The Canon EF 50 1.4USM is possibly the best bang for the buck in the entire EF mount lens system! Fast, quiet focusing and when stoped down two or three stops nothing short of my old EF 135 2L USM or EF 200 1.8L USM lenses are sharper on film or FF EOS 1Ds mkXX bodies. If you can't produce incredible images with this lens get a point and shoot. If you do not use a 50mm prime regularly the EF 50 1.8 II lens while not quite as sharp when stopped down to optimum aperture is very, very close. You will need an EOS 1Ds mkIII or 5D mkII and/or fine grain chromes to see the difference though. The down side to the EF 50 1.8 II is noisier, much slower focusing and really cheap construction which shouts "HANDLE ME VERY CAREFULLY OR YOU'LL BREAK ME." I mean REALLY cheap. I've owned several examples of both the EF 50 1.4USM, EF 50 1.8 mkI and mkII lenses and they were all excellent shooting lenses. I currently only have an Ef 50 1.4USM for its great image quality, lens speed, much better focus speed, low noise and construction quality. I use it all the time on my EOS 1N, EOS 1D, EOS 1Ds/MkII bodies.
This is the second 70-200 mm lenses for me, I returned the first after a couple of weeks because I could not get a sharp image from it. The replacement lens was much better, but I at the time, I still rated it as the least sharp of the three lenses I own. I couldn't see what all the hype over L series lenses was all about. A funny thing happened though, the more I have used this lens, the sharper it has gotten. The auto-focus has sped up, and become quieter as well. Now, I rate this as the sharpest of the three lenses, although the auto-focus is still slower and louder than the other two lenses. Why that is, I don't know, but this lens has gone from producing OK photos, to some mind blowingly sharp photos at times. I have found that when using this lens near the limits of its close focusing capabilities, I have to switch to live view and focus manually to get the awesome sharpness this lens is capable of. I can use the servo mode of auto-focus to come close to that, one shot auto-focus produces variable results, usually not good. At more typical working distances, this lens is blowing me away with the sharpness, color, contrast, and color saturation, but it was if it had to be broken in to get to this point. It's now producing photos so good that I can't imagine how the photos could be any better, and that's saying a lot. The photos are so sharp that you can "see" the texture of a bird's feathers, or the scales of a butterfly's wings. There's a lot to love about this lens, like the fact that it doesn't change length when you zoom it, it stays set at whatever focal length you set for when using it near vertical, it's fairly light for it's focal length, and most of all, the photos that it can produce. I use this lens on a 60D body, and apparently, there are differences in the way that lenses and bodies perform together. I purchased a second 60D body two weeks ago, and used this lens on the second body for a week, and the difference in the accuracy of the auto-focus is very noticeable, much better with body number two than the first. One more thing, I purchased the non IS version, it works fine for me, but I would recommend the IS version, even though it is more expensive. I wished that I had done so. My other two lenses have it, and you don't know how much you will like something until you try it. So, overall, this lens has a lot going for it, I have learned how to get some incredibly sharp images from it, I love it. But, I think that Canon should do a better job of making all their lenses work 100% with all their bodies, 100% of the time.
I purchased this lens for my G5, in addition to my most favorite Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. These two combination of lenses covers mostly everything I want to shoot. I'm a semi professional nature photographer who normally use Canon camera body. I did not expect much from this telephoto lens when I purchased it rather than to reach some subject to shoot, but I was blown away by its image quality. Using this lens makes astrophotography/wild bird photography so much easier as it just gives me superior image without trying that much! This lens is fantastic for any nature photography, and it can also act as macro lens when shooting flowers and trees. Bokeh is really nice though widest aperture is f/4.0. To be able to have 600mm reach with this size of lens is so convenient for outdoor/travel photography. Can't do without it!
I have been using the Nikon camera and lens system for the past 25 years. I mainly used this Nikon AF 28-300 mm for travel photography. It is enough for most wide angle and telephoto shots. It is heavy though but built tough.
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