Review of Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens

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I’ve had the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens for about half a year now, and am quite pleased with its performance. I purchased it second hand from the photographer I work for at a great bargain. It works very well on my 60D (even with the cropped factor of 1.6x). Below is a breakdown of its performance.

General Performance:
The lens is very versatile. Works great indoors and out. Its large f/1.4 aperture allows you to get away with faster shutter speeds. In my opinion, the only downside is its inability to zoom. With an ultrasonic motor you are sure to get faster focusing speeds. Its light weight and small construction makes it a great everyday lens.

Sharpness / Color:
The lens is not very sharp at f/1.4 if you are shooting very close to your subject (such as in macro photography). Otherwise, f-stops smaller than 1.8 have good optical performance. Since it is a prime lens, there is very little chromatic aberration (color fringing). This means the colors on the final image are more vivid and aren’t bleeding at the corners.

Vignetting is very subtle. So long as its not pointed directly into the sky vignetting is not even noticeable.

Since it is a prime lens (fixed focal length), there is almost no distortion. This is a plus because your subjects will not appear larger or rounder at the corners of the lens. The human eye has a focal length close to that of 50mm, and with this lens’ low distortion factor you can expect to see a final image similar to that of the human eye.

Overall Rating:
This is due to the softness at f/1.4. Overall the lens is spectacular. It allows shooting in low light without flash. Its light weight makes it easy to carry around, and an ultrasonic motor allows for quick focusing. It’s a great lens if you are considering upgrading from a kit lens, or looking for something which allows shooting in low light.