SLRGear.com: Interactive Lens Reviews and Opinion.
Digital Camera ReviewsDiscuss lenses in the SLRgear.com Forums (separate login!)



Reviews Views Date of last review
56 396200 8/22/2013
Recommended By Average Purchase
96% of reviewers $352.52
Reader Review Rating Averages
Readers' rating for
Construction Quality
Readers' rating for
Image Quality
Readers'
Overall Rating
spacerspacer
7.40
spacerspacer
8.51
spacerspacer
8.25
1EF50f14a.jpg


Keywords: Canon EF Mid Prime 35mm USM Tested


JPMuller

Registered: June 2010
Posts: 12
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by JPMuller
Review Date: 8/22/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent Lens For The Price. Close To The Canon 1.2
Cons: Bokeh kinda busy. AF not as accurate.

For the most part I have not been that interested in the 50mm focal length, since in the past I found it a somewhat boring. Many say 50mm is what the eyes “see” and thus it is a very intuitive and natural focal length for most people. I suppose this is true, and one of the reasons I have not been drawn to it since I like to offer a more interesting perspective with my photography.


Canon’s 35mm 1.4 has been my go to lens when I only wanted to carry one prime. However I often found it too wide and not suitable for individual portraits. I was looking for a fast lens that I could carry around with me regardless of the situation… one which, if I had to choose just ONE lens (fast 2.0 or faster) and the 50mm seemed like the logical choice. It is good for portraits and wide enough to capture a scene if need be. It is a fast lens (1.4 or 1.2 aperture) so it is good for dark or dimly lit situations).


Since I had a 30 day return option, I decided I would purchase both the Canon 50mm 1.4 and the Canon 50mm 1.2 L and see if I got to love this focal length and if so, which would I choose.


I ultimately decided to go with the Canon 1.2 since I am a professional photographer and make my living photographing people. So the small difference was worth it to me. However, it might not be for everyone. To see the results of my head to head comparison of the 1.2 vs the 1.4, click on the following link:


http://johncarnessali.com/camera-lens-tests/5338
polizonte

Registered: December 2012
Posts: 1
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by polizonte
Review Date: 12/31/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $299.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp @ f4-f8, relatively low distortion, good focus
Cons: feels delicate

This lens was acquired to be used with a 5Dmkii - both were purchased at almost close-out prices so I consider them to be bargains. Shooting mostly from f4-f8, the lens produces sharp images with very little distortion and nice colors. To minimize reflections and to protect the delicate focusing mechanism (the inner barrel protrudes when focused closer than infinity) for $21 the lens shade is a worthwhile accessory but should have been included with the lens.
dugong5pm

Registered: October 2012
Posts: 52
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by dugong5pm
Review Date: 10/9/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: fast f/1.4, fast AF, USM, build quality
Cons: soft wide open

not the sharpest 50mm lens. Some says that the plastic 50/1.8 is even sharper than this one. I don't shoot test charts, but this lens is just fine with me. I get the fast-accurate AF, and it's still produce usable images wide open. Build quality is somewhat nice. It feels solid in my hand while it's made out of plactics mostly. It's not a leica, but you really got what you pay for. totally worth it.
davidmarquesneves

Registered: April 2011
Posts: 2
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by davidmarquesneves
Review Date: 9/13/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, lightweight.
Cons: Construction

Is the best in price X weight X sharper equation.


But you can FEEL that AF will run for not so many years...
JeanP

Registered: August 2011
Posts: 4
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by JeanP
Review Date: 8/20/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Nice lightweight and non-impressive
Cons: no hood

This is indeed a very nice portraitlens on my 400D. Use this lens on f2.5 and further up to f11 and your results will be nice and with good contrast.
I had to send my lens with my 400D to a service point for calibration.My copy, and three others in the shop, had focusproblems (also on a new 7D at the shop)
After this calibration (lens is paired with camera) my pictures are very sharp and nice.
This calibration is a well known (at least at the servicecenter) issue and is carried out under warranty.


I am very satisfied with this level of Canonservice.
DLx

Registered: April 2011
Posts: 2
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by DLx
Review Date: 4/27/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Light, good image quality, affordable
Cons: veiled at wide apertures, AF mechanism problematic

Used on an APS-C body (in my case 40D) this is a great portrait lens, and therefore it quickly became my favorite lens.


It has great pictorial quality, very nice colors, good contrast, but not at it's widest setting. Best used at f/2.8 and up.


However, my sample's AF mechanism broke completely after a small bump and the cost of repair was almost as a new lens. Afterwards I did some reading and found out it used an older type of USM mechanism that is more prone to malfunction and very vulnerable.
mikigromov

Registered: January 2011
Posts: 1
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by mikigromov
Review Date: 1/28/2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $430.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: small , light
Cons:

the 50mm f1.4 is light weight lens but us it rarely on f1.4 only if you do not have choice tray to us it up to f2 in this aperture it is still reasonably sharp , the focusing ring is little small and may interrupt firm grip but because of the light weight probably will not be noticed
marduk360

Registered: December 2010
Posts: 3
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by marduk360
Review Date: 12/28/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $446.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size and weight. Sharp from f/2 thru f/11 (APS-C).
Cons: Soft at f/1.4, no hood.

Best value 50mm from Canon. Its a better investment vs the 1.8 and not much lost vs. the 1.2.


You would only be getting the 1.2 IF you really really need the aperture, build quality and bokeh.
ron_miller

Registered: December 2010
Posts: 2
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by ron_miller
Review Date: 12/4/2010 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $420.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Bright due to large aperture F1.4
Cons: Very soft at large aperture (F1.4 to <F2.8)

I recommend the much cheaper Cannon 50mm F1.8.
Although this F1.4 has a better construction quality, it is more than 3X more expensive at the same image quality.
Even if this lens has a wide aperture of F1.4, I find it unusable at that setting - it becomes very soft especially on the right side to the point you feel the image is not focused properly. I think this lens is useful only from F2.8 beyond.
serg

Registered: March 2010
Posts: 4
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by serg
Review Date: 3/17/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: weight, charp
Cons: construction, no weather sealing, no contrast on 1.4

fine focus, slight soft corner on 1,4 - 2,0; center - sharp
Creyr Glas Lightworks

Registered: July 2009
Posts: 10
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Creyr Glas Lightworks
Review Date: 3/11/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $330.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great for portraits on crop sensor, fast focusing, solid build
Cons: soft up to 2.0 (if you need frame fully sharp)

I love this lens, its a great all arounder, portraits pop at the wide apertures, colors are well rendered and I get great feedback when presenting images from this lens to models/clients. I have even used it at a nightclub for event photography combined with a hotshow flash, colors in low light were amazing. Its just a really, really good lens. I did let it go because I got a zoom that covered the same range and wants the 100m F2, but I know I will get this lens again as money allows.
MrAdventure

Registered: June 2008
Posts: 6
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by MrAdventure
Review Date: 11/14/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $150.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light Weight, Fast Auto Focus, Good Contrast & Color, Sharpness
Cons: Delicate AF system, No Hood, Small focus ring

I bought my copy used at a steep discount. The AF focus was not working, so full manual usage. I've read that the performance wide open is soft...I didn't really see that in my copy. It's very useable at f/1.4 but it does leap in sharpness from f/2 onwards. Sharp across the frame at f/2.8 on my 1D bodies.


The color and contrast are very good for the money but I do wish it came with a larger focus ring and a lens hood. The AF mechanism is so flimsy that a drop from a short height is guaranteed to wreck it. There have been cases where the AF stops working for no apparent reason.


I found a link to a FIX here: http://leightonmiller.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/i-fixed-my-50mm-1-4-usm-lens/


I fixed my copy and now the AF works just fine.


Other than the AF issue and small focus ring, the lens performs very well and is usually stuck to one of my bodies.
Soothsayerman

Registered: September 2009
Posts: 1
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Soothsayerman
Review Date: 9/19/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: cheap, very sharp at f2.8 through f11, full time manual focus override
Cons: a little too dreamy at f1.4, plastic

I've use a variety of zooms, the 18-55, 17-85, 17-40L and decided to get the 50 f1.4 because the zoom lenses performance was not very good in terms of bokeh, sharpness and light gathering ability. I sold them all except the 17-40L which is just a fantastic lens for landscape and also very cheaply priced.


I've had several 35mm cameras over the years and the 50mm has always been a workhorse for me and my most frequently used lens and this lens is no exception. I leave it on my 40D most of the time. I had to return my first copy to Adorama because the chromatic abberation was horrible, but my second copy was pristine and perfect. It was no hassel at all to do this, they have great service.


I see people complaining about softness at 1.4 and all fast lenses are soft wide open. That's just the way it is. This lens is no exception but the distortion on my copy is very pleasant if a little "too" dreamy.


But stop it down a bit, and it dials in very nicely to be very sharp at f2.0 and above.


The bokeh is very nice and pleasant. I like the bokeh on this lens better than the Zeiss 50mm 1.4 which I've had the chance to use. On the other hand, the Zeiss is sharper across the frame. Overall I like this lens better, the autofocus works very well for me under reasonalbe conditions, ie not completely dark, and the focus mechanism is smooth and accurate enough to manual focus easily.


The build quality is quite adequate and reasonable for the price and one reason I got this lens over the 50mm 1.8. It is lightyears ahead of that lens in build quality and finish.


Overall, you can't go wrong with this lens and if you don't have a 50 in your arsenal, you really owe it to yourself to get one.
climber

Registered: April 2009
Posts: 11
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by climber
Review Date: 4/21/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: fast, small, excellent image quality above f2.2, inexpensive, USM
Cons: useless below f2

Excellent lens, great image quality, fast focus and nice bokeh. Inexpensive.


But don't try to use this lense below f2.2.
joelypolly

Registered: April 2009
Posts: 2
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by joelypolly
Review Date: 4/19/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast 1.4 aperture which means excellent low light performance, Excellent DoF effect,Excellent bokeh when focusing on close objects, Light and inexpensive, Metal Mount
Cons: 50mm on a cropped body is... well weird, Shallow DoF means hard to focus at times, Plastic body

This is probably one of the most popular primes ever sold. It is inexpensive, light and quite a sharp when stepped down a little. This lens is also about a quarter the price of the f/1.2.
I have owned a copy of this lens since May of last year and it has opened up a whole new dimension of photography that just wouldn't not have been possible on a standard zoom.


The DoF effect is very very shallow, in fact so shallow that I had trouble at the beginning locking focus on what I wanted. You will be using this lens in Manual focus mode much of the time simply because the AF won't always pick the correct thing to be in focus.


Check out sample photos from the lens at http://joelypolly.blogspot.com/search/label/50mm
franzoi

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 4
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by franzoi
Review Date: 2/14/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $390.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: f/1.4, price, light.
Cons: plastic body.

This lens I use only for the interior and dimly lit with af/1.4 is really fantastic.
The best quality you have to f / 4 to f / 8.
I used this lens all over the world for me money/quality is 10.


This is the only f/1.4 canon lens-economic.


My web with foto:


http://www.franzoi.eu/index.php/foto/
waro52

Registered: December 2008
Posts: 5
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by waro52
Review Date: 12/29/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: it's fast, price, size
Cons: soft wide open

This is a nice lens overall. Yeah, it's soft @ f1.4, but my particular lens is not as bad as I expected from reading all the reviews. Stop it down to f4 or smaller and it is incredibly sharp, contrasty with very nice color. Great for shots of basketball in difficult lighting on a 40D. Focus ring has a little more play than I'd like, definitely not L quality, but if you need that, get the f1.2.
pepstein

Registered: June 2008
Posts: 5
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by pepstein
Review Date: 6/25/2008 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Good focal length, quite fast focus
Cons: Not durable

Tested on a full frame body, the focus mechanism has become so sloppy that image quality is no longer good until well stopped down. Other reviewers say their copies are sharp from f/2, but my well worn copy is only sharp from f/8 to f/16.


For the price, I think Canon should include a real ring-type ultrasonic motor, as the tiny gears are part of the reason this lens hasn't lasted through the years.
lextalionis

Registered: October 2007
Posts: 82
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by lextalionis
Review Date: 2/12/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $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


-Lex
JayceOoi

Registered: November 2007
Posts: 4
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by JayceOoi
Review Date: 11/30/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $284.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp, light, good for portrait.
Cons: soft at f/1.4

It is a wonderful portrait lens. It is soft at f/1.4 but f/2 onward is sharp. I am glad that I own this lens.


Check out the image quality here
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM photo samples
Isaacarus

Registered: November 2007
Posts: 2
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Isaacarus
Review Date: 11/25/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $430.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:

the size and weight feel nicely balanced on the 30D, not too front heavy and its got a nice focus ring for MF.
The AF is very fast and pretty much always accurate. maybe some slight troubles in VERY dark places.


build quality:
while its not amazing, its still acceptable and i havent had any problems with it in the ~6 months ive had mine.


Image Quality:
as expected, its not amazing at 1.4, though for mine, at 1.6 its acceptable and ideal for street and portraits. stopped down further it can be too sharp for some detailed b/w images. other times its what you want, and it delivers. mine is definitley not as bad as slrgears test copy though.


highly reccomended and a great walk around lens and as an upgrade from the 50mm 1.8's
Hydrogen

Registered: September 2007
Posts: 2
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Hydrogen
Review Date: 9/16/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $309.00| Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent Image Quality. Great Value.
Cons: Build Quality Slightly on Cheap Side.

This is a GREAT value for a lens.


I have purchased, used and eventually returned the 50mm f/1.2L from Canon after very disappointing results.


This lens puts out great results. I don't see softness issues on my 1.6x body (20D).


I concur with others in this group that SLR Gear should grab a hold of another copy and retest. Just as they should obtain another copy of the 50mm 1.2L - what a bad experience that was.


My 2 cents...
srui

Registered: April 2007
Posts: 1
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by srui
Review Date: 4/3/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp, excellent color and contrast. Large aperture. Fast auto-focus. Full time manual focus.
Cons: The auto-focus accuracy could be better. Doesn’t provide distance information for E-TTL II flash systems.

I agree with other users that although the technical quality of the reviews in this page is very high, in this particular case they must have got a bad copy because my lens at least is not that bad. Also the blur chart is clearly decentred which might indicate a bad copy. When compared to other reviews I have seen from photozone.de and photodo.com I find that they are more close to my experience with this lens.


This lens has a good construction (much better than the MKII I had and better that the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D I tested). In comparison the Canon 85mm f/1.8 has better construction.


The auto-focus is fast and the full time manual focus is a very nice feature, although the focus accuracy could be a little better. Again in comparison to the Canon 85mm f/1.8, the auto-focus system is clearly worse (slower, noisier, less accurate).


This lens absolutely shines in the sharpness, color and contrast department. It is clearly the best lens I have in this regard. The sharpness above f/3.5 is simply pixel splitting. Between f/1.4 and f/2.0 is acceptable if you hit focus and between 2.0 and 3.5 is very very good.


I think that the only real problem with this lens is that it loses its magic in the crop sensor. I think that if I could go back I would buy the Canon 60mm f/2.8. If you want a sharp, large aperture, easy to handhold in low-light, normal field of view lens than you have to look some where else.


P.S.: To SLRGear.com: please test another copy of this lens!
jdf

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 8
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by jdf
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: USM, Sharpess
Cons: At F1.4

I have used this lens from a firnd of mine with a 30D. At 1.4 it's horrible, very soft, i own a 1.8 MKII and never saw this one mine wide open. Things get better when you stop it down but only at 2.2 +/-.


At the other apertures it's nice as crisp as it should be for a prime. Giving great results. The bokeh iisn't that great indeed it's a bit harsh so i would nor recommend this lens for portrait. (the 85mm 1.8 is much better, or 1.2 if you have the money).


All in all a good prime but with a few quirks.
fergusonjr

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 15
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by fergusonjr
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $320.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great Image Quality. Great Max Aperture for low-light. Well-built
Cons: Not super-sharp below f/2.8

I love this lens. It's worth every penny. It produces very sharp images, it focuses fast and precisely, and provides great background blur (bokeh) at large apertures. Granted, the bokeh might not be as stupendous as the 1.2 lenses, but it's still quite nice. The relatively quiet and fast AF motor is much more satisfying than on the f/1.8 lens. The lens does feature FTM-focusing, but because of the tighter DOFs, I usually find it necessary to switch to manual if I want to actually manually focus. While it's a pretty tight lens, there's a little bit of play in the focus ring, so that the initial movement doesn't change the focus when moving it in either direction. Perhaps this is a sign of age, but I'm thinking this is more a sign of quality. It also feels like you're pushing against the motor when you're manually focusing, something that I don't feel in the nicer L-lenses.


Particularly for close-ups, you can't expect to get super-sharp pictures at apertures under f/2.8. I couldn't tell whether this was just general softness or because of overexposure, but if you must have definite sharpness, you do need to stay above 2.8.
John H Maw

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 15
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by John H Maw
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image quality, small size, large aperture
Cons: No internal focus

This is a very nice compact and light lens. Not quite as nice to use as my other Canon prime, the 85mm f/1.8 because unlike the 85 it doesn't have internal focusing, but very useful nevertheless. Optical quality is well up to making very saleable images (full frame), which is what counts.


If you need a wide aperture lens that won't take up too much room in your bag, this could be the one.
adobo

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 17
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by adobo
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good construction (compared to 50mm f/1.8 II), improved optics, fast
Cons: The classic focal length (50mm) is ruined by the crop.. Huge jump in price from 50mm f/1.8 II

I think the review team (slrgear) got a bad copy of this lens.. it's NOT THAT BAD.. Why not take a retest of this lens? I mean you're doing that for Nikon (and i'm actually thinking why a lot of sites/magazines are biased towards them)


Anyway, construction of the lens is not bad.. nice focus ring.. should have been a classic lens if not for the 1.6x crop.. Now its much more of a portrait, low-light lens.. oh well..


USM is a good thing, focusing speed is superb although at very wide apertures I have to take a lot of shots because its not that accurate and the shallow depth of field is unforgiving..


All in all, a nice lens.. would have been a classic if not for the crop..


Oh yeah, I'd recommend that you get the 50mm f/1.8 II first if you want to try if you need a lens like this.. As a bonus it also has a LD coating.. (from Canon museum)
mlacoursiere

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 3
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by mlacoursiere
Review Date: 1/11/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $399.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: crisp pictures
Cons: none

I just got this lens and have not tried it under a lot of conditions, but the pictures I have taken came out really nice. Using it with an auto portrait setting, the pictures were very clear. I could not be happier!


I will continue to try it with different settings as I learn more and may post additional comments at that time.


But for now, it seems to be a really nice lens.
amk

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 6
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by amk
Review Date: 1/10/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp when stopped, smooth bokeh, and quick AF
Cons: I'd like my 1.4 to be sharp at 1.4... not have to stop down to 2+

My pros and cons say it all. One other thing is that I wish Canon included the hood with it. Overall a nice lens and I'd buy it again if I had to.
random

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 10
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by random
Review Date: 1/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $410.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Better build quality than the f/1.8 version, micro-USM w/FTM, wider manual focusing ring, distance scale & DOF indicator
Cons: Almost unusable wide open, AF is not accurate

First of all, the build quality is markedly better than it's cheaper brother, the 50mm f/1.8. The manual focusing ring is actually much more usable now, and the addition of a distance scale & DOF marks are certainly welcome.


Image quality-wise, wide-open aperture up to around f/2.0 should only be used a last resort since softness, vignetting & poor contrast are very noticeable at those apertures. Beyond f/2 up to around f/8, it is somewhat sharper & more contrasty than the f/1.8 version at the same aperture. It is best used around f/4-f/8.


AF speed is noticeably faster & quieter compared to the f/1.8 version due to the use of micro-USM, although I noticed that AF accuracy seems to suffer in low-light. Even though it doesn't use a ring USM like the more expensive Canon lenses, manual focusing can still be used without switching out of AF. I find that to be a very useful feature.


Overall, this normal lens is still highly recommended for its maximum aperture & sharpness (stopped-down). It's a better portrait lens than the f/1.8 version since it gives a nicer-looking background blur quality due to the use of an 8-bladed aperture. I just wish that it is cheaper, maybe priced at just around 2-3x more than the f/1.8 version.
thomiz

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 16
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by thomiz
Review Date: 1/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, small, fast, inexpensive
Cons: Not very sharp wide open, could have a better build

Nice lense on the 20D the lens is a little long for being a normal lense, but for portraits it fits nicely. I find the lense wery sharp from f/2.8, and it is sharp at f/2.0, but wide open it is not sharp. I use it sometimes at this aperture anyway if the light is dim but I try to keep to f/2.0 most of the time. At f/1.4 the sharpness is adequate for a good looking letter size print, but at 2.8 you can go much bigger. The build quality is ok, but not great, much better than the 1.8 version however.
silverbluemx

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 16
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by silverbluemx
Review Date: 1/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very good performance over f/2, better build quality than EF50/1.8
Cons: Very soft at f/1.4, no ring-type USM

Compared to my EF 50/1.8, I found this lens to have a better construction quality (not very hard), and a slightly better image quality (with the same aperture).
However, at full aperture it is worse than the cheap 50/1.8 but the speed gain might be useful, so why not.
I wish it had a "true" ring-type USM motor like the EF85/1.8.
I didn't think it was worth the update from my EF50/1.8, but that doesn't mean it's not better.
Anyway, it's a great lens, but avoid full aperture shots unless you really need the speed of f/1.4.
Lee Jay

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 16
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Lee Jay
Review Date: 1/7/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Relatively cheap, very fast, small
Cons: So-so optics wide open, inconsistent focusing in low light

Decent lens, but below f2 there's a wierd halo around everything. Focusing is sometimes great, and sometimes horrible.
ne1rom

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 6
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by ne1rom
Review Date: 1/7/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very sharp (from 2.0), nice smooth bokeh
Cons: soft wide open

On APS-C DSLR the lens is very useful as a portrait lens.
Wide open softness can be used as an "soft" effect for portraits. Anyway right from the f2.0 it became very sharp (still not as sharp as 100/2.8 macro).
Can be used as an all-purpose lens and for low-light conditions on FF body.
mebailey

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 21
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by mebailey
Review Date: 12/14/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:

A good lens with decent sharpness and high speed. Its not terribly sharp at 1.4 but picks up nicely by f 2. The focusing is a little noisy but fast enough. The construction is average and manual focusing is abit coarse. A good value but not a good a value as "nifty".
SamuelMV

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 6
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by SamuelMV
Review Date: 12/14/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Fast f1.4!!, small size, moderate price, good IQ f2 or smaller, bokeh
Cons: Not sharp at f1.4, vigneting, flare, AF not so good

This is probably the best 50mm that Canon makes:


The 1.8 IQ is softer, its the construction quality is worst, as it's the AF, and only marginally cheaper.


The 1.2 is much more expensive, only a little bit faster and better built. The AF speed is the same, as it's the vigneting.


The 2.8 macro is not so fast ... not the same league.


This lens does not give information about the distance to the camera, so the E-TTL II flash doesn't work.


With an APS-C sensor the focal length is 80mm, so it becomes a kind of very short tele, not as useful a real 'normal' lens, as can be the Canon 28mm 1.8 or Sigma 30mm 1.4


The f1.4 aperture can be very tricky for composition, you have a really tight DOF and a soft image ... if you can live with that, this is your lens!!!
rrf

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 4
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by rrf
Review Date: 12/12/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: F1.4, nice blurry backgrounds
Cons: soft wide open which can be good for portraits

On a Canon 20D, this is a great indoor, low light portrait lens. The background blur is very nice and you don't need much light to take pictures of a moving child without a flash. The blur helps remove some of the clutter that is omnipresent with a child at play.


Although I do not use this lens often (my Tamron 28-75 spends much more time on the camera), I am always very pleased with the handling and very nice quality of the images from this lens.


The blurry backgrounds at F1.4 can be very nice. Keep in mind that the focal depth at F1.4 is so narrow that if the eyes are in focus, the ears will be a bit blurred. It is critical to get the focus exactly on the point you want to have in focus. (The autofocus works well, so this is usually not difficult to do.) The effect of this wide open, short depth of focus portrait can be quite nice and is unavailable without this wide an aperature.


Stopped down a bit, the lens is sharp and maintains nice out of focus background patterns (bokeh). I have found that pictures taken with this lens have a nice feel to them.
Jon S

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 4
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Jon S
Review Date: 12/12/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $250.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast lens, perfect size for portraits....
Cons: soft when open, some abnormal image issues under special condition....

I like this lens when used for portrait shots. The softness actually helps somewhat in this kind of situations. With a 1.4 aperture, it is a lot more versatile than using the 17-85mm IS Zoom lens. The 8-bladed aperture helps the bokeh compared to the Canon 1.8 II lens. Focus speeds seems variable. Sometimes the lens "hunts" a bit. The lens build quality is nothing to write home about, but it does seem a bit better than the stock 18-55mm zoom kit lens.


Stopping down to 2.0 or higher improves sharpness. The lens is quite compact and is a useful prime lens. The odd thing is that when taking pictures of Christmas lights, there are ghost lights on one side of the image.
Michael LV

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 3
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Michael LV
Review Date: 12/6/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $340.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Light weght, good performance at F#2.8-8, color and contrast
Cons: Built quality, low res. at F#1.4

I have this lens for some time and happy with sharpness in mid F# area 2.8 - 8.0. However, I thought of better performance at F 1.4.
Overall is a good Lens and could be even better with improved built quality -seal, focusing.
Tomti75

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 13
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Tomti75
Review Date: 12/5/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast light, not too expensive, excellent IQ above f:2
Cons: Build quality, AF, Soft below f:2

Overall the lens gives excellent results : very sharp pictures with nice contrast and colors all over the frame (on crop body at least).


The build quality is so-so, and the AF a little outdated, but the big showstopper for me was softness at from 1.4 to 2. And on the copy I tested, the IQ at 1.4 was really poor, not just a little lower than f:2


I tried this lens, while hesitating with the EF-S 60 macro 2.8, and the image quality at 1.4 finally made the difference for me and I bought the 60mm.


Nevertheless I still miss a fast lens usable at f2 or below in this range...
terryf

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 10
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by terryf
Review Date: 12/4/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Spped, light weight, low cost
Cons: slight softness wide open

I was surprised when I saw the DXO results for the sharpness of this lens at f1.4 and went back and reviewed my own test photos. I think that I may have a slightly better copy than the one tested above. Yes, there is clearly some softness at f1.4 but it is very close in sharpness to my 24-70L at f2.8. On the other hand, it is significantly less sharp than my 135L at f2.0. when my copy of the 50mm f1.4 is stopped down to f2.8 the image quality is excellent But, for my photography, this is a lens of limited usefulness. I only use it in low light situations.
chrcapi

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 8
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by chrcapi
Review Date: 12/3/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $320.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: very good optical quality, good bokeh, low weight
Cons: build quality is a little disappointing, FTM worse than ring-type USM

Between f/4 and f/8 this is one of the sharpest lens I've ever seen. Performances at f/1.4 are not stellar: with full frame SLR you'll find a lot of vignetting; especially at corners, you can frequently notice poor contrast and narrow resolving power. Quite often, this is not an issue, because you'll probably use this aperture for portrait work or special effects, when you can push the great bokeh of this lens at its best. Anyhow, the test results you can find in this site doesn't match my field experience, because blur at full aperture is a real disaster here, and seems to show some decentering effect (which usually suggest a defective lens). According to many other lab tests, my field experience shows a usable lens, even at f/1,4. Distortion is visible only with close subjects: it looks more like coma than geometric distortion. Contra light performances are really good; color balance is always neutral.
The build quality of this lens is decent, but a little disappointing, especially when compared with its optical performances. It provides a micro-USM AF drive including full-time manual override in one-shot AF mode: it proved to be quite fast and nearly silent, but not as practical as the more usual ring-type USM.
All-in-all this is a great lens, highly recommended for both full frame or APS-C DSLRs.
dccps

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 13
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by dccps
Review Date: 11/30/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $305.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great portrait lens on a APS sized sensor digital camera
Cons: could be updated with better USM

Another winner from Canon. I used to use this as a normal lens on a Canon EOS 3. Now it is an excellent choice for a close portrait lens, much like the use I had for the 85mm f/1.8. I have gotten great photos with the lens and am very comfortable relying on it. Bokeh is great, sharpness, stopped down even one stop is excellent. At f/1.4, results can still be quite good, just remember depth of field is shallow.
AHAB

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 8
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by AHAB
Review Date: 11/27/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Pretty good lens
Cons: could be better wide open

Hey for the price it's pretty good!
Soft wide open on my copy.
A bit slow to focus, but it is light weight and overall its really a pretty good lens.
I enjoy it and produce some good low light images with it, but I have high hopes for the 1.2.
AHAB
perpera

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 13
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by perpera
Review Date: 11/23/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $480.00| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast and lightweight. Very sharp from F2.0
Cons: A little soft wide open.

AF not very fast. I wish Canon would consider an update with Ring USM.
dreamlogic

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 7
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by dreamlogic
Review Date: 11/21/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $310.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: large aperture, good bokeh
Cons: soft at max aperture

usage: Canon 5D and Canon 1DsMkII


I was somewhat disappointed by the results of this lens. It's very soft at 1.4, even for portraits. It gets very sharp by f2.8-4, but the whole point of buying a 1.4 lens is to use it at 1.4. In addition to the softness, there is also a glowing or soft-focus look to the pictures taken at the largest apertures.


The bokeh is decent though, so if you need a 50mm, this is probably the one to get. Just don't expect much resolution at the max apertures.


If the focal length works for you, I'd recommend the 85/1.8 instead. It's about the same price, but sharper at equivalent apertures (at least below f2.8)
Jarrad_Kevin

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 11
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Jarrad_Kevin
Review Date: 11/15/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $320.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: 1.4, Very light, Extemely Sharp, Very Good Wide open.
Cons: USM could use an update, Focus ring could use more dampening.

I guess I lucked out.


It seems there might be Quality Control issues with this lens.


I find mine to be quite sharp wide open. Sharper at 1.4 than my 100mm is wide open at 2.8. It's my Sharpest lens at any aperture.


I really don't like the Field of View the 50mm lens gives my on my 1.6 crop, but I can't bring myself to sell this lens because it's so sharp.


The USM could really be faster. There is a little noise, but nothing to worry about. The Focus ring isn't suitable for a 1.4 lens. AF accuracy can be a little sketchy on a 20D in low light or on areas with less than high contrast.


If you like the 50mm length and sharpness is your highest priority this lens highly recommended.
smallypauly

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 3
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by smallypauly
Review Date: 11/15/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 6 

 
Pros: small, light good light gathering capability
Cons: poor image quality at f1.4

I bought this lens for its low light capability but was staggered by its softness at f1.4. Maybe my camera can't get the focus point spot on which adds to the problem.


Not as slick as modern lenses but apart from at f1.4 I have found this an exellent lens and enjoy using it.
gadgetguy

Registered: May 2006
Posts: 62
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by gadgetguy
Review Date: 11/14/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Bright, AF speed, beautiful bokeh
Cons: Because of ultra shallow DOF (wide open), you have to get focus spot on

For a 1.6x DSLR, this is probably the best (affordable) portrait lens. Shooting wide open gives great bokeh - yo just have to double check that what you are focussing on is actually in focus because of uper shalloe DOF when wide open.


AF speed is also great and in my copy, spot on. Lens is also lightweight and well built (it's no "L", but yo already knew that).
Aprevit

Registered: September 2006
Posts: 1
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by Aprevit
Review Date: 9/5/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: super sharp and excellent bokeh
Cons: soft wide open

quite good
photogjack

Registered: July 2006
Posts: 9
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by photogjack
Review Date: 7/25/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: f1.4 - when you need it, you need it
Cons: a little slow to focus, not as robust as other Canon primes, not as fast to AF as other Canon primes

I like this lens but it is a mixed bag. It is a little soft wide open, but my copy is very sharp by f2. It does not focus as quickly as the 28 f1.8, and wide open it vignettes pretty dramatically on the 5D. But when you need f1.4 (like when working in a church) you need f1.4 and it is there. When you close down to f2.8 or f4, it is absolutely great, very sharp and the vignetting is gone.


If or when Canon revises this lens, I would like to see 1) internal and faster focusing, 2) closer focusing and 3) improved performance wide open.


Despite its flaws, I would still recommend this lens to someone who needs a fast normal lens.


http://web.mac.com/kurtzjack/iWeb/
fstopjojo

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 9
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by fstopjojo
Review Date: 11/4/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast f1.4 aperture, Small and lightweight, USM (albeit micro and not ring), FTM, Very good sharpness by f2.
Cons: Construction could be better, Ring USM would be nice, 18" MFD.

Useable wide open but finds its sweet spot around f4.0-f5.6. Very good to excellent by f2.8 though. While the construction is better than its plastic sibling (i.e., "thrifty fifty"), it's no L-grade by any means. AF is fairly quick and silent, but the lens does extend/retract when focusing. Considering it's an f1.4 prime with very good optics, I recommend this lens especially at its price-point.


www.pbase.com/fstopjojo/lenstests
jyli19

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 7
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by jyli19
Review Date: 11/3/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $299.00| Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Light, fast, sharp
Cons: loose focus rign

One of my favorite lenses, it's fast, light, and superb image quality. Slightly soft at 1.4 and super sharp from 2.0 on. The focus ring is loose and focus is not as fast as L primes.
softreq

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 5
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by softreq
Review Date: 10/28/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $320.00| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Sharp. Lightening fast focus.
Cons: Build quality is very good, but I expected better.

Lens is sharp.


I haven't found a problem at F1.4, but the depth of field is so narrow, I tend to work with this lens at F2.8 or F3.4.


Lightening fast focus.


The build quality is very good but I expected excellent.


It's a good lens, but the F1.8 version is much cheaper.
dqs

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 1
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by dqs
Review Date: 10/24/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Very good except wide open
Cons: Very soft at 1.4; not ideal as a "standard" lens for 1.6 FOVCF bodies

SLR Gear's review confirms my observations, and the user reviews found elsewhere. It is exceedingly soft at f1.4, passable at 1.8 and good at 2.0. When I tested my first copy, I thought it had to be a particularly poor copy, and exchanged the lens. The blur sometimes emphasizes the wrong part of the image, as the sharpest parts of the image might not be the intended focal point (e.g., the mouth instead of the eye).


My second copy seemed slightly better, though it may actually be because the distribution of blur may be different, and not quite as bad at the center of the frame.


Since I intended to use the lens for low light, no flash situations, I am somewhat disappointed that it has to be stopped down for usable images. However, it is sharper and faster than my Canon 17-85 mm, so I intend to keep it until I can afford an "L" series standard zoom replacement.


Although the image quality is excellent stopped down, I don't think the lens' deserves more than a "good" rating since for many photographers, the main attraction of the lens is its speed, and its "poor" image quality wide open should be more heavily weighted in the final evaluation.
psulonen

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 6
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM review by psulonen
Review Date: 10/20/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Bright, compact, moderate price, very sharp from f/2.0 down, aesthetically lovely results
Cons: Deserves better build, noticeable A-CA wide-open, a bit flare-prone

On this one, the DxO test results do jibe with my experience. Yes, it is noticeably "gauzy" wide-open, and especially strongly backlit subjects acquire a translucent kind of look; what looks like axial CA also tends to spill over high contrast edges. And yes, it's very sharp stopped-down. Wide-open, it's also somewhat prone to veiling flare; with big bright expanses in or just outside the frame, contrast drops pretty dramatically. This lens benefits greatly from a hood -- too bad it's not bundled.


However, one thing that the tests don't catch is that the wide-open look isn't, actually, ugly. In my experience, it works rather well for portraits -- sort of like a very mild soft-focus effect, which smooths out little skin imperfections and such. For the other wide-open mission, available-light situational shooting, the performance is more than adequate.


And yep, stopped-down it's impeccable; very very sharp with a very clean transition to out-of-focus. For sharp corners on full-frame, you need to go down to between f/5.6 and f/8.0; on APS-C, it gives an even frame at all apertures (and makes for a very nice portrait lens).


Details aside, this lens has "it" optically, whatever "it" is. The results just look... nice. Sort of vaguely "retro." I like it a lot.


The lens deserves better build, though. The micro USM AF motor with the slip-clutch hacked in to permit full-time manual feels rougher and "stepped" compared to ring USM motors. Overall the lens has a distinctly plasticky and down-market feel to it. I would expect better for the price (and the optics).


I wish Canon made a really good f/1.4 normal -- with wide-open sharpness to L standards and build at least as good as on the 85/1.8 USM, but without the huge bulk and price tag usually associated with L's. But there you are, currently this is the best 50 Canon offers, and even though it's not exactly the brightest jewel in Canon's crown, it's a long shot from being a let-down. But it really ought to be a bigger step up than it is from the dirt cheap and shoddily-built but optically very respectable 50/1.8.


 






This document copyright © 2009-2014, SLRgear.com, all rights reserved.