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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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386 1172092 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.41
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.91
8.70
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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agnesleung
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Registered: Dec 12, 2010
Location: China
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 8, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: weight & size, color, bokeh, f1.4, price, picture quality.
Cons:
AF performance in low light.

This is a very good lens which priced reasonably. It is a light and compact lens, the built is decent but not great.

I suppose my copy of this lens is a sharp one, but it is not as sharp as my Canon EF 35mm f1.4L (which is very sharp from f1.4) until stopped down to f2.8. The color it rendors is not as vivid as my 35L, yet it is natural and pleasing in my eyes.

It is an excellent portrait lens with my crop body Canon 400D (Rebel XTi), and it is also a wonderful walk around lens with my Canon 5D mark II.

The downside of this lens is the AF performance - it hunts in low light situations. If you don't mind using menu focus in low light shooting, then it is not a really big issue for you.

The picture quality of this lens really impressed me. I own other Canon L zoom lenses, such as Canon EF17-40mm f4L and EF 24-105mm f4L, this lens out performed or on par with my L zooms in terms of image quality.

You can see some samples of this lens from the photos I took using this lens:

http://agnesleung.com/tag/canon-50mm-f1-4/





Mar 8, 2011
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markd61
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Registered: May 25, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 471
Review Date: Jan 17, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $344.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Small, light, sharp at smaller apertures
Cons:
Won't focus at infinity. Iffy AF at distances greater than 20 feet.

I did a lot of research on 50's as there seems to be no clear winner in this field. There are the MF options from Zeiss and adapted alt gear. Then there are the AF offerings from Canon and Sigma. MF is not for me no matter how splendid the optics. Thus my choice were winnowed to the Canon 50 1.4 and the Sigma.
On balance the Canon won for having the best mix of performance (allegedly) and price.
When my Canon 50 1.4 arrived I immediately shot a series of test images to verify that my copy was a good one. I shot mostly wide open and had a lot of good shots but maybe only 25% tack sharp ones. I attributed this to user error. However placing the camera on a tripod and focusing on still life objects I found that at anything over 5 feet distant was soft and infinity focus was unusable. Clearly there is a problem with this lens. More testing at smaller apertures demonstrated that it is capable of extremely sharp images but because of the focus problem I can not trust this lens in a professional situation.

I wanted to like it but I am going to swap it for a Sigma and pray that I get a good one.


Jan 17, 2011
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r.reule
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Registered: Oct 23, 2010
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: fast and not to big.
Cons:
expensive instead of the 1.8.

I replace my old 1.8 for this bigger 1.4. The usm is perfect but the picture quality is almost the same, they are both good enough. The big ring for manual focus works ferry nice.

Herwith some pictures with this lens:

www.flickr.com/photos/robertreule/5103257934/in/set-72157625088116123/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertreule/5118721284/in/set-72157625088116123/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertreule/5102662881/in/set-72157625088116123/


Oct 29, 2010
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hoyerd
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Registered: Jun 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Oct 11, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: cheap
Cons:
poor center at least to f2.8

Compared this lens to a Voightlander 40mm f2 at equivalent image size. On Canon 5DMII from f1.4-2.8 this lens is soft in the center relative to the Voightlander, but a bit sharper at the extremes of the frame. Hazing/veiling at f1.4 but this is not unexpected.

Oct 11, 2010
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zoka.m
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Registered: Mar 1, 2010
Location: Serbia & Montenegro
Posts: 119
Review Date: Oct 9, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Big aperture, great colours, nice bokeh, small and light, very sharp even wide open....
Cons:
Nothing that I can think of...

Just buy it, you will not regret it... :D

Oct 9, 2010
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Todd Klassy
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Registered: Sep 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 290
Review Date: Sep 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp > f/2 and good at f/1.8. Good value for the money, nice bokeh, and good colors rendition. Inexpensive.
Cons:
Not as well-built as a L-quality lens, what do you expect for the money?

I enjoy using my Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens very much. For the money, it hard to go wrong having this lens in your camera bag. Prior to owning this lens I used a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 USM, which is also a very good lens for the money, but not nearly as good as this lens...especially when mated to a camera with a ton of resolution, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

I have owned this camera now for four years and it is always the lens I take with me when I want to pack light and if I don't want to intimidate people with too large or too fancy a lens. While the build quality is not on par with a L-lens, one would not expect it with a $300 lens.

I considered replacing it with the much, much more expensive Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM, but couldn't justify purchasing it given the fine quality images this lens produces. Those dollars and cents IMHO are better used in the bank or on a different lens.

Here are examples of photographs I have taken back home in Wisconsin with this lens:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2366084365/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2428660207/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/1881110128/

This portrait was taken wide open at f/1.4:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2807122789/

Overall it is an excellent lens for the money.



Sep 29, 2010
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trigrad
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Registered: Jan 26, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Sep 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp from f/2 (after MA), Good focus performance, Ok build for the money
Cons:
Focus ring is not smooth.

Not sharp wide open, but it does well by f/2.

Bokeh is about what you expect for the focal length and design. Better than the 1.8, but not as nice as a longer lens. Can be busy/nervous with some scenes.

I haven't had any focus problems with mine, but it did benefit from a small amount of micro-adjust.

The build is ok, but focus mechanism durability concerns me. Because of this I set focus to infinity when I put it away to prevent the inner barrel from protruding. Have had no trouble after several years of travel and use.


Sep 13, 2010
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jasonpatrick
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Registered: Jul 8, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 1470
Review Date: Aug 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Fast, great bokeh, light
Cons:
inconsistent focus

I picked up a copy of this lens a couple months ago. I was looking to upgrade my 50mm 1.8. I loved the added weight and how it balanced my Canon XS Rebel. I shot a bit with it and took the pictures home and threw them on the computer...none of them were in focus. I'm not new to this and know how to focus. I put my camera in "live view" mode, zoomed in and manually focused. Picture turned out great. I used my center point and tried the auto focus. It missed. I returned the lens thinking I got a bad copy or that it needed some sort of adjustment my camera didn't have and picked up a different one. At first I thought it did better (tested it pretty rigorously before I bought this time) but this one too missed focus more often then it locked on. I kept it for 2 months, trying to see if it was just me and my technique. No luck. The pictures that did focus were pretty amazing. 1.4 lets in an unbelievable amount of light and has a fantastically thin depth of field. I loved some of the pictures I took with it, but missed too many shots for it to be a keeper. I sold it to someone who could micro adjust it (7D) and bought an 85mm 1.8. This lens locks perfectly every time. I picked up another 50mm 1.8 which also locks focus perfectly (although a bit slower).

Aug 23, 2010
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abam
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Registered: Apr 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4201
Review Date: Aug 11, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: relatively inexpensive. smaller and less assuming than, say, a larger zoom. great light-gathering capabilities.
Cons:
very soft and low in contrast at f1.4. grindy sort of feel to manual focusing ring. no better image quality than an L zoom.

To cut to the chase: I was disappointed by how this lens performed on my 5D2. This lens might technically allow you to shoot in lower light than with a zoom, but the IQ was for me unacceptable until f2.8 or higher, which partially negates the purpose of buying a fast prime in the first place. Micro AF adjust did very little to clean up the IQ, and I have no reason to believe that I purchased a bum copy.

As it is, the only advantage that I can see to owning this lens for FF body users is its size. It can't keep up with modern high-MP FF sensors. Yes, the price is fairly attractive, but I had just hoped for more in the IQ department.

Build quality was decent, but the focus ring felt a bit like I was grinding little plastic gears (which is probably what you are in effect doing) when I tried to focus manually. This was not reassuring, but not a deal breaker either. For $345, I don't expect 35L/85L/135L fit and finish.

Considering it's poor performance wide open, which is the main purpose for owning an f1.4 lens, and the fact that modern canon zooms are producing comparable or better IQ at f2.8 and above, I am returning this lens after a few days of controlled-environment and real world use.


Aug 11, 2010
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LPrimeFreak
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Registered: Jul 29, 2010
Location: Belgium
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Ideal portrait lens for starters, lowlight, great bokeh, cheap, compact.
Cons:
sharp from f2

This was my first prime on my ex-40D together with the Tamron 17-50 2.8.

I chose body only cause kitlenses are mostly not so interesting, I'd rather have a lowlight f1.4 or sharp f2.8 than the 17-85 for example..

I bought a dslr especially for the birth of my daughter and with this 50 1.4 I took her amazing first pictures. Thanks to the f1.4 DOF very dream baby-pictures!

Not flat like with bridge or compactcams but more 3D effect, you get more "wow" reactions from your family Smile

But watch out, at f1.4 the DOF is very narrow, you easily have only 1 eye sharp with headpictures from the side.

Best is to take all pictures at f2 or f2.2.
It's great for the money and definitely a must for starters with a low budget.

Had to sell it for the 85 1.2L for fullframe, which is sharp at f1.2. The AF is not so great on the 50 1.4, but on my expensive 85 1.2L it isn't either, very slow with so much moving glass Smile

But definitely a recommende portrait prime, keep on priming Smile






Jul 29, 2010
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coxy84
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Registered: Jul 23, 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 23, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Relatively cheap, lightweight, pretty well built
Cons:
Very mushy until f2, slow and not overly accurate AF



Jul 23, 2010
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dustnet
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Registered: Jul 30, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 20
Review Date: Jul 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: lightweight, sharp from f/2.5, Price is right for the quality
Cons:
A bit soft at full aperture

Hi all,

I'm mostly doing travel and wildlife photography. For me, the quality/weight ratio is truly important. Portrait is not my speciality but occasionally, to complete a coverage by some people living in the environment I'm documenting, I like to take candid portraits with just the ambient light.

Here are the cons and pros of the lens.

Pros:
+ Light as a feather, but still, not ridiculous as the 50mm f/1.8.
+ Build quality is decent. I've been several times testing a 50 f/1.8 and not only I found it super soft, but I was also really disappointed with the awful build quality (but still decent for 80$...), it is almost impossible to manual focus with the f/1.8 version.
+ Image quality is good, even though it could be better for a 350$ lens.
+ Autofocus is fine, I do have been able to focus in difficult lighting conditions. At least it's better than say, a EF-S 17-85mm.

Cons:
- I would like it to be sharper. That's actually why I finally switched to the 85mm f/1.2 II which is a LOT sharper but also a LOT heavier.
- No weather sealing.

So I'm personally waiting for a version II of this lens since I recently sold my 85mm f/1.2. If I really needed a lens for portraiture I wouldn't hesitate and buy a used version of this lens, it just can't a bad choice.

If you need sample of pictures took with the 50mm (and with many other lenses), just check my blog and gallery:
http://blog.emmanuelrondeau.com
http://photography.emmanuelrondeau.com

Photo shoot in Paris, only with the 50mm f/1.4:
http://blog.emmanuelrondeau.com/?p=308

All the best !
Emmanuel.


Jul 7, 2010
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ZoneV
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Registered: Nov 20, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 949
Review Date: Jun 29, 2010 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Good enough optical quality Better than EF 50/1.8 II plastics fantastics
Cons:
Mechanics to fragile Much plastics

Many users have a defective focussing unit, should be no problem as long one use a bajonett mount hood all the time.
Some have damaged the focussing unit when they transport the lens with extended tube (not infinity focus). Use of filters could probably damage the AF too.

Since I have cnverted a Minolta Rokkor my copy of the EF 50/1.4 is only a backup, or is few cases I nees AF.


Jun 29, 2010
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rk-d
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Registered: Feb 25, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 109
Review Date: Jun 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $370.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very good sharpness at 1.4, excellent sharpness stopped down. Good weight, size. USM - quick and silent AF. Accurate AF. Price is right.
Cons:
Hood is not included and aftermarket ES-71II is ridiculously expensive for what it is. Focus ring is undamped. Element extends beyond barrel with focus. Bokeh can sometimes be a little nervous.

I thought long and hard about this one. I've heard the hype about the Sigma and strongly considered it. I used the Nikon mount on my previous camera and loved it's bokeh but hated the unreliability. This is what finally tipped me towards trying the Canon for my 5dMkII.

I have read many reviews regarding softness at f/1.4 - 2.0. I might have lucked out with an exceptional copy, because this lens has great sharpness at f/1.4 - essentially equivalent to my 85mm at 1.8. Perhaps that means my 85mm is suboptimal, but at any rate, the 50mm 1.4 is as sharp at f/1.4 as I could want it. At f/1.4 I don't even care about corner sharpness, because it doesn't really matter to me at that aperture, so I have no comment there. Bottom line - center sharpness is excellent.

Bokeh on this lens is perfectly fine - 1.4 on a full frame is always a beautiful thing. There are times when the OOF elements could be a little creamier - this is where the Sigma particularly excels. That said, I would rate the bokeh as good to very good - probably equivalent to the Nikon 50mm 1.4G. I have no complaints in this department, but in terms of optical qualities, bokeh is probably the least impressive characteristic of this lens.

Color is good. It's very natural, perhaps not as saturated as some Ls I've used.

Build quality is merely ok. It has USM which is nice and the AF is fast, accurate and reliable. I don't like how the front element extends proud of the main barrel, so I bought the ES-71II bayonet hood. This is a nice little hood, but costs a ridiculous $36.00. The focus ring is not damped, so it's a little gritty feeling and not as pleasant as it could be.

Overall, I'm very happy with this lens. The IQ, on the whole, is great. Sharpness is excellent and I'm loving the images I'm getting with this lens and the 5d2.

Highly recommended.


Jun 16, 2010
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Caet49
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Registered: Jun 6, 2003
Location: Denmark
Posts: 13
Review Date: Jun 14, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb sharp at 2.0 Makes a really nice soft image at Fstop 1.4 On my ASP-H sensor (1.3) its a good small portrait lens Newer leaves my camerabody Because its a prime it will make you think alot more about how you shoot pictures (composition and so on) Nice colours, and bokem
Cons:
The manuel fokus ring has a bad felling to it, compared to other no L Canon like the 100mm macro 2.8 and 85mm

If one is in the market after a 50mm 1.2, please do not buy before you try this on out first - its almost as sharp, weights much less, cheap - and works fine for most projects.

Im so happy with the performance this gives me. A new version with a better USM fokus funktion and fokus ring is the only thing about the build quality that so be improved, picturevise it should be emproved so it outperformes the newer Sigma 50mm 1.4.


Try it and buy it you wont regret it.


Jun 14, 2010
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samoksner
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Registered: Jun 13, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 14, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Large aperture, Light
Cons:
Weak AF quality, build quality.

It's a 50mm f1.4... it's sharp enough at f1.4. Gets better at f2 and keeps getting better as one stops down. It's sharper then any zoom for sure.

It's nice and light, but that's because it's mostly plastic. The build quality leaves something to be desired, it feels like a nice consumer zoom, better then the kit 18-55, but not even close to L glass.

Paired with my 5D MKII, this lens works wonders in the dark, IF you can get it to focus. The AF on anything but the center point is hit or miss in the dark. The lens often misses focus and then freezes, I have to put the lens in MF, move the focus ring around, put it back in AF and then it'll work. Absolutely unacceptable. The AF tracking is slow and can't be trusted.

Apart from expecting better build quality for a $350 50mm, I would expect top notch AF as it needs to be accurate at f1.4... it isn't accurate and freezes when it can't lock focus.

Maybe it's just my copy, but it was disapointing. It's the only lens that will alow me to shoot in such low light, but I'm constantly frustrated at it's shortcomings.

For accurate AF in hard situations (dance, concerts, show, indoor events) I ditched the 5D MkII and the 50mm altogether, and use my Nikon gear when I need to shoot under hard conditions. The 5D MkII and 50mm are great for slow paced studio, portraits and photojournalism, but I'll take something else for dance performances and concerts...


Jun 14, 2010
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
386 1172092 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.41
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.91
8.70
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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