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on 23 April 2012
As a keen photography enthusiast i have decided to take a plunge and upgrade my old Sony a200 system (that i couldn't get on with) to a canon 7d - the first mistake i have made was buying expensive body and not having the funds to buy a decent lens. I love photographing people so i thouht a prime lens will be the best choice for me (this is a fixed focal lens ) 50mm lens can basically mimic the perspective seen by the human eye . i felt that this will be the best choice .Also prime lens made me more creative , as i hadn't had the opportunity to just zoom in if i wanted to.I had to move around and try viewing subject from different angles.

when the lens arrived i was surprised by the toy feel - its all made of plastic (besides optics) - it felt cheap like it will brake any minute ,there iwasnt any pouch with this lens .just an instruction manual .The lens is very light ( 130g ) and small (2.7" x 1.6"/68.2mm x 41.0mm - WxL ) - it is also a canon smallest lens on the market . before i have decided to review it i thought i will use it for a bit (i have used it for over a year ) .I was a bit doubtful if constant lens change could affect plastic lens mount in any way - but it didn't .On the lens itself there is only one switch AF/MF (Auto focus and manual focus ). Autofocus is driven by a micro motor - that is pretty fast. With a minimum focus distance of 1.5' lens can deliver some good images.

My first test shots look terrible , the lens flare that was on the images looked pretty bad and affected the overall quality . Lens flare is created when forming light enters the lens and subsequently hits the camera's digital sensor. I have decided then to buy lens hood and filter (to reduce glare) and try again. i would strongly recommend buying lens hood (ES-62 ) that includes the Hood adapter that threads onto the lens - the hood then attaches to the adapter by pinching two latches

With everything in place i decided to do a few test shots again on few different light situations and f settings (aperture size are often referred as a f settings .The aperture size determines the depth of field, or zone of sharp focus, that surrounds your subject the smaller the f i.e. f/1.8 - the shallower the depth of field is ). i love the way my images came out - sharp where i wanted them to be , and colours where fantastic .focus worked well on a 4 year old who run around the park like a tornado and because lens is very light i was able to take some decent shots handheld , without the discomfort, or a lense shake.
The strongest quality of this lens is sharpness - it produces fantastic pictures , i can honestly say that its sharpest at f/2.8 and beyond on f1.8 it performs also good but not as sharp if the camera is hand held .All depends what you want to shoot . i tend to shot people at f/5.6 (but this depends how much of the subject i want to stay sharp) and landscape at f/8 - as i find this my safe zone , and i know images will come out decent.

Autofocus is pretty fast when shooting moving objects ,it focuses quickly witch is handy when shooting kids (that just don't sit still ... ) or fast moving objects .
Lens its very good in limited light conditions ( in the house ) - but only if you shooting on wider aperture (smaller f number) .- most of portraits are shot in low light condition and all of them are shot using this lens

another good factor was the lens size and weight -it is very easy to carry around , despite being plastic it is also very robust ,and it can take some serious banging. Just imagine me trying to strap screaming 4 year old into a booster seat with camera still hanging on my neck - it usually bash straight into car paintwork (that did chip)

I have grown to love this lens in fact this is the lens and i use in 98% of my images as the lens is very portable and light , so its easier to take hand-held shots without minimal camera shake.
most of the new dlsr's on the market come with a standard kit lens either 18-55 or 17-85 . so if you are looking for a nice addition to your camera i can highly recommend buying this lens despite it plastic look , its a very nifty lens with fantastic price tag. , and as i mentioned earlier i would recommend purchasing lens hood and possibly a UV filter .

"please bare in mind that im Polish - and English is not my strongest point but i try my best to give as honest review based on my own experience , and i know my grammar is terrible . "
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on 9 July 2011
I bought 2 of these one for myself and one for my son, mine is being used on an EOS400D and is great, I would recommend the lens optics for low light use without the use of flash .... however when my son tried his lens on his EOS450D it jammed on the mount!! Apparently this happens to be a recognised problem .. as I found out when I contacted Canon about the problem. They agreed straight away to fix the problem but .. if the body mount has been damaged then I will have to pay anywhere up to £200.00 to get the body fixed, not good when the lens has caused the problem.

In short .. good lens optics, poor finishing on the mount, take your pick on whether or not you want to risk it! You have been warned!!!
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on 5 August 2010
You get a bit of a mixed bag with this lens. There are definitely some positive sides to it, however there are also (for me) an unacceptable amount of negatives, and as such I don't quite think this lens is worth the ever climbing price.

First off the image quality. It's good - as long as you're up above f/2. Below f/2 (lower f/ number), all of the lens' faults become visible. Spherical abberation (hazy effect), some chromatic abberation, horrendous vignetting (this can be used to creative effect, but it's beside the point) and loss of clarity in colours/detail. really, it's not much better than the f/1.8 version when you start to compare them both at around ~f/2.8. By f/4-f/5.6 both lenses are fantastic.

The colour rendition of this lens is very good, near perfect I'd say when you've stopped down a bit. The f/1.8 version seems to add a magenta tinge to photos - the f/1.4 does not. The bokeh off the f/1.4 is more rounded and supposedly more smooth as it has 8 aperture blades, as opposed to the f/1.8's 5 aperture blades. In practise though this doesn't make *all* that much difference unless there are out of focus points of light in the image; which with the f/1.8 will appear as pentagons, with the f/1.4 they will appear nearly as circles. I have still had many occasions where bokeh off the f/1.4 was surprisingly harsh, though.

The build quality *is* better than the f/1.8, but quite frankly, fisher price toys still beat the f/1.8 lens in build quality. There is a placebo effect that Canon have created, whereby people upgrade from the f/1.8 lens to the f/1.4 thinking how great the build and AF is when in reality, the lens isn't much better built than Canon's 18-55 IS kit lens. Clever marketing or coincidence? This brings me neatly onto my next point as well - AF speed and accuracy of the f/1.4 is sketchy at best - even on a 1 series camera. If the light is less than ideal, my 50 will hunt, hunt and hunt until the sun goes down. Take it outside in daylight however and it performs flawlessly. There is no point in having a fast lens if it struggles to focus in lower light. For this, I blame the pseudo ultrasonic motor that they use in the lens - not true ring USM, but a micro USM motor. Don't be mislead into thinking that this is one of Canon's near-silent and lightning fast focussing lenses - it isn't. The focussing is not as quiet as true ring USM and as I have just said there, certainly not as accurate. The manual focussing ring has far too much play and when turned feels like it is meshing with sand and pebbles.

As an upgrade from a 50mm f/1.8, it initially feels great, but if like myself you expect a bit more for your money, the 50mm f/1.4 quickly becomes disliked. Poor build quality, shoddy AF and questionable quality at low apertures - not worth the premium price!

I am now selling mine - with a hood - for quite a big loss, and will be getting the Canon 85mm f/1.8 as my 'arty lens' instead. Quiet, fast and accurate focussing with proper ring USM, better build quality and arguably better IQ wide open - and it costs around the same. It's a no brainer.
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on 5 November 2016
 arrived 3 weeks after purchasing and had to sent it back straight...
bought it as new, marks on connection points--my other 2 lenses have no marks after a lots of swaps--

gave it a try ( i shouldnt )
switched on the camera and i was hoping i will have nice sharp and blurry images, got to manual mode and the lens started focusing for like 5-8 seconds and giving me hell loud noises withn some sharp slaps and constant moves and i was shocked.... i knew this lens will be a bit louder than 0 decibel but this one made a journey of a train with a crash,,,
remember, bought as a new...

soon on the phone and the lady(amazon-she was nice and helpful) said that there is no option(on the seller side) for replacement on this item , so i need to purchase it again if i want this...


i am a really patient and relaxed guy but this one just made me really angry
really hope this one was the one from million and nobody else will experience this

video uploaded
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on 9 September 2017
It is absolutely bizarre that this older lens is priced so much higher than the newer and much better STM model. The fact that this is labelled as a mark 'II' only adds to the confusion. Do not pay this price for this lens.
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on 2 March 2017
Having owned one for over four years I can honestly say this lens is a must if you own a Canon DSLR. It will bring a whole new meaning to your photography and produce some real 'wow factor' photographs that will amaze both yourself and other people. It now stays for the majority of time on my camera body and has delivered some amazing results.

Advantages :

+ Wide 1.8 aperture means good operations in low light
+ Delivers a nice bokeh despite only having a five blade aperture ring.
+ Lightweight means it can be carried all day with no strain.
+ Inexpensive.

Disadvantages :

- Loud motor noise can be annoying at times.
- Chromatic aberration is clearly evident at f/1.8 coupled with sometimes a soft image at this aperture.
- Plastic mount and body is a basic build quality compared to others - don’t drop it.
- Poor manual focus ring in awkward position - stick to AF.

Missing focus is another issue but it only happens occasionally.

These disadvantages do not outweigh the advantages though. Chromatic aberration can be corrected in post production, motor noise is actually not much worse than some USM motor lenses from Canon and the plastic mount and body, although basic, is partially responsible for the superb light weight of the lens. The vast majority of shots are in focus.

Paying (much) more for a f/1.4 or even a f/1.2 version of this lens will not improve the chromatic aberration as well as is proven in many online reviews and the f/1.2 may even focus slower because of the amount of heavy glass in the lens. In fact, some people claim that this lens is sharper than the incredibly expensive f/1.2 because of it’s simple internal construction which apparently is an advantage over these super L lenses. What you pay for with the f/1.2 is the incredible buttery cream bokeh which is much discussed in photographic circles.

Stop down to f/2.5 to reduce the chromatic aberration and bring out the clarity in the centre, by the time you hit f/4.0 the lens is razor sharp as you would expect from a prime lens.

The lens delivers some punchy yet dreamy shots which draw you into the subject with ease. Despite the low cost of the lens, it appears to produce a sublime effect on many of your photos. It’s also a very good walk around lens as I have discovered and produces some nice results for street and event photography. If you don’t need a zoom then this is one to seriously consider having on your camera body on the day. Of course with 50mm focal length you cannot easily get group indoor shots, and you’ll win no friends with a noisy AF motor in a very quiet place, but despite all this don’t let it put you off buying it.

I personally like the lightweight feel, it makes it super easy to carry around unlike my Sigma 18-250 which is much heavier by comparison. Buy the Canon lens hood as well, it helps cut out lens flare which can be quite nasty on some photos without it. It’s results are the best bit, your photos will have that professional look and feel like it’s been done by a pro and the creativity in your photos will increase massively. It’s easily your cheapest and best option to make shots like a point and shoot camera can’t - otherwise what was the point in buying yourself a DSLR? You will find it a massive boost to your photography and at this price tag there is no point in putting it off any longer.

P.S. There is a newer version of this lens which apparently is very good also and has an improvement of many of the features of this version.
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on 8 March 2018
At f/1.4, this can be a little soft with some halos on high contrast areas. But it's also a fairly cheap lens for this spec and as soon as you get to about f/2, the image quality is superb. This is a worthy upgrade to the super popular 50mm f/1.8 II, but since that was upgraded to STM and a metal lens mount, there's a little less between these two as its all-plastic predecessor. However, that extra two thirds of a stop does make a difference in some lighting situations and the optics haven't been upgraded much on the new 1.8, so this will still get you sharper pictures at comparable aperture settings. In fact, you only have to breath to mess up your focus at f/1.4 sometimes, so perhaps the strength here is the superb sharpness. One thing to note though: the autofocus motor is known to be delicate and is best protected with a lens hood to stop the front getting knocked. A cheap third party one does me fine. The lens is an old design and the chirps and whirrs as the thing finds focus are testament to that.

Another note that some may find useful is that 50mm is quoted as a great all-round focal length, that's mainly for full frame cameras. On a crop sensor, this is slightly telephoto at the equivalent of about 80mm full frame, but it's still a very usable length, especially for portraits. For something that can do a bit of everything and works better in tighter spaces, you may find a fast 30mm or 35mm more versatile for a crop sensor, or even something like the Canon 24mm f/2.8 pancake lens if you can cope with something a little slower. However, if you want wide apertures and blurry backgrounds, there's not a lot to compete with this.
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on 5 June 2017
I've given this lens five stars because, having owned this lens for quite a few years now, I would not like to be without it in my bag. For its tiny cost in comparison to its potential usefulness it seems better to be with it than without it and, although I don't use it every day, I would not consider selling it. There are two things for which this lens is useful - the first applies less to me now than it once did (because I have other wide aperture lenses now) - and that is aperture. For any new DSLR photographer who wants to experiment beyond the confines of a kit lens then this lens will open up a new world of tiny depths of field and melting backgrounds - it will do this by offering more than two full stops of extra aperture when compared to the f/4 of a kit lens.
Also, I have found this lens very useful for filming video. The lens is very lightweight and it allows the camera to balance very nicely either in the hand or on a mount such as my Delkin Fat Gecko - with the result that vibration is all but eliminated and other unwanted movements are kept to a minimum.
I should add that the light weight of this lens means that it is also good news if you've got to have the camera hanging round your neck for a long period, while its small size means that it renders a DSLR camera relatively inconspicuous.
The last thing I'd say is that you get what you pay for - this lens has the build-quality of a toy and it will not survive rough usage - so take care of it and keep it in a nice padded lens case (Lowepro for instance) and you should get years of service from it.
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on 11 August 2017
I mostly use this for street photography on my 600D the crop took some time to get used to but other than that it's a joy to use. Quality of the pictures are great & it's never let me down. Over a year old now & still going strong
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on 19 April 2017
This is my mother of all lenses.
I agonised and scraped and scrimped in order to buy this lens.
I already own a 50mm lens, the 1.8 STM. I was at the photography show in March 2017, and I used the STM in one of the indoor shows. The result at widest open aperture of 1.8 were truly unimpressive. As it happened on this particular day, I didn't have any of my L series lenses (I didn't want the weight since I was to walk around all day).

I have played around with this 1.2L lens and I am extremely impressed and satisfied.

I've taken shots at its widest open aperture (WOA) and stopped down at every full stop through to f/16.

I am impressed.
At its WOA, I used a Tiffen Variable Neutral Density (VND) filter, to reduce the amount of light going onto the sensor whilst maintains the f/1.2 and ISO 100 exposure settings, and in my opinion this lens hasn't fallen short of my expectation.

It's expensive (no doubt) but there's good value for money.

Anyone thinking of getting this lens need to shop around as the prices vary from Amazon to Calumet to Currys to CameraWorld and other retailers.

I hope this lens serves me well and compliments my already existing L and non-L equipment.

Please also remember to fit a filter straightaway. It's not 100% weather sealed until you fit a screw-in filter. I got the Hoya Pro-1 Digital UV Filter to accompany this beauty.
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