During the Canon EF mount days, there was a running joke about the ancient Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM being in the lineup. The lens had been around for about 25 years when the EOS R system was announced. A lot of people joked that Canon kept it around for the after purchase revenue stream replacing focus motors out of warranty. Sure the lens was cheap, but you really god what you paid for.

Over the last 2-3 months we have received numerous suggestions that Canon would finally bring a modern version of the lens to the RF mount. We have been apprehensive to report on it, because it was spoken about for so long and nothing every happened.

The latest claim from an anonymous source is that an RF 50mm f/1.4 is in the hands of a select few photographers, but that an announcement “isn't imminent”.

With the brilliant, yet expensive Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM and the great value $100 RF 50mm f/1.8 STM, there is a gaping pricing hole that Canon could fit into with a modern RF 50mm f/1.4 lens. If Canon isn't going to make it easy for Sigma and/or Tamron to fill the gap, we feel it's almost mandatory that Canon produces such a lens.

50mm prime lenses are probably in more camera bags than any other prime lens. Dropping $2K on one doesn't make sense for a lot of shooters, but those same shooters would love something above the STM “thrifty-fifty”, while a great value….. you know…

We have seen recent patent applications for RF 50mm f/1.4 optical formulas, but we have seen them numerous times over the last 15 years.

Sometimes Canon does or doesn't do things that make very little sense to us. This has always been one of those things.

This could be a nice lens to roll out modern linear focus motors into the RF lineup. No more STM lenses outside of the sub-$500 price point please!

We hope there is more to come on this topic, but we're not getting too excited about the possibility yet.

Go to discussion...

180 comments

  1. Isn't nano-USM already linear, as well as the recent STM variants? Apart from that: paging @ahsanford!

    STM is a stepping motor.

    Nano-USM is almost linear in movement, but is still focus by wire.

    Modern linear focusing motors are electromagnetic like you see in some Fuji and Sony lenses.
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  2. Interesting. I've seen a lot of EF 50mm f/1.4 lenses being offered as second hand in recent weeks. Do they know anything more? Or maybe just switched to RF 50mm f/1.8 STM
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  3. There's a lot of room (also $$$) between the 1,8/50 STM and the 1,2/50 L.
    A 1,4/50 seems a credible scenario, I just hope it'll be almost as good as the 1,2/50, which should exclude a double-gauss formula. But I'm a believer!
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  4. It doesn\'t really makes sense to me not to have a 50 1.4 in the RF lineup. I don\'t think many people will
    buy the 50 1.2 if they only want a slightly better 50mm. They will just not buy anything or get the 50 1.8 STM (or adapt a Sigma Art).
    So i believe Canon is losing lots of potential sales of a $1000 lens by trying to push people to a $2500 lens.

    But what do i know?
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  5. During the Canon EF mount days, there was a running joke about the ancient Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM being in the lineup. The lens had been around for about 25 years when the EOS R system was announced. A lot of people jokes that Canon kept it around for the after purchase revenue stream

    See full article...
    As regards the gaping pricing hole that Canon could fit into with a modern RF 50mm f/1.4 lens, same could be said for the 85mm lenses. The gap is huge between the f/1.2 and f/2.0 (I don't even understand why they didn't go for f/1.8 at least).

    And probably, gap will be the same when the 35mm f/1.2 is released.

    And I wouldn't mind a 135mm f/2.0L IS USM at a cheaper price point than the f/1.8L (but it's not going to happen as 0.2 is not much of a difference to people's eyes, I guess).
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  6. Isn't nano-USM already linear, as well as the recent STM variants?
    True but Canon could use more affordable lenses with linear motors.
    I have no idea if that patent would achieve that.
    If cost reduction was their goal then they would mention it in the patent.
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  7. And I wouldn't mind a 135mm f/2.0L IS USM at a cheaper price point than the f/1.8L (but it's not going to happen as 0.2 is not much of a difference to people's eyes, I guess).
    If the goal is to make it cheaper then they may as well leave off IS.
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  8. During the Canon EF mount days, there was a running joke about the ancient Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM being in the lineup. The lens had been around for about 25 years when the EOS R system was announced. A lot of people jokes that Canon kept it around for the after purchase revenue stream

    See full article...
    Actually, the block diagram / optical formula for the EF 50mm f1.4 USM pre dates the EF mount, it was a direct lift from the mkII FD mount version. Optically, it's an idential lens. The EF version was the autofocus (and EF mount) version ofthe same lens. This indicates that optical design goes back to the very ancient 1979!!!
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  9. Actually, the block diagram / optical formula pre dates the EF mount, it was a direct lift from the mkII FD mount version. So the optical design goes back to the very ancient 1979!!!
    Those FD lenses go for a lot of money right now even the radioactive ones,
    A lot more EF lenses were produced but I wonder if discontinued EF lenses will start to go up in value.
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  10. The benchmark for a RF 1.4/50mm would be the optical performance of the Sigma ART 50.
    Performance below that - not interested.

    Performance on par - interested if maybe smaller/lighter and/or much faster focussing.

    And of course the price point is significant. Can't exceed the Sigma too much.
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  11. Actually, the block diagram / optical formula for the EF 50mm f1.4 USM pre dates the EF mount, it was a direct lift from the mkII FD mount version. Optically, it's an idential lens. The EF version was the autofocus (and EF mount) version ofthe same lens. This indicates that optical design goes back to the very ancient 1979!!!

    I had no idea. That's funny and sad.
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  12. Please make it an L lens with IS
    If you make it an "L" lens with IS, it's going to cost well over $1000, which kind of defeats the purpose of its existence.

    IS adds cost and size to a lens, is it really needed with IBIS bodies becoming the norm? I'd rather a top end focus motor... After using the RF 85 f/2 IS... give me usm (or linear?) over IS any day.

    Look at the EF 85 1.2L II vs the EF 85 f/1.4L IS.... they really weren't all that different in price ($1600 at launch for the 1.4). The 1.4 was just a needed modern take on a fast 85L. The RF 50 f/1.2 is already a modern design with fast autofocus.

    I'd like to see such a lens with some level of weather sealing, but if you want it sub $1000, it can't be an "L".
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  13. I'll believe it when I see it. A lot of people will be dissatisfied whatever happens; if it's not released, then they're "ignoring the middle market", if it's optically excellent it'll be too bulky and expensive, if it's more affordable it'll be too compromised (weather sealing, poor corners, maybe software corrections). And if they do release one, then the clamour for mid range lenses at other focal lengths will only increase.

    I had the EF 50mm f/1.4 for a while and actually liked the images it produced, but I'm in no hurry to get another; I take very few portraits, however.
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  14. I've been droning on about that I'd like to purchase this lens ever since I sold my 'thrifty fifty' RF, which whilst great value for many adds to little if you also own a L-series zoom lens. And indeed I concur that if Canon is not allowing a 3rd party to fill the gap they should offer one themselves.
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