On the other hand, one stop lower (1.4 vs. 1.8) is like ASA 100 vs. ASA 400, or the half shutter time.

If You bethink, that a lense like this will go along with You for many years, then You'll maybe agree, that it's worth the money - even in europe. For You lucky guys in the states or asia it's a nobrainer.

Good light,

Armin


Feb 8, 2004
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fletcher8969
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Registered: Jan 7, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13
Review Date: Jan 7, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Affordable. Fast. Nice portait lense on a 1.6 convertion factor camera.
Cons:
None that I have noticed

On my film body I shot 90% of my pictures with this lense. I'm still getting used to it on a 10D with the 1.6 convertion. In some ways it's even better on the 10D because most of my pictures are portrait shots and the crop effect actually tightens up shots without needing to get so close. I also shoot a lot of baby pictures and it makes for a better shot of their small heads. I prefer build and feel of this lense over the EF 50mm f/1.8 but I haven't use that lense very much so I'm not sure that the picture quality is much different beyond the extra stop.

Jan 7, 2004
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trsqr
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Registered: Dec 24, 2002
Location: Finland
Posts: 38
Review Date: Jan 5, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $419.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Large aperture, optical quality
Cons:
AF isn't as fast as it could (micro-USM only)

With a 1.6x crop camera this lens is a lovely portrait lens. Also great for photographing concerts, some clubs are so dark, that you couldn't do with an aperture of f/2.8 without the use of a flash.

I've owned the 50/1.8 Mk1 and 50/1.8 Mk2 before. I would say that 50/1.4 is better at f/1.4 than any of the 50/1.8s at f/1.8. Bokeh is better as well.

The AF is a little bit slower than I had expected, but it is quieter than the cheaper 50mm lenses. Sometimes the AF tends to miss a little bit with full aperture, but that might be my 10D also as well...


Jan 5, 2004
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gabrielma
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Registered: Jul 6, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Oct 31, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, contrast, weight, full-time manual focus, metal mount
Cons:
Price, distance scale not too helpful

It beats any other lens I've ever used, and would even dare to rate it better than any Carl Zeiss T* 80mm (Hasselblad manual mount) I've ever used.

The only cons of this lens are blown away by the performance of this lens. Wide open it performs really well if properly manually focused in conjunction with an extension tube. Once stopped down to at least 2.8 the images are sharp, and exhibits exquisite "boukeh".

Fast, quiet autofocus, light and elegant.


Oct 31, 2003
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mfoto
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Registered: Sep 18, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 2318
Review Date: Oct 21, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent color, very sharp, love the bokeh, great for low light situtation
Cons:
At 1.4 you really have to watch what you are doing - Very little depth of field. Cost was hard to stomach compared to the 1.8 but I'm still happy I did it.

I never shoot with flash so this lens always saves the day for a good low light portrait for which I probably use it the most. I pull this lens out when I want the best possible sharpness. I love the USM and the quality build. I'll be keeping this for a long long time.

You should be able to see examples at www.pbase.com/mfoto

Can't go wrong with this one.

mfoto Smile


Oct 21, 2003
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Wheaty
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Registered: Mar 3, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 69
Review Date: Sep 17, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $299.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp, nice bokeh, light weight, USM, f/1.4.
Cons:
Quite difficult to use the official lens hood + polarizer at the same time.

A great little lens for the price.

Sep 17, 2003
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Rob O
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Registered: Aug 31, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Aug 31, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $245.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp Sharp Sharp , small size , good contrast
Cons:
Price - no Len's Hood ???

Had better results with my film camera Razar sharp slides.. with my 10D the results are so -so

Aug 31, 2003
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Arka
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Registered: Jun 13, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 10626
Review Date: Jul 13, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $299.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, small, light, and very bright. Inexpensive, and does not attract a lot of attention. Full time manual focus.
Cons:
Build quality is acceptable. USM is a little louder than my L equipment. Telescopes in and out when focusing.

This is a great little lens. The build quality is not quite L-caliber, but neither is the price. Further, the somewhat plasticky build should not dissuade anyone looking for a cheap yet versatile walkaround lens.

The performance of the lens is exceptional, even at 1.4. It's small size doesn't weigh down my 10D much, and the brightness allows for available-light photography just about anywhere. The 50mm focal length is also a very usable length that really allows you to develop your image capture skills, and capture some pretty cool moments. It's a tad long on a 10D, but still quite useable. As a portrait and walkaround lens, it is a great lens, and not nearly as heavy as my 85mm f/1.2.

The lens has fantastic optical qualities. Image sharpness and color contrast are top notch, besting my far costlier 24-70 f/2.8L (which I only owned for a brief time before deciding the prime was a better lens), and being outperformed only by my 85mm f/1.2L. Out of focus background is pretty smooth, and autofocus is pretty fast. Full time manual focus is also well implemented and easy to use. The recessed front element also reduces the risk of damage to the front element, and reduces the importance of using the hood (not included).

Arka C.


Jul 13, 2003
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mskad
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Registered: Sep 20, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 115
Review Date: Jul 10, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Sharp, fast (f/1.4), quiet AF
Cons:
Cheap construction (for the price), haze wide open, slow and inaccurate AF

It's a good/fair lens but I guess I was expecting too much when I moved from the cheap ($70) 50mm f/1.8 Mk II to this expensive 50mm f/1.4.

From the optical quality viewpoint, this lens performs almost identically than the 50mm f/1.8. AF is slow and not really accurate, although quiet (micro USM).

Some "haze" (veiling) shows up from f/1.4 up to f/2.8. At f/2.8 and up this lens is incredibly sharp and contrast is excellent. Color wise, this lens perform superbly.


Jul 10, 2003
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Brendan Getchel
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Registered: Jun 14, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1990
Review Date: Jul 10, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap! Fast! Reasonable results wide open, but Uber-sharp stopped down to f/2.8 or more. Compact. A great "stealth" lens with decent defocus characteristics.
Cons:
Cheap! Really stretches the "USM" moniker. Not "critically sharp" wide open. Likes to hunt a little on a 10D.

Don't let the naysayers dissuade you from buying this lens. I tried the 50/1.8 (non-USM) before this 50/1.4 to see if I could "skimp" on a lens that I personally wouldn't use much save for the occasional low-light shooting. The 1.8's AF was just too slow, it wasn't as sharp at f/2 as the 1.4 is, and the bokeh of the 1.8 was atrocious which made it a poor choice for any close-quarters portraiture.

Enter the 50/1.4. It's only $300, and it gives you 2/3 more of a stop to play with while offering USM, even if it isn't "real," and much better defocus characteristics. Instead of distracting blurred backgrounds, you get a decent, smooth blur due to more aperture blades.

About the only real drawbacks are AF speed (and a little noisy at that) and softness at f/2 and below (but still sharper than the 1.8). For a measley $200 more you do get your money's worth -- IMHO. Just keep in mind that this ain't no 85/1.2L, but it's closer than the 400% price difference would seem to imply.

It's a solid performer at a reasonable price that fills the low-light requirement nicely.


Jul 10, 2003
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Unregistered
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Location: United States
Review Date: Jun 29, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Optics, RT-M
Cons:
Sloppy AF, micro USM, contrast loss wide-open, built no better than the 50/1.8 Mk I, way overpriced

Optically, this lens is superb: bright, sharp, contrasty, neutral color, and holds up reasonably well up to wide-open and peaks at f/2.8, although contrast does drop significantly at f/1.4.

Build-wise, this is no better than the 50/1.8 Mk I, although it does have RT-M and micro USM. The bad news is that the micro USM isn't accurate enough to focus this lens consistently wide-open: there's enough slop to put at least some shots slightly OOF. (I've had mine calibrated at Canon, and have tested for FF/BF problems myself: that's not the issue.)

This is a superb lens, no doubt about that -- but it's priced way too high, or built too low. Bung in ring USM and weather seals and paint a red stripe on it, and it'd be worth the current price... or knock something off the price. The 1.8 Mk I is much better VFM. The Mk II is iffier, as there are lots of duff copies of it floating around, and the build is really bad, making the lens unpleasant to use. OTOH, the Mk II costs less than many filters.

In a nutshell, excellent lens but not very good value.


Jun 29, 2003
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
387 1165127 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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