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Gear Talk => Reviews => Topic started by: Canon Rumors on September 12, 2013, 10:03:04 AM

Title: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Canon Rumors on September 12, 2013, 10:03:04 AM
Discuss our review of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens (http://www.canonrumors.com/review-canon-ef-50mm-f1-4/) here.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: beckstoy on September 12, 2013, 10:17:58 AM
I own so many lenses, but this one and my 70-200 f2.8 mkII are my go-to lenses.  I love the vignetting on this 50mm 1.4 and the resulting photos have been nothing short of magical.

For your dime, this lens is the best value out there (imho).
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Dylan777 on September 12, 2013, 10:26:26 AM
agree with this review 100%.

I had this lens for 2-3yrs before getting the L.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Martin on September 12, 2013, 10:37:03 AM
Hi,

I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF. I have a 5D3 and tested 7(yes-seven) samples of 50 1.4. First one I just sold after servicing as I thought it's a lens problem or camera, next one I serviced 3 times with my camera. Thought it might be something with calibration, adjustments etc. Then I checked with my local shop another samples so...every 50 1.4 has the same issue!!

Why nobody check this lens AF with different distance??? it has HUGE focusshift at close distance and it is almost unuseble in some circumstances when stopped down. To be more detailed:

When focusing at close distance ie. up to 1m ie. 60 or 70 cm (if u set AFMA perfectly @ F1.4) the lens hits the target  Checked and adjusted with LensCal. Now check the lens at f3.5 or f4.0 at the same close distance. No way u achieve the proper focus. It far away for your desired focus point. Backfocus is really bad. Point "0" is completely out of focus and blurred, the sharpest point is "2" or "3" at the scale.

The lens is completely unusable stopped down at close distance, 1.4 is very soft therefore there is now way the get really sharp photos or desired details. Lens spec. mentions 0,45m as minimum focus distance. Checked it with ie. f3,5 and watch where is focus, sharpness and where is the whole DOF-behind the focus point!

Now do the same with LV-perfect focus, razor sharp, completely different DOF position.

Another problem is focusing in incadescent light-try this with this lens-results are really different from daylight.

Tested a lot of 50 1.4 (seven) from diffrent sources, not is the same time,  and all have the same problem. Why nobody mention about such a issue???
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ilkersen on September 12, 2013, 10:42:20 AM
You can find it new @ $299 most of the time. But both accuracy and precision of the AF is rather unbearable.   I sold mine and switched to Canon 85 1.8 and Sigma 35 1.4 combo.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 10:46:06 AM
Hi,

I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF. I have a 5D3 and tested 7(yes-seven) samples of 50 1.4. First one I just sold after servicing as I thought it's a lens problem or camera, next one I serviced 3 times with my camera. Thought it might be something with calibration, adjustments etc. Then I checked with my local shop another samples so...every 50 1.4 has the same issue!!

Why nobody check this lens AF with different distance??? it has HUGE focusshift at close distance and it is almost unuseble in some circumstances when stopped down. To be more detailed:

When focusing at close distance ie. up to 1m ie. 60 or 70 cm (if u set AFMA perfectly @ F1.4) the lens hits the target  Checked and adjusted with LensCal. Now check the lens at f3.5 or f4.0 at the same close distance. No way u achieve the proper focus. It far away for your desired focus point. Backfocus is really bad. Point "0" is completely out of focus and blurred, the sharpest point is "2" or "3" at the scale.

The lens is completely unusable stopped down at close distance, 1.4 is very soft therefore there is now way the get really sharp photos or desired details. Lens spec. mentions 0,45m as minimum focus distance. Checked it with ie. f3,5 and watch where is focus, sharpness and where is the whole DOF-behind the focus point!

Now do the same with LV-perfect focus, razor sharp, completely different DOF position.

Another problem is focusing in incadescent light-try this with this lens-results are really different from daylight.

Tested a lot of 50 1.4 (seven) from diffrent sources, not is the same time,  and all have the same problem. Why nobody mention about such a issue???

I've never had this issue, at least not that I know of (also using a 5D3)... but I also don't necessarily do focus calibration tests. I take photographs of subjects, and if they're "off" I adjust (I've done this with my Sigma 35 1.4 slightly).

Anyone else have this issue?
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: CANONisOK on September 12, 2013, 10:59:38 AM
I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF.
I've never had this issue, at least not that I know of (also using a 5D3)... but I also don't necessarily do focus calibration tests. I take photographs of subjects, and if they're "off" I adjust (I've done this with my Sigma 35 1.4 slightly).

Anyone else have this issue?
Nope. Used same lens/body combo for about 6 months before finding the 1.2L for a bargain.

I suspect I can answer why no one else mentions this huge issue: Nobody else is having the same issue as the poster asking the question.  ;) Let's see: 1 body, 7 copies of the same lens. What are the common denominators here?
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Lichtgestalt on September 12, 2013, 11:07:55 AM
a mere 400$... you get pretty good complete cameras for 400$.

this 50mm f1.4 needs replacement, it´s a dinosaur.

ebay is full of 50mm f1.4 with broken AF.

and when i want vignetting... i can add it in post.  ;D
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: GammyKnee on September 12, 2013, 11:30:37 AM
I agree totally with the review and love my 50 1.4. I'd like to see the review doing a bit more to push would-be buyers into getting a hood though. Aside from reducing flare, the hood does a lot to protect the 50 1.4's particularly delicate AF mechanism. What's more there's no need to pay through the nose for the Canon hood - cheap compatibles serve just as well.

Regarding focus shift, that's not a problem I associate with the Canon 50 1.4. The AF isn't always as precise as newer lens designs (I usually take extra shots for safety) but once the MA has been dialled in it's pretty good. I wonder if Martin is talking about the Sigma 50 1.4, which is renowned for distance-related focus shift? (I experienced this myself with three copies, damn shame because the 77mm filter thread would have been nice)
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 11:34:18 AM
I agree totally with the review and love my 50 1.4. I'd like to see the review doing a bit more to push would-be buyers into getting a hood though. Aside from reducing flare, the hood does a lot to protect the 50 1.4's particularly delicate AF mechanism. What's more there's no need to pay through the nose for the Canon hood - cheap compatibles serve just as well.

Ah, yes, I should have mentioned this. I have a cheap rubber hood that folds in and out and works great. No way was I paying for Canon's branded plastic money maker.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Sella174 on September 12, 2013, 11:40:41 AM
I sold mine and bought a 50mm Compact-Macro. No regrets.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Martin on September 12, 2013, 11:47:55 AM
Ok, guys but the shift focus issuse cannot be realted to camera. I check focus at 1.4. Do not change distance. Change aparture to f 4.0 and the whole DOF is behind the proper point. Always the same behaviour.

Please check it on a close distance. It is not possible thats the camera issue. Thats the way i understand it. I am not talking about tiny shifts. Thats difference beetwen sharp eye or blurred eye on close portrait. I ve checked seven canon's 50s 1.4 and all behave the same.

Also I sent one copy to canon with my camera  2 or 3 times. Always the same result...and i am not crazy.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: bchernicoff on September 12, 2013, 11:49:18 AM
It is a great lens. However, I sold mine in favor of the Sigma which renders closer to the 50 1.2
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Etienne on September 12, 2013, 12:13:56 PM
I agree with the review.
Not only nice shallow DOF, but it is razor sharp when stopped down a bit.

No focus shift problem here on the 5D3
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Martin on September 12, 2013, 01:05:36 PM
I would like to see the results of shooting a kind of test subject with meter or even a normal target from 60cm at 3.5 or 4.0. It is just impossible that the issue deas not exist! I checked so many samples and it was always blurry when stopped down.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: cellomaster27 on September 12, 2013, 01:23:06 PM
Want canon to come out with an update.. I think it's a great middle class lens that really performs well but they can do better with build quality in general. Maybe add IS? Sigma 50 is really nice.. Going there if canon doesn't come out with an update soon.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: SwampYankee on September 12, 2013, 01:26:08 PM
"While the outer shell of the 50mm 1.4 is clearly stronger than the 50mm 1.8"  Pure B.S!  The internet is full of cases of people and videos repairing their Canon 50mm 1.4.  A moderately sharp bump to the front usually breaks the auto-focusing.  It is a notoriously fragile lens.  Boken is better than the 1.8 bit after 5.6 the 1.8 is noticeably sharper than the 1.4.  So, the 1.4 is more fragile than the 1.8, less sharp than the 1.8 and smaller apertures and costs 3x as much.  It's the least desirable of the Canon 50mm lenses.   I have a 25 year old metal mount 1.8 that could beat the pants off of the 1.4 and you can pick one up for 100 bucks.  The difference between 1.4 and 1.8 with a camera with a modern sensor is meaningless, both are really, really fast.  both are really really sharp.  Certainly not worth a triple price premium .  This review sounds like someone trying to justify a recent purchase that they have clearly over paid for
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Eneade on September 12, 2013, 01:38:46 PM
Really like that lens and it works well on crop and FF, with two different flavours ;-)

On the 600D at f/1.6 :
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7446/8731060929_b5d7189e88_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/eneade/8731060929/)
missing passenger (http://www.flickr.com/photos/eneade/8731060929/#) par Eneade (http://www.flickr.com/people/eneade/), sur Flickr

On the 5D Mark III at f/1.4 :
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8500/8335652796_6263139dfc_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/eneade/8335652796/)
sturmey archer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/eneade/8335652796/#) par Eneade (http://www.flickr.com/people/eneade/), sur Flickr
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: CANONisOK on September 12, 2013, 01:42:15 PM
Really like that lens and it works well on crop and FF, with two different flavours ;-)
Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy the pics you post!
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 12, 2013, 01:50:21 PM
Justin,

I own this lens and use it often.  I usually nod my head in agreement to your good work, but I had a few differing viewpoints with this one:


As I've said many times, this is the #1 lens in need of a refresh for Canon.  I still see the F/1.2L as the specialist / art / portraiture lens and this F/1.4 as the workhorse 'for all other reasons' lens.

Given that, there is clearly a price point and technical need for a new 50 prime with the following features:


They'd sell it for $799 and I'd gladly pay that price.  The good news is that lens is being made, and we should have in the next 12-18 months based on the 24, 28, and 35 non-L refreshes we've seen.  It's only a matter of time.

Sorry for the long post -- but I love 50mm and we need this lens.  (Or a Sigma Art line version of their 35mm F/1.4 in this length.)

- A
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 12, 2013, 01:51:59 PM
I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF.
I've never had this issue, at least not that I know of (also using a 5D3)... but I also don't necessarily do focus calibration tests. I take photographs of subjects, and if they're "off" I adjust (I've done this with my Sigma 35 1.4 slightly).

Anyone else have this issue?
Nope. Used same lens/body combo for about 6 months before finding the 1.2L for a bargain.

I suspect I can answer why no one else mentions this huge issue: Nobody else is having the same issue as the poster asking the question.  ;) Let's see: 1 body, 7 copies of the same lens. What are the common denominators here?

Maybe not the body.  The person with the issue may be right.  I have always seen my F/1.4 hunt.  That said, once it confirms it is correctly in focus.

- A
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Martin on September 12, 2013, 02:08:42 PM
I not talking about AF issues in general (of course it is not perfect), but about focus shift at close focusing distance while shooting at ie. f3,5 or f4.0. It just cant be a body problem as at f 1.4 there is not problem at all. Stopping down the lens has completely no influence on AF as it being stopped down while pressing shutter, not all the time. As I said, seven different 50 1.4 from different supplies, not at the same time,  adjusted when necessary  with AFMA at 1.4. All of them behave in the same way. In my opinion it just can't be body failure (it hits a 1.4). How is that possible that no one experienced it?
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 12, 2013, 02:21:27 PM
Here are a few hits and misses with this F/1.4 lens.  All of these were F/2 to F/3.2 on my 5D3.  Most were straight JPGs for one reason or another (I usually shoot RAW + JPG and use RAW for the keepers only).

Some of the errors were of necessity due to lighting, others were in execution, but I like these shots nonetheless.  I am clearly not a pro.

- A

Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: mackguyver on September 12, 2013, 02:35:02 PM
I always found f/2 to be the sweet spot with this lens and loved it on my crop, but not as much on my full frame.  It always seemed too short for portraits, and too long for much else.  Just not my favorite focal length, to the point of selling my 50 f/1.2 recently.

I can't remember if I asked this after the 50 f/1.2 review, but why would you show bokeh at f/7.1?  It seems like maximum aperture or  the common aperture of f/1.8 would have made more sense.  Most people looking for great bokeh aren't shooting at f/5.6 or higher, but maybe there's some logic behind this such as showing the shape of the bokeh when stopped down.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Blaze on September 12, 2013, 02:37:52 PM
I not talking about AF issues in general (of course it is not perfect), but about focus shift at close focusing distance while shooting at ie. f3,5 or f4.0. It just cant be a body problem as at f 1.4 there is not problem at all. Stopping down the lens has completely no influence on AF as it being stopped down while pressing shutter, not all the time. As I said, seven different 50 1.4 from different supplies, not at the same time,  adjusted when necessary  with AFMA at 1.4. All of them behave in the same way. In my opinion it just can't be body failure (it hits a 1.4). How is that possible that no one experienced it?

It's not just you. I only have one copy of the lens, but the AF shifting really is a problem. It's pretty soft wide open too. Even though I like the 50mm focal length, I find myself reaching for my 85mm f/1.2 L II instead almost every time.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: LetTheRightLensIn on September 12, 2013, 02:42:31 PM
a few extras:

1. although most reports suggest that outside of the very center of the frame, and perhaps even in the center once stopped down, the 50L might actually be less sharp, granted wide-open and near center frame may matter most to 50L users and it might have richer color and contrast on a large scale perhaps, maybe it fights off PF a bit more, not sure, but I haven't heard or seen a lot of evidence that the L is really sharper and overall it sounds like it is less sharp, if anything.

2. more weight for L might be a negative for many not a plus

THE BIG ONE:
3. although he suggested that maybe the build quality is worse, it is not just a surmise based upon look and weight, the build quality is arguably the worst of any Canon lens, maybe of just about any AF lens by anyone in that it has a true design flaw of such a degree that it should have been re-called by Canon years ago as well as a more minor but also real design flaw.

A. It is the only AF lens ever made to offer a clutched non-USM FTM. Ever wonder why Canon never tried that on any other non-USM lens? Because the clutches are very prone to stick and catch and break. Virtually everyone I personally know who has had this lens has had it break, often more than once. Sometimes Canon even fixes it for free years out of warranty because I think some employees feel bad about it. And if not, they have a special flat fixed rate for it (pretty curious if it is not something that happens so often that it basically stems from a design flaw). I once saw a copy break in less than 60 seconds out of the box new. (That said if you have a copy that hasn't broken after the first few years, apparently it is likely to continue lasting, so perhaps it is possible to use the design and not have it break, but it has to be machined perfectly.)

B. It uses a very low-precision AF engine (since it produces erratic focus, prone to way under and over-shooting) AND low accuracy (since it can't be adjusted in any fine grained manner internally and tends to need adjustments at all sorts of different focal distances, which it doesn't allow for). And the AF seems to vary in quality a fair amount copy to copy, some copies, the best, had hit rates 2-3 times better than the worst (scary thing is that the hit rates of the best were quite bad, that was tested back in the 20D days though). Neither of those are good in an f/1.4 lens! That said it does slightly better on 1 and 5 series than on other bodies and on the 5D3 and 1DX, in particular, you almost begin to think you could semi-trust it at times at f/1.4.

All that said, as far the optics, I once compared it to an adapted Zeiss Contax 50mm 1.4 and I couldn't tell the difference at any aperture (some say the Zeiss EF mount versions are better than the old Contax ones though) and it seems to fair very well compared to almost any 50mm corner to corner on FF once stopped down (certainly for sharpness) although some new fancier non-double G type designs such as the sigma and so on do better at f/1.4 and those $$$ Leica 50mm I hear are better (although I've never gotten to use one myself).

I don't get why Canon didn't just replace the AF motor with ring USM ages ago, or at least just give it a higher-quality regular old micromotor AF system.

Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: LetTheRightLensIn on September 12, 2013, 02:43:06 PM
Hi,

I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF. I have a 5D3 and tested 7(yes-seven) samples of 50 1.4. First one I just sold after servicing as I thought it's a lens problem or camera, next one I serviced 3 times with my camera. Thought it might be something with calibration, adjustments etc. Then I checked with my local shop another samples so...every 50 1.4 has the same issue!!

Why nobody check this lens AF with different distance??? it has HUGE focusshift at close distance and it is almost unuseble in some circumstances when stopped down. To be more detailed:

When focusing at close distance ie. up to 1m ie. 60 or 70 cm (if u set AFMA perfectly @ F1.4) the lens hits the target  Checked and adjusted with LensCal. Now check the lens at f3.5 or f4.0 at the same close distance. No way u achieve the proper focus. It far away for your desired focus point. Backfocus is really bad. Point "0" is completely out of focus and blurred, the sharpest point is "2" or "3" at the scale.

The lens is completely unusable stopped down at close distance, 1.4 is very soft therefore there is now way the get really sharp photos or desired details. Lens spec. mentions 0,45m as minimum focus distance. Checked it with ie. f3,5 and watch where is focus, sharpness and where is the whole DOF-behind the focus point!

Now do the same with LV-perfect focus, razor sharp, completely different DOF position.

Another problem is focusing in incadescent light-try this with this lens-results are really different from daylight.

Tested a lot of 50 1.4 (seven) from diffrent sources, not is the same time,  and all have the same problem. Why nobody mention about such a issue???

+1

and I guess we both just did  ;D
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: LetTheRightLensIn on September 12, 2013, 02:46:13 PM
I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF.
I've never had this issue, at least not that I know of (also using a 5D3)... but I also don't necessarily do focus calibration tests. I take photographs of subjects, and if they're "off" I adjust (I've done this with my Sigma 35 1.4 slightly).

Anyone else have this issue?
Nope. Used same lens/body combo for about 6 months before finding the 1.2L for a bargain.

I suspect I can answer why no one else mentions this huge issue: Nobody else is having the same issue as the poster asking the question.  ;) Let's see: 1 body, 7 copies of the same lens. What are the common denominators here?

No that poster is hardly alone. Search the forums and you will find more AF complaints about the 50mm 1.4 than just about any other lens and for sure the most about lens breakage.

Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Joynt Inspirations on September 12, 2013, 02:46:49 PM
This was the first additional lens I bought for my kit many years ago, it's served me exceptionally well in all that time. I absolutely love going out and just playing with this little gem.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: infared on September 12, 2013, 02:52:05 PM
Good, balanced review from Justin as usual!!
For my money...I bought the Sigma f/1.4 for my 5DIII.....(mine focuses just fine...I know some don't)..I think its a better lens than the Canon, but I know that topic is a hornet's nest. Just MY opinion, put my money where my mouth is and enjoy the results, every time.
Now...If Sigma would just make an new ART Series 50mm f/1.4..we may all be happy! (well, almost. LOL!).
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on September 12, 2013, 02:52:40 PM
Thanks for another nice review, Justin.  I have own multiple copies of the lens and it isn't in my kit now...for two reasons.  One of those was highlighted ironically in my favorite picture in the review:  the lovely lady with the cool temperature blossoms in the background.  The photo is great on all technical merits save one thing beyond your control; the very nervous lining on the bokeh of the blossoms.  In this the lens behaves more like a wider angle fast lens, nothing like the much softer bokeh rendering of even, say the 85mm f/1.8 and certainly nothing like the 100L or the 135L.  Secondly, I find that the image quality can't beat my old lenses in the focal length, like, say, a Helios 44-2 (LOVE!) or SMC Takumar 55mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.4.  The 40mm pancake also fills the void, too.

I will continue to use other options at this focal length until someone releases a 50mm prime with fewer compromises.  I know it can be done; there are great 50mm primes that are 50 years old.  I have faith that we will see one from someone in the next year or so.

P.S.  I will confess that I am also one of those oddballs that likes a 35mm focal length better than a 50mm.  I didn't hate the 50mm f/1.4; it just didn't get out of my bag all that often. 
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: MichaelHodges on September 12, 2013, 03:32:13 PM
The 50 1.8 II is the superior and more reliable lens. 
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: digitalride on September 12, 2013, 03:44:31 PM
I have read too many internet forums and now it seems there are no good 50mm lenses for canon.  I appreciate some of the positive comments and examples, but its consistency that I'm looking for.

I had a 50mm f/1.8 and it was ok but it always seemed to miss focus on the 1 or 2 shots I got with a good smile from my kids.  I also was bothered a little bit by the pentagonal bokeh.  I gave it to my cousin who just had a baby, and I was planning on getting the canon 50mm f/1.4 the next time I saw a deal, but there are so many complaints about the autofocus on the f/1.4 too.  The f/1.2 is out of my price range, and anytime a third party brand is mentioned autofocus problems are mentioned immediately. 

I used the 50mm for portraits (indoor and outdoor, usually at f/2.0) and macro at f/16 with a set of kenko tubes. I'm using a 60D, so not having af micro adjust makes things more problematic.  Now I'm wondering if I should just go back to the nifty fifty until there is a significantly better option.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: EOBeav on September 12, 2013, 03:49:35 PM
Agree with most of the points, but there is one that is missing: The serious design flaw of the internal focus barrel.  It's very fragile. If you are extended out to infinity, and the lens gets banged at all, you're almost sure to have some problems. You'll find that the lens stops focusing (manual or AF) and the ring will only turn a very short amount. What has happened is that the end of the focus barrel has been bent slightly, and the pin that travels through the guide can't make its way back and forth. It's happened to me. You can try to fix it yourself or pay somebody to do it, but either way you've got problems. 

All that said, this lens has been a workhorse for me. I recommend that everybody have one. Just store it with the focus in the middle, and you should be fine.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 12, 2013, 03:49:39 PM
a few extras:
... [long section pulled] ...
I don't get why Canon didn't just replace the AF motor with ring USM ages ago, or at least just give it a higher-quality regular old micromotor AF system.

Great summary, appreciated!

Agree that the AF (and many other reasons) make this a no-brainer lens to upgrade.  It is a super popular focal length that has clear deficiencies even for the low price point.  I cannot wait for Canon to finally do the right thing here (or possibly have Sigma go Art-y here with something like the 35 F/1.4).

- A
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 12, 2013, 03:50:18 PM
Good, balanced review from Justin as usual!!
For my money...I bought the Sigma f/1.4 for my 5DIII.....(mine focuses just fine...I know some don't)..I think its a better lens than the Canon, but I know that topic is a hornet's nest. Just MY opinion, put my money where my mouth is and enjoy the results, every time.
Now...If Sigma would just make an new ART Series 50mm f/1.4..we may all be happy! (well, almost. LOL!).

+1, no, +5
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 12, 2013, 03:57:21 PM
The 50 1.8 II is the superior and more reliable lens.

I would hazard a guess that you are in a minority with that position.  The 50 F/1.8 is sharp and a stellar value, but it lacks virtually everything else.

As much maligned as the 50 F/1.4 is, the 50 F/1.8 has greater issues.  Pentagonal bokeh, cheap build and a comically slow (and noisy!) focusing plague this lens.

It's a great starter lens in getting use to primes, using larger apertures, etc. but unless you are shooting non-moving objects at stopped down apertures, I'd choose the F/1.4 ten times out of ten over the F/1.8.

- A

Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: MichaelHodges on September 12, 2013, 04:17:22 PM
The 50 1.8 II is the superior and more reliable lens.

I would hazard a guess that you are in a minority with that position.  The 50 F/1.8 is sharp and a stellar value, but it lacks virtually everything else.

As much maligned as the 50 F/1.4 is, the 50 F/1.8 has greater issues.  Pentagonal bokeh, cheap build and a comically slow (and noisy!) focusing plague this lens.

It's a great starter lens in getting use to primes, using larger apertures, etc. but unless you are shooting non-moving objects at stopped down apertures, I'd choose the F/1.4 ten times out of ten over the F/1.8.

- A

I've owned both lenses. The 50 1.4, is, quite frankly, a piece of garbage. The 50 1.8 II has a deceivingly better build in real world use, IMHO. the 50 1.8 II is actually sharper to boot, and I found the focus to be more reliable.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ajfotofilmagem on September 12, 2013, 04:47:00 PM
Canon 50mm F1.4 was my first prime lens, and I still have today. It's embarrassing when friends ask me what I think about it ... ??? I reply that I never use the F1.4 aperture, but only from F1.8. :-\ Then they wonder why I have not bought the model F1.8, and I say that only has good image from F2.5 or more closed diaphragm. And I say with regret that there is no reliable 50mm, sharp and durable for canon. :( But, the model "L" is not good? ??? I answer that it is good, but only from F1.4, and not worth the price at all. :-[ After hearing my explanation, they look at me with dismay, and I say to try to 40mm, or wait for a decent refresh 50mm. ;)
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: EOBeav on September 12, 2013, 04:47:21 PM
the 50 1.8 II is actually sharper to boot,

Care to back that up with some data and/or real-world examples? That's a pretty big claim.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 12, 2013, 05:05:02 PM
the 50 1.8 II is actually sharper to boot,

Care to back that up with some data and/or real-world examples? That's a pretty big claim.

I'm not the one who claimed that, but after F/4 or so, I believe the F/1.8 is as good as the F/1.4 for sharpness.   But there are so many other limitations with that lens, as I have previously enumerated.

- A
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: sdsr on September 12, 2013, 05:38:42 PM
The first one I bought wasn't good at all - unacceptably soft wide open, sometimes back-focused, sometimes front-focused, sometimes didn't focus on anything at all, sometimes got it just right; completely unpredictable and thus useless (unless you like to maximize the element of surprise in your daily life).  I then tried the Sigma equivalent, but it was far worse - I don't think I took one photo with it that was in focus (even though the camera thought it was).  At that point I gave up on a 50mm 1.4 for my Canons and bought a Panasonic/Leica 25mm 1.4 for my Olympus OM-D - first rate in every way, like all the M43 primes I own (though not, of course, exactly a 1.4 equivalent).  Encouraged by that, I tried another Canon 50mm 1.4 and, perhaps by chance, alighted on a copy that has never given me a problem.  It may not be very sharp wide open (miles better than my first copy, though), but the bokeh is marvelous, especially if you get close to the subject (I've not yet seen anything like the rather harsh background in the photo Dustin's complaining about; I wouldn't want that either).  So unless/until it breaks I'm happy enough with it.  If Sigma or Canon were kind enough to provide improved updates, however....

(I've also owned the 50mm 1.8 and 50mm 2.5 macro but kept neither - don't like the bokeh on the former, and while the latter was very sharp and no slower or noisier to focus than a lot of Pentax lenses I was familiar with, I replaced it with the 100L macro as overall more useful.)
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 06:07:20 PM
Want canon to come out with an update.. I think it's a great middle class lens that really performs well but they can do better with build quality in general. Maybe add IS? Sigma 50 is really nice.. Going there if canon doesn't come out with an update soon.

Bet you they will, but at what price? $800 maybe?
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 06:09:01 PM
"While the outer shell of the 50mm 1.4 is clearly stronger than the 50mm 1.8"  Pure B.S!  The internet is full of cases of people and videos repairing their Canon 50mm 1.4.  A moderately sharp bump to the front usually breaks the auto-focusing.  It is a notoriously fragile lens.  Boken is better than the 1.8 bit after 5.6 the 1.8 is noticeably sharper than the 1.4.  So, the 1.4 is more fragile than the 1.8, less sharp than the 1.8 and smaller apertures and costs 3x as much.  It's the least desirable of the Canon 50mm lenses.   I have a 25 year old metal mount 1.8 that could beat the pants off of the 1.4 and you can pick one up for 100 bucks.  The difference between 1.4 and 1.8 with a camera with a modern sensor is meaningless, both are really, really fast.  both are really really sharp.  Certainly not worth a triple price premium .  This review sounds like someone trying to justify a recent purchase that they have clearly over paid for

I bought it 7 years ago, it's done okay by me.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 06:12:36 PM
I always found f/2 to be the sweet spot with this lens and loved it on my crop, but not as much on my full frame.  It always seemed too short for portraits, and too long for much else.  Just not my favorite focal length, to the point of selling my 50 f/1.2 recently.

I can't remember if I asked this after the 50 f/1.2 review, but why would you show bokeh at f/7.1?  It seems like maximum aperture or  the common aperture of f/1.8 would have made more sense.  Most people looking for great bokeh aren't shooting at f/5.6 or higher, but maybe there's some logic behind this such as showing the shape of the bokeh when stopped down.

Yeah, just to illustrate the shape.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 06:16:22 PM
Good, balanced review from Justin as usual!!
For my money...I bought the Sigma f/1.4 for my 5DIII.....(mine focuses just fine...I know some don't)..I think its a better lens than the Canon, but I know that topic is a hornet's nest. Just MY opinion, put my money where my mouth is and enjoy the results, every time.
Now...If Sigma would just make an new ART Series 50mm f/1.4..we may all be happy! (well, almost. LOL!).

I love the images I've seen from the Sigma, colour and contrast to be specific. But it came out when I was still *very* wary of Sigma products and was still plenty happy with my Canon 1.4.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 06:18:21 PM
The 50 1.8 II is the superior and more reliable lens.

Unless you hate pentagons ;)
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 06:19:51 PM
Agree with most of the points, but there is one that is missing: The serious design flaw of the internal focus barrel.  It's very fragile. If you are extended out to infinity, and the lens gets banged at all, you're almost sure to have some problems. You'll find that the lens stops focusing (manual or AF) and the ring will only turn a very short amount. What has happened is that the end of the focus barrel has been bent slightly, and the pin that travels through the guide can't make its way back and forth. It's happened to me. You can try to fix it yourself or pay somebody to do it, but either way you've got problems. 

All that said, this lens has been a workhorse for me. I recommend that everybody have one. Just store it with the focus in the middle, and you should be fine.

Never happened to me but I guess I've been lucky, seems like a lot of people had to service this lens but, fortunately, I haven't (yet).
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 06:21:38 PM
Canon 50mm F1.4 was my first prime lens, and I still have today. It's embarrassing when friends ask me what I think about it ... ??? I reply that I never use the F1.4 aperture, but only from F1.8. :-\ Then they wonder why I have not bought the model F1.8, and I say that only has good image from F2.5, and I say with regret that there is no reliable 50mm, sharp and durable for canon. :( But, the model "L" is not good? ??? I answer that it is good, but only from F1.4, and not worth the price at all. :-[ After hearing my explanation, they look at me with dismay, and I say to try to 40mm, or wait for a decent refresh 50mm. ;)

Ha ha ha, that sums it up pretty well!
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on September 12, 2013, 06:25:39 PM
I'm going to have to go through my catalogue and look for closer focused images to see if I've had many issues? One of my own handicaps is I'm notoriously bad at manual focusing shallow depth of field, which could mean in those situations I've countered any potential back focus issues by using live view to focus or, and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, I sway forward and backwards slightly when in bust mode to get an "average" focus that hopefully works.  :P
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: R1-7D on September 12, 2013, 06:33:53 PM
I love this little lens. I use it for street photography all the time. Once I AFMA'd it, the focus has been dead on.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JPAZ on September 12, 2013, 06:35:37 PM
I have one and, frankly, don't use it a lot.  I'll carry it if I know there are going to be some low-light needs at that focal length. 

Totally subjectively, I kinda like the output from the "shorty forty" a bit more even though that is a slower lens.  Just my opinion.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ashmadux on September 12, 2013, 06:36:43 PM
I love this lens. I hate this lens.

I love it because of the dreamy image potential - it one lens that has a character all on its own.

I hate this lens because the goddamned autofocusing f*cking sucks.

I love this lens when i look at its potential in manual focus.

I hate this lens because ive had to use it as a manual lens for months, and its going in to get serviced.

Now i hate this lens. >:( >:( >:(

Ok yall get the picture.  I actually purchased a whopping 4 of these to get one that could focus on the most basic of non moving subjects. Earlier ones i purchased couldn't even focus at infinity. And even with this 4th unit- purchased retail-  its now on the way to the shop. When it comes back, im getting rid of it.

After years of questionable quality issues with canon hardware, i just cannot stand more time trying to test out for a week why things are going wacky.

(Great lens when it works  ;D)

Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Rocguy on September 12, 2013, 06:50:57 PM
I have own multiple copies of the lens and it isn't in my kit now...for two reasons.  One of those was highlighted ironically in my favorite picture in the review:  the lovely lady with the cool temperature blossoms in the background.  The photo is great on all technical merits save one thing beyond your control; the very nervous lining on the bokeh of the blossoms.   

The bokeh in that one picture is enough to make me not be tempted by this lens...  :o
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: AudioGlenn on September 12, 2013, 07:15:53 PM
I sold mine.  I don't see the point of carrying a prime that can't do more than my 24-70 @f/2.8.  I was only somewhat satisfied with this lens at 2.5 or smaller apertures.   Any apertures bigger than that gave me horrible color and contrast.  Sure shooting at 1.4 gives you shallow DOF but I never liked how it looked.  I'll be saving for the 50L or 85L.  If I'm in need of really shallow DOF right now, I'll use my 70-200, step back, and zoom in to 150-200mm. 
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Zv on September 12, 2013, 07:20:07 PM
I had the 1.8 and it served me well and then I sold it. Kinda wish I hadn't. Been thinking about picking up a 1.4 but unsure about the focusing motor. Seems quite a few folk have issues with it. Hard to believe the Canon 50 1.4 is twenty years old and still very much in everyday use!

I think I can hold out until Sigma release their updated 50 or see what Canon throws out (50 f/2 IS?).
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 12, 2013, 07:39:14 PM
I have one and, frankly, don't use it a lot.  I'll carry it if I know there are going to be some low-light needs at that focal length. 

Totally subjectively, I kinda like the output from the "shorty forty" a bit more even though that is a slower lens.  Just my opinion.

That shorty mcforty is a sharpness wonder.  It's sharp like the 50 F/1.4, but maybe biased towards better on the wide end.  See data below.

I have heard that it softens up from diffraction more quickly than a non-pancake, but the data I've seen doesn't back that up.

I just can't stand the focus speed of non-USM lenses.  That 40's STM is camcorder-like for focusing speed -- even the much maligned 50 F/1.4 of this thread (hunting and all) locks on faster than that pancake does.

- A
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: BozillaNZ on September 12, 2013, 08:33:54 PM
Boooo! Reviewing a EF 50 1.4 at 2013? Really? It's like... teaching grandma how to suck eggs.

But seriously, the AF is so inconsistent that the hit rate is unbearable at wide apertures. Try to shoot at f1.8 (forget about wide open) and hit a target at normal shooting distance of 1-3m.

You get one front focus, one more or less on target, one back focus! That's just the way this lens works. The plastic gears have huge slacks which makes precise focusing impossible.

Not to mention a slight knock or squeeze will make it stop working! Both in AF and MF!

This lens is so bad, that it make me question Canon's sanity.

Anyone saying the don't see the problem of inconsistent AF on EF 50 1.4 just haven't seen anything better. Go borrow/rent/buy a good lens with ring USM, do a compare and tell the different yourself.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: SwampYankee on September 12, 2013, 08:53:03 PM
The 50 1.8 II is the superior and more reliable lens.

I would hazard a guess that you are in a minority with that position.  The 50 F/1.8 is sharp and a stellar value, but it lacks virtually everything else.

As much maligned as the 50 F/1.4 is, the 50 F/1.8 has greater issues.  Pentagonal bokeh, cheap build and a comically slow (and noisy!) focusing plague this lens.

It's a great starter lens in getting use to primes, using larger apertures, etc. but unless you are shooting non-moving objects at stopped down apertures, I'd choose the F/1.4 ten times out of ten over the F/1.8.

- A

But the 1.4 breaks more often the the 1.8 and yet you say the build quality is better?  bang the 1.4 on the nose and it breaks.  fragile as glass....how is this better build quality?  I've had 3 1.4's they all broke.  i have an old metal mount 1.8 for 25 years...never broke.  yet you say the 1.4 has better build?  what does that mean?
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: EOBeav on September 12, 2013, 09:16:28 PM
I'm not the one who claimed that, but after F/4 or so, I believe the F/1.8 is as good as the F/1.4 for sharpness.   But there are so many other limitations with that lens, as I have previously enumerated.- A

Shooting this lens at f/4 is kind of like buying a convertible and driving with the top up.  You have to do it sometimes when circumstances dictate, but when its nice out, the top is coming down.  Sure, we all have to shoot our 50's stopped down occasionally, but we like to keep it open most of the time. For things I shoot, f/2 is where the good stuff is.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: MichaelHodges on September 12, 2013, 09:28:35 PM
The 50 1.8 II is the superior and more reliable lens.

I would hazard a guess that you are in a minority with that position.  The 50 F/1.8 is sharp and a stellar value, but it lacks virtually everything else.

As much maligned as the 50 F/1.4 is, the 50 F/1.8 has greater issues.  Pentagonal bokeh, cheap build and a comically slow (and noisy!) focusing plague this lens.

It's a great starter lens in getting use to primes, using larger apertures, etc. but unless you are shooting non-moving objects at stopped down apertures, I'd choose the F/1.4 ten times out of ten over the F/1.8.

- A

But the 1.4 breaks more often the the 1.8 and yet you say the build quality is better?  bang the 1.4 on the nose and it breaks.  fragile as glass....how is this better build quality?  I've had 3 1.4's they all broke.  i have an old metal mount 1.8 for 25 years...never broke.  yet you say the 1.4 has better build?  what does that mean?

I'll back that up. The 50 1.8 II is just the better lens. My 50 1.4 AF mechanism broke when my camera swung lightly into a carpeted stair. My 50 1.8 II has been *submerged*in a freezing river, and actually smashed into gravel while under. I had to scoop water and sand out of it, still works fine despite a nice crack in the glass.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: drjlo on September 12, 2013, 09:32:34 PM
For things I shoot, f/2 is where the good stuff is.
Yup, and when wider than f/2 is needed at 50mm, 50 f/1.2 steps in.  I mostly use the 50L from f/1.4 to f/1.8, where its color, contrast, and bokeh really are class-leading.



 
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JonAustin on September 12, 2013, 09:50:14 PM
An early poster to this thread said he sold his 50/1.4 and bought the compact macro to replace it.

When I first came on the Canon SLR scene 10 years ago, I looked at the three then-available 50mm lenses, and chose the compact macro. I sill have it.

But I'm amazed at some of Canon's product development (or, at least, product release) choices. Why do they update already really decent ring USM primes (28mm comes to mind), and ignore the awful, fragile 50/1.4? Why do they have three standard L zooms (24-70/2.8, 24-105, 24-70/4 IS)?

I can only conclude that if Canon were to release a proper, non-L 50/1.4 or /1.8, with ring USM, sharp optics, accurate auto-focus, metal mount, round aperture -- possibly with IS -- they're scared to death that they'd never be able to keep up with demand!
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: infared on September 12, 2013, 10:01:22 PM
Good, balanced review from Justin as usual!!
For my money...I bought the Sigma f/1.4 for my 5DIII.....(mine focuses just fine...I know some don't)..I think its a better lens than the Canon, but I know that topic is a hornet's nest. Just MY opinion, put my money where my mouth is and enjoy the results, every time.
Now...If Sigma would just make an new ART Series 50mm f/1.4..we may all be happy! (well, almost. LOL!).

I love the images I've seen from the Sigma, colour and contrast to be specific. But it came out when I was still *very* wary of Sigma products and was still plenty happy with my Canon 1.4.

Justin, I agree with your decision...I bought my Sigma about 4 yrs ago..( when the press for the lens and the company was iffy at best).and let me tell you I knew that I was taking a chance..but it looked like the sharpness, build and bokeh "could" be there if I got a good copy. I did and I love what I have for the price that I paid considering what else was/is available. My question is...why is the frontier so bleak for a normal lens for the most popular cameras in the world???...no matter what price you pay?
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: CharlieB on September 12, 2013, 10:25:22 PM
I've been through three of the 50/1.4's.  Bought my first one in the early 1990's.

The glass isn't bad, but none of the one's I've got gives any focusing consistancy whatsoever.  All of the drift from the inner edge to the far edge of what the DOF would be at about f/2 - which means you lose it at f/1.4.   Canon says to me... thats all you can expect.

Shooting longer distances, shooting stopped down.. . great results.  But why get a 1.4 lens when you have to close it to 2.8 to get consistant focusing results?

There's a thread on the forum regarding Leica glass - using a .095 /50mm on the EOS-M with adapter.   I cringe.  I'm a Leica M shooter since the 1970's.   You get better focusing with the Leica M than any EOS camera.  Its just the way it is.  Sure, you have to do it yourself, and its not as fast.  But if you take your time with a Leica M, you will nail the focus every time.   No matter what you do with the EF50/1.4 you're gonna get inconsistant and toss-away images in 20-30 percent of the wide open shots.

Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: verysimplejason on September 12, 2013, 11:08:56 PM
Used this lens most of the time from my part-time job but I can't justify switching from my 50mm F1.8 II to this lens.  Yeah, bokeh is better but I find the AF of my 1.8 more accurate even if it's slower.  Maybe I've got a bad copy also.  I love the 50mm focal length and will replace my 1.8 as soon as this lens is refreshed.  Stopped down, the 1.8 can produce a lot of photos that are arguably almost at the same IQ level as this lens.

Taken with 500D + 50mm F.18 II @ F2.5 + some vignetting from LR...

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3774/9726697825_d1fa441066_c.jpg)

500D + 50mm F1.8 II @ F5 + vignetting from LR

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7282/9729910930_7b1290d806_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ashmadux on September 13, 2013, 12:06:39 AM
If the lens barely works, then it's just not a good lens. Period. How do you take something that works half of the time to a paid gig- heck, or any gig.

What's more sad is that it's a 20yr old piece of shiz design. Too many canon apologists over the years is probably the reason they have yet to produce a new version. I actually tried out my nifty fifty a few days ago, and no focus issues (never did have any).

But seriously...Twenty years old and they haven't even upgrade the build materials. That is beyond pathetic IMHO
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: verysimplejason on September 13, 2013, 02:39:33 AM
If the lens barely works, then it's just not a good lens. Period. How do you take something that works half of the time to a paid gig- heck, or any gig.

What's more sad is that it's a 20yr old piece of shiz design. Too many canon apologists over the years is probably the reason they have yet to produce a new version. I actually tried out my nifty fifty a few days ago, and no focus issues (never did have any).

But seriously...Twenty years old and they haven't even upgrade the build materials. That is beyond pathetic IMHO

At least Canon didn't degrade it as opposed to the 50mm F1.8.  The mark I version is so much better.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: atrocious on September 13, 2013, 03:21:25 AM
I will have to disagree with the reviewer about the weight issue. I understand his appreciation of the sturdiness, but 1.2 is twice the weight of the 1.4. I know it's not the sharpest knife in the drawer but walking around with the 1.4 is a pleasure for me.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Marsu42 on September 13, 2013, 03:37:10 AM
I love the vignetting on this 50mm 1.4

...which you can also produce with a couple of mouse click in postprocessing :-)

For your dime, this lens is the best value out there (imho).

Agreed, but this is simply due to the fact that 3rd party manufacturers have shied away to produce a competing lens yet - personally, my issue with the 50/1.4 is that it hasn't got a "real" ring usm but the horrible micro usm with the known issues which is only undercut by the 50/1.8 with no usm at all...

... and it's not like adding a real usm would be a large cost burden, it's just that Canon keeps making profit with this dinosaur version so why rock the boat and threaten the 50/1.2 sales?
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Rienzphotoz on September 13, 2013, 04:20:28 AM
... and it's not like adding a real usm would be a large cost burden, it's just that Canon keeps making profit with this dinosaur version so why rock the boat and threaten the 50/1.2 sales?
+1
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: verysimplejason on September 13, 2013, 04:57:34 AM
... and it's not like adding a real usm would be a large cost burden, it's just that Canon keeps making profit with this dinosaur version so why rock the boat and threaten the 50/1.2 sales?
+1
+2.  It's the AF that's only keeping it from being the best 50mm from Canon at least from the IQ perspective.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Sith Zombie on September 13, 2013, 05:55:21 AM
... and it's not like adding a real usm would be a large cost burden, it's just that Canon keeps making profit with this dinosaur version so why rock the boat and threaten the 50/1.2 sales?
+1
+2.  It's the AF that's only keeping it from being the best 50mm from Canon at least from the IQ perspective.
+3 I hope Sigma rocks the boat so hard, it tips over!
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ashmadux on September 13, 2013, 11:27:14 AM
I wish i knew all this AF fail issues before i bought the lens. Even with all my research, i still didn't come across this many real world instances of fail.

That Sigma 50mm cant come soon enough!
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ahsanford on September 13, 2013, 11:48:15 AM
I wish i knew all this AF fail issues before i bought the lens. Even with all my research, i still didn't come across this many real world instances of fail.

That Sigma 50mm cant come soon enough!
Agree -- I'd love the Sigma 'Art' treatment in 50mm.  But with next to zero chatter on that one coming, this may be the case where Canon fixes this before Sigma arrives.

It is highly, highly likely that we will get a 50mm lens from Canon that mimics all the (stellar!) upgrades we've seen on the non-L wide primes: proper USM AF, IS, internal focusing, IQ on par with the stopped down Ls, and a build quality in the same neighborhood as the 100L macro.

Just imagine this in a 50mm lens:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-35mm-f-2-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-35mm-f-2-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx)

The big debate is what IS will cost on the aperture side to keep the lens fairly inexpensive, small and light.  I don't know if we'll get F/1.4 IS, F/1.8 IS, or F/2 IS.  Time will tell, but this 50mm lens is 100% coming, as is (one would imagine) on the similarly 20 year old 85 F/1.8 (which is soooo much better than the 50/1.4).

- A
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Gilbo65 on September 30, 2013, 07:44:37 AM
I have the 1.8 and 1.4

In my experience, the 1.4 is the better lens - just so long as it continues to work for a few more years. At the price though, I won't be heartbroken if it does and by then, who knows? Canon may have the long awaited replacement.

Used it on our tour of the Pacific North-West this summer. Perfect for low light shots with my 6D - got some low-light shots simply not possible with many other combinations (certainly not at the price point!)

Low-Light ISO 10,000 f/1.4
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22983840@N08/9725838260/?reuploaded=1

And shots for "pop"? - I'm pleased with this. Just love the contrast and colour straight from the shot without the need to post process:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22983840@N08/9661037319/

So yes, an old lens, but still a worthwhile addition - especially for those without a 50mm
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Marsu42 on October 01, 2013, 04:43:40 AM
I have the 1.8 and 1.4 In my experience, the 1.4 is the better lens

That doesn't mean much :-p ... a piece of plastic cut from the bottom of a yoghourt can is a better lens than the 50/1.8 ... seriously, it's just so famed because it's so cheap for the f1.8 and it's the "plastic fantastic" legend by now.  As for the f1.4 I'd just advise anybody to try the af before buying or keeping it, that's why I don't have it (and also never use my f1.8 btw).
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: wickidwombat on October 01, 2013, 07:42:51 PM
Hi,

I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF. I have a 5D3 and tested 7(yes-seven) samples of 50 1.4. First one I just sold after servicing as I thought it's a lens problem or camera, next one I serviced 3 times with my camera. Thought it might be something with calibration, adjustments etc. Then I checked with my local shop another samples so...every 50 1.4 has the same issue!!

Why nobody check this lens AF with different distance??? it has HUGE focusshift at close distance and it is almost unuseble in some circumstances when stopped down. To be more detailed:

When focusing at close distance ie. up to 1m ie. 60 or 70 cm (if u set AFMA perfectly @ F1.4) the lens hits the target  Checked and adjusted with LensCal. Now check the lens at f3.5 or f4.0 at the same close distance. No way u achieve the proper focus. It far away for your desired focus point. Backfocus is really bad. Point "0" is completely out of focus and blurred, the sharpest point is "2" or "3" at the scale.

The lens is completely unusable stopped down at close distance, 1.4 is very soft therefore there is now way the get really sharp photos or desired details. Lens spec. mentions 0,45m as minimum focus distance. Checked it with ie. f3,5 and watch where is focus, sharpness and where is the whole DOF-behind the focus point!

Now do the same with LV-perfect focus, razor sharp, completely different DOF position.

Another problem is focusing in incadescent light-try this with this lens-results are really different from daylight.

Tested a lot of 50 1.4 (seven) from diffrent sources, not is the same time,  and all have the same problem. Why nobody mention about such a issue???

couldn't agree with you more, I have found the 50 1.4 pretty unreliable on the 5Dmk3 but much more reliable on the older 5Dmk2 and 1Dmk3 bodies I have. I have the sigma 50 1.4 too which has good IQ IF it focuses correctly...
still waiting for a decent 50mm lens for canon bodies
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: thgmuffin on October 27, 2013, 09:49:42 PM
So from what I have been reading, I shouldn't have any focus problems with the 6D?

Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: ftico on December 30, 2013, 10:14:04 AM
Hi,

I just read 50 1.4 review and completely have no idea why NOONE mentions about its huge problems with AF. I have a 5D3 and tested 7(yes-seven) samples of 50 1.4. First one I just sold after servicing as I thought it's a lens problem or camera, next one I serviced 3 times with my camera. Thought it might be something with calibration, adjustments etc. Then I checked with my local shop another samples so...every 50 1.4 has the same issue!!

Why nobody check this lens AF with different distance??? it has HUGE focusshift at close distance and it is almost unuseble in some circumstances when stopped down. To be more detailed:

When focusing at close distance ie. up to 1m ie. 60 or 70 cm (if u set AFMA perfectly @ F1.4) the lens hits the target  Checked and adjusted with LensCal. Now check the lens at f3.5 or f4.0 at the same close distance. No way u achieve the proper focus. It far away for your desired focus point. Backfocus is really bad. Point "0" is completely out of focus and blurred, the sharpest point is "2" or "3" at the scale.

The lens is completely unusable stopped down at close distance, 1.4 is very soft therefore there is now way the get really sharp photos or desired details. Lens spec. mentions 0,45m as minimum focus distance. Checked it with ie. f3,5 and watch where is focus, sharpness and where is the whole DOF-behind the focus point!

Now do the same with LV-perfect focus, razor sharp, completely different DOF position.

Another problem is focusing in incadescent light-try this with this lens-results are really different from daylight.

Tested a lot of 50 1.4 (seven) from diffrent sources, not is the same time,  and all have the same problem. Why nobody mention about such a issue???

I wish I found this post before... just got a 50mm 1.4 as a gift for my brother, but I started testing it before giving it to him (he is just starting)... and there i discovered the existence of focus shift. I only tried focus around the minimal focusing distance, and shift is pretty bad when stopping down to F2.8/F4. Since the lens will go on a rebel, no microadjustment to compensate at least for the most used aperture.

Love the bokeh, by the way. Thank you for sharing, Martin.

Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Badger on March 06, 2014, 08:37:40 AM
I know I'm late to the game, but I have a 50mm 1.8 that has a problem with my 6D that AFMA can't fix. Just bought the 85mm 1.8 (love it) and was considering a replacement for my 50mm 1.8. I thought it was going to be the 50mm 1.4 but after reading all this, I'm thinking I'm going to wait. Might buy the shorty 40 while I wait for Sigma to actually give us a price. If the new Sigma is as good as everyone thinks its going to be, and it costs under $800, I'm there.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: JVLphoto on March 06, 2014, 08:44:21 AM
I know I'm late to the game, but I have a 50mm 1.8 that has a problem with my 6D that AFMA can't fix. Just bought the 85mm 1.8 (love it) and was considering a replacement for my 50mm 1.8. I thought it was going to be the 50mm 1.4 but after reading all this, I'm thinking I'm going to wait. Might buy the shorty 40 while I wait for Sigma to actually give us a price. If the new Sigma is as good as everyone thinks its going to be, and it costs under $800, I'm there.

I'm also very interested in what the Sigma will bring - and I'll definitely be reviewing it when it's available. If you can get the 50mm while it's on sale for less than $400 I think it's still an incredible value. Despite my "ho hum" review of the 40mm it's kind of grown on me, it's a very capable lens and if you don't have a zoom in that focal range it's a no-brainer as a buy.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Badger on March 06, 2014, 09:57:36 AM
Quote
Despite my "ho hum" review of the 40mm it's kind of grown on me, it's a very capable lens and if you don't have a zoom in that focal range it's a no-brainer as a buy.

I do have the 24-105 f/4 but I don't think I have a single "Wow" picture taken with it. It wasn't till I slapped the 50mm 1.8 on on the 6D and got some "Wow" pictures that I realized how special primes can be. My problem with my 50mm is focus accuracy. It is so unreliable. Bought FoCal Pro and every time I run it with the 1.8, it tells me my predicted adjustment is off the chart. If I force it to continue, I get an adjustment of +16...but I digress.

I am happy to play with and get to know my new 85mm for now but at some point, I really feel the need to replace the my 50mm.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Zv on March 06, 2014, 10:49:01 AM
Quote
Despite my "ho hum" review of the 40mm it's kind of grown on me, it's a very capable lens and if you don't have a zoom in that focal range it's a no-brainer as a buy.

I do have the 24-105 f/4 but I don't think I have a single "Wow" picture taken with it. It wasn't till I slapped the 50mm 1.8 on on the 6D and got some "Wow" pictures that I realized how special primes can be. My problem with my 50mm is focus accuracy. It is so unreliable. Bought FoCal Pro and every time I run it with the 1.8, it tells me my predicted adjustment is off the chart. If I force it to continue, I get an adjustment of +16...but I digress.

I am happy to play with and get to know my new 85mm for now but at some point, I really feel the need to replace the my 50mm.

Now you see why they call it the "thrifty fifty"!! At that price there's gotta be some compromise and unfortunately AF accuracy is one of them. Bloody good glass though! It was great on my 550D.

Having recently picked up a used Sigma 50 1.4 I would say it is a great lens for the money but again the AF is a bit of a let down. Nothing even close to a good USM lens. Focus shifts too. But the IQ is very nice. I'm using it for now for non critical stuff and general messing around in the spring.

I would wait a bit before doing any 50 shopping.   
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: J.R. on March 06, 2014, 10:59:38 AM
I keep hearing people complain about the focusing problems with the f/1.4. I guess I have a pretty good copy because mine works superbly when paired with the 5D3.

That said, focus shift is not a problem for me. The f/1.4 comes out only when light levels are real low and I'm shooting wide open most of the time. For reasonable light shooting, I use the 24-70II which is as sharp as anything at 50mm at almost all aperture settings. 
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Rienzphotoz on March 16, 2014, 03:21:42 AM
I have the 1.8 and 1.4 In my experience, the 1.4 is the better lens

That doesn't mean much :-p ... a piece of plastic cut from the bottom of a yoghourt can is a better lens than the 50/1.8 ... seriously, it's just so famed because it's so cheap for the f1.8 and it's the "plastic fantastic" legend by now.  As for the f1.4 I'd just advise anybody to try the af before buying or keeping it, that's why I don't have it (and also never use my f1.8 btw).
I'd like to see an image made by "a piece of plastic cut from the bottom of a yoghourt can" that is better than the image made with a 50 f/1.8
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Rienzphotoz on March 16, 2014, 03:22:20 AM
I have the 1.8 and 1.4

In my experience, the 1.4 is the better lens - just so long as it continues to work for a few more years. At the price though, I won't be heartbroken if it does and by then, who knows? Canon may have the long awaited replacement.

Used it on our tour of the Pacific North-West this summer. Perfect for low light shots with my 6D - got some low-light shots simply not possible with many other combinations (certainly not at the price point!)

Low-Light ISO 10,000 f/1.4
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22983840@N08/9725838260/?reuploaded=1

And shots for "pop"? - I'm pleased with this. Just love the contrast and colour straight from the shot without the need to post process:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22983840@N08/9661037319/

So yes, an old lens, but still a worthwhile addition - especially for those without a 50mm
+1 ... I totally agree ... and nice images.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: sagittariansrock on March 19, 2014, 07:45:34 PM
That doesn't mean much :-p ... a piece of plastic cut from the bottom of a yoghourt can is a better lens than the 50/1.8 ... seriously, it's just so famed because it's so cheap for the f1.8 and it's the "plastic fantastic" legend by now.

Don't you think that's a bit harsh and unfair? I know of many people who have shot beautiful images with the nifty fifty. You just have to look at the Flickr pool for that. I agree the color isn't as good as an L (no S____, Sherlock!), but nevertheless it can create images that simply pop.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: terminatahx on April 13, 2014, 04:59:19 PM
The Fiddy 1.4 is the only non-L I have in my toolbox.  For the price, I find it to be a solid performer, especially at f2.5 and narrower. While it can't touch my Ls in saturation, sharpness and contrast, it's a great lens for strolling with minimal gear.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Normalnorm on May 11, 2014, 04:48:21 PM
My experience with the 50 1.4 was that I went through three copies before deciding it was a bad design (or toweringly flawed QC). I bought a Sigma 50 1.4 and after sending IT back once it has been a sharp performer.
The real problem was that 50 is a nearly useless FL for me so I am selling it to get the 35.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 - fragile!
Post by: rowlandw on December 20, 2014, 08:28:21 AM
This lens has a reputation for fragility of the focus mechanism.  Mine bumped against a wall (tapped is more like it) and lost the ability to focus.  I will not buy a replacement until Canon comes out with a mark II version.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 - fragile!
Post by: J.R. on December 22, 2014, 06:47:46 AM
This lens has a reputation for fragility of the focus mechanism.  Mine bumped against a wall (tapped is more like it) and lost the ability to focus.  I will not buy a replacement until Canon comes out with a mark II version.

The 1.4 does have a reputation of the AF getting damaged with bumps on the lens. I had a hood permanently mounted on the 50 1.4 when I had it. Never removed it and never experienced any problems.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: YuengLinger on December 22, 2014, 07:08:23 AM
Boooo! Reviewing a EF 50 1.4 at 2013? Really? It's like... teaching grandma how to suck eggs.

But seriously, the AF is so inconsistent that the hit rate is unbearable at wide apertures. Try to shoot at f1.8 (forget about wide open) and hit a target at normal shooting distance of 1-3m.

You get one front focus, one more or less on target, one back focus! That's just the way this lens works. The plastic gears have huge slacks which makes precise focusing impossible.

Not to mention a slight knock or squeeze will make it stop working! Both in AF and MF!

This lens is so bad, that it make me question Canon's sanity.

Anyone saying the don't see the problem of inconsistent AF on EF 50 1.4 just haven't seen anything better. Go borrow/rent/buy a good lens with ring USM, do a compare and tell the different yourself.

Strong opinions based on personal experience.  I got lucky with my first and only copy.  My AF is lightning fast and extremely accurate.  For comparison, I also own the 24-70mm 2.8 II and the 85mm 1.8, neither of which has a reputation for pokey AF.

The ef 50mm 1.4 is the the lens I most often take to the beach and carelessly leave attached to a 60D which I tend to jam into bags or tight console compartments...So it does take a beating.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: Nethawk on December 24, 2014, 11:52:14 AM
There are multiple strong opinions, as this lens is a POS physically. When it works it's great. I've had no problems with AF performance or inconsistencies and images are always great (f/1.4 has a more than the average softness, but this can be an advantage if you feel like exploiting), but it must be babied. I'm on my third round after repairs, I learned my lesson after the first but apparently not quite well enough - the last time it broke it was literally because I was pushing the lens into a foam cutout storage case.  Yes, you heard that right, the pressure of pushing  into foam broke the USM ring. My lens hood is now permanently in place and I won't use any filters on this lens, and always fully retract before putting lens cover on the front.  Maybe this time it will last a few months.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: StudentOfLight on December 24, 2014, 12:57:44 PM
There are multiple strong opinions, as this lens is a POS physically. When it works it's great. I've had no problems with AF performance or inconsistencies and images are always great (f/1.4 has a more than the average softness, but this can be an advantage if you feel like exploiting), but it must be babied. I'm on my third round after repairs, I learned my lesson after the first but apparently not quite well enough - the last time it broke it was literally because I was pushing the lens into a foam cutout storage case.  Yes, you heard that right, the pressure of pushing  into foam broke the USM ring. My lens hood is now permanently in place and I won't use any filters on this lens, and always fully retract before putting lens cover on the front.  Maybe this time it will last a few months.
I really don't like it when lenses that extend when zooming or focusing, and I'm super cautious with retracting lenses of those designs. Thankfully I haven't had any problems yet.
Title: Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Post by: talicoa on January 23, 2015, 11:18:11 PM
This is one of my favorite lenses.  I can't seem to shake it.  My AF is wonky.  I dropped it onto a rug from about 2 ft high and the helicoid warped.  There is a very thin section of plastic.  I was able to shape it back close to the way it should.  It worked pretty well for a year or two, and then it is now snagging at points.  Manual works though, it feels a little rough. at 5.6 though this thing is sharp.  At 1.4 things aren't so great, but it does make the occasional dreamy portrait.  This lens has definitely been worth every dollar I spent on it.($300 used).  I do always keep the hood on it.   It is well worth the investment.