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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
177 329661 Sep 4, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
80% of reviewers $1,408.53
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.35
6.97
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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Don Merz
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Registered: Sep 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 23
Review Date: Dec 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,450.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Crisp, sharp images with excellewnt, well-defined color, bokeh at a level that is very useful for the portrait and wedding shooter
Cons:
Occasional focus anomalies, but no worse that 135/F2 or 35F1.4

At some point, you have t get a grip. To log on here and see the 50/1.2 rated lower than the 50/1.4 is a surreal experience. I shoot weddings as part of a two man team. We have both of these lenses. The 1.2 blows away the 1.4 and we have practically had fights over which one of us gets to use the 1.2 lens. So lets set the record straight: The overall image quality, sharpness and color of an in-focus image taken with the 1.2 lens is much better than the same image taken with the 1.4 lens. The difference can EASILY be seen with the naked eye. Other reviewers have attacked the focusing oddities of this lens without acknowledging it's complete optical superiority over Canon's other 50mm lenses. That ain't right. Now, to the focusing issue. Yes, this lens is not always consistent in its autofocus response. A thoroughbred race horse is not easily ridden. But I have found it more than adequate for normal usage. If you're a sports shooter, this probably isn't your lens of choice. For weddings and portraits, this probably IS your lens of choice.

Dec 9, 2008
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shrink1
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Registered: Sep 18, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 294
Review Date: Dec 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: speed, build
Cons:
freaking expensive

I paid a lot for this as I bought it locally, paid sales tax and list price, but every so often I do that to support my brick and mortar retailers, to whom I go in order to check out new products.
Anyway, the lens works just fine, as it should. There is a focus shift as amply described, it happens with other fast lenses, even ones from Leitz, and it really is no big deal. If you want to shoot macros, get a macro lens. This one is faster than the 1.4 or 1.8, focuses more precise than the 1.4, has USM, and produces very pleasing pics. I also have the 1.8, which is great for keeping in the car. They are similar at slower apertures, just like the 1.4 is.
Summary: The only reason NOT to get this one over the 1.4 is price Smile


Dec 7, 2008
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deepbluejh
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Registered: Feb 20, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 6899
Review Date: Oct 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, wonderful bokeh, good contrast, built well.
Cons:
Very difficult to nail focus on non 1-series bodies. Slightly soft at near minimum focusing distance.

There has been a lot of commotion about this lens. I use it frequently for weddings and portraits and its absolutely wonderful. Sharpness, color fidelity, contrast, and bokeh are absolutely top notch. Its right up there with the best and every bit deserving of the "L" moniker.

Where this lens excels is at very large apertures. If you are stopping down between F2.8 to F4, a couple things will happen: you are getting practically no benefit over the 50/1.4, and you will probably experience a slight focus shift in the image when using the single focus point. If you are buying this lens for anything other than shooting between F1.2 and F2.0, then dont even bother. Save your money and get the F1.4 version.

I can absolutely verify that this lens' focusing has been *spot on* at any subject distance when using the outside focus points. The center AF point has a slight AF shift when stopped down. A few squeaky wheels make a mountain out of this molehill, but to each their own.

For a large aperture, high quality, professional 50mm, this lens is absolutely unrivaled. No Canon 50mm has ever been better. The shots I get out of this lens on the 5D are jaw dropping. Its "wow" factor is right up there with the 135/2 L and 300/2.8 L. Seriously.

One peculiar thing I have noticed about this lens is that optically it isnt quite as good near minimum focusing distance as it is farther away. Given a 5ft+ subject distance, this lens is very sharp at any aperture. Get closer than that and it gets a little soft wide open. Stopping down a touch (probably a good idea for depth of field) sharpens things up.

In short, this is a very difficult lens, but it is truly excellent at what it was meant to do.


Oct 27, 2008
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walshy64
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Registered: Sep 17, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 96
Review Date: Oct 20, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Bokeh, Colour, and Materials it made from.
Cons:
Doesnt auto focus properly at all, Has bad focus shift issues


Ive given this lens a 5 because manually focusing it @ f/1.2 on a 5D with Ee-S screen is a fun, otherwise Id rate it lower.

Regularly missing a money shot has now become depressing.

Im going to replace it with a Sigma 50 f/1.4 HSM once the manual focus novelty wears off.

Dont be under any illusion that Canon will have fully tested this lens and are aware of the issues regarding back focus & focus shift.

Shame on Canon . .


Oct 20, 2008
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Nick Nishizaka
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Registered: Nov 14, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1733
Review Date: Oct 15, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Build. Color and Contrast. Bokeh. Weather sealed. IQ when AF is not misbehaving.
Cons:
AF problems (i.e. Focus Shifting) when shooting within 4-5ft or so between the apertures of f2.0-f2.8, even up to f4 and f5.6.

The 50L can be a GREAT lens for those who typically shoot outside of 4-6ft. For those who shoot closer than that, it can be a nightmare.

While there seems to be copy variations, from my experience the issue of focus shift is due to the design, hence cannot be completely eliminated. On some copies the shift is small enough that it never goes beyond DoF limits, effectively hiding itself.

I have tried and/or viewed samples from copies from UU, UV, and UW date codes and there is absolutely no pattern to this problem. Buying a lens with a UW date code doesn't guarantee anything.

An easy way to test is to shoot something with a block of text, or perhaps a Canon lens box from 2-3 ft away between f1.2 and f4. Make sure you are at a 45 degree angle to the subject and focus on something with text on both sides. At 1.2, you'll find it a little soft, but focus in where it should be. It's not bad up to f1.8 or so. Once you get into the f2-f4 range you will see what you originally focused on is no longer in focus! This is different than a regular front/back focus issue and cannot be compensated for either via micro-adjustment or MF!

It's very real...but only reveals itself in specific situations. When you are far enough from the subject DoF basically hides this problem and the lens works great!

Also, make no mistake that a) Canon knows about this issue b) Has no fix for it...it's a "design feature".

You can send in your lens 10 times and it will come back the same. You can send in your lens, your body, and all your other lenses...won't make a difference.

If you happen to have a copy with less shift than usual, then hang onto for dear life. You've got a great lens.

When things go right, it rivals the 85L in every way. Unfortunately for many, things don't go right too often.

Make sure you buy from a place with no-questions-asked return policy. Otherwise you are in for a potential headache!


Oct 15, 2008
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kiel-fotograf
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Registered: Oct 11, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, colors
Cons:
weight, lense flare

Great lense with lot of possibilities. It is the lense, most of my wedding pictures are made with this lense. It is a good allround prime lense. Not too wide so you can make portraits. Wide enough to catch the milleu of a person.
It is heavy, but the quality is it worth.
Have a look at <a href="http://www.kiel-fotograf.de/content/view/16/31/" title="Kiel-Fotograf" target="_blank">http://www.kiel-fotograf.de/</a> all photos where made with the lense.(except the dog)
Dont think on buying a cheaper lense if you build on quality. I tried all 50mm lense from 1.2 to 1.8. The bokeh is best...

Olaf Bathke


Oct 11, 2008
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Nordlys
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Registered: Jun 16, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 203
Review Date: Oct 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Bokeh, colour & contrast, build quality, AF
Cons:
Expensive

I've waited a few months to write this review giving the lens some time on my 5D. I'm really impressed. It's on my camera 90% of the time, and serves fantastic for portraits and a general walkaround.

I love the bokeh this beauty chimes out, it's stunning. The lens isn't terribly sharp wide open, but it's not particularly soft either and hardly matters since everything goes through post-processing now anyway. There has been quite a learning curve for me shooting at such wide apertures.

I shoot all over with this lens, including at the 'problematic' distances and haven't had any issues with focus shift. It's not something I've been shooting to find, so I haven't been bothered with it.

If you enjoy the perspective of 50mm, you will love this lens!


Oct 4, 2008
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quad48s
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Registered: Sep 18, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 2
Review Date: Sep 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Red ring.
Cons:
Sharpness, focus accuracy.


Not sharp enough to justify the price. I returned this lens to B&H, forfeited my international shipping and GST, but it was not as sharp at f/2 as the nifty-fifty (canon 50mm f/1.8), at one tenth of the price. What a shame - will I ever find a really nice 50mm lens?


Sep 25, 2008
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andox
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Registered: Sep 19, 2008
Location: Austria
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, solid construction, great handling, "charm"
Cons:
CA, vignetting (FF)

After carefully reading of all the reviews in this forum (backfocus issues!) I decided to see if I would be one of the lucky owners who had *not* to complain.

First test shots (1Ds III at minimum distance, f=1.2) made me feel if I'd won the jackpot: no problems with backfocus, sharp and clear images even full open! Honestly I did not shoot flat test charts but every object had been in focus so there are no issues with sharpness to complain about.

Vignetting can be easily fixed in ACR or DXO. Some reluctant CA which can be removed using Shay Stephens Color Fringe Reducer (PS action).

Great lens with charm - good purchase!


Sep 19, 2008
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hexbeam
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Registered: Aug 20, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Clear clean crisp images. Built like a tank, very sollid.
Cons:
Expensive

I have been using this lens in the field and for portraits and am always pleased with the results. Maybe I have a good copy but; no calibration was required. Right out of the box each shot was very impressive. I feel it is over priced as with most "L" lenses however, quality is not free and you get what you pay for.
People keep comparing it to the cheaper 50mm F1.4v and the only thing I would ask is what are your photos worth? Are they worth the added expense of the "L" or are you completely satisfied with images from other glass. This lens is obviously better glass and has been proven many times.
It's a keeper in my opinion. If you are price concious and always looking for negatives, get the cheaper 50mm F1.4 version. If you don't mind putting out the extra $$$ for the higher quality then this is where the investment is.


Aug 20, 2008
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stupor
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Registered: Jun 23, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 16
Review Date: Aug 19, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Build quality, focusing ring. Bokeh is one of the best I have experienced.
Cons:
Focus problems that could not be fixed.

I tried two copies, both had serious backfocus issue. I read all the reviews here, but I had to see it myself! First one I returned "no questions asked" immediately after quick test. I really wanted a working one and I ended up buying a second one from different dealer. He was really helpful and I was assured that if there would be any problems, he would help me. Backfocus again, two times calibration in Canon service with the body (5D) would not correct it. I still don't know what the problem is/was. I expected it to have focus shift when stopped down slightly, but it was a suprise that the two copies I tried had serious focus issues at the maximum aperture. I ended up changing it to 85L II although it is no my favourite focal length. No problems at all with that one.

I would say that this truly is a great lens, when focus is where it should be. For me it was impossible, because I like to shoot very close with 50mm and it just didn't work. I would definitely buy this one again if I would be sure it works. It would have to be 10 lenses in a row to try out. I would not recommend anyone buying one with backfocus and trusting 100% that Canon service will fix it. I guess I will have to wait for new version or try the 50/1.4.


Aug 19, 2008
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CBDigital
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Registered: May 26, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 326
Review Date: Aug 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, great life like color, great control of depth of field. Very well built
Cons:
I guess I would have preferred to buy it for $199.99 instead of $1400. Other than that, no complaints. I have had none of the focus issues I have read about.

I have had the lens for a few weeks now and used it for portrait sessions. 50 mm is not a focal length I have used much in the past but it produces interesting and high quality results. It's just a whole different look than 135 mm and it takes a whole different approach to shoot a subject at 50 mm. I like what I am getting. It is very usable wide open but stepped down it seems a couple notches better than the 50 1.4 or the 24-105, both of which I have used.

Aug 19, 2008
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JORDI350D
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Registered: Dec 7, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 31
Review Date: Jul 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Low light posibilities, sharp at 1.2 and super sharp from f2, beatiful boken.
Cons:
AF.

Perfect partner for a Canon 5d. Very sharp after Canon calibration.
I think that it is a lens with a high creative posibilities.
The contrast and flare control is much better than the Canon 50 1.4 from 1.4 to 2.2 or so.
After Canon revison, the lens is very loved by me.




Jul 17, 2008
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legba999
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Registered: May 17, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: An amazing lens. Comparable to 35mm and 85mm L lens. Not as sharp as either, but color and bokeh are simply superb.
Cons:
Some people seem to have recieved bad copies of the lens. But I honestly don't understand the depth of the negative reviews on this lens.

I own the 24L, 35L, 85L and 135L. I think the 50mm L lives up to its siblings reputation. I've never written a review on a lens before, but the negative reviews on this lens could turn away many people from a lens that I consider impressive.

The 50mm L is clearly superior in image quality to the 50mm 1.4 - Just compare images on PBase.


Jul 10, 2008
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Dalian
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Registered: Mar 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Review Date: Jul 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: fit finish is typical L
Cons:
oof not great, no attempt made by canon to make the aperture rounded till 2.8, poor resolution at wider aperture levels and close distances

This lens didn't work from me, it has cured my L addiction. Besides the usual complains, I wasn't impressed by the oof areas. Tree lights, for example, would change shape in the oof areas based on the aperture selected in the range 1.2 to 2.8.

Jul 10, 2008
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DoubleNegative
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Registered: May 15, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 818
Review Date: Jun 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid build, weathersealing, good size. Amazing bokeh/drawing. Sharp across the range of apertures, requiring little USM (if any) in post-processing.
Cons:
None other than perhaps the price.

After reading enough of the anti-50L hype on the forums I decided to pick up my own copy, albeit used - for a good price (that I couldn't resist). It's a UV07xx date code and the previous owner just had it calibrated at Canon (in January 2008) so I can't speak of its performance out-of-the-box...

My impressions are that I have absolutely no problems or reservations using this lens. I purposely went out to test for issues in real-world shooting and found none. From near to far, at all apertures - this lens produces some of the sharpest, contrastiest and colorful images and ranks right up there with the other L primes, IMO. Shooting at or near wide open gives excellent DoF/bokeh effects like the 35/85L and stopped down the sharpess and detail throughout the frame is amazing. Most images need little or no USM.

I try to buy primes that offer me something tangible over the zooms, typically bright apertures and sharpness. This lens delivers on both counts - plus offers something few of the other standard L primes (currently) offer; weathersealing. To be able to go out in just about any condition - day or night, rain or shine and have no worries is great.

I wholeheartedly recommend this lens if you enjoy the likes of the 24L, 35L, 85L or 135L. It's right up there with them, IMO.


Jun 30, 2008
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
177 329661 Sep 4, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
80% of reviewers $1,408.53
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.35
6.97
8.7
ef50lusm


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