Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published August 2005

Special thanks to Markus Stamm and Jaroslaw Komasinski for providing this lens!


The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM was introduced back in June 1993 sitting as an affordable alternative in-between the extremely expensive (and now discontinued) EF 50mm f/1.0 USM L and the cheapo EF 50mm f/1.8. On an APS-C DSLR the field-of-view resembles a 80mm full-frame equivalent. Regarding the ultra-large aperture the lens can be considered as a portrait lens on APS-C but naturally the scope is not limited to that.

The lens is a little unusual in the global Canon lens context - it features a micro-USM AF drive including full-time manual (FTM) override in one-shot AF mode. This is, I think, a quite unique combination. FTM is usually possible with a ring-type USM drives only. The AF operation is fast and silent but a little worse than ring-type USM lenses (such as e.g. the 85mm f/1.8 USM). Manual focusing feels pretty smooth and the broad, rubberized control ring adds to the positive impression here. The overall build quality is very decent with a metal mount and an outer barrel made of good quality plastics.

The optical construction is made of 7 elements in 6 groups without any special elements. The lens features 8 aperture blades. The filter size is 58mm. It is a very compact and light-weight lens at 290g and dimensions of 74x51mm.