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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
394 1197114 Feb 15, 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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justThorne
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Registered: Jul 6, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 26
Review Date: Aug 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $290.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent balance of quality to cost, lovely for portraits, versatile in low light, seems to be an excellent build for non-L
Cons:
Soft wide open, but an entirely acceptable trade-off for the speed

To accompany my first dSLR, I researched for weeks to identify a single lens with an optimum balance of quality to cost. Settled on the 50mm f1.4 and could not be more pleased. And then, almost immediately, ordered a non-USM 24mm f2.8, and therefore have had another lens for comparing performance.

For my taste, found the 24mm almost TOO contrasty for people photography, and the 50's contrast entirely ideal. In every case in which they've been swapped in the same setting, have found the 50's contrast less harsh/more pleasing, and for color as well. Also, the micro-USM might seem like a concession to learned photographers, but feels entirely silky and swift to me (if not immediate).

Altogether, feel I've been blessed with an exceptional make of this lens. Band photography at f1.4 in low light turns out surprisingly well - soft when viewed at 100% on screen but only barely evident at 50%. And the shallow DOF creates a marvelous "illusion" of clarity that helps make up for it.

Model photography in the studio, ranging between f2.0 and f4.0, is a dream come true. At 2.0, it rounds the corner from soft to completely acceptable, and by 4.0, the results take my breath away. (Haven't stopped down any further yet.)

In over 5000 images reviewed so far, have found no chromatic abberation, no noticable barrel distortion at 1.6x, and minimal flare even when shooting straight into/askance from sunsets (unlike the 24mm, which seemed more "average" by this standard). And, of course, the bokeh is dreamily gorgeous. (The bokeh and micro-USM seem entirely worth the price over the 50mm f1.8.)

So my advice is that if you shoot people and can only afford one "starter" lens for a dSLR, you simply could not go wrong with this one. It's everything I hoped it would be and more. Had been a little concerned that 50mm x 1.6 might be a little TOO tight (hence the 24mm purchase, for "head-to-toe" shots), but really it affords plenty of room for wonderful portraits and performance photography.


Aug 2, 2004
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chrisutley
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Registered: Feb 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 376
Review Date: Jul 13, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp as a tack nearly wide open. Has performed great in low light situations. Great bang for the buck.
Cons:
Plastic body feels cheap.

I bought this lens for available light, portraits, architecture, and general street shooting. I love the shots it produces and would have paid $600 for something that gives me results like this. I haven't shot with my 300D kit lens in the month since I bought the 50mm.

Jul 13, 2004
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cheapscot
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Registered: Oct 20, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 109
Review Date: Jun 7, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $305.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp, fast auto-focus even in low light
Cons:
Price

I replaced my ($50) 50 mm f/1.8 II with this model and it was worth the extra $255. After a recent event I found every shot was sharp straight from the camera (when using in-camera sharpening) - no USM needed. Results are great even wide open.

Jun 7, 2004
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christo™
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Registered: Apr 20, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1676
Review Date: May 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredible aperture for the money, fast AF, nice color and sharpness stopped down
Cons:
A little soft wide open

I bought this lens right with my 10D over a year ago. I hadn't used a 50mm much for a while, and didn't buy one for my EOS 3, but on the 10D with the 1.6x, this became a portrait lens. It's one of three non-L Canon EF mount lenses I've bought, and the only one I still have. On the 10D, it performs nearly to L glass expectations, particularly stepped down to F8. If you're out of luck in the light department, the F1.4 is sure handy, though it's a bit soft for portrait work to my taste wide open, so the shallow DOF afforded at 1.4 isn't really a factor for me.

I have shot hundreds of portraits under studio strobes with my copy of this lens, and it has always been a winner. For the price, it's a steal, and I'd say "if you're starting out an EF mount lens set, particularly for a 1.6x camera, buy it immediately" except that the 50/1.8 is nearly free, and the performance-to-price ratio of that lens is hard to ignore if you are on a really tight budget...

All of the above applies to my uses on a 10D. I have hardly used it on my EOS3, and since I've had my 1D MkII (two months now), I really notice a gap between this lens and my L glass. The AF just isn't in the same class with the L primes on the 1D MkII, and the lens has a decidedly cheaper feeling when shooting...but hey, it should, it costs less than 25% as much.



May 25, 2004
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JoeSchmoe
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Registered: Dec 1, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 25
Review Date: May 12, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beautiful colors, contrast, and bokeh. Fast. Usable wide open. Small and light.
Cons:
Not drop proof. :(

This lens is a great low-light performer. I use it for tighter indoor portraits (heads and shoulders) in available light. It's image quality is close to L quality. I have a 35/1.4L, and I switch between them due to focal length considerations, not quality ones. The 35/1.4L has astounding resolution that I've not seen in any other prime, but this lens is not far behind otherwise.

May 12, 2004
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wkoffel
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Registered: Mar 28, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: May 11, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharpest lens I've seen. Very small and light.
Cons:
Awkward focal length on Canon digital cameras.

This lens doesn't get as much use as it deserves, given it's quality, but I find that I'm either mounting a wide-angle zoom, or a telephoto-zoom on my digital rebel these days.

That having been said, when I neeed the sharpest images I can get, or want to mount an extension tube for close-working-distance macro work, the 50/1.4 is incredible.

I also often use it for indoor candid portraits, as it works quite admirably wide-open in low-light, and the equivalent 80mm frame works pretty well for grabbing headshots of folks in a small room. The 1.4 is a life-saver in this situation, because of the shallow DOF otherwise impossible with a 50mm lens.


May 11, 2004
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chinatown
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Registered: Feb 6, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 132
Review Date: Apr 1, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $256.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: nice bokeh, light, sharp, good price,
Cons:
none

Having read all the reviews on this lens at www.fredmiranda.com, I decided to get it instead of the 1.8 version. Shooting pics with it for a few days, I don't have any regret of buying it. It works fine with my 300D with 80mm portrait lens, f 1.4, great. Highly recomment others to get one Smile

Apr 1, 2004
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glideslope
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Registered: Mar 15, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 785
Review Date: Mar 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent build quality, clarity, bokeh, and price.
Cons:
Including a hood with the lens would be nice.


Used this for a week, and sold my 50 f/1.8 the next day. I love it. It fits perfectly between my 17-40 f/4L and 70-200 f/4L for my needs.


Mar 17, 2004
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Kris K
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Registered: May 6, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 172
Review Date: Mar 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: good build, excellent clarity and color
Cons:
should come with a lens hood (but doesn't)

An excellent "consumer" lens that rivals the L lenses. I'm quite happy witth the sharpness and color rendition it affords. Unlike some others, I have found the focus speed with be excellent (on a 1D/1Ds, and my former D60).

The extra stop this lens provides over its smaller brother, the 50/1.8, really can make the difference in low light/ambient light settings (both for focus lock, and getting the shot w/o having to resort to excessively high ISO's).


Mar 15, 2004
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chris78cpr
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Registered: Aug 27, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5702
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: 33669
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: 6252
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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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
394 1197114 Feb 15, 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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