Product Comparison: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM vs Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

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General Specifications
EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
About the Product
It’s often said that a face can tell a thousand stories. And the real beauty of portrait photography is that every shot is as individual as the person in it. Capturing a face can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding types of photography. And, with a good lens and the right technique, it’s easy to get the results you want.
A highly practical medium telephoto lens with superb delineation and portability. Images are sharp and clear at all apertures. Through computer simulations, the lens has been designed to give beautiful background blur. Since the front lens group does not rotate during focusing special filter effects are not affected.
Key Specs
Mount Type
Canon EF
Canon EF
Maximum Aperture
1.4 /f
1.8 /f
Minimum Focal Length
50 millimeters
85 millimeters
Maximum Focal Length
50 millimeters
85 millimeters
Lens Type
What customers say about "Key Specs"
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens for Canon DSLRs
  • Another reason that I preferred this lens was the metal mount, though I believe the f/1.8 II transitioned to a metal mount as well.
  • The mounting is plastic and the front focus ring feels like an after thought.
  • Additionally, it doesn't really have a good mount for a hood. Finally, the focus ring is very touchy - the full motion of the focus is only about a quarter of a turn, so you have very little room for fine tuning.
  • Beyond the angle of view though, it's most commendable quality is the super-bright f1.4 aperture.
  • Really though, I think the number one reason that I love this lens is because it is such a versatile focal length with a fast aperture, and great performance in low light.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Telephoto Lens
  • Very, very sharp, even at f/1.8. For the price, is the sharpest lens you can buy.
  • Very fast lens (i.e. opens to f1.8) excellent in low light. Good for indoor sports like basketball or volleyball. No need for a flash.
  • Excellent sharpness, even at f/1.8. It's performance is similar to my 135mm f/2L, which is says a lot.
  • This is a great lens for indoor shooting! With the 1.8 aperture, it lets in amazing amounts of light even the darkest light settings.
  • A bit of Chromatic Aberration at f/1.8, but it's ok. We all know that's reserved for L glass.
  • There's some visible CA when wide open at f/1.8, but not really a problem for most situations. Stopping down to f/2 or f/2.5 will generally fix it.
Size & Weight
2.9 in.
2.8 in.
2.9 in.
3 in.
2 in.
3 in.
10.2 oz.
15 oz.
What customers say about "Size & Weight"
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens for Canon DSLRs
  • Well-built. It's a fairly small lens that has tight tolerances and an appropriate weight for the size.
  • It is just the right size and weight. Most lenses are just too big, bulky, and heavy for general purpose use.
  • The lens has more weight and has a real hood attachment, and photos just come out better than the f/1.8 - better focus and more saturation and contrast.
  • First off this lens is amazingly solid (makes the plastic kit lens feel like a toy). I swear it doubles the weight of my camera (not in a bad way)... I now understand the reviews which said that the T2i feels cheap.
  • It has some weight to it, so it feels like great quality.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Telephoto Lens
  • Compact size. It doesn't take much space in the bag. I would say it's 30% taller and wider than the 50mm f/1.4.
  • Perfect fit and weight to add to your camera bag.
  • Well built. It feels solid when I hold it, unlike the plastic kit lens.
  • Small size and lightweight. It's very inconspicuous and doesn't stand out.
  • Kind of plasticky. It kinds of worries me to se all that beatifull glass cased in thin plastic. But that's what meakes it light and cheap, so...
Minimum Focus Distance
17.7 in.
33.6 in.
Field Of View
28° 30'
Zoom Type
Auto Focus, Manual Focus
Auto Focus, Manual Focus
Optical Stabilization
What customers say about "Imaging"
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens for Canon DSLRs
  • The focus and recompose method will not suffice most of the time. If you've have microadjust, put that to use.
  • It doesn't zoom, it just does bokeh and does it well. Sharp enough for my general purpose.
  • It's not a zoom lens so get ready to move those feet :) This is a very nice prime lens and if you are a beginner like me, this lens should definitely be in your collection.
  • Though technically not a macro lens since the minimum focal length is 18 inches, you can still achieve some very nice close-up images.
  • Crisp focus with zero adjustment needed and AI servo through 10 frame run and all spot on in focus.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Telephoto Lens
  • Focuses really fast... almost every time.
  • All time manual focus it's a great feature on this lens. You'll need it when the camera fails to focus because of the extremely thin focus plane. It happens when you go from a near object (3 ft or so) to a distant one or viceversa.
  • The bokeh is delicious, and you can definately isolete subjects!
  • The auto focus is very quick, with the option to override if I don't like it! I love that! The pictures are crisp and clear! It has great Bokeh!
  • No Image Stabilization, so you'll need to work on your pulse. But again, all fast primes lack IS, and I think that's great about them.
  • You will need to zoom with your feet(move closer or farther away from your subject).
Brand Compatibility
Sensor Type Compatibility
Lens Groups and Elements
7 Elements in 6 Groups
9 elements in 7 groups
Number of Aperture Blades
Filter Diameter
58 millimeters
58 millimeters
Ultrasonic autofocus motor (USM), The ultimate mixture of versatility and image quality, Super Spectra coating, Smooth background blur
Ultrasonic motor (USM) ensures smooth, precise focusing, Medium telephoto lens gets you closer to your subject
What customers say about "Features"
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens for Canon DSLRs
  • Great product. If you are rocking a cropped sensor also consider the 35mm f/2. Both great for the money, the 35mm on the cropped sensor will look a lot like this lens on a full.
  • This lens is a lot of fun to play around with. It takes excellent pictures and the 1.4 aperture creates jaw-dropping pictures in dark scenarios. For an amateur photographer, this is a really cool feature.
  • The prime focus is very very sharp. I think that is my favorite feature about the lens.
  • Now the canon 50mm 1.4 I bought brand new in amazon some time ago and take very special care with because I know the USM motor is very sensitive and gets damaged with any little bump and if you twist to hard on a filter you can damage as well .
  • The front element is recessed well and serves like a hood. Fully focused to infinity, the front barrel is completely flush. However, if you add on a filter, that filter ring will jutt out a little. I happened to have dropped the lens once on the filter.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Telephoto Lens
  • Internal and FTM focusing - no extending/retracting parts when focusing, and it has full-time manual focus so you don't have to switch to MF to use the focus ring.
  • Inexpensive for what it is. I actually prefer this lens over Nikon's new 85mm f/1.8G, which is significantly more expensive but doesn't have as fast AF and is made in China.
  • U/V protection with a front filter is a must - as this is a large expanse of glass you do not want to expose to the elements. Coated U/V avoids any possible green tint refracted off the front element of the lens which has been a problem for other users.
  • The AF/Manual switch is in a reasonable location, close to the camera body. There is a range indication on the barrel of the lens behind a transparent window which serves to keep dust and debris out of the workings of the lens.
  • Tendency to attract internal dust. You would think that an internally focusing prime lens would not have many dust problems, but it turns out that the rear element has gaps that allows dust to get in quite easily but not come out.
Warranty / Certifications
Manufacturer Warranty
1 year(s)
1 year(s)
Other Information

Price History

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