Bad rap on Canon 50 1.4

Started Nov 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
graphikal Senior Member • Posts: 2,783
It's not bad optically for the relatively cheap price

The Canon 50mm f/1.4 is relatively inferior to some L lenses optically at wider apertures.  Halation and contrast at f/1.4 are truly terrible.  However, this is a case of "you get what you pay for", in my opinion. I've typically thought of it as a lens to use mostly at f/2 and narrower and used it that way, only resorting to f/1.4 under certain conditions and usually as a last resort.  Using it in this way, I have no major complaints optically.

However, it really doesn't have good build.  I used to feel that people were over-reporting the problems with the lens's micro USM clutch failing, until it happened to me.  While the build of the lens ´╗┐feels´╗┐ acceptable for the price, the hidden Achilles's heel of this lens makes that somewhat deceptive: not too bad in use, but essentially a ticking time bomb, with eventual repair costs possibly adding on to the total lifetime costs of ownership.

In addition, the autofocus of that self-same micromotor USM is simply not as good as on my other USM lenses.  While I find that the f/1.4 focuses faster than the f/1.8 and more accurately, especially in lower light, it's not as fast or accurate as, say, the 85 f/1.8 with its ring USM.

I would suspect that what will happen is that Canon will eventually go down to two lenses in the current lineup at 50mm.  I expect a refresh with IS at either f/1.8 or f/2, combining the f/1.4 and f/1.8 so as not to impact the L-series sales while still offering a consumer-grade lens.  I expect it will have ring USM and cost a bit more than the f/1.4 currently does.  Probably not at the same time but a bit later, I expect a refresh of the 50L which will update it optically and improve the autofocus, at least on newer bodies.

Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow