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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Jan 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $310.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sufficient build from my limited perspective, especially so considering the price. My copy provides relatively good focus even at f/1.4, but you have to know what you're doing there in terms of autofocus points, knowing the handheld shutter speed you're comfortable with, etc. I've recently found it to be indispensable for indoor events when you can get close to the subject
Cons:
It seems to hunt for a while and struggle for a decent plane at times, depending on several factors I'm sure, not all of which are intrinsic to the lens.

The f/1.4 capability of this lens, combined with solid build and very good to superb optics, for only $300, amounts to a no-brainer. This is the lens you'll have on your camera before going to a party or walking down the street. They don't put this lens in so many "new camera" photos without reason. It's a bread/butter piece of glass, for just about anyone in the business, at least those using Canon equipment - one of those "must have" lenses. As far as I know, there isn't an L-series counterpart (specifically 50-mm and f/1.4 or wider). I personally like this length for walkaround very much. I like being able to get within two feet of the subject, if I want, relative to the 85mm f/1.8.

Don't expect the price to drop.