LensTip.com

Lens review

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM

15 December 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

Pros:
  • good frame centre sharpness (apart from the maximum aperture),
  • very good frame edge picture quality on APS-C,
  • good frame edge picture quality on full frame,
  • well corrected astigmatism,
  • low chromatic aberration,
  • lack of distinct geometric deformations at frame edges,
  • fast, silent and accurate autofocus,
  • solid and compact barrel,
  • good build quality.

Cons:

  • by f/1.4 the image is distinctly „soft”,
  • very high coma,
  • susceptibility to flares,
  • visible distortion on full frame,
  • very high vignetting on full frame.

The Canon EF 1.4/50 USM is undoubtedly a well-done lens. The picture quality in the frame centre and at the edges is very good at apertures above f/2.0 – you can count it among the biggest assets of this device, apart from the solid workmanship. You should notice, though, that there were several slip-ups during the test. The lens, while working against bright light, catches light artifacts easily and its performance by f/1.4 is far from good with the visible coma, perceptible vignetting (being actually huge on full frame) and distinctly “soft” image.


Please Support Us

The coronavirus crisis has been adversely affecting many businesses and, sad but true, ours is not an exception. Despite that difficult situation we would like to preserve continuity and high quality of publications available on all our websites. Still, we are now aware it might be impossible without additional financial help. That's why we would like to ask all those who visit, read, and care about Optyczne.pl, LensTip.com i Allbinos.com for support - it's enough you send us a small sum of money via PayPal. If a lot people decide to support our websites we think we'll stand a chance and survive next months without any lasting harm. We count on your support and understanding, stay safe and be healthy.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - advertisement - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

What do we get, then, for 270 $ more, as such is the price difference between 1.4/50 and 1.8/50? Firstly the fastness. Theoretically there’s not much difference between 1.4 and 1.8 apertures but we must point out that it means as much as 65% photons more! You must remember that on stopping down the 1.4/50 lens to the maximum aperture of the 1.8/50 lens most of faults, mentioned earlier, disappear. The build quality and the USM motor are additional bonuses.

If we take the photography seriously and demand of a lens that it is reliable in every situation, it’s better to invest your money in the 1.4/50 model. An amateur photographer who watches every penny can easily save 270 $ buying the 1.8/50 model, which, considering its quality/price ratio, is one of the best offers on the market. The problem is that you must treat it with kid gloves afterwards.

A short personal digression at the very end. So far, I’ve been using a Canon kit lens to take photos of lenses and binoculars presented by our forum. Typically, I had to take 30-40 shots to choose 3-4 of them, the most publishable ones. Here’s the fact that might make you aware how superior and comfortable the work with the Canon 1.4/50 is: during the latest session I decided to use it to take several shots of some lenses; I took about 30 pics but this time almost all of them were suitable for publication….


Sample shots:

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.4 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 1.8 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.0 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.3 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 1.8 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.4, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.2 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/3200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.3 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/6400 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.3 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.6 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.0 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 3.2 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3504x2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Camera:Canon 1Ds Mark III
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616 x 3744 pix, 6.69 MB
Camera:Canon 1Ds Mark III
Parameters: 50 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616 x 3744 pix, 8.89 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark III
Parameters: 50 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 5616 x 3744 pix, 7.69 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM - Summary
Camera:Canon 5D Mark II
Parameters: 50 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616 x 3744 pix,
7.22 MB
Camera:Canon 5D Mark II
Parameters: 50 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616 x 3744 pix,
6.45 MB
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 800
File: JPEG, 5616 x 3744 pix,
6.08 MB



Next chapter