dqs's reviews

  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

    6 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very good except wide open
    Very soft at 1.4; not ideal as a "standard" lens for 1.6 FOVCF bodies

    SLR Gear's review confirms my observations, and the user reviews found elsewhere. It is exceedingly soft at f1.4, passable at 1.8 and good at 2.0. When I tested my first copy, I thought it had to be a particularly poor copy, and exchanged the lens. The blur sometimes emphasizes the wrong part of the image, as the sharpest parts of the image might not be the intended focal point (e.g., the mouth instead of the eye).

    My second copy seemed slightly better, though it may actually be because the distribution of blur may be different, and not quite as bad at the center of the frame.

    Since I intended to use the lens for low light, no flash situations, I am somewhat disappointed that it has to be stopped down for usable images. However, it is sharper and faster than my Canon 17-85 mm, so I intend to keep it until I can afford an "L" series standard zoom replacement.

    Although the image quality is excellent stopped down, I don't think the lens' deserves more than a "good" rating since for many photographers, the main attraction of the lens is its speed, and its "poor" image quality wide open should be more heavily weighted in the final evaluation.

    reviewed October 24th, 2005 (purchased for $300)