The Canon EF 50mm (80mm 1.6x crop factor) f/1.4 USM is a Canon prime lens. I paid ~$300 for this lens at B&H in February 2004, which is a lot more expensive than its baby brother, the EF 50mm 1.8 non-USM, but I wanted something with a better build. I chose this lens primarily for shooting portraits and use it for indoor available light, and some landscape. The lens is a little soft at 1.4, but I dont normally shoot at that setting. Beyond that its very sharp and produces exquisite bokeh. It produces great colors and contrast and almost L quality images, particularly stopped down to f/2.8 and beyond. The more I use it, the more Ive come to appreciate the capabilities of this lens. The auto focus is not super fast and the USM (micro-USM) is noisier than my two L lenses, but you cant have everything, can you? The front element extends in and out when focusing (can you say dust?), but does not rotate and is recessed into the body more than my other two lenses (less chance of scratching when not using a filter or lens hood). The lens has a small clunk when handling which drives me crazy, but its my understanding that this is a non-defective characteristic of the lens. It takes 55mm filters. Overall, I am very happy with this lens.
Great optical performance
Good build quality
Excellent low light performance
Outstanding bokeh (8 diaphragm blades)
Compact and light
last modified: 2004-06-12 23:20:47