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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
173 323388 Sep 3, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
81% of reviewers $1,420.40
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.39
7.03
8.7
ef50lusm

Specifications:
The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a peerless new standard lens featuring an ultra-large aperture for a narrow depth of field and soft background blur so loved by photographers everywhere. The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is suitable for any shooting situation; its lens coating and construction are optimized to minimize the ghosting and flare that frequently occurs when lenses are used with digital cameras. This high-performance, weather-resistant lens delivers all the superb image resolution and contrast you expect in a Canon L Series Lens.

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Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 50mm f/1.2

Lens Construction: 8 elements in 6 groups

Diagonal Angle of View: 46° (with full-frame cameras)

Focus Adjustment: AF with full-time manual

Closest Focusing Distance: 1.48 ft. / 0.45m

Filter Size: 72mm

Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.4 in. x 2.6 in./85.4mm x 65.5mm 19.2 oz./545g (lens only)


 


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Greenmarine
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Registered: Sep 17, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Sep 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: effect of narrow DOF combined with OOF bokeh, sharpness @large f's (if focussed correctly), overall build quality (weather sealing)
Cons:
plastic filter thread & hood mount, some OOF CA, a bit pricey for a "normal"

after much debating due to the many negative reviews I decided to "bite the bullet" & buy one of these, coz I love the challenge of “normal” focal length on FF (5Dii) but hate the f1.4 version I had up to now. I was lucky to be able to choose the best one out of 3 copies (all UY code)

the razor thin DOF / sharpness @large apertures & the beautiful bokeh of this glass give pictures a unique, dreamy, 3 dimensional look which is absolutely amazing !

would like to share my experiences on the 2 hot topics I’ve read about so much here: “focus accuracy & -shift”:

I really needed to (re)learn how to focus with this lens: you gotta be extremely careful where to place the focus point (normally using the central one): I only get correct focus consistently if the highest contrast within the coverage of the focus point is also the part I want to have sharp in the picture. before realizing this I was “randomly” getting “back” or “front” focus shots !

I only experienced only slight focus shift, but it remains within the increasing DOF (when stopping down w/o refocusing)

concluding, I can only highly recommend this lens but you will need to work hard for top results ;-) !

PS: all three copies I tried out had the same focus behavior, only one needed +1 micro adjustment & there was a slight variation in sharpness between them (only visible in direct comparison)


Sep 18, 2010
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michael valeri
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Registered: Nov 28, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 24
Review Date: Sep 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,099.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Colour rendition, Contrast, Build quality & Bokeh to die for ; )
Cons:
OMG the Price ha ha!!!

Well you have all the read the negative reviews & just like you I was put off. I bought a sigma 50mm f1.4 & for the price it was good, however it seemed to focus shift at times. So I exchanged it within 14 days & bit the bullet to give the canon 50mm f1.2L a try. Everything seemed just that little bit better, focus, colour rendition, contrast & smoooooth bokeh.
I have tested it & mine is perfect straight out the box (I'll have to buy a lottery ticket ha ha) Anyway back to the good stuff. At 1.2 mine sharp & very useable, I would say its the best 50mm out there from 1.2 -2.8 hands down. The quality of the images this baby can capture, will make you fall in love with 50 focal range all over again. It has a very unique quality about it, goes with being an "L" series I guess, so in the end you'll cry hard at your empty wallet & live to take life one photograph at a time.

Buy it & have fun ; )


Sep 10, 2010
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mino3x
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Registered: Sep 5, 2010
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,490.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, bokeh rendetion, colour
Cons:
none

I am happy with the result given by this lens.

After considering and trying the 50mm/f1.4 one for cheaper price, I think this lens worth the price. Build quality, AF speed and rendetion is just many times as great compared to the cheaper one.

My build code is UY and I didn't experience any shift focus issue.


Sep 6, 2010
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311erin
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Registered: Sep 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 158
Review Date: Jun 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Bokeh, contrast, overall look of the pictures taken with this lens. Lightweight, general purpose, low light, all around lens.
Cons:
Not as sharp as my 85 1.2 II at 1.2, but pretty close.

I am on my second copy of this lens, because that is how much I like this focal length and the results this lens gives me. I park my 85 1.2 II in the bag and choose this lens 90% of the time. I just bought a newer UY version and sold my UW version, taking a gamble there would be an improvement after two years, and I am glad I did. Not that the UW was the worst, just that it was always lacking some sharpness. I tried two copies when I bought the UW and both were the same, but when I brought the UY home I couldn't believe my eyes, huge difference in sharpness. Also the UW was never a good match with my 1DsMKIII, with a microfocus adjust of -20, I never felt comfortable. The UY is zero adjustment, and the sharpness is a very noticeable improvement. People love or hate this lens, and my only recommendation would be go out and shoot your subject matter with it before you believe all the negativity surrounding this lens. Judge for yourself.

Jun 13, 2010
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Liquidpics
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Registered: Jun 14, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1107
Review Date: Jun 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: After reading about rumors that recent copies of this lens being revamped I went out and got another one because any 1.2 in my book deserves a second shot....I have to report that it appears to be true! No "focus shift" that I have noticed on my copy and I can actually see no difference in IQ quality and AF performance compared to my 85L. My date code is UY**
Cons:
Older copies, including one I tried and returned reportedly had focusing issues.

An awesome lens that deserves to be a be added to the 35L 85L and 135L holy fraternity.

Jun 11, 2010
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highway0691
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Registered: Dec 14, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, challenges the user, Build quality.
Cons:
Zero

There's no doubt that this lens is just fantastic. I've just shot 350 images at a wedding (hours ago) and after viewing them I am so stoked. Yes - it takes skill to use this lens, it not for the point & shooter. Focusing is challenging and the DOF is extremely shallow at 1.2 I would say that I nailed the focusing in 80% of the shots compared to about 90% with 17- 55 2.8 IS. I read volumes on this lens before buying it and quiet frankly I am amazed at how how some people have given it the thumbs down. I must say that I am using it on a 5D2 which it seems well paired to. The quality of some of my shots is I would say the best I've ever done at weddings and I've only used it once. I'm perhaps a bit over-excited about this lens but it really is the best thing I've done for my wedding photography. My only tip is you must really consider the shallow DOF when wide open and also you must really pay extra attention to focus - which we should be doing all the time anyway, some lenses make us lazy in this respect esp wider angle zoom lenses. The discipline this lens requires from the shooter is evident but it will make a better photographer of me for that reason.

May 29, 2010
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spectral7
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Registered: Jan 9, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 53
Review Date: May 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: construction, bokeh, AF speed, contrast, smooth focusing ring
Cons:
cost

Great lens overall. I had a Sigma 50/1.4 for a year before buying this. The optics are similar, but I like the L's bokeh and contrast better. The AF on the L is definitely better - faster and with no hesitation, which the Sigma usually does. The focusing ring is a pleasure to use, very smooth and with much greater travel than the Sigma. I have not had any issues with focus shift. It has a bit of chromatic aberration, both lateral and longitudinal, but that's not unexpected for an ultra-fast lens.

May 5, 2010
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willis
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Registered: Jul 23, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 472
Review Date: Mar 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic colours and bokeh, build quality, sharper than its given credit for at wide apertures. Closer MFD than 85L.
Cons:
Soft edges on FF wide open, LoCA. No sharper than 50 1.4 at apertures smaller than f2.8. Lots of internet noise about focus shift. Vignetting. Expensive for a standard lens

Buying this lens was a leap of faith for me but I'm very pleased with it on FF, APSH and APSC formats.
It has the best colour rendition of any lens I've used and the bokeh is really smooth, similar to 85LII. The much talked about focus-shift problems just haven't been a problem for my uses. LoCA is its biggest optical limitation but it shares this with most other very fast lenses. The other optical flaw is heavy vignetting wide open but thats easily fixed so not of great concern.
I tried several sigma 50mm F1.4 before giving up due to focus problems. The 50L worked straight out of the box with no MA on 1DIII and 7D.
This lens is all about bokeh and low light IQ - if you value these then look no further.


Mar 10, 2010
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Igor N
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Registered: May 30, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Review Date: Mar 6, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: sharpness, saturation, contrast, f1.2, build quality
Cons:
price

This lens has suffered some really harsh reviews in the past both by expert reviews as well as by the public on the forums. Reading the reviews it seems like from mid 2009 they all started to turn around and the reports of focus shifting and blurry images have slowly dies down. Has Canon really responded to bad press and changed its production to a new set of higher quality? We’ll never know but I do wish all those, just like me, who really like the idea of this lens but never bought it because of the bad press do give it a go as it is worth the risk. The lens is excellent.

I posted my own detailed review on http://www.ignphotography.com/2010/03/review-canon-ef-50mm-f1-2-l-usm-lens/ and you can see a short video review on Youtube by following this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fge2IpSUq-A


Mar 6, 2010
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t_streng
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Registered: Jan 25, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 665
Review Date: Feb 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: OOF-rendering, solid lens, contrast, speed
Cons:
CA when shooting between f1.2 and f2.8 on a 7d, price

I bought this lens as a portrait lens on the 7d.
I tried the 50/1.4 but it did not seem as smooth (bokeh) IMO as the images I had seen from the 50/1.2 and the 50/1.4 showed strong CA in contrasty areas of the images on the 7d.
Overall I like the 50/1.2mm for its smooth rendering, my sample does not seem to suffer much from focus shift problems (I had however to do some micro AF adjustment in my camera for this lens).
However the 50/1.2 also does show the CA problem in contrasty scenes. The problem is gone around f4.0.
I am not so concerned though since for the intended use (portraits like images) I dont see the CA as a big problem.
I wonder if this problem is much more pronounced on the high pixel density 7d camerad compared to FF.
Dont know.
Anyways, overall I really enjoy the lens. DOF is pretty shallow at f1.2, definatly as shallow as I would want to go. So nobody tell me a crop camera is not good for shallow DOF.


Feb 23, 2010
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photosbyjay
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Registered: Oct 12, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 22, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Really sharp even at 1.2, "L" quality colour, creamy smooth bokeh
Cons:
Strong purple/green fringeing (see samples)

I've rented older copies of this lens and my own copy has just arrived this morning. Date code is UY0107, so made January 2010. I've taken a handful of test shots in my back yard on the 5DMkII and have had no problems with focus or sharpness. Older rented copies were extremely glowy and soft at 1.2, but this one is razor sharp at 1.2, even when viewed at 100%. It seems as though they've fixed sharpness/focussing issues in the new copies.

Here are some 100% unsharpened straight out of camera JPGs that I took this morning (Standard picture style, medium jpeg). Notice in the peg photo that the peg is very sharp and has a very slight but acceptable glow. There's also very noticeable green/purple fringing in that shot, either side of the in-focus peg.

http://www.photosbyjay.com.au/images/50l/50-1.jpg
http://www.photosbyjay.com.au/images/50l/50-2.jpg
http://www.photosbyjay.com.au/images/50l/50-3.jpg
http://www.photosbyjay.com.au/images/50l/50-4.jpg
http://www.photosbyjay.com.au/images/50l/50-5.jpg

Overall I'm very excited to see what kind of damage this lens will do at my next wedding, especially now that I have confidence that wide open images will be sharp.



Feb 22, 2010
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Dietr
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Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Feb 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,549.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Color, Bokeh, Contrast
Cons:
Color Fringing, Price

For a cropped sensor camera this is the Portrait lens to own. Middle of image is sharp right from the start. Stopped down to 2.0 on this lens is RAZOR SHARP and the bokeh only gets more beautiful. My only real complaint is the CA's. They are unreasonable in a high contrast situation to about 2.8. This is not a problem with most portraiture...but this becomes a major problem for landscape or black and white photography. I recently purchased a 5d ii and an 85 1.2 to go with it. This lens is a much better lens as far as CA's go but the focus is much slower. It also does not focus as close as the 50mm. But all in all once the 50 is stopped down a little it is amazing. Mine was UX Date code. No focus issues.

Feb 13, 2010
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Igor N
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Registered: May 30, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jan 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f1.2, bokeh, sharp, contrast, saturation, build
Cons:
price (in Europe especially), size

Either Canon stepped up QC or people who gave terrible reviews of this lens do not know what they are talking about. The lens date is UX in this case, so it is produced in '09.

I got this lens just recently after years of deliberation caused by two important factors - cost and negative reviews. Is it really that much of an improvement over Canon's excellent plastic-fantastic f1.4? In short the answer is yes.

After loading the initial set of photos onto my mac and opening them up on the large screen my jaw dropped at how amazing the output of this glass is.

Fully open and in low light the lens paints a very beautiful picture. Soft & buttery with a glow.

It is perfect size and weight for my 5d even though my father calls it The Onion. It is perfect for grabbing with one hand and the weight counter balances the weight of the camera body really nicely. Focusing ring is stiff-ish but very precise. I wish Canon made it more like Zeiss and Leica, metal and silky but...

I think that comparison between plastic-fantastic f1.4 is a fair one to make, not at all apples and oranges. This is not the question of different animals but class of animal and the L wins on all fronts.

Think it is expensive? Go into a Leica shop, check the prices of Summicron (f2), Summilux (f1.4) or Noctilux (f0.95) and you'll soon be cured of such silly thoughts ;-)

In summary, if you 'live' in large apertures, love manual focus or need a reliable sturdy build then you simply must get this wonderful lens.


Jan 27, 2010
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bocaminus
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Registered: Apr 19, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 493
Review Date: Jan 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness,heavenly bokeh,built
Cons:
price

In the past 4-5 years I think I've tried all 50mm primes that will fit Canon DSLR. Leica and Zeiss were awesome, Canon 1.8 and 1.4 didn't disappoint and Sigma was pretty good too. Then came 50L ... I don't know if I was just lucky enough to buy a stupid sharp copy or maybe Canon improved something in the past couple of years but I can say that this lens coupled with 5DMII is a dream combination. I have no focusing issues what so ever and the lens is darn accurate and sharp even wide open. Highly recommended!!!

Jan 5, 2010
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archiegonzalez
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Registered: Jul 20, 2009
Location: Philippines
Posts: 3
Review Date: Jan 3, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, contrast
Cons:
None so far.

Either the newer batches are much better made or it's a perfect match for the 5D Mark II. I recently fell in love with Canon L prime lenses. I got the 24LII, the 35L, the 85LII and the 135L.

I have been going back and forth in purchasing this lens due to the reviews and all bad rep it's been getting over the web. However, after not getting satisfied by the 50 f/1.8, 2 copies of the 50 f/1.4 and the Sigma 50 f/1.4, I decided to try this out since I really love the 50 mm perspective but the lenses I tried didn't quite cut it.

I didn't have any problem since day one. Very sharp, no focus shift, everything is spot on. I highly recommend this lens.


Jan 3, 2010
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Steve Frank
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Registered: Aug 2, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Dec 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality is unique, low light capability, great bokeh, great build quality
Cons:
none

I have used this lens for a year now and it is my most used lens. At any give wedding I take around 60% to 70% of my shots with it. As with all of my lenses, I do MA on my 5DII and 50D. It was necessary to learn how to use this lens because of shallow dof. Once I learned how to use it I have had no focus problems. The way I shoot at weddings, the focus shift has not been a problem. I have shot with 50 1.4 and 50 1.8, the color contrast and bokeh of this lens is far superior to those. It has a look that is unique and beautiful.

Dec 19, 2009
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
173 323388 Sep 3, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
81% of reviewers $1,420.40
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.39
7.03
8.7
ef50lusm


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