Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard AutoFocus Lens - USA

Priced: $359.00 Rated:   - 5 stars out of 5 by 287 reviews.
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Average Price History: Price History
Review RatingNumber of Reviews
Angle of view:46°
Closest Focusing Distance:0.45m / 1.5 ft.
Construction:6 groups / 7 elements
Dimensions (Length x Diameter):2.9" x 2.0" / 73.8 x 50.5mm
F stop range:1.4-22
Filter Size:58mm
Maximum Magnification:1:6.66
Weight:10.2 oz. / 290g
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard AutoFocus Lens - USA Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

A Very Fast Lens At A Great Price

The USM focus on this lens works great! It is very quite, fast, and accurate.

Manual focus is difficult for me to achieve sharp images at wider apertures with, and based on my opinion this would be difficult with any lens at a wide aperture. However the manual focus ring on this lens allows fine adjustments because of the turning distance required to change focal distance, I feel like this is a huge advantage while focusing manually with a wide aperture.

To give you an idea of what this f/1.4 lens can do here is an example: I took a sharp as can be image with great color and a standard exposure level in a room lit with 4 tungsten bulbs of a group of animated people playing pictionary man (shutter speed: 1/160, f/1.4, ISO 800).

The images are a little soft at f/1.4, but the lighting f/1.4 allows you to shoot in is amazing. For me it is not a bother, the images are still great.

The build quality is very nice for a lens that is not an L series, but keep in mind it is still plastic. The metal mount did play a factor in choosing this lens versus the plastic mount on the canon ef 50mm f/1.8 II.

I find myself taking more and more portraits now that I own this lens because of the great job it does with them.

I would defiantly recommend this lens to a friend. If you have a little extra cash I would choose this one over the canon ef 50mm f/1.8 II because the wider aperture and better build quality. This lens feels more like an investment than a toy. Also, when you compare the price of this lens to the canon ef 50mm f/1.2L I think you will see that this is a great choice.
Jeff the Photo Man at Adorama on 09/09/2011

Sooo SHARP - you can SHAVE with it......

I am a volunteer storm chase/spotter for the National Weather Service. I also use a Canon 10-22mm wide angle lens for 50% of the shots. Don't always have the oppertunity to set up a tripod - things sometimes happen way too fast. I read one million reviews before I decided to buy - or so it seems. This lens is often used as a refernce lens against the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L in comparisons testing - that should tell you all you REALLY need to know about the quality/focus/contrast/color. And at this price - it doesn't zoom - so learn to use your feet and get L-quality shots. No Joke. Adorama told me on the phone that they stand behind their lenses 100%. You can't beat that - either. I use a XTi - and the kit lens is JUNK - I cannot use it because it doesn't work in low light. I can't use a flash - because the dust particles obscure/taint the view when lit up in the air - and ruins the shot. This is a F A S T lens. Opening the aperture to f/6.3 still gives me a handheld shot with a reasonably fast shutter speed at ISO 100-400 in very low light. Underneath a storm base can be very, very, dark - almost black.As soon as I got it out of the box- I tested it for sharpness, color, and contrast. XLNT/BEAUTIFUL PIX!!!!It sees the world the nearly the same depth of field as my minds eye does. I can easily see how someone could use this to make some great art shots. No doubt about it. Good deal -overall- from Adorama - too!I'm pleased so far with the lens - and Adorama.
Robb at Adorama on 07/07/2008

Don't use it much anymore

I purchased the canon 50mm f1.4 lens after reading so many good reviews about it being a "must have". I must say I'm not overly impressed. I mean, it is a "good" lens, it's not a "great" lens, and for the reasonable price, I guess you can't complain. I just do not think it stands out in any genre of photography. I will say the lenses I use mostly are the canon 24-70mm f2.8L USM, and the canon 70-200mm f2.8L USM II, and also use the canon 60mm macro f2.8 EF-S all on my Canon 7D. So admittedly, I compare the results to some awesome, top of the line lenses here. And I can't even say the 50 is a great portrait lens for me because of the 70-200 being the best portrait lens I own. But even compared to the 60mm macro lens, I feel the macro beats the 50mm hands down. The 50mm does not come close to the above lenses in color rendition, sharpness/IQ or usability. Sorry, mine will be going up for sale. Just don't have a use for it. I still gave the lens a 4 star review because, being fair, I do believe it is a good lens in its class; just not what I want in a lens.
jaclin-rn at Adorama on 11/11/2011

Fast but fuzzy

Let me start off by saying that this is one of my favorite lenses. For the money, it's a bit of a step up from the 50 1.8, which I returned as it had dust specks from the factory and a horrid "focus ring".

The 1.4 has a proper focus ring w/scale, full-time manual focussing, though is a somewhat large diameter for a 50mm. If you plan on shooting a lot of shallow depth of field or available light photography, this lens can do it. Walkaround lens? It's fantastic. But beware, f/1.4 is really crummy, the fuzziness (halation) really doesn't render objects, even dead center, in good color, contrast or sharpness. Stop down to 2.0 and this thing becomes very sharp. At 5.6 it's truly sharp, corner-to-corner.

I find it to be a great overall lens because its size, weight and price allow you to do all manner of things, it's great to learn on with a full-frame camera. A little tight on crop bodies, but hey then it's a face-portrait lens.

Though optically it's quite an old design, it's still a good value. Just don't expect much at 1.4. Buy the lens hood if you can, it can improve image quality most situations.

Very very versatile.
50 1.4 at Adorama on 10/10/2008

Great prime lens for portraits

I own canon 60D. I wanted a fast prime lens with rugged construction. After a good research, I narrowed my choice to 35mm and 50mm. 50mm is an ideal lens for full frame camera but a bit compromise for a crop sensor. Nonetheless, assuming 35mm is near equivalent of this with 1.6 factor, I was tempted to buy one. I got a timely advise from my friend about lack of good bokeh at 35mm. Since 50 or 80mm is preferred for this purpose, I decided on 50mm. No regrets with this decision. It's a great lens. It's sharp focus is amazing at about f1.8 to 4. I feel, f 1.4 is too shallow with this lens. If you want to shoot at 1.4, it is better to use 1.2L lens. My opinion, unless you have too much money to dispose off, f1.4 is a great bet. Since it stays more than 80% of the time on my camera now, I do not regret spending extra $$ for the build quality and happy being bit more greedy on f. Best for portraits (good bokeh), indoor use with limited lighting, photographing kids/babies (who likes harsh flash) and in general when you need a fast lens with shallow focus.
NNB at Adorama on 02/02/2012

Nice Performer

Have only begun to use, but enjoy it for the purpose of portrait and portrait-like work on my Canon 40D.

Tested at home for comparison to my ever-inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 II. Found this f/1.4 to be readily superior wide open in terms of image quality and clarity up to around f/8 compared to the f/1.8 version. At that point and beyond they seemed fairly equal with the f/1.4 still getting the nod for better bokeh and a slightly better clarity/focus.

Oddly enough, I found the f/1.8 to be better at resolving detail in far background items when shot at smaller apertures (above f/18) when compared to the f/1.4

So for me I find the f/1.4 a superior lens for its quality of bokeh, overall image quality in wider apertures (when compared to the f/1.8), but that it isn't markedly superior to the f/1.8 for subjects greater than 50 or so feet away and at smaller apertures.

But as I'll be using it for closer subjects and want the narrower depth-of-field this seems to have been a good investment. I'm not certain it is worth almost four times the price of the f/1.8 except in regards to the just mentioned issues.
forkboy1965 at Adorama on 09/09/2010

Learn to use a camera before reviewing

It never ceases to amaze me that people (like Angie from Mt View) who obviously possess little to no skill with a camera wont hesitate to rate an exceptional product with a "1-star" simply because they have NO IDEA how to use it!! Some of the very BEST photos in my portfolio were taken with the 50mm f/1.4. Although it is a bit soft wide open, it is sharp at f/2 and very sharp when stopped down to f/2.8 or narrower. The 8-blade aperture creates a supurb bokeh (foreground/background blur), and the recessed front element essentially eliminates the need for a lens hood. Although it uses a Micro USM rather than a Ring USM (the latter being superior), the f/1.4 incorporates a clutch mechanism to allow full time manual focus (where other Micro USM lenses do not). Its small and light weight, and the overall build quality is decent. It is a great portrait lens, and works well for low-light indoor photography. The low price makes this lens an excellent choice for intermediate to advanced amateur photogs. Pros will probably opt for Canon's 50mm f/1.2L...but, dollar for dollar, the 1.4 is a much better value!
Lungfixer at Adorama on 05/05/2008

Good lens and good deal

This is a very good, fast, normal lens, and it is certainly worth the money, especially considering the far more expensive Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM. (In fact, the MTF chart of this lens appears at least as good as that of the f/1.2L, available on the Canon website.) Any lens with f/2.8 or lower is considered to be "fast," and therefore this lens is very fast indeed. Consequently, many people will be tempted to always set the aperture at 1.4 and try to shoot in close-to-total darkness. This is not a good idea, as it usually results in a blurry image that comes from either camera shake the inability to achieve focus in very low light. But that is not the fault of this lens - the same would be true for any lens with aperture set so wide, since the depth of focus is razor thin. I find that the best method is to use Shutter Priority set at 1/60 sec. or faster. But, once you figure out how to use a fast lens like this, you can get some really pretty shots.
Snapelicious at Adorama on 04/04/2008

Love It!!

Well, I feel funny leaving a review since I am a Very novice mom-photographer. But, I am learning! And this prime lens seems the perfect place to start my learning process. I think the best part of this lens is the instant gratification of beautiful pictures even when one is just starting out. Picture quality is superb.

I could have gone with the 1.8, but read about its construction and decided to spend the extra for stronger build and that slight increase with the f1.4. I'm glad I did as the lens is a joy to use. I think this lens would be a work horse for any level of photographer as it is light weight, usm and performs beautifully.

I haven't found a negative and do not expect it. Some people might still complain about build but I think those guys are accustomed to the L series.

Buy the lens! There is no way you will regret it.
Holly at Adorama on 04/04/2010

Amazing, amazing lens.

This is an amazing lens. I was tempted to purchase the 50mm f/1.2L lens, but opted for this due to its economic nature. I was thoroughly impressed with the output of this lens. I primarily take photos of landscapes, insects, animals and flowers. This is makes it the perfect lens for these subject.

Since it is a prime lens, it will take a bit of getting use to if you come from a strict telephoto zoom lens background (as I did). But once you master the functionality of this lens, you can produce amazing results. I'm still learning, but what I've taken so far exceeded my expectations. Very sharp at f/2.0 and higher. At f/1.4, still very sharp, but DOF is very shallow and the sweet spot band is hard to find, which is why many users claim it produces soft image at this aperture.
Steve-0 at Adorama on 05/05/2009

Negative Reviews:

I really wanted to like this lens.

When I switched from Nikon to Canon I bought this lens because I love having a light weight fast lens for indoor and night time shots. I was used to the Nikon D700 with their 50mm 1.4 AFS G. I bought this lens to go with my 5DMKII. I may have had a bad copy, but it was soft at all apertures, back focused and was generally inferior in all ways to the Nikon G. I sold it for quite loss 3 months later. If it can't lock focus and deliver sharp results, the extra speed is worthless. I ended up buy in a 24-70 which is worlds sharper. That is just wrong. Primes should always be better than zooms. Anyway, I am looking at the 1.2 but have heard that has back focusing issues as well. I might have to break down and get the 1.8 which seems to get good reviews for being sharp.
SherD at Adorama on 06/06/2010

wide aperture not usable

I shoot star sky to test the lens, so disappointed. From F1.4 TO F2.0, it shows strange shape of stars even not at the corner. That means the F1.4 to F2.0 is not usable, or at least not acceptable. I pay the price for F1.4, but got a lense I can only use above F2.2!
Jamin at Adorama on 11/11/2007

Real bad @ f1.4

Missed a lot of shots, mostly portraits, at 1.4. Out of focus. Much better results stopped down. Also, it crashed once, had to have Canon repair it.Used with 20D, now with XTi.
Machine at Adorama on 02/02/2007


Photos were very clear. Focusing is noisy.
Leslie at Adorama on 02/02/2012

Neutral Reviews:

My most used lens

Everybody should own at least one prime (non-zoom) lens, and this should be among the first to add to your collection. It's wide maximum aperture opens up a new world of pictures to those that have before only shot with relatively slow zooms. Shallow depth of field really draws out the subject, and you'll be able to shoot in low-light conditions that before would have been impossible (or required noisy high ISO settings).

On a Canon crop sensor (40D, 30D, Digital Rebel, etc.), this is equivalent to an 80mm lens, bringing it close to the classic portrait 85mm focal length. The wide aperture also makes it well suited for shooting portraits.

Unfortunately, it's bokeh is a bit harsh (though better than the 50mm f/1.8), producing out-of-focus highlights that look like ringed disks. You'd have to step up to the much more expensive 50mm f/1.2 L lens to get better results at this length, or shoot with the longer 85mm f/1.8, for roughly the same price as this lens.

It's a very good, but not perfect, lens that spends a lot of time on my Canon 40D.
jimothy at Adorama on 02/02/2008

mixed feeling

I have mixed feeling for this lens. I upgraded from the 50f/1.8 when I got my 5D. The reasons for my upgrade where :
1/ faster/quieter AF
2/ more accurate AF
3/ bokeh quality (my primary reason)
4/ faster

The AF is quieter and faster, but not more accurate! It missed as often as the 50f/1.8 and my lens has a significant FF.
The bokeh is ugly, not quite as the nifty fifty, but still not nice.
The lens is very very soft at f/1.4, making it barely usable.
If I had to do it again, I would stay with the 50f/1.8. This one is IMO not worth the extra cash.
gorben at Adorama on 05/05/2012

Nice images but unreliable autofocus

I tried this lens out on my 5D Mark II. I used it outdoors in daylight, at night, and indoors. When the autofocus was accurate, the images were nice and clear with good bokeh. At f/1.4 there is some halation, but if you know to expect it or enjoy the look then it is acceptable. But the autofocus was too unreliable. If it was used purely in manual focus mode then it could be useful. Since there is such a narrow depth of field at f/1.4, it is critical that the focus be accurate and the autofocus on this lens could not pull it off reliably.
The Machine at Adorama on 07/07/2010

Nice lens but I prefer a zoom

This is a well built lens. All of my other lens are L-series. This compares to the kit lens that came on my Canon 7D (18-135).

The focus ring is not as smooth as my other L-series lens.

I bought this lens for the faster aperature f/1.4. This lens works well in low light situations.

I purchased the 24-70 f/2.8 lens shortly after and find that the zoom is more versitile for my needs, and I rarely use the 50mm lens now.

Although this lens performs well, consider your requirements before purchasing this lens.
JB at Adorama on 02/02/2012

IT'S NOT A 1.2!!

The most important thing I use this lens for is late afternoon hard shadows, high iso. However being a pro (poor pro) with limited cash...I'm trying to do something with a [$] lens which I see done with a $1400 lens...THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!! I may send back to canon with my body (30d) and have them look at. I shoot lots of 2.8 lenses but just can not seem to get anything sharp enough (eyes) out of this combo...I've enclosed the best I could get from it...acceptable. Good luck with yours..
scout at Adorama on 01/01/2010

Nifty Fifty???

Not a bad lens for beginners but when put up against any L lens it is weak!!!! Construction isnt too bad, good in lower light and for portraits. Nice bokeah and fair on focus. I got rid of mine cause i dont use it just felt like it was a week link in my bag. Definately good for beginners and intermediate photogs. More targeted for photojournalist style shooters. Some fringing and lower quality glass characteristics. Just average.
johnnyraff at Adorama on 01/01/2012

Pro photographer on the rise

This is a great lenses. I've rented the 50mm 1.2 L series, and it is better...but you have to determine if it is that much better. Because I'm growing and I want to take professional shots..I will purchase only l series from here on out...If you just want to take great pictures and save money..this is the way to go.
New photogrpher at Adorama on 05/05/2010

I really wanted to love this lens...

I really wanted to love this lens but it does not focus as sharp as I would like. It is sharp in about 2 out of 10 pictures that I take. I really like eyes to be in sharp focus and this lens does not do it for me on my 50D. I am going to send it back.
hobbyist at Adorama on 06/06/2009

Defective Lens - Had to Return

Fine for portraits but does not offer versatility. Limited in capability.
Photowoman at Adorama on 07/07/2009