Canon ef 50mm f/1

l>Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM Review

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Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM © 2013 All rights reserved.

Intro Specifications Performance Compared Recommendations


Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM (58mm filters, 9.5 oz./268g., 1.5"/0.45m close focus, about $340) new or about $250 used). Enlarge. I"d get mine at Adorama or Amazon, or used at this liên kết to them at eBay (see How lớn Win at eBay). My biggest source of support for this miễn phí website is when you use those or any of these liên kết when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding lớn this free website when you get your things through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

November 2013 Canon review Canon Lenses All Reviews

DEAL: November 2013: Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM only $314 at Amazon.

NEW: Canon 50mm Lenses Compared 05 Nov 2013



Intro Specifications Performance Compared Recommendations


Ideal Uses: Perfect for use on every Canon SLR made since 1987, which is every EOS (AF) film và digital SLR. If you shoot in low light, you need one of these, period.

Not for: Won"t work on pre-1986 manual focus Canon FD cameras.


Palms in Moonlight. Hand-held, f/1.4 at 1/4 second, Canon 5D Mark II, ISO 3,200, exactly as shot. Wind moved the branches around during the exposure.

Adorama pays đứng đầu dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - clip - Pro Audio

See the dots in the sky? Those are out-of-focus stars. See the light glinting off the palm fronds? That"s moonlight, & this is hand-held.

This 50mm f/1.4 USM is Canon"s most useful 50mm lens. It sells for about $350 new. If you shoot just about anything that moves in available light, you need one of these. It allows you to lớn shoot with ISOs of only one-quarter, or shutter speeds four times as fast, or shoot in light only one-quarter as bright as with any exotic f/2.8 L zoom. Over of review.

The $1,400 50mm f/1.2 L doesn"t bởi anything much differently, is much bigger và heavier, & doesn"t focus as consistently. The 50mm f/1.2 is for astronomers, not kích hoạt shooters.

Either of these is better for use in low light and handles faster than the clumsier $85 50mm f/1.8, which requires you move a switch khổng lồ get into manual focus. If you only shoot in good light, you might also want khổng lồ have a look at Canon"s 50mm f/2.5 Macro, which shares the clumsier 1980s-designed AF system of the 50mm f/1.8. Unlike the f/1.8 & f/2.5, the f/1.4 và f/1.2 lenses offer instant manual focus override just by grabbing the focus ring.

Optical construction và performance of the 50mm Canon f/1.4 is the same as every other 50mm f/1.4 from Canon, Nikon & Zeiss since the 1970s. No news here. The only better 50mm f/1.4 is Nikon"s newest 50mm f/1.4 AF-S, which is the first new 50mm f/1.4 SLR optical thiết kế since the 1970s.


Canon EF 50/1.4 USM. enlarge.


Intro Specifications Performance Compared Recommendations


Canon calls this the Canon Lens EF 50mm f/1.4 USM.

EF: Electronic Focus. All modern Canon lenses vị this.

USM: UltraSonic Motor. This means it autofocuses almost silently.

Focal Length


On Canon"s 1.6x digital cameras, it gives a field of view similar to what an 80mm lens does on a 35mm camera. On Canon"s 1.3x factor cameras, gives a field of view similar lớn what a 65mm lens does on a 35mm camera.


7 elements in 6 groups, multicoated.


8 blades.

Stops down to lớn f/22.

Close Focus Distance

1.5 feet (0.45m), same as every other 50mm SLR lens made since the 1970s.

Maximum Reproduction Ratio


Focus Scale


Infra-Red Focus Index



58mm, plastic thread.

It doesn"t rotate, but it does move in and out as you focus.


ES-71II dinky plastic bayonet, not included.


LP1014, not included.


Made in Japan.


2.9 x 2.0" (73.8 x 50.5mm).


9.460 oz. (268.1g), measured.

10.2 oz (290g) specified.


June 1993.

Price, USA

$314, November 2013.

$400, May 2013.

$400, 2012 December.

$310, 2007 May.


Box, Canon EF 50 1.4 USM.


Intro Specifications Performance Compared Recommendations

OverallFocus Bokeh Coma DistortionFalloff

Filters Lateral màu sắc Fringes Mechanics Sharpness


Overall back to Performance top

This is a swell lens. It works great & it"s easy to lớn use.

Autofocusback to Performance top

AF is as expected, or a little slower.

Manual Focus

Manual focus is easy! Just grab the focus ring at any time.

Bokeh back to lớn Performance top

Background bokeh is fair khổng lồ poor at large apertures, và neutral at smaller apertures.

Comaback khổng lồ Performance top

Coma is typical for every other 50mm f/1.4 made since the 1970s. Coma is in-focus bright points of light turning into little bat-winged flare blobs in the corners of the image

It has a lot of coma at f/1.4, và gets better as stopped down. Coma is gone by f/4.

This is typical for all 50mm f/1.4 lenses, even the expensive Zeiss 50mm f/1.4.

Distortionback lớn Performance top

The Canon 50mm f/1.4 has the same barrel distortion as every other 50mm f/1.4 SLR lens made since 1975. You"ll see it if you"re looking for it, but unless you"re shooting brick walls, you won"t.

If you vì see it, dial in +1.5 in Photoshop"s lens distortion tool to correct it, on full frame.

Falloffback lớn Performance top

As expected, falloff is strong at f/1.4, much better at f/2, & gone at f/2.8 for normal use. This is just lượt thích every other 50mm f/1.4 lens.

If it bothers you, the peripheral illumination correction of the Canon 5D Mark II, which is ON by default và knows this lens without any need to waste time downloading, works great. Even at f/1.4, there is no visible falloff for real images on the 5D Mark II.

I"ve greatly exaggerated the effects of falloff by shooting a blank field & then highlighting them on top of a flat gray background.

Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM falloff on film & full-frame at infinity.

On a Canon 5D (or film):



© 2009 All rights reserved.

Use with Filtersback khổng lồ Performance top

The Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM takes 58mm filters.

There"s no need for special thin filters; even thick ones work great on full-frame.

The front of the lens moves in & out as it focuses, but the filter ring does not rotate.

Lateral màu sắc Fringesback to Performance top

There are no lateral color fringes, even on the 21MP Canon 5D Mark II.

Mechanicsback lớn Performance top


Plastic exterior and switches with metal mount.

I lượt thích this: it uses plastic where it can lớn save weight, and metal where it needs it.

Filter Threads



Plastic bayonet, not included.

Barrel Exterior




Focus Ring

Plastic; rubber covered.

Depth-of-Field Scale

Only for f/22.


Internals unknown, looks mostly plastic and metal.


Dull-chromed brass.




Painted on front of barrel.

Serial Number

Laser engraved onto bottom plastic of lens mount.

Moisture seal at mount


Sharpnessback to Performance top

Sharpness is just lượt thích every other 50mm f/1.4: soft in the corners at f/1.4 và sharp but hazy in the center, & gets much better as stopped down.

f/5.6 to lớn f/8 is optimum.

If sharpness at infinity at f/1.4 is critical to you, the 50mm f/1.2 L is far superior, and priced accordingly.

On a 21 MP 5D Mark II at infinity:

At f/1.4

Veiled in the center from spherical aberration. Blurry in the corners from coma. Under all the contrast-robbing haze, there is a chip core of a sharp image.

At f/2

Contrast picks up in the center and coma improves in the corners, but still far from optimum.

At f/2.8

Much better than f/2.

At f/4

Much better than f/2.8.

At f/5.6

Still better than f/4. The center is as sharp as it gets: f/5.6 is the optimum aperture for the center.

At f/8

About the same as f/5.6, with slightly less contrast in the center due khổng lồ diffraction, and slightly better than f/5.6 in the corners. Either f/5.6 or f/8 is the optimum aperture, depending on if you"re more worried about center sharpness (use f/5.6) or overall và corner sharpness (use f/8, presuming a flat subject).

At f/11

Slightly softer all around from diffraction.

At f/16

Worse than f/11 due lớn more diffraction.Only about as good as at f/4.

At f/22

Worse than f/16 from even more diffraction. Only about as good as at f/2.8.


Back, Canon 50mm f/1.4. enlarge.

Spherochromatismback lớn Performance top

The Canon 50mm f/1.4 has some spherochromatism, which is common in fast normal lenses. You may see green or magenta fringes on out-of-focus highlights.

Compared top

Intro Specifications Performance Compared Recommendations

NEW: Canon 50mm Lenses Compared 05 Nov 2013

I shot the Canon 50mm f/2.5 macro directly against this 50mm f/1.4 USM at the test range on a 5D Mark II. The f/1.4 lens is much softer at every aperture, especially from f/2.5 - f/8. At 100% on-screen, the f/1.4 lens looks broken by comparison at the larger apertures.

The less expensive macro was much sharper at large apertures. By f/11, the f/1.4 lens improved to be about as good as this macro, where most lenses have the same sharpness due khổng lồ diffraction anyway.

The macro also had much less distortion, and of course could focus much more closely.

If you split pixels, the inexpensive 50mm lens is clearly superior khổng lồ this f/1.4 version.

The 50mm macro had a slightly shorter effective focal length than the f/1.4; in other words, the f/1.4 sees a slightly smaller angle of view.


Intro Specifications Performance Compared Recommendations

For available-light photography, this is a must-have lens.

A fast (f/1.4) lens like this is far more important than having the latest high-ISO camera. At f/1.4, you can shoot at one-tenth the ISO và have the same low-light ability as an f/4.5 zoom lens. For example, an f/4.5 zoom lens will need to lớn be shot at at ISO 4,000 to lớn get the same short exposure time as this lens shot at ISO 400 & f/1.4!



Canon 50/1.4, capped. enlarge.

I"d leave a 58mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times. I wouldn"t use a hood, except maybe a generic fold-down rubber hood.

I"d pitch the flat Canon cap that came with this lens new, và get a new Nikon pinch-type cap. I"m not kidding: the new fatter caps are much easier lớn use in the field.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I"d forget the cap, and use an uncoated 58mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier lớn clean, but more prone to lớn ghosting.

More Information: Canon"s Museum và Canon USA.

Acknowledgement: Many thanks khổng lồ Jerry Johnson of Orange County, California who loaned me his lens for this review.

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