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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
388 1168089 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.32
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.91
8.70
8.8
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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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: 28399
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: 2834
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: 7491
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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jayceooi
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Registered: Jul 23, 2007
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 14
Review Date: May 2, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $284.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, light, good for portrait.
Cons:
None for the moment.

I love this lens. It has been with me for almost 1 year. I take portrait shots with it on my 400D body.
Here are some of the photo.

50mm f/1.4 sample photo


May 2, 2008
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jaems
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Registered: Dec 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 62
Review Date: Apr 23, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Price, f/1.4, Outstanding image quality
Cons:
Focusing Issues, Lens Shade not included

This lens would be an excellent value, except that I can't seem to get my hands on a reliable one. After all the different times I've purchased this lens, and all the times it must be sent to Canon (at half the price of the lens each trip) to fix the sticky focusing mechanism that will lock up at the most inopportune times, I could have just bought the 1.2L!

I think it may have been a bad omen when the very first time I bought this lens new from KEH, the autofocus was Dead On Arrival and had to be returned.

Even with the autofocus reliability issues, some of my best photos were taken with this lens. I won't dump another dime into trying to get them working correctly though. They will just continue to malfunction 2 months after the 6-month repair warranty has passed.

I would only recommend this lens if you like taking a gamble. If/when it works, it definitely shines! I would definitely have a plan B if the photo matters though.




Apr 23, 2008
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retrofocus
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Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 3902
Review Date: Apr 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $316.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light but well-built prime lens, great use in low light situations without flash and to achieve very shallow DoF with f < 1.8
Cons:
Hood is highly recommended for this lens but needs to be purchased seperatedly

This lens was a very pleasant surprise for me: I originally bought it to cover for low-light situations where I was unable to use a flash (in museums, exhibitions, churches etc.). After I received this lens, I examined it more closely additionally in daylight - this lens delivers great and sharp photos when it is used correctly. This means that you should keep in mind that at apertures smaller than f2.0 the AF of your camera doesn't work reliably anymore. With wide open apertures you definetely need to use MF to make sure that you catch your focus point right. AF also works sometimes at f<2.0, but it doesn't catch the desired focus point area correctly all the time - but this has nothing to do with the lens itself!

I was even more surprised about this hidden treasure when converting it to a macro lens with high capabilities by adding a Kenko extension tube. I was able to create great macro photos with an extremely shallow DoF which I couldn't do with a macro f2.8 lens! Of course you definetely need to use MF for such sort of macro photography anyway. The pretty broad focus ring on the lens allows a simple and convenient manual focusing in the MF lens mode.

In summary this lens performs extremely well, much better than I originally expected after reading tons of reviews. I also own the Canon 85 mm f1.8 EF lens, but the 50 mm f1.4 EF lens is definetely not worse! On a APS-C camera body the 50 mm focal length might be also perfect for portraits. If you need a very fast lens for a reasonable price, then you should highly consider this 50 mm lens!


Apr 19, 2008
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lextalionis
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Apr 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: A bit better than the nifty-fifty
Cons:
IMHO, it just doesn't justify the price difference from the nifty-fifty

Don't get me wrong, this lens IS better than the 1.8. The build quality is better and the AF is faster and quieter (USM), but when it comes down to side-by-side image comparisons, there's only a small margin of "betterness" with the 1.4 IMHO.

This is a great little lens!

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Sample Photos

-Roy


Apr 16, 2008
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
388 1168089 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $321.32
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.91
8.70
8.8
ef50mmf_14usm_1_


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