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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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390 1189909 Nov 10, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.55
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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Tim Dollear
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Registered: Sep 11, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1168
Review Date: Jul 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: F1.4 opens lots of indoor no-flash possibilities. solid build and nice feel to the focus ring. Fast autofocus. takes 58mm filter size.
Cons:
Pretty unforgiving if anything is just slightly off.

I have had this lens for about 6 mos. It's hard not to compare it to the 50mm f1.8 (which is a great value but, let's face it, not a great lens). I have been really happy with a lot of the pictures I have taken, especially indoors. I also am sometimes disappointed with the pictures I take. It could be my lack of skills, but when you are shooting at less than f2.8, you have a razor thin focal depth. there's no way around that.

I also have the 100mm f2.8 macro and in my mind the two lenses compliment each other perfectly. They both take 58mm filters so you can share a polarizer. Filters in general are less expensive at 58mm, so I just replaced both cheapo UV filters (tamron) for B&W for about $30 a piece. I digress.

50mm is a great length on a crop camera (I am sure it's also great for FF but I don't own one). I take a lot of pics of my dogs and you can pretty much hold them back at arms length and get the full head in frame. If you have to use a prime for a walkabout lens, this would probably be the one.

While this isnt' an L lens, it feels really solid, esp compared to the all-plastic 50mm 1.8. I think as I get more skilled with this lens, I will improve my keeper rate.

Here is a picture of my weiner dog taken indoors with light from a picture window providing illumination. This was at F4.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2626801540/in/set-72157605638689767/


Jul 29, 2008
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Strat60
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Registered: Jun 15, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 308
Review Date: Jul 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent low light performance; sharp even at 1.4 if you hit it right; a serious step up from the 50 1.8 II
Cons:
No lens hood included; plastic, but still a high quality plastic; hard to find things I don't like

I have had the "Nifty Fifty" for about 1.5 years and that lens got me hooked on primes.

I find this 1.4 lens to be superior in most every way to the 50 1.8 II.

First, sharpness. It can be hard to nail the focus at f/1.4, especially on a 5D at closer distances. But when you hit it, this is still quite sharp wide open. Stopped down to 2.0, 2.8, wow. I shot a bunch of portraits last week between f/5 and f/8 and they were stunning.

As a point of reference, I have a 24-70L, 24-105L, 70-200 4L, and the 85 1.8 to compare this lens to.

I have a very hard time telling the difference in IQ between this lens and the 24-70 at 50mm. I usually have to look at EXIF data to figure out which lens I was using, unless the photo is so sharp you get a paper cut, then I can tell it was the 50 1.4.

Next--Price? After dropping $1200 US on the 24-70, and $2800 on the 5D kit with the 24-105L kit, $325 US just doesn't seem like a lot of money. This lens is relatively much more money than the 50 1.8, but I'll tell you, the 1.8 II doesn't see any use except on my Rebel XT in my kids' hands these days. If there were no 1.8 available for $90 I don't think anyone would think the 1.4 costs a lot. It doesn't, especially when you start looking at how much the L lineup goes for.

AF--If you are wondering whether to settle for the 1.8 MkII, I can tell you I enjoyed the II, but the 1.4 is far superior in AF accuracy, speed and volume. The 1.8 II is loud and buzzy, it hunts, especially in low light (and sometimes never achieves focus), and misfocuses quite a lot. The 1.4's USM is very nice. Not as fast as the L lenses I own, but worlds ahead of the MkII. It is quiet, and seems to be much more accurate and consistent.

Build--While not metal, and not L quality by any means, it is still far superior to the toy-like MkII. The plastic is tougher. I think it is the same build quality as the 85 1.8 (seems like it). Also, there is a real focus ring here which I find to be quite smooth and useful. It has a metal mount too, not plastic like the MkII.

Bokeh--The MkII bokeh is chunky and blocky. The 1.4's bokeh is much smoother and is very much more pleasing to my eye. While not quite up to the bokeh I get from the 24-70L, it appears every bit as good as the 85 1.8.

In your kit--The 50mm f/1.4makes a great complement to the 85mm f/1.8 as I have both a 5D and a 40D. With the 85 on the 5D and the 50 on the 40D, my wife and I can shoot a kids/family portrait shoot with almost identical focal lengths.

With the 50mm on the 5D and the 85mm on the 40D, it's like having a 50 and a 135mm and switching between the two bodies with those two focal lengths is very useful.

I have not noticed significant CA, as some have noted, but I did not go looking for it either, so maybe if I hunt I'll find some.

All in all, this lens is an incredible piece of glass for what I believe to be a very good price. Really, if you can get a good lens this good for less than $500, you can't complain can you?

I would highly recommend this to anyone, even if you already have the 1.8 II. While the Nifty Fifty is an awesome bang for the buck and the two lenses seem to be pretty close IQ wise, the 1.4 is still a huge step up in quality.


Jul 26, 2008
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the_rebel
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Registered: Oct 25, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 1230
Review Date: Jul 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: 1.4, small, light, price
Cons:
price, cheapish feel, old USM, CA

This lens has some of the worst CA i've seen, and it's especially visible at 1.4 in good light.
if this is not something that bothers you by all means get it.

I still use the lens for my wedding work as it is 1.4, and 50mm is a very workable distance as opposed to 85mm L which requires a little more leg room, however, this is comparing apples and oranges.


It's a nice little lens and i do recommend it if you can live with the Chromatic Aberrations


Jul 25, 2008
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JustForFun
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Registered: Jul 23, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $299.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fantastic Image Quality and Bokeh for its Price.
Cons:
Could be of better build

I own 3 L Zoom lenses including the highly rated EF 70-200 f/4 L IS USM but this lens, in sharpness, contrast and bokeh, is awesome for the money I paid for, It is simply GREAT VALUE.

I use it mainly on my EOS 40D and with the 1.6x crop, it just gives you the ideal potrait focal length of 80mm for FF with a f/1.4 aperture. Needless to say, a fast prime is a joy to use indoors.

Micromotor USM is a only noisy if you are use to the soft whispers of a Ring Type USM. Compared with the Nikkor AF50 f1.4D which I used many years ago on Nikon D1 and film base FM2 to F5 series, the focusing sound is a bit more tolerable but both lenses are just as fast.

Canon could definitely improve its build quality. Need not be a AF 50/1.2L but at least like the EF-S 17-85 f4.5-5.6 or EF-S 17-55 f2.8.

This lens just reminded how good in quality and value primes can be.


Jul 23, 2008
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whereswheats
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Registered: Jan 16, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Incredible sharpness from f/2.0 onwards
Cons:
Focus ring a little "rough", stopped down bokeh is not as smooth as it could be.

I just purchased this lens refurbished a few weeks ago, and although a tad softer wide open than when stopped down, the image quality is still quite excellent.

Stopped down to f/2.0 the sharpness is amazing on my 5D, sharper than my 85 f/1.8 which until now has been my favourite lens, and noticably sharper than my 24-70L (which I am using less and less as I discover the joy of shooting with primes).

I don't have the 135mm f/2.0 yet, that will be my next purchase and from all reports maybe the only lens I'll ever own that could beat this. I can't afford the 50 or 85 1.2 lenses, and judging from the results I can get from the cheaper equivalents, I doubt the difference would be all that much anyway.

My 85 produces slightly better bokeh when stopped down, it's not quite circular on the 50, and the focus ring isn't quite as smooth either, but other than this I can't really pick any faults. This lens is quickly becoming a favourite, it has stayed on the camera since I bought it.

Very impressed so far!


Jul 9, 2008
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Herjulfr
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Registered: Jul 5, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 37
Review Date: Jul 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compact, relatively low price, sharp at all apertures
Cons:
Cheap construction, prone to flare

After having tried the 50mm f1.8 for a few weeks, I have decided to get the 50mm f1.4 for its superior image quality, its decent focus ring (compared to the f1.8) and the USM. This lens is sharp wide open and the softness that many will experience is quite probably due to mis-focusing. Focusing is indeed inconsistent with my EOS 350D (it can hunt wildly for a few seconds in low light), while it is spot on with my EOS 1N.

Construction-wise, the lens feels very cheap for its price (and especially when compared to an old FD 50mm f1.8). It is surprising light compared to my other lenses (135mm L and 17-40L). I was disappointed by the cheep feeling of the focus ring. It is far from being as smooth as on my other lenses. All this said, it does its job correctly and focusing is much easier than on the 50mm f1.8.

All in all, it is a great lens optically (as I have said, sharp from f1.4, but you will see some CA and sometimes halation at this aperture), but it would be nice if it had the construction of the other non-L USM lenses.

Oh, and there is no lens hood included. Since the lens is prone to flare, this accessory is almost mandatory.



Jul 7, 2008
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Conrad Tan
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Registered: Dec 8, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 28406
Review Date: Jun 30, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: $315.00

Pros: Suuuuuuuuper fast! Bokeh is excellent! Price is very reasonable for the results you can get.
Cons:
Feels cheap compared to an L lens... but that's ok considering the price.

This baby lets me shoot in near dark conditions, not as well as my buddy's 50mm f1.2L, but I get JUST AS GOOD results as he does IQ wise without paying for the f1.2L price! Luckily my copy is super sharp. Go get one, you'll love it!
This was taken in near darkness!
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3101/2628630048_359b5da516.jpg


Jun 30, 2008
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ladomat2001
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Registered: Sep 7, 2005
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, sharp , sharp. Fast. Very light and portable. Wonderful Bokeh and very goos resolution.
Cons:
Build quality is not the best , but ok. Not faster than 1.4 (?)

Firstly: I had 2 copies of 50L 1.2 that i sent back - one was backfocusing, other just didn't meet up with my expectations to a L prime.
My 24-70L 2.8 was sharper at all appertures (from 2.8) than the 50L.

The 1.4 50mm on the other hand met all my expectations - especially for this price. My Copy is sharper at 1.4 than the 1.2version at the same apperture.

If you are in for a low light capable 50mm lens- byu this one - it's 4 times cheaper, it 3 times lighter and it's only slightly slower but sharper that both 50L that i tested - what do you need the 50mm 1.2 if every second shot is out of focus and you have to send back and forth the copies hoping to get one that is ok??!


Jun 26, 2008
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Deb0.friday
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Registered: Jun 10, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast focusing, Sharp from 2.0.
Cons:
Soft at 1.4, but usable.

This is a very good lens! I use it primarily as a portrait lens, and it excels at that. Tack sharp at apertures from 2.0!

Lens is lightweight with decent build quality. focusing is not as quiet as other USMs but not bad. Is it worth the upgrade from the nifty fifty 1.8 II? YES!


Jun 10, 2008
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David Baldwin
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Registered: Jun 28, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2915
Review Date: Jun 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cost, size, very sharp (once you have stopped down), fast focus
Cons:
Sharpness in range f1.4 - f2 is questionable

I specialize in low light photography and I bought this lens for use in the range f1.4 - f2. The performance of this lens at these apertures is a little disappointing to me on both copies that I've tried. The effect was decidedly "dreamy" (I've double checked precise focus with this lens using Live View at 10x on my 40D). Now, this may be an advantage for those romantic portraits, but on subjects that need to be sharp - for these you really need to stop down. I appreciate this is to an extent inevitable with any really fast glass, but I am still a little disappointed with this 50.

By f5.6 the lens is very sharp indeed. For me then, a mixed review, superb for landscapes and subjects where you can stop down, but to be used with caution wide open. I will be looking very carefully at the new Sigma 50mm f1.4 when the first reviews start coming out.

A qualified recommendation for the Canon 50mm f1.4


Jun 5, 2008
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graemeak
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Registered: Mar 30, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 313
Review Date: May 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $190.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great bokeh, really wide aperture, great low light lens, USM, quite good build quality
Cons:
The only negative I have is that the USM is the old type, it moves in and out while focussing, but its still fast.

Before buying this lens I had to justify the price difference between it and the f1.8 model. So I went to Jessops and tried them both on, and the f1.4 was much faster and quieter, had a better build, better focussing ring. A completely different lens, and a stop of extra light so I was impressed.

I then of course, came on here and found out if there were any common bugs etc. and none have really been reported, mine seems to be a good lens as its sharp at all apertures (especially from f2+). At f1.4 its very usable on non moving subjects, not really people, needs stopping down for that.

Its great in low light, the focussing is fast and you don't need to use slow shutter speeds, only raise the ISO a bit. I'm very impressed and glad I bought this one rather than the horribly built f1.8.

Recommended for anyone who wants to take photos in a dark place (without flash) or just as an addition to anyones collection, the shallow DOF is great for abstract photography. Love it!


May 29, 2008
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philber
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Registered: May 20, 2008
Location: France
Posts: 9167
Review Date: May 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, light weight, (relatively to IQ) low price
Cons:
The fact that the 1.2L exists.. Grrrr!

Very simply, a brilliant piece of kit. Inexpensive compared to any halfway decent Canon zoom lens, yet produces sharper pictures than my (previously) beloved and humongously costly 24-79 2.8L. Light, easy to use, fabulous IQ. What more can one want? So good that i bought a 85mm 1.8, and now ordered a 24mm 2.8. If they are as good as hoped for, I will go 100% primes and sell my zoom lenses (I also have the 10-22 and the 100-400L). Yes, a prime is not quite as flexible. But in my case, I'd rather have shots which I choose to make than shots I have to make, where a zoom gives more options.

May 25, 2008
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mlhplt
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Registered: May 17, 2008
Location: Turkey
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build Quality, Sharpness, Focus Speed, Price
Cons:
It's not sharp at f1.4~f1.8

I use my 50mm with Canon 400D, this lens is very sharp from f2.8 - f3.5 and excellent from f3.5 - f11. It is sharp from f1.8 - f2.8 but I can not say this for faster apertures but it is still usable. It is very compact and easy to use. Autofocus is really good and very silent, thanks to USM. I think it is the best choice of Canon's 50mm lenses, I used f1.8 one but it looks like a toy and I don't like its build quality. Its autofocus is also worse than this. The f1.2 one is too expensive for most of the photographers.

May 17, 2008
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Bert 1969
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Registered: May 13, 2008
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $360.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Performance, price, sharpness, colours
Cons:
For this price nothing

This is a good lens especially considering the price/performance. Sharp from f/2.8.
Gives me much better pictures than a couple of L-zoom lenses I owned.


May 16, 2008
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Shaggy
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Registered: May 13, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Reliability, size/weight, sharpness of photos, great walk around lens, relatively fast focus, works well in low light
Cons:
price (although it's not TOO overpriced), no included hood ($30 extra)

I've fallen in love with prime lenses, and this was my first investment in that field. I spent days scouring the web for honest reviews of several different lenses but kept finding myself coming back to this lens. The f/1.8 model was only $70 or so, and I was having a hard time justifying the extra $230 for an extra stop or two, but in the end I was extremely pleased with my purchase.

The f/1.8 had the same basic thread running through all its reviews: works great but cheaply made; feels like a toy. I'm assuming it was released to be almost a disposable lens. Break it? No prob..it's only $70. Problem is, I'm not the gentlest person with my gear. I didn't want to be replacing my lens every 6-12 months because I'm an easily excitable clutz. The f/1.4 has a solid, stable feel to it. It consistently produces great results, so I appear to have lucked out and gotten a copy that was spot-on. It handles surprisingly well in low light without flash and is a great portrait lens (on my body which has a 1.6 factor, rendering it roughly an 86mm lens).

It doesn't hunt as much as some reviewers have said, and I'm typically pleased with the results I get from it. It doesn't leave my camera that often.

My one gripe: no included hood. $30+shipping extra. WTF? For as much as Canon gets for their equipment (which I happen to think is superior to a lot of what is out there...not a knock on Nikon, just my preference), why on earth do we have to purchase the hood seperately...and why the heck is it so much? I will give props to their service department though. Roughly one month after I purchased this lens, I was shooting some pics for an event at work. I'm relatively poor so I only own one body. I kept changing this lens out for another one and inadvertently dropped this lens on the floor. A carpeted floor, but the floor none-the-less. Broken. Wouldn't focus (manually or automatically), made weird grinding motor sounds, camera wouldn't recognize it etc. I contacted Canon, described the problem, mailed it in and within 5 days had a new lens in the mail. No problems whatsoever. They tried walking me through some some repair suggestions on my own (I didn't have the cajones to tell them I dropped it..I just said it stopped working), and when nothing worked (surprise), they hooked me up with a new one. Props on that area.

Anyway, if you are in the market for a good prime in this range (depending on your crop factor) at a decent price, I'd recommend this lens. It'll be on my camera for years to come.



May 15, 2008
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Cubric
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Registered: Feb 25, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Nice soft at f1.4
Cons:

Its a good lens for its price. I have used it on a Rebel G and now on an EOS-3 though I still need to work on using it on the latter body. Sample:

http://bulohpictures.shutterchance.com/blog.php


May 3, 2008
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
390 1189909 Nov 10, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.55
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.93
8.71
8.9
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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