|EF||Autofocus lens designed both for Canon full frame and APS-C SLR cameras.|
|USM||The lens is equipped with ultrasonic motor to provide very fast and virtually silent autofocus. Learn more|
|Position in the lineup|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 USM||Jun 1993||⊗|
|Canon FDn 50mm F/1.4||Jun 1979||⊗|
|Canon FD 50mm F/1.4 S.S.C.||Mar 1973||⊗|
|Canon FD 50mm F/1.4||Mar 1971||⊗|
|Canon FL 50mm F/1.4 II||May 1968||⊗|
|Canon FL 50mm F/1.4 I||Sep 1966||⊗|
|Canon FL 50mm F/1.4||Apr 1965||⊗|
|Maximum format:||35mm full frame|
|Diagonal angle of view:||46.8° (35mm full frame)|
|37.6° (Canon APS-H)|
|30.4° (Canon APS-C)|
|Lens construction:||7 elements in 6 groups, including:|
|Number of blades:||8|
|Closest focusing distance:||45 cm|
|Type of autofocus motor:||Micro Ultrasonic Motor|
|Full-Time Manual Focus:||Yes|
|Maximum diameter x Length:||Ø74 x 51 mm|
|Materials:||High-quality plastic barrel|
|Filter size:||58 mm|
Design and Features
Mid-priced fast standard prime lens with excellent image quality when stopped down. The successor of manual focus Canon FD 50mm F/1.4, a timeless classic from 1970s.
The lens barrel is compact, of moderate weight, made of high-quality plastic. The lens mount is metallic. Overall the build quality is clearly better compared to Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II (1990) but of course lags behind the L-series lenses.
The lens uses front filters with standard size of 58 mm which are easy to find. They are also inexpensive.
The filter thread does not rotate during focusing which allows convenient use of different types of filters (including but not limited to polarizing and gradient).
The lens is equipped with Micro-USM, the autofocus is quiet and fast but not up to the standards of Canon ring-type USMs. However it is clearly more effective than MM of Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II.
The lens features AF/MF focus mode switch.
|AF||Autofocus mode with Full-Time Manual Focus.|
|MF||Manual focus mode.|
Micro-USMs normally do not support Full-Time Manual Focus. This lens, however, uses a special scheme to offer FTM functionality based on a “ball-bearing” differential mechanism built into the gear unit. The scheme is unique for this lens and was not used again in newer models.
The lens is known for exhibiting so called “lost motion” during manual focusing – if the focusing ring has been turned in one direction and then you reverse its direction, the ring turns a substantial amount before the focus starts to change and the distance scale begins to move. This makes precise manual focusing difficult and is a result of the accumulation of lost motion in the differential mechanism.
The lens is known for being susceptible to damage to the focusing mechanism. It does not incorporate internal or rear focusing – the whole optical system shifts during focusing and the front element is always extended beyond the lens barrel (more at the closest focusing distance, less at infinity). Even a slight bump on the front element can deform the focusing helicoid which will result in erratic or stuck autofocus. Always use a dedicated bayonet hood with this lens to protect the focusing mechanism from damage!
The lens is based on almost symmetric variant of double Gauss design which is one of the most developed lens designs in the world frequently used for large aperture standard prime lenses and large aperture moderate wide-angle prime lenses. It provides excellent compensation of aberrations, except for the oblique spherical aberration which lowers peripheral contrast.
Extra refractive index elements (XR, UXR, HID, HR, HRI etc) minimize aberrations and allow the development of smaller and lighter lenses.
The sharpness at the center of the frame is very good wide open and excellent from F/2. The edges are good at F/1.4-2, very good at F/2.8 and excellent from F/4. The image contrast is slightly reduced at large apertures, especially at the edges and corners of the frame. The background blur is pretty smooth and pleasant at large apertures – better than that of Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II. With closing of the aperture out- of-focus highlights are circular due to the lens diaphragm construction (eight straight blades).
Canon decided not to use ASPH elements in the optical formula of this lens for correction of spherical aberration. Instead, the company adopted the alternative solution based on HR (high refractive index) elements. This approach has a very positive impact on overall bokeh quality and results in uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights. That’s why Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 USM is one of the best standard prime lenses in terms of bokeh quality. For more information, see the article dedicated to Canon EF 50mm F/1.2L USM (2007) which explains the issue with ASPH elements.
The lens does not suffer from any noticeable focus shift, which is the undoubted advantage compared to Carl Zeiss and Sigma counterparts.
Being a very good optical performer, this lens obviously needs an update in terms of mechanical quality. Future version II of the lens at least could have been equipped with internal focusing and ring-type USM with conventional support of FTM.
|Camera:||Canon EOS 1Ds mark III|
|Sensor size:||36×24 mm|
|Vignetting at F/1.4:||-3.7 EV|
|Camera:||Canon EOS 5D mark II|
|Sensor size:||36×24 mm|
|Vignetting at F/1.4:||-2.71 EV|
|User Manual. Multilingual, Adobe PDF, 2 MB|
Alternatives (AF, 44..56 mm)
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.2L USM||2007||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.8||1987||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II||1990||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM||2015||⊗|
|Canon EF 50mm F/1L USM||1987||⊗|
|Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM | A||2014||⊗|
|Sigma 50mm F/1.4 EX DG HSM||2008||⊗|
|Tamron SP AF 45mm F/1.8 Di VC USD F013||2015||⊗|