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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 28 Dec 2011 (Wednesday) 16:44
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Issue?

 
hanjolee
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Dec 28, 2011 16:44 |  #1

Hello all,

Just a quick question about this Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM.
I am planning to buy this lens very soon, however I see many complains or rather defects of this lens.
A lot of people saying the lens has focusing problems very much and I wonder if it is really true.
Maybe they did not take care of it well?
People who've owned or used this lens please contribute.
Thank you guys for the help!

Perhaps maybe I should just get Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II ??


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ljason8eg
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Dec 28, 2011 17:13 |  #2

First copy I owned had the AF break after about 3 months of light use. Protected the AF mechanism with the hood during storage as well. The AF was never consistent after that though, even after many trips to Canon. Canon agreed to replace the lens and I sold the replacement BNiB after finding that I like the 30mm focal length better on a crop, and the fact that I don't want another lens that has such a fragile AF system.


Jason
Gear: 1D Mark III | Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 | 24-105 f/4L IS | 70-200 f/2.8L | Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 | 580 EX II |

  
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apersson850
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Dec 28, 2011 17:44 as a reply to  @ ljason8eg's post |  #3

Use a lens hood as a front bumper, all the time. Helps protect the AF drive mechanism.

I've tried three EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM on my 7D. All focused wrong, but all could be appropriately corrected with micro adjustment. It's the only lens I've been able to fix in a good way with micro adjustment. But it doesn't work on my 40D, since that doesn't have micro adjust.


Anders

  
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StructuredAmazing
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Dec 28, 2011 18:18 |  #4

hanjolee wrote in post #13611584 (external link)
Hello all,

Just a quick question about this Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM.
I am planning to buy this lens very soon, however I see many complains or rather defects of this lens.
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A lot of people saying the lens has focusing problems very much and I wonder if it is really true.
Maybe they did not take care of it well?
People who've owned or used this lens please contribute.
Thank you guys for the help!

Perhaps maybe I should just get Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II ??

or the 50/1.2L


"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil"
StructuredAmazing forever.
My website: Pending...

  
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amfoto1
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Dec 28, 2011 18:19 |  #5

The 50/1.8 is probably even worse... it can be snapped in half like a pencil (well, almost, I exaggerate a little). It also has slower, noisier, less accurate autofocus, and the image quality is not quite as good. It's a bargain though, for the money.

Yes, the 50/1.4 focus mechanism might be a bit fragile... It's not a "true" ring type mechanism, sort of a hybrid and an old design now.

However I've had my 50/1.4 for 8 years... no problem. It was already well used when I bought it and I have no idea how old it really is... might be 10, 15 or 20 years! I don't coddle it, either.

But I do use it with the hood... always (same as I do all my lenses). It came with the hood, so maybe the previous owner used it too.

There are theories that one reason the 50/1.4 AF fails is if it gets a hard bump on the front of the barrel (which protrudes slightly when focused close).... or, more likely, when it gets a hard bump on the focus ring while stored in a camera bag. The lens hood protects nicely both when set up for shooting and when reversed on the lens for storage. So I recommend if buying the 50/1.4, be sure to get the matching lens hood, too.

Another thing, even though it's called a USM lens and is supposed to be FTM (full time manual focus override capable)... some think overriding focus will cause more rapid wear of the mechanism of this particular lens. I don't know... I seldom manually focus mine.

Lensrentals.com buys a whole lot of lenses and compiles reports on their failure and repair experiences. They noted 20% of a batch of 50/1.4 they bought had AF failures in the first year. But, it's important to note that these lenses probably spend more time bouncing around in the back of UPS or Fedex trucks, than they do taking photos. Also, renters usually aren't very careful with gear and we have no way of knowing if lens hoods were used on them.

So I can only tell you my own experience, using the lens for a lot of years and using all the precautions mentioned above (pure luck there, not because someone told me to do so)... I've had no problems with my lens.

Note that Canon has a one year warranty. If it breaks, they'll fix or replace it.

The closest alternative is the Sigma 50/1.4.... sharp and good image quality.... may be more durable. Hard to say because the Sigma 50/1.4 has only been available for a few years, while the Canon has been around a couple decades. On Fred Miranda there are 336 user reviews of the Canon, compared to 98 for the Sigma. Problem with the Sigma is they very often need to be sent in for focus calibration, cost more than the Canon, and by comparison are large and heavy.


Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

  
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kin2son
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Dec 28, 2011 18:39 |  #6
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I wouldn't buy the canon 50 1.4.....again.

Had one for a short while, it's soft, color/contrast was bad, feels like a toy, need to purchase hood just to avoid motor failure.

Sold it after a month and bought a sigma. Much better build, comes with hood and well padded case, longer warranty, better color/contrast imo, sharper.

OP look seriously into sigma 50, it's a great lens imo. If for whatever reason you want to stick with canon, skip the 1.4 and save for the L imo.


5D3 Gripped / 17-40L / Σ35 / 40 Pancake / Zeiss 50 MP / Σ85 / 100L Macro / 70-200 f2.8L II IS / 430 EX II / 580 EX II / Canon 2xIII TC / Kenko Ext. Tubes
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rick_reno
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Dec 28, 2011 20:35 |  #7

Look at the Sigma 30mm. I tried 3 copies of the Sigma 50 which has been mentioned here, none worked well. Beautifully made lens, looks good too but just didn't work. The 50 1.2 is a good alternative to the 50 1.4, much better build.




  
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Charlie
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Dec 28, 2011 20:37 |  #8

great lens....

when it's working. heck, my 50 1.8 holds up better.


Sony A7rii/A7riii - FE 12-24/4 - FE 24-240 - FE 28/2 - FE 35/2.8 - FE 50/1.8 - FE 85/1.8 - EF 135/1.8 Art - F 600/5.6 - CZ 35-70, 100-300 - Astro Rok 14/2.8, 24/1.4 - Tamron 28-75 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8 VC

  
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Bananapie
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Dec 28, 2011 20:40 |  #9

For every one person that has issues with it, there are hundreds more who love it. There is a reason Canon hasn't changed it much in years.

Mine was fine, didn't have any problems--I didn't know it was known for issues until I joined these boards. I only ended up selling it because I preferred to shoot around 2.8 anyways and the 24-70L covered more range.




  
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Edwin ­ Herdman
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Dec 28, 2011 21:17 |  #10

amfoto1 wrote in post #13612019 (external link)
Yes, the 50/1.4 focus mechanism might be a bit fragile... It's not a "true" ring type mechanism, sort of a hybrid and an old design now.

It's not a ring type mechanism period; the ultrasonic motor is apparently of the same form as the traditional arc form drive, i.e. motor in one location, except using the ultrasonic technology. The ring type ultrasonic drives have the rotor and stator all around the lens, which should help prevent one focal point from being stressed since the force is applied all around the lens, instead of at one spot which drives a gear which meshes against a gear inside the lens tube.

Anyway, I've had a 50mm f/1.4 for a couple years now, and it's a pretty good lens, but soft at the edges wide open a bit. In many cases it's not an issue though, but if you need corner-to-corner sharpness you will want to stop down. I am happiest with the lens either wide open or stopped down to f/5.6-f/8. I don't like it at (for example) f/2.8 because the straight aperture blades louse up the defocus area quality (boke).




  
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oklaiss
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Dec 28, 2011 21:19 |  #11

I love mine and will continue to do so until the AF assembly breaks on me...if that ever happens of course. I always use the lens hood as a precaution.


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Veemac
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Dec 29, 2011 00:36 |  #12

StructuredAmazing wrote in post #13612009 (external link)
or the 50/1.2L

$1,000 difference in price between the two is a little significant, maybe?


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lannes
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Dec 29, 2011 02:11 |  #13

hated the AF motor on mine, it was so agricultural, always sounded like it was on it's last legs


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Mike55
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Dec 29, 2011 02:43 |  #14

amfoto1 wrote in post #13612019 (external link)
The 50/1.8 is probably even worse... it can be snapped in half like a pencil (well, almost, I exaggerate a little). It also has slower, noisier, less accurate autofocus, and the image quality is not quite as good. It's a bargain though, for the money.

The 50 1.8 is a more robust lens than the 1.4.


6D | 70D | 24-105 L IS | 17-40 L | 300 F4 L IS | 50 1.8 II | 1.4x II | LR5 | HV30 | bug spray | wilderness
Gallatin National Forest, Montana (external link)/Lassen Volcanic NP Campgrounds (external link)

  
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Mike55
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Dec 29, 2011 02:45 |  #15

Bananapie wrote in post #13612552 (external link)
For every one person that has issues with it, there are hundreds more who love it. There is a reason Canon hasn't changed it much in years.

Why update the 50 1.4 when they can rent a paid-for lens every couple years (IE charing $100 to fix the sad AF mechanism). That's money in the bank.


6D | 70D | 24-105 L IS | 17-40 L | 300 F4 L IS | 50 1.8 II | 1.4x II | LR5 | HV30 | bug spray | wilderness
Gallatin National Forest, Montana (external link)/Lassen Volcanic NP Campgrounds (external link)

  
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Issue?
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