Canon 50mm f1.4: inherent design fault?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by stephen_edgar, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. Hi Folks,
    I use a Canon 50mm f1.4 lens for the bulk of my photography.
    For the second time since I purchased this lens three years ago, the focus
    mechanism has jammed.
    The first time this happened, the lens was repaired under warranty. Now, after
    the warranty has expired, the lens has jammed again.
    I'm wary of having the lens repaired again and had considered simply buying a
    new one, mainly for peace of mind (fool and his money and all that!). I've seen
    comments on various sites referring to the unreliabilty of this lens model.
    Are these lenses inherently faulty?
    Needless to say this happens two weeks before a trip to New York..
    Any advice would be appreciated
  2. I too have oft heard the same complaint. However the AF on mine worked perfectly for nearly
    7 years (sold it recently). My main complaint is it was optically terrible below F2.8 and thus
    defeated the main purpose of owning a fast prime, i.e., to shoot wide open in low avaialble
    light. I'm hoping an L series 50 will appear, perhaps an EF 50 1.2L USM with true ring-type
    USM and decent sharpness wide open. Otherwise the EF 35 1.4L USM is pretty temping.
  3. if you want a economic lens, but a professional lens, buy a Sigma 20,1.8 or 24 1.8. (20 for moore wide, 24 for more magnification).
  4. I've owned six (6) Sigmas and detested the spinning MF ring during AF. But worse of all, all of
    them stopped working each time I bought a new EOS body. The last time it happened, only
    one Sigma for current enough to be rechipped. The rest were "vintage" mid to late 90s
    Sigmas and were out of production, hence no chips available. I had to sell them cheap on
  5. "if you want a economic lens, but a professional lens, buy a Sigma 20,1.8 or 24 1.8. (20
    for moore wide, 24 for more magnification)."

    Not very helpful for someone wo shoots most of their work at 50mm.

    I'm on my second 50mm 1.4 - the first worked with only a once-off glitch when it refused
    to autofocus, but jiggling the AF/M switch and the focus ring a few times solved that. The
    second (first was stolen) has worked trouble free for about a year of light/medium use.
    Unlike others, I've never had image quality problems.

    Repair, and buy a cheap 50mm f1.8 as a back-up?
  6. Dont you have any back up lens ? like a zoom lens? it appears that you have no luck with that lens, or maybe there are just some dirt that got inside which caused the malfunction. IF the latter is true, buying a new one would also lead to the same problem. In other words, the design of that lens is not suitable for your application or the way you use it. or even your environment.

    Why not use a Zoom in your trip to New York? if you dont have FF, the 50mm is too narrow. A zoom is always more convinient and easier to compose an image with .

    If I were you , instead of buying another 50mm 1.4, I'd buy a good zoom with IS or with F/2.8 or why not even have both features.
  7. I have nothing but good graces for my Sigma EX DG Ashperical 24mm F/1.8

    I also orderd a 50mm F/1.8 MKII, plastic mount but I dont beat up my lenses too bad, so hopefully it will last.

    I agree, it seems like with your application, maybe this lens is just not built tough enough for your needs.
  8. Yes, the 50/1.4 is well known for having a focus mechanism which is not as robust as one might like. Most of them work just fine; I bought one used several years ago and it's still working perfectly. But there are plenty of stories in the archives of these lenses' focus mechanisms breaking, more so than with most other lenses (and I don't believe it's coincidental that this lens uses a clutch mechanism of some sort to allow FT-M despite using a micro USM; normally, ring USM lenses have FT-M and micro USM ones do not).
  9. I've read posts about the failings of the 50 F1.4s motor/focus mechanicals for quite awhile

    So, WHERE'S the updated (ring) USM 50 F1.4?! For the bloody price of the thing it should
    have (ring) USM. Canon has needed to update a number of their prime lenses and they
    should start with this one.

    Send an email to Canon.
  10. My EF 50mm f2.5 macro also had a one-time glitch of failure to autofocus AND manual focus. Operation was restored by removing the lens and repeatedly switching the AF/MF lens slider on and off. This lens has proven to be sharper than my 50mm f1.8 wide open (albeit at f2.5). It, however, is very prone to flare and autofocuses with a sound akin to a coffee- grinder.
  11. The very first thing I would do in your situation is to contact Canon's service center with a detailed history of this lens. I would avoid emotionalism, but I would certainly express disappointment that such an expensive lens would fail again after the initial repair. To me, that suggests that there is a manufacturing defect in that particular lens.

    Suggest that they might have some responsibility for making the situation right. If you approach this in a businesslike manner, you have a reasonable chance of getting an appropriate response. But if not, do follow up here to let us know.

  12. My 1.4 too has stopped working in AF. I keep using it in AF but I would like to hear of some home remedies that fixed the glitch short of sending it to Canon service center.

    The lens is outstanding in my mind. I shot ton's of nice pics with it.
  13. Mine has done it once so far.
  14. Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. Much appreciated. I should have mentioned that I use the 50mm on a Canon 5D specifically for its 'neutral' standard lens qualities. I'm reluctant to get the lens fixed again because there is obviously some manufacturing problem with this lens. I appreciate the suggestions to approach Canon directly and if I get any feedback on this issue I will 'report back' as I'm aware that others have similar issues with this lens. If only there was an L version of this lens as someone suggested!
  15. Focus was ok on mine, but out of the box it was soft at any stop.
    I exchanged it for a different sample, which has worked fine so far.

    But I do wish there was a WEATHER SEALED L version of this focal lenght.
  16. My 50mm f1.4 jammed too, after having had it for less than a month (purchased new from B&H). It's being fixed under warranty, but I plan on selling it as soon as I get it back, as I just can't trust the lens anymore.

    Unless Canon comes out with a better quality 50mm, I'll have to stick to a manual focus 50mm lens, like a Nikon 50mm f1.2 ais or Leica Summilux R.
  17. Heard about this problem from this forum but have not experienced any problems with my copy. I owned it for over 18 months now and no problems whatsoever. Now that I mentioned that, it'll start jamming on me. Hope your situation gets resolved and maybe Canon reads this forum and will recall the disabled ones.
  18. This is all one reason why I wont upgrade from my 50 1.8 lens. Im really waiting for Canon to release a 50 f1.2L lens, but if not Im staying with my 1.8 lens.
  19. I don't believe it is a manufacturing defect. I tend to believe it is a design fault. There were some pictures of someone dissecting a 50/1.4 a while back and some of the clutch assembly is plastic.

    I actually have not heard any reports of the 50/1.8 failing under normal operation. Bang it slightly the wrong way and the front lens element will fall out but banging lenses is not normal operation. Mine is still going strong.

    I am with those who suggest calling Canon and "expressing disappointment". Try the nearest Service Center direct rather than calling Customer Misinformation.
  20. No problems so far, for my ancient, 50mm f1.8 Mark 1. This non USM version is very robust.
  21. Neither the 1.4 nor the 1.8 are very robust. Unless you really really need the 1.4 I'd get the 1.8 at a fifth the cost. My 1.4 didn't jam, but it had awful barrel distortion. I've only seen it refuse to focus a few times, but I didn't think much of it at the time.
  22. Mine has never jammed. But I find the colour tone too flat and lacks contrast. Not a very good investment, it seems, especially in view of its limited application range.
  23. Has anyone gotten any results from dealing with Canon directly? I have had this lens for a long time.....most of it not being able to focus. It was after any warranty, but not by much! I haven't shopped around yet, but do you think it's worth it to repair...or should I go for the 1.8 in your opinion? :) Thanks! Christine
  24. Mine just jammed. :( It was a very well treated lens, never dropped or hit hard. I believe it's
    one of the best lens for a canon and liked everything about it: bokeh, contrast, depth of
    dynamic range (really) and excellent sharpness. But if I knew it would work for only 2 years I
    would have probably never bought it. Does Canon think people can afford buying a new
    prime every 2 years? I'm sad...
  25. I use this lens since a week.............. autofocus is suddendly not working! The lens is new, never hurted, and i am really disappointed with this, considering that the price i paid is not so cheap as the lens demonstrates to be! Even more, reading this forum, i am also more disappointed thinking that Canon should not play this kind of tricks with his customers. I have many stuff from Canon, and never had a problem. But this 50 F1.4 seem to be really a lemon lens! Canon please don't do this and if someone from Canon is reading this, consider that a problem like this, that occurs many people, means only that yhe quality of the lens it's not at the standing of the price...
  26. "I use this lens since a week"

    You're in luck -- its still under warranty. Take it back for replacement or repair.

Share This Page