Canon normal lens test/review database

Index

NEW AND BETTER ARTICLE INDEX AT CANON INDEX
(It is only the new index that will be updated. It doesn't have the ranking yet, but is better and more up-to-date)

NoLensScoreArticlesBuy
1.Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II 75,78%6Amazon
2.Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM75,43%9Amazon
3.Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM73,66%8Amazon

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II 

Image quality rating: 75,78%

Overall rating: 85,24%

Main points:
  • Excellent optical quality
  • Light weight


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
ePhotozine
4.5/5
3.5/5
'Due to its low price and excellent optical quality, this lens has long been a go-to lens for those on a budget looking to take better quality images.'5D Mark II
SLRGear
8.31/10
7.81/10
'This lens has received a lot of attention as one of the true bargains in the Canon lens offerings. Its f/1.8 maximum aperture is great for available-light shooting; and when you stop it down, it really delivers excellent optical performance. Wide open, this lens is sharp enough in the center, but very soft in the corners. On a subframe body, its other characteristics are surprisingly good wide open, with very low chromatic aberration, modest (about 1/3 stop) vignetting, and very low distortion (0.15%, barrel). When you stop it down, the f/1.8 does nothing but improve, and at apertures from f/2.8 through f/11 (best at f/5.6-f/8), it's flat-out excellent, very sharp from corner to corner, with very low CA, and practically no light falloff in the corners.'20D, 5D
Lenstip
'Many people think to replace Canon KIT lens with something better though, agreeing to spend even 1000-2000 PLN, but there is some other alternative. One should consider Canon EF 1.8/50 lens actually. For less than 400 PLN we can have a lens which is a very good supplement to the kit lens in its weak focal length range.'20D
Photozone
3/5
5/5
'The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II may be a "cheap" lens but it is undoubtedly a capable one. It shares its characteristics with most other 50mm lenses, reads: it's somewhat soft at f/1.8 but at medium aperture settings it is hard to beat with respect to resolution. Distortions as well as lateral CAs are basically non-issues. Vignetting is a significant problem at f/1.8 and even at f/2.8 but that (heavy vignetting at max. aperture) is something to get used to on full format DSLRs anyway. A more significant weakness of the lens is the rather nervous bokeh (out-of-focus blur) which may spoil the game in some shallow depth-of-field situations. At around 100EUR/US$ you can't expect superb build quality but frankly it's "good enough" here anyway and it's certainly one of the value kings out there.'5D Mark II
Photozone
3.5/5
5/5
'The 50mm f/1.4 USM may be a tad better at large aperture settings and surely regarding build quality but at quite hefty extra costs. If you're on a budget the 50mm f/1.8 II is a good alternative here. It may also be interesting to check out the used market for a EF 50mm f/1.8 (I) which features the same good optical formula but combined with a better construction. It's not really surprising that the old lens tends to sell at higher prices on the used market than the "new" mk II though. The weakest spot of the lens is probably the bokeh which can be rough at times.'350D
Dxomark


Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Image quality rating: 75,43%

Overall rating: 83,00%

Main points:
  • Decent resolution across the frame when stopped down.
  • Good resistance to flare.
  • by f/1.4 the image is distinctly „soft”


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
The Photographer
'At the moment, we have the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L USM II in for review. As an owner of the Canon 35mm f1.4 L and 50mm f1.4, I decided to put the lenses in a test against one another to provide some insight into whether or not someone should spring for the all in one zoom or some nice primes. Also, this test is an informal measure of just how far the optical technology has come.'
ePhotozine
3.5/5
3.5/5
'Performance-wise Canon's 50mm f/1.4 USM is fairly typical, showing it is capable of producing images with excellent sharpness across the frame at optimum apertures. For low light shooting it would have been nice to see it perform better at f/1.4, but it is still quite capable of producing a decent image, so long as your subject is isolated near the centre of the frame.'5D Mark II
SLRGear
8.46/10
8.2/10
'While it's not tack-sharp when used wide-open, the Canon EF 50mm ƒ/1.4 USM is still quite good, and stopped down to ƒ/4 image quality is excellent. At ƒ/8, it's as sharp as sharp gets. Used wide open however, the lens has some definite issues, and on full-frame, edge performance is remarkably poor. That said, it's unlikely that most users will notice or care about edge performance, and those that will are unlikely to use the lens wide open.'20D, 5D
Lenstip
'The Canon EF 1.4/50 USM is undoubtedly a well-done lens. The picture quality in the frame centre and at the edges is very good at apertures above f/2.0 – you can count it among the biggest assets of this device, apart from the solid workmanship. You should notice, though, that there were several slip-ups during the test. The lens, while working against bright light, catches light artifacts easily and its performance by f/1.4 is far from good with the visible coma, perceptible vignetting (being actually huge on full frame) and distinctly “soft” image.'20D, 5D Mark II
Photozone
3/5
4/5
'It is no surprise that the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is a very popular choice among Canon users when it comes to choosing a standard lens. It offers probably the best compromise between quality and price here. That said it's not a flawless lens when used on a full format DSLR. The contrast level is quite a bit reduced at f/1.4 and the corners are soft here. However, the results are good at f/2 and nothing short of great at medium aperture settings. Unfortunately there's an extreme amount of light falloff at max. aperture and it takes two f-stops to reduce the problem to a more or less negligible degree. Lateral CAs are nothing to worry about. The bokeh is generally good but not outstanding. Typical for such lenses there's quite a bit of bokeh fringing (LoCAs) at large apertures. The build quality on a decent level and a step up from the EF 50mm f/1.8 II but it doesn't reach the Sigma AF 50mm f/1.4 EX HSM here. The micro-USM AF drive operates pretty fast and near silent. All-in-all a sound offer at a sane price.'5D Mark II
Photozone
4/5
4.5/5
'The EF 50mm f/1.4 USM showed an almost flawless performance during the lab- and field-tests both in terms of optical and mechanical quality. If I had to list a few negative points it would be vignetting and low contrast at f/1.4. So if you're looking for a lens in this class the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is a great option.'350D
Photozone
3.5/5
4.5/5
'The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is a rather obvious choice when looking for a standard lens to be used on an Canon APS-C DSLR. That said it struggles a bit at maximum aperture - the borders are somewhat soft here, the contrast level is reduced and the amount of vignetting could be better. However, the image quality is already quite impressive at f/2 and nothing short of outstanding in the f/2.8 to f/8 range. Lateral CAs are nothing to worry about. The bokeh is generally very good (within the APS-C scope it avoids some of the problems that we've seen in the corresponding full format test) but typical for such lenses there's quite a bit of bokeh fringing (LoCAs) at large apertures. The build quality on a decent level but it's not rock solid either. The micro-USM AF drive operates pretty fast and near silent.'50D
Photoreview
8.8/10
8.5/10
'Although not pin-sharp at its widest apertures, Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.4 USM remains a competent performer and its image quality between f/4 and f/8is excellent. Two issues should be considered when assessing this lens: the size of the sensor on that camera with which it will be mainly used and whether the types of images you take will be affected by the inherent imperfections in reproduction'
Dxomark


Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Image quality rating: 73,66%

Overall rating: 77,63%

Main points:
  • Good centre sharpness from maximum aperture
  • Unique ability to control depth of field


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
ePhotozine
3.5/5
4/5
'This lens isn't for everyone, that's for sure. It's a unique lens in more ways than one. The bright maximum aperture allows depth of field to be reduced creatively, isolating your subjects from the background, which this lens renders incredibly smoothly. Sharpness is good from maximum aperture in the centre of the frame, but the performance towards the edges isn't in the same league. If your intended use requires good centre sharpness, and the ability to reduce depth of field to the minimum, not much else comes close. However, if you're after superb edge-to-edge clarity, and low distortion for general purpose use, or more critical applications, such as copy stand work, then this lens may not be for you.'5D Mark II
SLRGear
8.83/10
8.67/10
'That said though, we have to admit that we were a little surprised that the Canon 50mm f/1.2L's optical performance wasn't better than what we found.'20D, 5D
Lenstip
'If this lens featured f/1.0 aperture, like its predecessor, there would be nothing to say against its high price and average performance. After all it’s the gain of one whole 1 EV, compared to f/1.4 lenses. The new lens has f/1.2 aperture, though so the gain, compared to the classic 1.4/50 devices, when it comes to the fastness and depth of field is definitely smaller. I would even say it is so small that no mythical image vividness can justify such a huge amount of money we have to pay to become the owner of the 50L.'50D, 1Ds Mark III
Photozone
2/5
2/5
'The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 USM L left rather mixed feelings here at Photozone. It was able to convince in the APS-C scope but on a full format DSLR its weaknesses became much more obvious. The good news is that the center resolution is generally fine across the board so shallow depth-of-field lovers may not be disappointed. However, when looking at the whole image frame the results are generally less than thrilling. The border resolution as well as the vignetting is rather poor from f/1.2 till f/2. The situation isn't all that bad at f/4 and beyond but if you're looking for superior -technical- quality levels this is simply not the place to be. The level of distortions and lateral CAs is also not overly impressive for a prime lens. It is tricky to judge the quality of the bokeh. The lens is surely capable of producing an exceptional "cream" at very large apertures - more so than most lenses thanks to f/1.2 of course - and the bokeh is also technically perfect near in center of the image field. However, in critical situations the border and corner bokeh can be very nervous. It's not a show-stopper but you've to know what you're doing here (keeping a pronounced focus spread between your main subjects and border structures). The build quality is fantastic and it's a joy to play with the lens out there but at the end of the day its the image quality that counts and there're some question marks where the global performance is in line to the rather hefty price tag.'5D Mark II
Photozone
4/5
4/5
'The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 USM L is a specialty lens for those requiring the maximum in depth-of-field capabilities. At large apertures the lens produces the beautiful, buttery bokeh which can be expected from such a lens. Technically the resolution results are very good to excellent but not really superior to its cheaper cousin - the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. The center performance is generally stellar but the borders can´t quite follow although they remain easily in very good territory beyond f/1.2. The vignetting is quite high at maximum aperture and CAs are unusually pronounced for a fix-focal. The build quality of the lens is exceptional and the AF speed is very fast for such a lens.'350D
Photoreview
9/10
8.5/10
'Shots taken with the f/1.2 aperture provided the most dramatic results from this lens although, with the very small depth-of-field at this aperture, focusing must be accurate. When used with apertures between f/4 and f/9, image quality was outstanding and test shots from both camera bodies were sharp edge-to-edge.'
Dxomark
Canonrumors
'I knew why I purchased the Canon 50mm f/1.4 over the 50mm f/1.8; the more rounded (not hexagonal) bokeh, and the slightly better build. That’s a few hundred bucks. The Canon 50mm f/1.2 L is more than four times the price of the 1.4. This is a cost/value factor we often weigh, and I have personally never once been let down by the better glass I’ve purchased, where I have with less-than-the-best. The aperture may be a bit misleading, I don’t consider f/1.2 useful for me, I have a hard time focusing that shallow of depth of field, and while a good camera body like the 1DX or 5DMKIII certainly help, there’s a little left to your own skill to pull off proper focus. Some people just have it while others, like me, work for it. The optics are certainly worth the investment. Though, for the professional shooter who may bang their camera around and find themselves without a lot of choice as to where they’re positioned for the shot by way of contrast and control of flare; the 50mm f/1.2 delivers.'


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