CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM. Review from the reader Radozhiva

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM Lens Overview Specially for Radozhiva prepared Alexey Ovoshchnikov.

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

Canon EF 50 mm f 1.4 USM - a very popular, still relevant lens for the Canon EOS mirror system.
I very often use this lens to shoot video and take pictures on Canon EOS full-frame and APS-C cameras.


Focal length - 50 mm
Maximum aperture - 1.4
MDF - 45 cm
Aperture - 8 blades.
Filter diameter - 58 mm.
The mass of the lens is 290 grams.
The length is 50.5 mm.
Lenses have a proprietary multi-enlightenment.
Lens hood ES-71II.

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

The Canon EF 50 mm f 1.4 USM was originally intended for film cameras, but is still successfully used on Canon EOS DSLRs. The lens has been available since 1993.

Practical application

The lens is well suited for shooting waist portraits on cameras with an APS-C matrix, and is well suited for subject shooting. At full frame, suitable for portraits and reportage frames, also good for landscape photography. 50 mm f 1.4 helps out well where there is little light and where there is not enough space to turn around with a larger lens. This is a rather universal lens and the range of its application is very wide, especially at full frame.

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

Lens Features and Usage Experience

I am pleased with the photos taken with the Canon EF 50 mm f 1.4 USM. The most important thing is the end result, right? The lens is not simple and can seem very capricious. I remember how at first I didn’t like multi-colored halos on contrasting transitions, how I didn’t like the soft effect in the sharpness zone at an open aperture, how upset I was when the lens slightly missed autofocus and the sharpness was not where it should be. But all these problems are solved with experience. Just shoot and shoot thoughtfully. Haste in photography hurts the quality. Choose the right focus point, choose the right focus mode. In one shot mode, the hit rate is higher than with tracking autofocus if you are shooting a portrait. Tracking autofocus behaves insecurely with this lens, especially if there is little light. Choose to focus on the most contrasting subjects. The statement applies to camera models from my list of equipment. If you own a 1DX or better camera, you might be better at focusing.

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

Maybe the Canon EF 50 mm f 1.4 USM is not the best lens for its money, but it's worth a closer look. If you want more useful portrait features, I recommend looking at the Canon 85 mm f / 1.8 USM with pleasure. If your budget is limited, take a simple folk YONGNUO 50mm 1: 1.8.

I do not understand why Canon did not release an update for this lens at the time. Perhaps she does this quietly and every few years modifies the design without notifying users, but this is still the same old man from the early nineties. I would like to see the Canon EF 50 mm f 1.4 STM in the store, rather than the old USM. This is quite logical and expected once even the basic amateur Canon 18-55 has a modern STM engine and is about to enter 2020. Today, there are many 50mm competing lenses from third-party manufacturers such as Sigma and Tamron.

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM

Photo Gallery

I tried to prepare a large gallery of photographs. So you can clearly assess the sharpness of a given lens at different aperture values ​​and on different cameras. The lens is with me for a long time, so maybe there will be updates to the gallery and new information from my personal experience.

By the way, two Canon EF 50 mm f 1.4 USM were used. One you see on the camera, and the second is the one that was shot separately. The markings on the bodies of lenses produced at different times differ. No difference in performance was noticed.

Examples of camera photos Canon EOS 50D, Canon EOS 40D, Canon EOS 100D, Canon EOS 6D, Canon EOS 5D Mark II:

RAW and JPEG photos can be download from this link (300 MB, more than 150 images).

Timelapse video from a series of night photos of the starry sky can be viewed here. When shooting the entire sequence of frames, the aperture was f 1.8. Camera Canon EOS 6D.

Possible problems

Already when typing the review text, when all the photos were ready and the picture about the lens was complete, I decided to see what others write about this fifty dollars. It turned out that there is a whole army of dissatisfied users! I could not ignore this fact and not mention it in my review. Still, there are already a lot of reviews on this model and I need to summarize some times since my review now turns out to be the newest. Well, I had two such lenses in use and they always behaved absolutely the same and predictably, there were no problems. Both were bought with hands, but in excellent condition and complete with cameras (6D and 7D). I note the fact that I live in France and bought lenses here too ...
Also note the fact that one of the lenses had a serial number. 5118xxxx. Canon's official source reports a potential malfunction in this series. There may be problems with autofocus and focus ring. If the serial number begins with a sequence of numbers 4918, 5018, 5118, 5218, 5318 or 5418 - contact the service center for a free repair.

Probably, everything is not so bad once in two years of active operation there were no problems. It is difficult to say something for sure, but check your lens properly before buying.

It is recommended to transport the lens first, focusing on infinity (trunk pulled back). This minimizes the risk of damage to the internal mechanism. I will not describe in detail the nature of the breakdowns and even more so talk about the repair. I am not a repair specialist, and there are articles on the Internet from competent people regarding the repair of this lens.


Below is a list of fifty-fifty lenses and lenses that are very close in their focal length to 50 mm, which support auto focus and are suitable for full-frame cameras Canon EOS.


Canon Lens EF 50mm 1:1.8, version with a focusing distance window and metal mount March 1987 View price

Canon Lens EF 50mm 1:1.8 II, the second version without a window of focusing distances and a plastic bayonet mount.

This lens exists in two subversions:

  1. Canon Lens EF 50mm 1:1.8 II Made In Malaysia
  2. Canon Lens EF 50mm 1:1.8 II Made In Japan
Subversion fundamentally no different
December 1990 View price
Canon EF Lens 50mm 1:1.8 STM May 2015 View price
Canon EF Lens 50mm 1:1.4 Ultrasonic July 1993 View price
Canon EF Lens 50mm 1:1.2 USM Ultrasonic January 2007 View price
Canon EF Lens 50mm 1:1.0 l Ultrasonic September 1989 View price
Canon Compact macro Lens EF 50mm 1:2.5 December 1987 View price
Canon lens RF 50 mm F1.2 L USM September 2018 View price


Tamron SP 45mm F /1.8 Di VC USD F013 September 2015 View price


Sigma 50mm 1:1.4 DG HSM EX, this lens exists in two versions with a different type of body coating March 2008 View price
Sigma 50mm 1:1.4 DG HSM A (Art) January 2014 View price
Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 Macro 1990 View price

Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 Macro EX, there was a copy of this lens under the name Quantaray 50mm 1:2.8 Macro

1998 View price
Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 DG Macro EX June 2004 View price


Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF February 2018 View price


Yongnuo Lens EF 50mm 1:1.8

There are several sub-versions with different spelling of the name near the front lens

  • YN50mm F1.8 YONGNUO Ø52mm
  • YONGNUO LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.8 YONGNUO Ø52mm
  • YONGNUO LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.8 YONGNUO INC. Ø52mm

Subversion fundamentally no different

December 2014 View price

Yongnuo Lens YN50mm F1.8 II

There are two options, depending on the color of the case: the black or white

May 2018 View price
Yongnuo Lens 50mm 1:1.4there was another prototype Yongnuo Lens EF 50mm 1:1.4 May 2018 View price

Write your questions in the comments. I have gathered quite solid list of equipment, and if you want to know my opinion or consult, I will answer your questions.

The material was prepared by Alexei Ovoshchnikov.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here.

Add a comment: Nikolai (sn797)



Comments: 53, on the topic: CANON LENS EF 50mm 1: 1.4 USM. Review from the reader Radozhiva

  • Roman

    A very, very controversial lens with the 50 / 1.8 STM version. The design is not much better (you can also break it), the focusing speed is the same, the advantage in aperture is very insignificant. The release of the IS version would help segment the market - pro 1.2, semi-pro 1.4 and amateur 1.8, but most likely this will happen for the RF platform.

    • Gregor

      At different times there were both, this and 1.8 stm.
      I got the impression that the picture from this lens will be better.
      Of course, everything is subjective.

      • Serhiy Todoriuk

        Had several versions of the usual 50 1.8, two stm, and one 50 1.4 yusm. Color from fifty fifty 1.4 is much better, IMHO. Even in a studio with excellent lighting, frames with 1.8 cm are dragging worse, semitones are more dirty, although this is noticeable only in direct comparison, individually, both lenses give a good picture.

        • Roman

          I don’t know, for the second year I have been trying to persuade him to take it and I prefer something else for the second year :) The most important plus is that this is the most compact autofocus fifty-fifty on 1.4, but its main disadvantages arise from this. All other lenses have a more complex design. I'm trying to come up with - well, it's better. Watching reviews. But there the theme of color is not mentioned at all, even in comparison with 1.2. Optical qualities, sharpness in the center and field, depth of field in the open, fringing, anything but color.

          "Dirty halftones" is a very abstract criterion. Photos from 1.4 stretch better - well, yes, about half a stop of aperture, all other things being equal. 1.4 is better, I admit it, but not as much better as it is more expensive. The same applies to 1.2. It is better for a number of applications. But as a universal fifty-kopeck piece, it is not better, but insanely more expensive.

          • Vladimir

            As soon as it comes to the magic dust and magic of a particular manufacturer / thing, the review of technology from the review turns into something absurd.
            So is the color. The difference between modern lenses / cameras in color is 99% determined by the profiles that the picture appears (all the frames are green, because there are twice as many pixels covered with green filters as red or blue). And the color depends on the profile settings. And the profile can either be changed or made by yourself, with basic knowledge of color correction. So as soon as you come across the words “Canon / Sikon / Sony / Fuji color”, “color science” or any other combination that cannot be measured in a review, then close nafig this review and do not read this author.

            • BB

              You forget about the filters themselves, covering the matrix subpixels, and they are different on different matrices. For the sake of increased sensitivity, they are made less dense, due to which spurious colors penetrate through the filter.
              But in general, yes, you can very much adjust the RAWa color, but people want a pretty Jpeg out of the box (importing a third-party profile into the camera is not always possible - once, and even if possible - you still need to figure it out - these are two, but people are lazy)

              • Vladimir

                People are too lazy to read one book that gives fundamental knowledge about color correction (of the same Margulis), but at the same time they read dozens of reviews of different people (which are often in color and processing no boom-boom). So strong is belief in magical unicorns.
                Okay profiles, open the lightroom, a van van (in the latter there is a function for applying a profile from another camera). And master the basic image correction tools, curves, sliders of contrast, saturation. The lightroom has an awesome camera calibration tool (turned channel mixer), if you can master it you can do wonderful things. But no, we’d better read a dozen reviews, change three lenses and still shoot with children's mistakes, because we don’t want to study.
                Most of the color problems in the photo are either due to incorrect exposure, or due to reflexes, or due to the incorrect location of the light source and what we are shooting.

              • Vladimir

                Well, the filters and color characteristics of the lens account for the same 1%

            • Dmitriy

              I agree!

        • Roman

          Here is another walk through the reviews. Adorama naturally puts it higher than 1.4 than 1.8, simply because. Well, it’s cooler and that's it, it’s more expensive, it couldn’t be worse. And a number of reviewers say that 1.4 loses in terms of design, focus speed, and even sharpness. Regularly comes across the opinion that many 1.4 on the open somehow not the same. Fringing, again, more.

          In short, I'm not saying that it is bad, but to the fact that if you already have 1.8, then you need to think very hard before changing. Well, or get rid of 1.8 in this case :)

          • Serhii

            I shot in the studio both fifty kopecks at 2.8 and there shouldn’t be a difference, but the colors with 1.4 are better and the contrast is better, they both chromate equally strongly for fixes. The bokeh of 1.4 on the covers is softer than 1.8. If there is 1.8stm then take 1.4 and hope that there will be something mega steeper not worth it, the lenses are almost the same and the difference in aperture is scanty, but the fact that 1.4 is slightly better is an optical fact.

          • Vladimir

            Everything is relative. In comparison, it is really bad, it has an older autofocus motor, the picture +/- is the same but the price is much higher. Adorama is a photographic equipment store, it is more profitable for them to sell you a more expensive lens, which is why in their review it is higher.

    • Vladimir

      This lens was also developed for film cameras, and has been produced without visible changes for more than 30 years. For modern cameras, he has no sharpness on the open, even at full frame, not to mention the crop. In general, for good, it should have been taken out of production for a long time and replaced with something normal, at least to cram a couple of aspherics into the optical design so that the picture is sharper and the motor is updated.

  • Pokemon

    I read several owners and reviewers who wrote / said that they liked Sigma 50 / 1.4 EX DG more.

    • Artem

      No, the old sigma is a rather bad lens, the only thing that stood out with its sharpness, but the art version here wins significantly

      Canon 50 / 1.4 is good if you do not want to wear sigma or tokin. Kenon should have updated 50 / 1.4 for EF a long time ago

    • rolexx711

      Sigma 50 1.4 is not art - I had one, autofocus lives its own life

    • Michael

      Sigma 50 / 1.4 EX DG is a good lens.
      Faster than the Canon 50mm 1.4, one of the softest bokeh, which is for some a plus, but for someone a minus.

      • Vladimir

        A great lens (optically) but no autofocus stability. Here, thanks to the canon, in which the bayonet mount is closed. The usual 50 / 1.8 is much better, because it shoots with less marriage and where the sigma will be a little sharper, but will get through the canon more often, which will increase the number of good shots in the series.

  • Victor

    And I inherited this, and his focus ring in the MF mode does not stop and scrolls. And if there is time, I still use Helios

  • Basil

    Requires an extremely careful attitude to himself, a very gentle constructive. The focuser ring is made of thin aluminum and can be easily bent into an ellipse, for example, even from “proximity” to other equipment in a bag. It is not visible with the eye, but the motor can no longer turn. And went on sale to videographers with manual guidance.

    • бару

      At fifty kopecks, it's been about five years since the helicode was modernized. Kicking on the trunk is certainly not worth it, but it does not break spontaneously.

      • miric

        This is an interesting infa. Where are the firewoods from, can I link? I would be grateful. I want to buy it again, was once a long time ago. Sold to Zeiss Planar ZE. Now there is no desire to mess with the manual, so I'm considering taking a used one. I read somewhere that they began to be made outside of Japan and the inscription Made in Japan disappeared from the face. I myself am guided by a new cover and a gray box as a sign of new series, but these will be more expensive.

  • Eugene

    This lens is better than 1.8stm, because it draws nuts on the covered lens. And they don't update - so probably there is no need, with a focus on rf and eosm everything is just fine, 24 mpx on a crop, it confidently resolves a little covered up (ff allows it even more so), similar sigma and tamrons are more expensive. This is generally an iconic Canon lens - how many have seen presentations of singles and dimes - all on posters from 50 1.4. IMHO - don't touch what works😉.

    • Vladimir

      Why buy 1,4 if it is not working. Especially on modern 24mp crop. Moreover, the difference in price is two and a half times. They do not update it for the reason that there is a demand for it, and producing a new lens is always more expensive than releasing an old one. All the more or less do not care about nuts (or rather pentagons) in the bokeh, in any case, nuts on the covered one are not a reason to choose an expensive lens with an old motor, instead of a cheap one with a new motor, which even focuses on video norms.

      • miric

        Then at least to be sharper by 1.8_2.0 than 50 / 1.8.

  • Nikolai (sn797)

    On the crop, it is really better. More lively or something ... Look at a cat on an old forty (last photo). Earlier, very often I shot them in such a combination 40D + EF 50mm 1: 1.4. Even at fully open aperture, it performed admirably! Now I wear it too, but less and less. Nevertheless, I am not going to sell it because I am sure that it will be useful to me many, many times! This is a cool lens in which its merits clearly prevail over its demerits.

  • B. R. P.

    Yes, the cat is good.

  • Photo

    If the lens is set to auto focus (AF), after focus on the subject, you can
    manually twist the focus or is it bad for him?

    • Roman

      This is called FTM - Full-time manual. 50 / 1.4 has such a feature. In my opinion, all USMs have, but you need to check for each.

  • Alekme

    Everything is fine and I understand everything, but with advertising it’s too much ..

  • Dmitry (e_dimas)

    The author of the article and some commentators MISTAKE calling microUSM obsolete and bad, and STM good and modern !!!

    The STM first appeared in 1987, on the very first EF lenses, specifically on the EF 50mm f / 1.8 (the first version, with a focus distance window). And also EF 28mm f / 2.8, EF 15mm f / 2.8, maybe some more. So, the stepper motor (STM) is neither new nor modern.

    And the fact that STM is better is generally ridiculous!
    STM is even inferior to microUSM in such important parameters as speed, accuracy, and torque. Perhaps this is why STM was then abandoned, in favor of USM and collector micromotors.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I am not the author of this article, but here are some things to look out for. Canon's STM has three types. Through gears (like 50 / 1.8STM), through a screw and some other. All these motors are brushless and not the same as in 50 / 1.8 mark I. Screw STM motors are generally very, very quiet and very fast. As an end user, I can say that such a motor is definitely better than that buzzing miracle that is in 50 / 1.8 of the first version. Now even the whales on the STM focus instantly and absolutely quietly.

      • Dmitry (e_dimas)

        In my commentary, I wrote exclusively about MOTORS, and didn’t write anything about torque transmission mechanisms (drives). Or do you think this is the same thing?

        I insist that the “50 / 1.8 mark I” uses the same type of motor as the “STM” lenses, namely the “stepping motor”! This means that the focusing stepper motors in Canon's “EF” lenses are not new, as they first appeared in 1987.

        For example. All of these lenses have a "Gear Reducer" as a drive
        EF 50mm f / 1.8 Stepper Focus Motor
        EF 50mm f / 1.8 II Manifold Micro Motor
        EF 50mm f / 1.4 USM Ultrasonic Motor
        EF 50mm f / 1.8 STM Focusing Stepper Motor

        And by the way, ALL EF lenses use the same “Stepper Motor” as a diaphragm motor.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Well, I wrote to you that as an end user, I’m not interested in mechanisms and stuff. I am interested in the result. And the result is STM's face. Apparently before for some reason they didn’t do it in MK1, they waited for many years to revive STM to a decent appearance

          • Alexey

            It would be strange if in 1987 someone optimized the motor and, in general, the entire lens electronics for control in LV mode, that is, with a closed CAP loop. Well, the very first version 50 1.8 is really better than the second in every sense. I didn't compare it with the third.

        • Alexey

          That's right, those who want to know the details can read the service manual with pictures.

        • Roman

          Everything is somehow strange with you.

          Before Canon invented their different types of USMs, they used two types of engines. Arc-Form drive and its smaller version of Micro Motor (not to be confused with Micro USM). These are ordinary electric motors with a gear reducer, brushless (or brushless).

          STM are also brushless (brushless) motors, but due to their design features, they can rotate very accurately, but at the same time DISCRETE, displacing the rotor by a certain number of degrees. Then this rotation is transmitted either by gears or by a worm gear to the autofocus mechanism.

          The diaphragm drive seemed to be stepping as always, yes. Before the advent of USM, all engines were AFD, it is not entirely clear which lenses were equipped with MM, but as far as I understood, it was precisely the micromotor (MM) that was installed on the 50 / 1.8 II, it is smaller and quieter. And in the first iteration, with a metal mount, the AFD is bigger and louder. But both are definitely not stepper motors.

      • Dmitriy

        Kit 18-55 mm is stm in live wiev for some reason I was not surprised either by the focusing speed or its accuracy in the next autofocus on the Canon 750d.
        Yes, it focuses really silently, but somehow this buzzing bumblebee is missing) I think it's a matter of habit)
        I want to change 18-135mm is to stm version with motor.

    • ba3lur

      ... STM is an icon that bombed video lovers because of the low noise of the motor, all other jambs are not interesting to them ..

  • Gennadiy

    Good afternoon, advise. Currently, there is a Canon 50mm 1: 1.8 STM, there is an option to buy in good condition 50mm 1: 1.4 USM for about $ 155, the price is on 14-05-20. So is it worth bothering with a replacement? I’m just starting to delve into the photo, I kind of understand that 1.4 is better than 1.8 in aperture ratio, But after reading the comments crept in doubts whether it is worth it.

    • Victor

      1.4 DOF less, less sharpness. Those. where there is a lot of aperture ratio, there will be many misses. At first. Of course, everything comes with experience.

  • Victor

    It did not work out for me with the Canon 50 1.4 :(
    I took a used one. It focuses sometimes correctly, sometimes by, i.e. lives its own life. He ignores corrections in the camera :) Every time he wants different ones :) An autopsy showed that the helicoid is alive - they have never dropped it. But something is naughty. I do not know. I get into focus more precisely on manuals than my copy of fifty dollars from Canon. I was disappointed in the mirror autofocus….

    • new

      Rather, the problem is in the camera. At 5d mk2, the lens behaved horribly, perfect at rp.

      • Victor aka @victor_vvo

        no, problems in the glass ... there are nuances ... everything is treated :)

  • Alexey

    and for some reason, no one noted that a camera with a sim lens does a very interesting thing - it programmatically raises the brightness of the picture, in RAW or in JPEG, it happens on an open and slightly covered hole. thus compensate for the lower real aperture))

    and yet - there are three electronically different versions of these lenses. outwardly they are indistinguishable. but differ in AF accuracy and in the ability to programmatically adjust it.

    • Novel

      “And for some reason no one noted that a camera with a sim lens does a very interesting thing - it programmatically raises the brightness of the picture, whether in RAW or in JPEG, it happens on an open and slightly covered hole. thus compensate for the lower real aperture)) "

      What is it like? Especially in RAW? TStop is at 1.6 - not so bad. Look, Tamron had some T2 for 1.4. A strong JPEG vignette with peripheral lighting on can cause the edges to be brightened so much that the whole picture will subjectively appear brighter, but “brightening RAW” means crawling in and programmatically shifting all the collected data. What for? Fotik correctly determines the exposure and selects the shooting parameters based on the actual aperture ratio, taking into account the transmission loss. Climb over the top and increase the brightness of the whole picture - get an overexposed picture. Also, selectively spend the camera's processor on it.

  • Old Chinese Chong

    The lens did not like its extreme dermatological sharpness. In half-length portraits, every wrinkle is clearly visible. And process each photo for scrap. Maybe a specific instance is like that, but I didn't make friends with him ...

    • Novel

      Old Chong, look for younger models.

      • Dmitriy


  • Delta

    The lens is really ancient and its USM is ancient, not a ring type.
    For example, on the EF 85 1.8 USM and EF 35 f2 is usm, the autofocus drives are circular, fast, accurate.
    STM beats the ring drive only in the smooth focusing of the video.
    It's just cheap.
    50 1.8 STM by design, none, flimsy, not resourceful. Suitable only for training an amateur and for rare work, more often amateur. Prowl in bad light
    its autofocus, which becomes brooding and lost, and all its advantages
    STMs are lost. Even the ancient 1.4 USM clings better in poor light. But he still
    worse than RING USM.
    The 50 1.8 has different optics, not at all the same as on the 1.4 USM. The optics of 1.8 are worse and on open, up to f3-f4, it cannot be compared with 1.4 at all.

    • Victor

      Come on, on modern carcasses like the 6d Mark 2 and 77d nothing prowls. You can see one old thing.

  • Gennady Gertsev

    The construct was updated, a new helicode in 2015 - this is how the technical support of the canon answered me, the problem of the broken ones was gone, so as not to bother with the numbers, look for “Malaysian”. On Avito, as usual, everything until 2015 with a broken autofocus.

Add a comment

Copyright © Blog author - Photographer in Kiev Arkady Shapoval. 2009-2023

English-version of this article

Versión en español de este artículo