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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

ef50mmf_14usm_1_
Review Date: Jun 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Price, (quite)silent USM, size/weight, focus range, mostly sharp from f2.0 and very sharp at f4.0-f8.0, bokeh is nice, on 1.6 crop good portrait lens, no real visible disortion, sharp but not too sharp for face and skin, good balance so to say
Cons:
not a real f1.4 lens but f1.8/f2.0. chromatic aberration from f1.4 to f1.8 ! sometimes even at f2.8 but only a bit. autofocus is good(speed) but not accurate(except center and top AF) > using canon 20d

So i've been using this lens for about 4 month now. I'm shooting architecture mainly and when i use the 50mm for details, i mostly use it at f8.0 and it is very sharp at that aperture.

It's the only lens beside my wide angles (12-24mm sigma, 28mm f1.8 sigma) so when i do portraits and street photos, i only use the 50mm f1.4.

I really enjoy the bokeh, especially at close-ups like: http://www.deviantart.com/view/14469266/
(taken at f1.4, iso400 and minimal focus distance of 45cm on a 1.6xcrop 20d)

The f1.4 option is not often useable. The farer i have to focus, the softer the photo is. I think it is useable up to 2meters distance but then the focus gets way to soft. So on distance apertures from f1.4 to f2.0 are not highly recommended.

I sometimes ask myself why they write f1.4 on it when it's not useable in most cases... i wish canon would offer a 50mm prime for ~700bucks that IS useable at f1.4.

Well what is this lens good for ?

I have had good experiences for portraits, low light shots (on concerts even, my best (imo) was taken with this lens ( http://www.deviantart.com/view/18711159/ ) at f2.2 and manual focus (which doesn't always work on a 20d, because the viewfinder is so small in comparison to 1d series or 35mm cameras)

It's a useful focal lenght for 1.6x crop to take photos on the street but i think also on a full frame even better.

So in short:

mostly bad experiences from f1.4-f2.0 (soft, chromatic aberration, focus is not accurate for distance). AF isn't so good (might be my 20d)

Useful f1.4 only for close ups, but then it works pretty nice.
Good for low light, small and light. Very sharp from f4.0 and best at f8.0