Canon 50mm 1.4 misbehaving

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by tomasz_dzurak, May 20, 2020.

  1. Recently my 50/1.4 lens causes Err 01 consistently. This is communication error, the exit error message is this (just for the record:
    "Communication between the camera and lens is faulty. Clean the lens contacts."
    This happens from time to time with every lens, and cleaning contacts normally helps. The same for this one.
    But recently the lens became unusable. It autofocuses fine, but press the release, and I get this message.
    Contacts on the lens look fine, they show some wear, lens is dated 2003 or so.
    Cleaning sometimes helps, but after only one or two shots its errors again.
    I just wonder if anyone came across problem like this?
    Other lenses on this body work fine. I didn't see tis error in years, until recently.
  2. What have you used to clean the contacts?

    I find a squirt of electrical contact cleaner (heptane based) on the end of a cotton bud works well. Obviously, don't spray it directly on the lens.

    Works a treat on PS Vita game cards, SD cards, car electrics etc.
  3. I just used cotton cloth. I will try cleaner. Thanks.
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I'd clean the camera's contacts too. And also the Battery (ies) Contacts and Battery Housing Contacts and Battery Grip Contacts (if using).

    The rationale to ensure all the electrics have clean and good contacts is because you wrote, "Contacts on the lens look fine, they show some wear, lens is dated 2003 or so" - just thinking that the Lens contacts might be worn enough for a small voltage fluctuation elsewhere, to trigger the issue.

    tomasz_dzurak likes this.
  5. You might also try another fully charged battery pack. It was so long ago I can't remember what error code I got, but I had some episodes of intermittent behavior with my EOS 40D which I traced down to a prematurely degraded battery pack. The problem only showed with one of several packs. Even if the one pack had been charged for hours, it would quickly, if not immediately, begin to produce an error when attempting to take a shot. I theorized one of the internal cells had developed higher than normal internal resistance.
    tomasz_dzurak likes this.
  6. Thanks for replay. All over lenses, and everything else work fine. It is just this lens.
  7. It is just this lens. All other work fine. If I clean contacts really hard it works for shot or the, but then stops, now generating some noise. Thanks.
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    OK - I read that in your Opening Post and I do understand that one field test to support the theory that the problem is only in the lens is to try other lenses on that one camera body: but have you tried that lens on another camera body?

  9. I did. I tried it on my old film body. Behavior is the same - this lens acts up as above, and other lenses work fine.
    This lens autofocuses fine, but you cannot take a shot with it. After cleaning contacts really hard, it will take one or two shots, and the lens grinds loudly before generating error 01. While it grinds, I see aperture fails to close completely. It starts to close and then reopens and again. Looks like aperture motor is bad, or maybe some mechanical fault. Thank you all for replaying to this.
    William Michael likes this.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I concur that this assessment is likely correct: It also could be an intermittent electrics fault (bad contact or dry joint) inside the lens. If you're a DYI person, it is not too difficult to open the rear of the lens and inspect for any obvious internal connection faults - though I am not encouraging you, unless you're already confident in attempting that.

    I think, depending upon where you are located that if you want/need to use a 50mm Prime, it might be a better option to replace this lens rather than having a technician fixing it. The EF 50/1.8MkII is a reasonable replacement option too.

    Good luck with it.

  11. Thanks, I agree it is not worth sending for repair.
    It's not my favorite focal length anyway, so I manage without 50mm for now.
    On the other hand I can use it as an excellent loupe, which I will do.
  12. I have it in the back of my mind that the EF 50mm 1.4 has a poor reputation for reliability.
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    There is talked about, a particular issue concerning the auto-focus mechanism: specifically a cam in that mechanism, which, according to internet chatter is prone to failure. This issue seems entirely different.

    Similar chatter about the EF 24 to 105L F/4 IS USM: the ribbon cable is a 'weak link' and prone to failure. And the EOS 5D Mirror Box Assembly: prone to failure.

    (reliable and significant) Statistics are difficult to come by: I bought a new EF 50/1.4 in 2004; a new 5D around 2006; a new 24 to 105 around 2013. My 50/1.4 and 24~105 have never missed a beat; the Mirror Box Assembly was replaced on the 5D after about 60 shots.

    Two Out of Three Ain't Bad.

  14. I am having the same issue, strangely only when I shoot down at the ground. I figured there is a bad contact somewhere. I read here that there are gold-plated electrical contacts on the lens and camera. These mate together for the communication. Maybe it helps cleaning them. Sadly, I don't consider my gear disposable. I worked hard for every euro those things cost me.
  15. Definitely clean contacts. They do get dirty, and this is easy to clean them. You may see Err 01 for any lens. If lens is otherwise good, cleaning with soft cloth works every the time.
  16. Silent Street

    Silent Street Silent Street Photography AUS

    Clean the contacts on the camera's lens mount, additiional to the contacts on the lens. There is only so much one can do with an old, well-used lens. Contacts with a significant, visible abrasion/wear will become dodgy in time and cannot really be repatriated.

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