Soothsayerman's reviews

  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    cheap, very sharp at f2.8 through f11, full time manual focus override
    a little too dreamy at f1.4, plastic

    I've use a variety of zooms, the 18-55, 17-85, 17-40L and decided to get the 50 f1.4 because the zoom lenses performance was not very good in terms of bokeh, sharpness and light gathering ability. I sold them all except the 17-40L which is just a fantastic lens for landscape and also very cheaply priced.

    I've had several 35mm cameras over the years and the 50mm has always been a workhorse for me and my most frequently used lens and this lens is no exception. I leave it on my 40D most of the time. I had to return my first copy to Adorama because the chromatic abberation was horrible, but my second copy was pristine and perfect. It was no hassel at all to do this, they have great service.

    I see people complaining about softness at 1.4 and all fast lenses are soft wide open. That's just the way it is. This lens is no exception but the distortion on my copy is very pleasant if a little "too" dreamy.

    But stop it down a bit, and it dials in very nicely to be very sharp at f2.0 and above.

    The bokeh is very nice and pleasant. I like the bokeh on this lens better than the Zeiss 50mm 1.4 which I've had the chance to use. On the other hand, the Zeiss is sharper across the frame. Overall I like this lens better, the autofocus works very well for me under reasonalbe conditions, ie not completely dark, and the focus mechanism is smooth and accurate enough to manual focus easily.

    The build quality is quite adequate and reasonable for the price and one reason I got this lens over the 50mm 1.8. It is lightyears ahead of that lens in build quality and finish.

    Overall, you can't go wrong with this lens and if you don't have a 50 in your arsenal, you really owe it to yourself to get one.

    reviewed September 19th, 2009 (purchased for $340)