clarzzy 4:38am, 14 April 2010
Hey guys,

I've recently had a problem with my 50mm 1.4 (Perhaps it was because i dropped it while it was in my camera bag, it was probably just a thud, and it was left on MF), and the next day when I wanted to use it... it won't focus. When trying manual focus, it makes a crunching sound.

Took it to Canon HQ and found out the focus ring must've broken or slipped. They had quoted me around $250-$350 to fix, which was pretty much the cost of a brand new lens... + 6 months extra warranty.

So after much contemplation and quoting around, we went ahead with it. and Now it feels as good as new.

I'm so paranoid about it screwing up again, and not sure if it is a common problem with the 50mm 1.4..? and how I can avoid it...? I mean it was a really light thud in the camera bag. It just seems so fragile..

It's just too expensive to fix.... perhaps not worth reselling..

Quite disappointed with the quality of the lens really :(
Stan Olszewski 6 years ago
Its common for the 1.4. Get a hood and leave it on all the time.
Menehune12 6 years ago
I'm worried about this as well. How long have you had your lens?
clarzzy 6 years ago
oh hood... sounds like a good idea

i've had mine for 1.5 years, I guess just have to leave it on MF after using it? so it won't easily break the focus ring..
domhay [deleted] 6 years ago
@Menehune12: Which hood would you recommend and how will a hood protect it from knocks?
Stan Olszewski 6 years ago
@Clarzzy: I don't know if leaving it on MF will reduce the chance of it breaking. Here's a couple of threads about AF problems:

@Domhay: The lens focuses externally. The whole AF mechanism is pretty fragile. Bumps can damage the slides, so putting a hood that uses the bayonet mount will prevent contact to the moving AF parts.
laelsnail13 6 years ago
Well I have a feeling it maybe just a problem with the lens in general.

I got my lens fixed around 1 month ago, I got given it broken by a friend and it was the focus ring that was broken.

I used it for around 3 weeks and then next time i went to use it it wouldn't go, it wouldn't focus and made a weird noise and the barrel kinda just clunked when i tried to focus.

I took it back and sent them an email at the same time asked why it broke again and is this just going to keep happening again etc .

Canon just called and said that the focus ring had dislocated... how on earth can this happen from just sitting on the bench??

I asked the lady who called who all of the above but she was just the receptionist and wasn't happy to answer and would let me speak to the tech, so insisted that someone respond to my email..

We will see what happens... and if it breaks again
The_Catcher_Photography [deleted] 6 years ago
I love this lens,but I have to admit that if I had read the reviews about how often the Auto Focus breaks, I would have bought an extended Warranty when I purchased it new. I'm not much of a Warranty guy unless really needed.

So for example if you buy a new Chrysler mini van, best to buy the extended warranty given the rep. but I didn't know the rep of the 1.4, oh well live and learn.
Medi Irawan 6 years ago
which Canon HQ did you take it to?

that happened to me almost a year ago, I took mine to Samy's (in Los Angeles,CA) and they sent it to Canon HQ in Irvine,CA.
The mechanic said it's the common issue of that lens so he gave me estimate of no more than $200 otherwise I'd better off get the new one.

When I got it back a week later, it feels like I got a new one. They cleaned the glasses and replaced the ring and only cost me $190 total(+handling+tax).
I love this lens and actually don't mind to buy a new one if I have to.
Stan Olszewski 6 years ago
Catcher, that's exactly what I did. I bought my 50 through BH and got their offered 2 year protection plan for ~$30.
laelsnail13 6 years ago
Well after all that and all my protesting and emailing it turned out to be a different problem, the zoom was dislocated, so im not sure how that happened, but I ended up talking to a manger who said that he would guarantee the parts in or out of warranty....
And not having to pay anything on the repair.
Maybe it had something to do with me sending my email from my Sony work address..... =P
Lens is working awesomely now =)
Stan Olszewski 6 years ago
Congrats. Bumping it out of the track can be caused from a hit (like the one you mentioned in the first post). Get a lens hood and enjoy!
Maxime Wojtczak 6 years ago
This issue is indeed a crap.
Some people managed to fix it themselves. Did it once, cause I didn't want to pay another 150€ (yeah, 150€) to fix it back a few monthes after a first repair, and since then it focuses nicely on AM (the ring is still a bit hard, but it is still working).
I really don't understand why they have built such a fragile lens, albeit its awesome image quality.

If you're interested (and a bit adventurous) :

It's not that difficult finally.
gogovivi 6 years ago
I sent mine to the Beijing, China Canon repair center for broken AF. They replaced the the focus ring. I thought it was expensive at about $90 USD to repair! I see now that I got a bargain!
K. Shreesh 6 years ago
I had dropped the lens and the focusing ring was cracked. It was focusing the shorter distances but not focusing at infinity. Just got repaired from Canon India after almost 60 days and now working perfectly OK. It costed me $170 US with 6 months warranty.
Aleksey P 4 years ago
I just repaired it myself last night. It's a fairly simple procedure. Used this as a guide:

Had to take it apart twice to make adjustments. Works like a charm now both AF/MF close and far. About 2 - 2 1/2 hours of work going at an easy pace. Used a bench vise to correct the deformation in the helicoid.

If you're an orderly person you should have no problem making this fix yourself. Large part of the fee seems to be for peace of mind, as the fix itself is not particularly tricky.

It is a serious design flaw on Canon's part, I believe the L version of the lens is metal rather than plastic which makes it more durable, but I imagine even the metal gets deformed at some point too.
Patrick D. Harrington 4 years ago
I have a similar problem with my copy of this lens, it appears to be a very common problem contrary to what I was very rudely and dismissively told by Canon's tech support. Oddly enough I also know a 50mm 1.8 user who had a similar failure?? guess this lens really isn't the huge leap up in quality that we're lead to believe it is.. Mine fails to focus manually or auto in the range between 2 - 5 ft. from 5ft to infinity the manual ring works, sort of. I may repair this lens or just opt to replace it with the much sharper ( and rumored ) much better built Sigma 50mm 1.4. I have other Canon lenses I love, the big disappointment with this lens isn't as much that it is so cheaply made, it's that it is so widely boasted about with total lack of information about it's prohibitively fragile construction. I loved the speed of this lens in low light but I would never have knowingly bought such a poorly constructed lens for this kind of money, this type of failure is to be expected from the $150 Plastic 50mm 1.8, but for over $500 with tax I expect a little more in terms of durability.
Pearldopman 4 years ago
I had similar problems with focus stopping at about 1 1/2 metres after a year's use and out of guarantee. Canon engineer said he had never heard of any problems with this lens - the standard cloned reply to criticism of Canon quality. Cost me £108 for a repair, which is to be expected, but then, going home, I get caught in a police radar trap doing 36mph in a 30 zone and have to stump up another £80 for a speed rehabilitation course - doh!
image23 4 years ago
I had very similar problems with my 50mm F1.4. I took it too my local shop and they said it could cost £180 to fix!!! After a scout round online it became clear it was a very common prob with this lens and I found lots of useful info on how to fix it. After two attempts it is now up and running again!

I wrote a blog post about how I did this for anyone interested...

Fixing a stuck focus ring on a Canon 50mm f1.4
cadd PRO 4 years ago
the general gist of this thread appears to be "I dropped my lens and now it doesn't work, Canon are clearly to blame"
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