Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Lens Review

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM on Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi SLR

Introduction

We all hear about how sharp and how fast prime lenses focus. I had bought a Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D on this very premise, and had absolutely loved the picture clarity and quality. So I figured that with the Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi, I should get a 50mm once again.

I rented the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM from Calumet after doing a bit of reading and finding that many people do like this prime lens. The rental fee was reasonable, so I got it for a week and used it primarily on my Rebel 400D/XTi. It did fine. All-in-all, its a great prime lens to have. Lets hit the in-depth review.

Lens Construction

The lens is well built. It is mainly high impact plastic, black with a gold band. Doesn’t weigh very much (10.2 oz/1090g) either. Very well built lens; the focus ring moves smoothly and it connects solidly to the lens mount on my EOS Rebel 400D/XTi.2007-01-08 - Canon EOS Rebel XTi with 50mm - 002

Auto Focus Performance

While this lens is labeled as a USM (ultrasonic motor), I believe it is only a micromotor ultrasonic, the slower type of USM versus the super fast and quiet ring USM on the L lenses. It is never the less fast because of USM. The lens locks on to its intended target quickly and precisely.

It works quite well in low light conditions because of an aperture of 1.4. I was able to hand hold in many cases in-door because I was able to get fast enough shutter speeds.

Overall Thoughts

It’s a good size lens and easy to carry around. It’s a bit soft at f/1.8 and doesn’t start getting very sharp until it’s stepped down to f/2.8 or more. Achieving nice bokeh isn’t difficult with the available aperture range. It’s fast on the auto focus, very well built, and also being small and light enough to 2007-01-08 - Canon EOS Rebel XTi with 50mm - 010carry around.

Having a 50mm is somewhat limiting because in order to frame a shot, you’re going to have to physically move yourself rather than turn a focal ring. It’s a great lens to take pictures of people with (thought I was gonna say shoot people with didn’t you?). The colors are superb and very pleasing.

I would definitely get this lens, but it wouldn’t be my first or even first few lenses. But because of how light the lens is and how small it is also, I would definitely carry it around with me in my bag.

My rating: 4.0 stars
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