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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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180 345258 Jul 8, 2016
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81% of reviewers $1,399.44
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.34
6.91
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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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: 519
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: 10
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: 543
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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wimg
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Registered: May 8, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 143
Review Date: Dec 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, both in fore- and background, F/1.2, flare resistance - there is nothing better than this lens out there -, great at macro with extensione tube(s), excellent low light lens, very accurate AF, essentially a specialty lens which doubles as a FF standard lens.
Cons:
Price :), occasional missed shot on 40D and 5D Classic, potentially perseverance required to get a good specimen. Slightly soft corners at F/1.2.

When I got into low light photography with a vengeance, a few years ago, I went for an 85 F/1.8 and 28 F/1.8 first. This because I couldn't find a great 50 F/1.4, for close to MFD shots at F/1.4 to F/2. After testing about 30 different 50 mm lenses, I went for a 50 F/1.8 Mk I, for the time being. No 50 F/1.4 of any brand, MF alt or Canon, was IMO good at F/1.4 to F/2.8, especially not when close to MFD.

I also tested 3 different 50Ls in that period, and didn't like the problems with these lenses when focusing close, from MFD to about 1.5 - 1.8 m, at apertures from F/1.4 to F/2.5. However, everything in the area within DoF, looked really incredible, unlike any other lens I had seen. I knew I had to find a "good one".

A year later I had tested another two, both of which showed some "standard" backfocus, one of about 4 cm at all distances and apertures, the other of about 2 cm. That was the one I ended up buying. Another few months went by, and by then I couldn't stand the backfocus anymore, both on 40D and 5D. So off it went, to Canon. It eventually came back, a little better, only about 1 cm of backfocus left, which did get lost in DoF at distances further away and smaller apertures.

Testing my other fast lenses I found that all of them had some backfocus, and none of the slower ones had. Off to Canon again, with 40D, 5D and a bunch of fast primes. They were all fixed, including the 50L. I did notice the occasional problem with the 50L, where the AF would miss a shot completely, more so on 40D than on 5D. Regardless, SOOC the pics were stunning. BTW, the focus shift of this lens is about 1/6 of DoF maximum, at F/2, less below and above, not present from about F/2.5 anymore. Note that my 85L II has approximately 1/4 DoF of focus shift at F/2. Also note that this is both within AF parameters for fast lenses with F/2.8 AF point according to Canon specs Smile.

Next came the 5D II. And in the 8 months of shooting the 5D II, the 50L has easily become my most used lens on this camera. This combo really sings. No more missed shots either, except for obvious user error Smile.

Fast focusing, very accurate, in the lowest of lights, great at macro, landscapes, portraits, party, street, it has become my #1 go to lens.

Very highly recommended, even though it may need some perseverance to get a good specimen. It is fully worth it IMO.


Dec 6, 2009
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Haken
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Registered: Oct 23, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 17
Review Date: Nov 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, 50 focal length, build, 1.2
Cons:
none

Just got this lens after a few weeks of returning the 35L.
I find that My style of shooting suits a 50mm focal length more. This lens is just dreamy at 1.2 although DOF is very thin as many of you already know. I have no issues with focus shift on my 5DII. To me it seems sharp wide open and very sharp once you step down to 2. I tried the Sigma 1.4 and decided I would pay the extra $1000 for Canon quality and "L"uxury. My first copy of the Sigma I tried at the store had focus issue and wb issue. This is definitely the Bentley of 50mm. This lens stays on my camera 90% of the time.


Nov 28, 2009
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24-70
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Registered: Nov 19, 2008
Location: N/A
Posts: 26
Review Date: Nov 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed, Bokeh, Contrast, Color, Weather sealing
Cons:
Cost, Sharpness

As with others, I debated on this lens due to numerous negative reports concerning focusing issues. My worries were unjustified, at least with my copy. Focusing is dead on using my 5D at any distance and does not seem to vary between shots. As is my habit with the 85II, I always use the central focusing point for wide open shots and have not had a problem yet. It does back focus slightly (but much less than my 24-70) at close distances on my 1DII, but again it is consistent.

In pixel peeping at short distances shots of a printed page, it is a little soft, improving up to about f 2.0. However, in real world photography I find it very sharp and use it at 1.2 where ever possible.

Highly rated. I think it complements the 85 and 135 nicely for a combination of fast lenses. Take the plunge!





Nov 28, 2009
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Kliff
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Registered: Nov 24, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 1
Review Date: Nov 24, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: Image quality (if you can focus) pleasant bokeh, fast aperture
Cons:
Focus shift phenomenon, CA, overpriced

Stay away from this lens. More than two years, people reporting about focusing problems of this lens, and Canon do nothing to solve this "Focus shift" phenomenon, and still selling this lens for crazy price.

I'm was satisfied of the results, only when using live view manual focusing with designated aperture, but it is stupid to pay these money, for AF lens which you can not use auto focus.


Nov 24, 2009
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borderlight
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Registered: Dec 6, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1753
Review Date: Sep 25, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,599.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp @ f1.2, well made, great bokeh, low-light shooting without flash.
Cons:
Subtantial weight for a 50mm, DOF awareness

This lens silences all the concerns of Canon's other 50's. The f1.2L is wonderfully made... exudes confidence, and features USM, better flare control, beautiful bokeh, and precision manual focus control. It's quick, quiet, and does the job in low-light. Indoors this lens can be used with candle light (FF @ f1.2 w/1600 ISO).

I think this lens is a slight modification of the one first released in Dec. 2006. I believe Canon quietly corrected any back-focus issues the following year just as they did with the 24-105 f4L IS (flare) when it was first introduced. I found no problems with AF or back-focus on this version when tested on a tripod. Luckily we didn't have to go through a "II" version and a subsequent price increase to correct this mistake.

The f1.2L becomes a project until you get used to using razor-thin DOF. There isn't much room for operator error as I found out. Using the multiple focus points on the 5D seemed to make matters worse. I recommend using only the center focus point. I tested the f1.2L against the 50 f2.5 compact macro and found that the macro has a slight edge (@100% crop) when both are focused accurately, but macro, or super close-up photography is not the strength of the f1.2L, although it's not half bad when pushing the limits of the DOF scale.

The big concern with this 50mm seems to be the price. Yeah, I balked at it too, but there really is no quality, alternative f1.2 that works effectively with the Canon system. Sure, you can hook up a Sigma or an old Olympus manual version, but they all have their drawbacks in the focus/metering department, and none of them are all that great until stopped down a bit.

Can you do without this lens? Absolutely. The f1.4 version @ f2 is fine and probably fulfills the needs of most photographers ...and it will save you lots of money. I chose the 50 f1.2 because I like the quickness of shooting without flash. I am tired of waisting time setting up speedlites on brackets or lightstands for mundane subject matter...like family shots at Christmas. :-) The f1.2L is the closest thing to freedom from all that.






Sep 25, 2009
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njomany
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Registered: Sep 23, 2009
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Very sharp, reasonable weight, f/1.2
Cons:
Price

When I first bought this lens I was disappointed with the result. It seems there's some backfocus. It was until I play around with AF microadjustment then I never look back. This lens is now mounted on my 5D Mark II about 90% of the time.

For you guys who are experiencing soft or backfocus, visit http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html


Sep 23, 2009
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
180 345258 Jul 8, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
81% of reviewers $1,399.44
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.34
6.91
8.7
ef50lusm


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