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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed

by Canon
1,444 customer reviews
| 229 answered questions

List Price: $399.00
Price: $329.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 87%
See review summary and sample images
What is DPReview and its awards?

Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.

Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.

  • 50mm focal length, Lens not zoomable
  • 80mm equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C cameras
  • F1.4 maximum aperture; F22 minimum
  • Ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
  • 58mm filters
  • 0.45m/17.72" minimum focus
  • This large aperture standard prime lens has superior peripheral brightness even at the maximum aperture
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25 new from $329.00 75 used from $220.99 2 refurbished from $319.79
Lens Compatibility Information: Canon EF-S lenses are only compatible with APS-C sensor DSLR cameras. Canon EF lenses are compatible with Canon full-frame and APS-C DSLR cameras.

$329.00 & FREE Shipping. Details In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed
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Total price: $360.10
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Technical Details

Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Gold Award September 2008
It delivers a significantly better optical performance than all but the most extensive zooms, in a small, light and relatively inexpensive package.
Andy Westlake Andy Westlake


This is a lens which has its own distinct strengths; it's ideal for users looking to buy a relatively small, lightweight prime, in order to gain image quality simply unavailable on a zoom for the same price. It's an excellent companion to full-frame DSLRs, and also doubles pretty well as a portrait lens on APS-C cameras.

Reasons to buy

  • Excellent image quality when stopped down
  • Essentially no lateral chromatic aberration
  • Fast and accurate AF with full-time manual override

Things to consider

  • Distinctly soft and 'dreamy' at wider apertures (F1.4-F1.8)
  • Bokeh chromatic aberration
  • Vignetting at wide apertures on full-frame cameras
  • Somewhat susceptible to flare

Suggested for

Lightweight, sharp and versatile. This inexpensive prime lens is a great traveling companion for full-frame and APS-C DSLRs.

Not suggested for

Shooting 'wide open'. The dreamy softness at F1.4 won't appeal to everyone, and corner sharpness isn't great at the widest apertures (not that it matters much).
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Image Quality
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world’s most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Product Description

Style: Lens Only

Product Description

Camera Lens, Canon, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard Lens, 2515A003

The 50mm f/1.4 standard lens is a terrific choice for both casual and professional photographers. The lens is outfitted with two high-refraction lens elements and new Gaussian optics, which combine to eliminate astigmatism and suppress astigmatic difference. As a result, the lens obtains crisp images with little flare even at the maximum aperture. The lens's f/1.4 speed, meanwhile, is perfect for available-light shooting. And as a bonus, this lens is the only lens in the EF system to offer an extra-small Micro Ultra Sonic Motor (USM) while still providing a full-time manual focusing option. Other features include a close focusing distance of 1.5 feet, a 58mm filter size, and a one-year warranty.

what's in the box

Canon Normal EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Autofocus Lens, E-58U 58mm Snap-On Lens Cap, Lens Dust Cap E (Rear) and 1-Year Warranty.


  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.4L
  • Lens construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
  • Angle of view: 46 degrees
  • Focus adjustment: Overall linear extension system with USM
  • Closest focusing distance: 1.5 feet
  • Filter size: 58mm
  • Dimensions: 2.9 inches in diameter and 2 inches long
  • Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Warranty: 1 year

Product Details

Style: Lens Only
Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here. [PDF]| User Manual [270kb PDF]
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 2.9 x 2.9 inches ; 10.2 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item can be shipped to select countries outside of the U.S. Learn More
  • ASIN: B00009XVCZ
  • Item model number: 2515A003
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,444 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here. [PDF]
  • Date first available at June 17, 2003

Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4,990 of 5,053 people found the following review helpful By Careful Critic on March 15, 2005
Style Name: Lens Only
With the 50mm f1.8 lens available for less than a hundred dollars, why spend so much more to get the f1.4? The answer is, you may not need to. It all depends on your seriousness, budget, and how long you need your lens to last.

If you want a "starter lens" for shooting at 50mm (or with prime lenses in general), the f1.8 would be a great buy. 50mm is a very useful and intuitive focal length to spend some time with, because it will portray the world through the viewfinder at about the same distance as your naked eye on all of Canon's consumer-priced dSLRs with the 1.6x crop factor*. (*Updated after extensive discussion in the comments.) So you could buy the f1.8 cheaply, regard it as a "play with it" lens, and get a nice introduction to "prime lens quality." The f1.8 will seem like a substantial step up from kit lenses and most consumer-priced zooms, and amazing bang for few bucks.

So if the f1.8 is such a great bargain, why would the f1.4 be among Canon's most all-time popular lenses? It's that the f1.8 can take the great shot within certain conditions, but the f1.4 delivers within a much wider range of conditions. In other words, "You get what you pay for," and we'll save the best for last.

Affordable-but-Solid Contruction: The f1.4 will likely have a much longer life than the cheaper plastic build of the f1.8, and retain more resale value. It's an investment, rather than a commodity. And it'll be more certain on your camera and in your hand. (My first one finally needed some calibration, after 80,000 shots and extreme wear-and-tear from frequent swapping with my other primes.) Users sometimes report the front glass falling out of their f1.8s. For the f1.
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1,124 of 1,144 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Davidson on August 23, 2006
Style Name: Lens Only
I bought this lens to take indoor portraits of my nine-month-old daughter using available light. I was tired of the harsh photos produced by the built-in flash on the Canon 20D or Digital Rebel. A bounce flash improves matters great deal, but I wanted to see what could be done with a fast lens.

The Canon 50mm 1.4 gobbles light. It opens up a world of indoor photography that is not possible with a 4.0 lens. The 50mm focal length combined with available light produces natural-looking results. It is exactly what your eye sees. Shadows and highlights are intact. It is a revelation if you're used to the harsh drop shadows and evenly-lit faces produced by flashes. This is a jarring step up in quality from snapshot to "wow"

As noted, focus is soft at /1.4 and begins to sharpen at /2.0 to /2.8. Not a bad thing, though. Some of my favorite pictures have been produced with the aperture wide open. The depth of field is so narrow at this point, that the subject's face is in focus, but the shoulders start to blur.

I use this lens with a 20D. The balance is perfect, the combination feels very professional and responsive. Operation is very simple. Move the camera into aperture priority mode (Av), look though the view finder and adjust the aperture until you see the shutter speed is faster than 1/30th a second (30).

I agonized over the 1.4 vs. the 1.8 versions of this lens. The additional stop does provide more shooting options. Often I'm shooting at the edge of acceptable shutter speed, and juggling both aperture and ISO. Many reviews comparing the two talk about build quality, focus motor speed/noise, etc, but the bottom line for me was the extra stop was totally worth it. If you want to shoot indoors without a flash, get the 1.4.
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597 of 639 people found the following review helpful By S. Rose on November 10, 2004
Style Name: Lens Only Verified Purchase
This 50mm is amazing. I truly love it. I debated a long time between the 1.8 and the 1.4. In the end, I figured I'd never replace it again so get the 1.4. I love it - the images it makes are staggering. Still - it's pricy compared to the 1.8 - but not to L series lenses. I think it's worth it. I read online it had barrel distortion wide open - and it does if you really study the image - but that's perfectly OK with me for the 1.4 shallow depth of field. Normal people will never see that at all. One drawback you may not think of is that beautiful wide open 1.4 aperture is not available to you if there is much light. It's so fast it's easy to overexpose - even with 1/4000th of a second shutter. It takes awesome portraits - awesome landscapes. This is a must have lens in every EOS owner's bag. Don't get the 1.8 and wish you got this one. Get this one and start taking great photos.
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181 of 194 people found the following review helpful By WriterDude on December 19, 2005
Style Name: Lens Only
There are some excellent reviews of this lens already posted, but in my opinion, this lens is quite simply an essential lens for any film or digital photographer using Canon bodies. Here are some specific observations, in no particular order.

* It provides fantastic crispness and the fastest focus I've ever seen. On subjects where my zooms tend to hunt, this lens is instantaneous. I also like the full-time manual ring, because there are times when it's handy to change focus slightly.

* I completely disagree with the reviewer who said this lens wasn't contrasty. I tend to shoot in a range of environments, from dingy school auditoriums for my niece's basketball team to bright sunlight at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and this lens has reliably given me 30-40% keepers every time I've taken it out of the bag. Colors are punchy, and there's very consistent contrast across the frame without any noticeable distortion.

* It's small enough to go anywhere, but as one reviewer mentioned, it feels good in the hand, so it's not fumbly. I didn't like the lighter plasticky feel of the f/1.8.

* The lens ring is 58mm, which means filters are inexpensive - I recommend a circular polarizing filter for any outdoor shooting.

* I agree that this lens is unbelievably crisp at f/4.0 and higher, but for some subjects I like the blade-thin shallow DOF at f/2.0 and less. Just gotta remember to keep your group pictures within a fairly shallow range. :-)

* The crispness of this lens worked beautifully with black and white photography, and for converting color to BW. Because of the extra stop, it brought out beautiful texture at ISO 100 without requiring that I go with a higher ISO, which would have introduced some grain.
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed
This item: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed
Price: $329.00
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