I have the 50mm F1.8, 50mm F1.4 (until it broke... three times) and Sigma 30mm F1.4
The sigma is nice but it's a huge chunk of glass, the 50mm takes a lot of babbying to get a decent picture (need to stop it down about) plus the 50mm focal length is very challenging especially inside.
I look at the 40mm as a 50mm on training wheels. It's not too fast (focus can be challenging at F1.4 or even F1.8), it's decent wide open so you don't need to stop it down, and with the wider FOV you have a bit more flexibility than the 50mm.
The nice thing is, it's from Amazon, which has a good rep for returns if it does not work out.
There's a lot of good information above, but one thing I want to add: Canon has two versions of USM. I believe they are called ring and micro USM. If you can afford it, stay away from the micro usm. My 50mm F1.4 was a breaky POS. Google it. It's a popular lens with decent IQ but the focusing mechanism is pretty fragile.
That L lens has this focal length and aperture covered. Not sure why he would also get this, unless he wants to carry a lighter lens but this won't be as versatile.
True...the reason i am considering getting it for him is that his age...he is 83 yrs old and going to be doing alot of walking in Europe(vacation) next month though versatility will be compromised from this lens. He also will be carrying a tripod too.
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