How to get the most from your EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens

The 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is a fantastic lens to use for shots with out of focus backgrounds/foregrounds. In order to get the most out of this lens, it should be used for Medium shots or Close ups only. It isn't the right lens to use for wide shots as you won't get a properly in focus shot. The advantage of this lens is that you can make a subject appear in focus while the background appears out of focus (and vice versa), which creates a very satisfying visual look (perfect for most DSLR cameras).

As well as being a fantastic lens to use for medium/close up shots for characters, it is also a great lens to use for cutaway shots. The best way to use this lens for cutaways is for slowly pulling focus on an object. For example, lets say I want to have a cutaway, close up shot of a flower. The best way to use this lens would be to set up the shot (with the focus on the part of the plant closest to the camera) and to pull focus to the part of the flower furthest away from the lens (or vice versa).

Another great way to use this lens when filming characters is to play around with what is and isn't in focus. For example, in "Lawrence of Arabia", the famous mirage scene when Omar Sharif appears, shows Omar (for the most part) as being out of focus. This therefore focusses the audiences attention on him with there being not much movement from Peter O'Toole in the foreground. In this respect, it opens up new creative opportunities to a filmmaker in how to play out a scene and the relationship between what is happening in the foreground, and what is happening in the background and how this affects the impact of a scene/shot.

All in all, this lens not only works brilliantly on a DSLR camera by creating fantastic looking shots, but it also opens up new creative avenues for filmmakers in how to shoot a scene and get the best impact possible.