The type of photography that you are planning to use is an important decision factor. Here we have evaluated the Canon 50mm f1.4 USM and the Canon 40mm f2.8 STM for their suitability to various photography scenarios:
Size and Weight Comparison
The size of a lens is an important deciding factor when comparing two lenses. Canon 50mm f1.4 USM is the longer of the two lenses at 51mm. The Canon 40mm f2.8 STM with a length of 22mm, is 29mm shorter. Besides being longer, the Canon 50mm f1.4 USM also has a larger diameter of 74mm compared to the Canon 40mm f2.8 STM's 68mm diameter.
The weight of a lens is as important as its external dimensions, especially if you are planning to hand hold your camera and lens combination for longer periods. Canon 40mm f2.8 STM weighs 130g, 55% (160g) lighter than the Canon 50mm f1.4 USM's weight of 290g.
Below you can find the dimension and weight table of the Standard Prime Lenses in Canon EF Mount for size comparison purposes.
Standard Prime Lenses in Canon EF Mount for Size Comparison
Both the Canon 50mm f1.4 USM and the Canon 40mm f2.8 STM has the same Canon EF lens mount. Some of the latest released cameras that are compatible with the Canon EF lenses are Canon 1D X III, Canon 6D MII and Canon 5D MIV.
Canon 50mm f1.4 USM is a prime lens with fixed focal lenght of 50mm. When it is mounted on an APS-C sensor camera with 1.6x crop, it provides a 35mm (FF) equivalent of 80mm.
Canon 40mm f2.8 STM is a prime lens with fixed focal lenght of 40mm. When it is mounted on an APS-C sensor camera with 1.6x crop, it provides a 35mm (FF) equivalent of 64mm.