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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Aug 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Cheap Light Unobtrusive. Very Sharp after f2.8 Nice smooth Bokeh, still good at f2.8.
Cons:
Barrel distortion...is shocking...

I have been waiting for a high quality fast 50mm lens from canon for years and finally I hear that the cavalry is coming...the 50 1.2L is about to be released. The 1.4 has been the only canon lens in its class i.e. fast and standard for years and so I had no choice but to use it and its done fine. However I have been using it a lot recently for photojournalistic work and have decided that the barrel distortion is just too too much. Only decently sharp after 2.8 and very sharp by 5.6. certainly sharper than my 28-70 f2.8L at the same apertures.

I have also had some dodgy versions of this lens. On one version the optics had a strange yellow cast on another the USM broke almost instantly. My current version has done well however

The big big problem with this lens is barrel distortion. I am surprised not more people have noticed this. Its pretty awful and has ruined some decent photos where there are straight lines near the edge of the frame...this is no where near an L optic. I'll be trading up to the 1.2L because of this fatal flaw...



 
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

ef24mmf_14l_1_
Review Date: Jan 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It doesnt get sharper than this. Wonderful bokeh. Great contrast and edge sharpness down to F2. Useable in certain situations at f1.4.
Cons:
Obvious vignetting and loss of sharpness at f1.4. Cant think of anything else.

One of the best canon lenses I have ever used. Astonishing sharpness and contrast down to F2. Bomb proof build quality. No distortion on straight lines. I purchased this lens for documentary use indoors in available light, the punch of the images has to be seen to be believed. The only wide lolight lens that canon or anyone else makes. The 17-40 is good for use as a paperweight by comparison and is impossible to use in dim light and is seriously soft and mushy at f4. This lens will always be in my bag.