Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Review

Prime lenses like the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens are incredibly useful tools for photographers because of their high level of adaptability and superior image quality and performance. This lens is a popular option among photographers for a variety of genres, including portraiture, street photography, and shooting in low-light conditions.

It was designed to be compatible with Canon EF-mount DSLR cameras. It has an exceptional low-light performance, lovely bokeh, and a small depth of focus, making it ideal for shooting amazing shots with creative background blur. The wide maximum aperture of this camera is f/1.4. Let’s take a closer look at the various facets that this lens has to offer.

Key Specs

  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
  • Lens Construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 46°
  • Focus Adjustment: Overall linear extension system with USM (Ultrasonic Motor)
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.45m / 1.5 ft.
  • Filter Size: 58mm
  • Dimensions (Max. Diameter x Length): 2.9″ x 2.0″ (73.8 x 50.5mm)
  • Weight: 10.2 oz. / 290g


Even at its most open aperture, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens provides remarkable performance, ensuring that shots are both crisp and detailed throughout the whole exposure. As a result of the lens’ utilization of a combination of aspherical and Super UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) glass elements, chromatic aberrations and distortions are reduced to a minimum, resulting in images with a high resolution and accurate color rendering.

The quick aperture of f/1.4 allows exceptional low-light performance, which helps you to shoot in demanding lighting settings without affecting the quality of the images you capture. The lens creates a pleasingly soft bokeh, separating subjects from the backgrounds of their photographs with a blur that is smooth and creamy.

Autofocus System

The EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens from Canon has Canon’s ultrasonic motor (USM) technology, which enables the lens to achieve autofocus in a quick and precise manner. It is also helpful for capturing candid moments or shooting in quiet surroundings since the USM motor guarantees rapid and nearly silent focusing, which is extremely handy for these situations.

Additionally, the lens features full-time manual focus override, which enables you to make fine adjustments manually without having to turn off the autofocus feature. When working with challenging objects or shooting approaches that need manual focus adjustment, this function comes in handy since it allows you to adjust the focus of the camera.

Vibration Reduction

Even though the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens does not have an integrated optical image stabilization (OIS) system, it is nevertheless able to take advantage of the image stabilization systems that are included in a number of Canon DSLR cameras. These camera bodies have sensor-shift or lens-based stabilization, which allows them to compensate for camera shaking and reduce the danger of blur in handheld photos by minimizing the likelihood of blur.

Therefore, even if the lens does not have its own built-in vibration reduction system, you may still produce clearer photographs by using it in conjunction with a camera body that has vibration reduction. However, it is important to keep in mind that this lens might not be as successful as others in minimizing the motion blur that is brought on by the movement of the subject.

Build Quality

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens features a robust construction quality that allows it to resist frequent use as well as the occasional harsh handling. Because it is made out of high-quality materials, its exterior barrel is exceptionally long-lasting and resistant to wear and tear. The lens has a metal mount, which not only contributes to the overall durability of the lens but also guarantees that it is securely attached to the body of the camera.

In addition, the lens has been constructed with seals that are resistant to the elements, providing some protection against dirt and moisture. These seals give a level of dependability for shooting in light rain or dusty situations, even though the lens is not entirely weather-sealed like Canon’s high-end L-series lenses.

Handling and Ergonomics

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens has a design that makes it very portable and simple to operate due to its compactness and low weight. It provides a comfortable shooting experience because of its excellent balance when mounted on Canon DSLR camera bodies. The lens has a broad rubberized focus ring in addition to a smooth manual focus ring, which makes it possible to manually focus the lens with both accuracy and ease.

Because the lens uses an electronic aperture control that is accessed through the body of the camera, the aperture ring is not present. In addition, the lens features a depth of field markers and a distance scale, both of which are designed to make focusing and controlling depth of field easier. In general, the lens is user-friendly and straightforward, making it an excellent choice for photographers of all skill levels, from amateurs to professionals.

Image Stabilization

As was previously stated, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens does not come equipped with an optical image stabilization system that is built in. On the other hand, when paired with Canon DSLR cameras that include in-body image stabilization (IBIS) or lens-based stabilization, the lens is able to take use of the benefits provided by these systems.

Because the image stabilization feature eliminates the blur caused by camera shake, you’ll be able to take clearer pictures even while shooting handheld, which is especially helpful in low-light conditions or when utilizing slower shutter speeds. Before depending on stabilization while using this lens, you should make sure that it is compatible with your Canon camera body. It is essential to keep in mind that not all Canon camera bodies are equipped with stabilization.

Shooting Experience

Because of its adaptable focal length and large maximum aperture, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens delivers a pleasurable experience when it comes to taking photographs. The 50mm focal length offers a natural viewpoint that is quite similar to what the human eye perceives, which is one of the reasons why it is such a popular choice for a wide variety of photographic genres. This lens performs quite well in terms of delivering clarity, detail, and a nice background blur, making it an excellent choice for photographing portraits, street scenes, or daily moments.

The quick f/1.4 aperture enables exceptional low-light performance, which enables you to photograph without the need to use the flash in areas with low levels of illumination. The lens is also excellent for generating a narrow depth of focus, which will let your subject to stand out against a backdrop that is wonderfully blurred. Because of its dependable autofocus mechanism, you will be able to shoot brief moments or fast-moving subjects with confidence while maintaining precision and accuracy.

Image Quality

Image quality is one of the many reasons why the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is so highly regarded. Even when the aperture is set to its widest setting, it creates photos that are crisp and detailed. The optical design of the lens incorporates a combination of aspherical and Super UD glass elements, both of which are capable of successfully correcting a variety of aberrations. As a consequence, the pictures produced by the lens have a high resolution and very few chromatic and distortion aberrations.

The colors are represented faithfully, with contrast and saturation that are attractive to the eye. The lens has a large aperture of f/1.4, which enables creative control over the depth of field. This produces a bokeh that is silky smooth, and creamy, which improves the subject isolation and background separation. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens regularly produces exceptional picture quality that satisfies the requirements of professional photographers as well as photography lovers. This lens may be used for shooting portraits, landscapes, or daily situations.

Teleconverter Compatibility

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens does not have the capability of being used with teleconverters. This specific lens does not enable the use of teleconverters because of its design and optical structure. Teleconverters are normally utilized to increase the focal length of a lens; however, this particular lens does not permit their utilization.

If you need a longer focal length, it is advised that you look into different lenses or zoom choices that are compatible with teleconverters. You may find such lenses and options online. Before choosing a lens, careful consideration should be given to the individual demands and planned use cases since utilizing teleconverters may result in a decline in picture quality and a reduction in the maximum aperture. Because of this, it is vital to keep in mind that using teleconverters may reduce the maximum aperture.

Comparison with Competitors

When contrasting the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens with other lenses in its class, it is essential to take into consideration the superior picture quality, adaptable focal length, and large maximum aperture that it possesses. When it comes to the photograph’s overall quality, the lens stands out for its sharpness, clarity, and correct color rendering. Its superior performance in low light and more control over the depth of focus are both made possible by the large f/1.4 aperture, which sets it apart from some of the other lenses on the market.

Even though other manufacturers offer 50mm prime lenses that are comparable to Canon’s, Canon’s lens has the benefit of having the well-known Canon EF mount, which ensures that it is compatible with a variety of Canon DSLR cameras. Notable, too, is the autofocus capability of the lens, which is enabled by a USM motor that is both quick and accurate. When compared to similar lenses from other manufacturers, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens offers a shooting experience that is dependable and consistent, along with exceptional image quality.


Focal Length & Maximum Aperture50mm 1:1.4
Lens Construction7 elements in 6 groups
Diagonal Angle of View46°
Focus AdjustmentOverall linear extension system with USM
Closest Focusing Distance0.45m / 1.5 ft.
Filter Size58mm
Max. Diameter x Length2.9″ x 2.0″
Weight10.2 oz. / 290g

Pros and Cons

Numerous significant benefits of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens have contributed to the lens’s status as a well-liked option among photographers. Its remarkable low-light performance and gorgeous bokeh are made possible by its large maximum aperture of f/1.4, which also makes it suitable for use in a variety of photographic subgenres. The lens produces a picture that is of high quality, characterized by its sharpness, detail, and color fidelity. The autofocus technology is incredibly quick and precise, allowing for dependable focusing in a wide variety of shooting scenarios. Along with its strong build quality, the lens’s small and lightweight design contributes to its ability to provide a shooting experience that is both comfortable and reliable over the long term.

Having said that, it is necessary to highlight a few potential drawbacks. In some circumstances, the inability to shoot handheld due to the absence of built-in optical image stabilization might be a hindrance. In these circumstances, stabilization from the camera body would be required. In addition, the lens does not have compatibility with teleconverters, which reduces the number of focal length options available to users that demand a greater reach.

Price and Availability

There is a large selection of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens available for purchase through a variety of authorized Canon dealers and online platforms. In terms of price, it normally belongs to the group of prime lenses that are considered to be the mid-range, and it provides a good value considering its performance and image quality.

The real price may differ from the stated price based on the geographic location, the current state of the market, and any active specials or discounts. When looking for the most up-to-date information on prices, it is advised to check with local merchants as well as reliable internet suppliers.


The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is a prime lens that excels in a variety of photography subgenres due to its adaptability and high level of performance. Photographers who are looking for sharpness, low-light performance, and lovely bokeh often gravitate toward this lens because of its large maximum aperture, good image quality, and dependable autofocus. Even though it does not have optical image stabilization built in, it is still able to take use of the stabilization given by Canon camera bodies that are compatible with it.

The lens provides a pleasant experience for the photographer as a result of its high build quality, small size, and design that is favorable to the user. Both amateurs and professionals who are interested in improving their photography should strongly consider purchasing the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens since it is an excellent option in terms of its performance, image quality, and pricing.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM FAQs

Q. Is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens compatible with Canon APS-C (crop sensor) cameras?
A. Yes, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is fully compatible with Canon APS-C cameras. The focal length of 50mm on a crop sensor camera provides an equivalent field of view of approximately 80mm, making it suitable for portrait photography and other applications.
Q. Does the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens have image stabilization?
A. No, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens does not have built-in optical image stabilization. However, it can benefit from the image stabilization systems found in some Canon DSLR camera bodies that offer sensor-shift or lens-based stabilization.
Q. Can the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens be used for video recording?
A. Yes, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens can be used for video recording. Its fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 allows for excellent low-light performance and the ability to achieve a shallow depth of field, which can be advantageous for cinematic effects in video production.
Q. Is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens suitable for landscape photography?
A. While the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is not typically considered a dedicated landscape lens due to its standard focal length, it can still be used for capturing landscapes. It offers a natural field of view that is closer to what the human eye sees, and its wide maximum aperture allows for versatility in low-light conditions.
Q. Does the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens support manual focus override?
A. Yes, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens provides a full-time manual focus override. This means that even when the lens is set to autofocus mode, you can manually adjust the focus without having to switch off the autofocus function. This feature allows for precise manual focusing control when needed.



Peter is an accomplished and passionate photographer whose captivating images have garnered global recognition. With a remarkable ability to capture fleeting moments and convey profound emotions, his work transcends boundaries and tells compelling visual stories. From stunning landscapes to intimate portraits, Peter's expertise in various genres of photography showcases his artistic vision and technical mastery.