Canon 50mm Focus Problem

Two feet away - focus looks great!

canon 50mm focus problem 2 feet

Four feet away - slight back focus ...

canon 50mm focus problem 4 feet

Seven feet away - focus is pretty bad

canon 50mm focus problem 7 feet

Ten feet away - focus is wayyyy off

canon 50mm focus problem 10 feet

I recently acquired a Canon 50mm F/1.4 lens and was excited to do some low-light shooting. It's amazing how fast of shutter speeds you can get with this lens, especially if you bump the ISO. However, my first shots came back pretty fuzzy, so I decided to see if there was a focus problem with this Canon lens.

As can be seen in the pictures to the left (click on them to see the full-res originals) the focus is very accurate for very close pictures like two feet. However, the farther away I moved, the worst it back-focused ... and it becomes a considerable amount even at less than 10'. Again, click on the images to see the full-res originals where it's very evident that the focus is off.

All pictures at F/1.4 and high shutter speeds, handheld using center point focus. The results were extremely repeatable ... and when I put the 85mm f/1.8 lens on the same camera, focus was dead on at all distances.

I.e. I think my testing methodology is sound and I even tried cleaning the lens and closing down the shutter a bit - same results. Something is wrong with this lens.

Send 50mm Lens to Canon for Focus Repair

June 26th, 2007: I filled out an online repair request at Canon.Com where they estimate it will cost $93 to repair. Based on my previous experience, that should accurate and they do a good job pretty quickly. If anyone from Canon happens to be reading this, the Repair Order Number is WB261579 and the lens serial number #6300669F. It came back much improved ... but it still doesn't seem as razor-sharp at distances as I think (?) it could be ... but my expectations may be a bit high. It is much better now and is my go-to lens for low light.