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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
173 323210 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: 46į (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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BartvanderWorp
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Registered: May 12, 2008
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Bokeh, aperture, build
Cons:
Price, possible focus issues

I've been using this lens for about a month now and I'm very satisfied with it. During this time I only used the lens at 1.2 aperture and manual focus in low light situations. You really need to get some experience with it this way, focusing is very critical, but that's an open door I assume.

I did not come across the focus shift issue, but as stated above, I did not use the lens with parameters that would have effectuated it. And I think I will hardly ever do.

This is the first lens, since I started photography a while back, that I'm really exited about. It opens up a completely new world of possibilities that were impossible with my other lenses that are all f/2.8. And as with almost every piece of technology, compromises are necessary to keep it "affordable", especially with lenses, even the expensive one's.


May 12, 2008
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R. Eisenberg
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Registered: Jan 21, 2003
Location: France
Posts: 862
Review Date: Apr 18, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: Superb color, micro-contrast and detail, resistance to flair, bokeh.
Cons:
Utterly unreliable focus with my 1Ds2, particularly for close-up portraiture using a selected AF point. A heartbreaker and a shame, given the obvious positive qualities of this lens.



Apr 18, 2008
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cgi_photo
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Registered: Mar 27, 2008
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 26
Review Date: Mar 30, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: build,
Cons:
back focus!

I own many primes and this one is the only one that I really hate...

My copy is backfocusing and, after having it calibrated two times, it seems it is not correctable.
the back focus is around 5-6cm at a distance of 1m at all apertures on all bodies (5D, 40D & 30D) I own. if the lens ist focused at objects more than 1.5m away it's almost impossible to say where the focus is.
All my other lenses work fine with my bodies.

I'm really unhappy how this is/was handled from Canon. If I call, they say they look at the problem and I will hear from them within 3 days. After 2 month of waiting, guess who hasn't called...

I'm sure there are working copies of the lens but for sure there are more bad copies of this lens than usual for a L-lens.
sadly, mine does not - and canon (switzerland) doesn't care.

I will send it to canon one more time. If it helps, honestly I doubt it...

If you want to buy one, make sure yours does work properly!


Mar 30, 2008
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lextalionis
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Mar 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,370.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Produces the best bokeh of any Canon L series lens IMHO
Cons:
A little pricy and a little slow on AF

Wonderful lens. Built like a tank and performs like a gem! I don't think this lens carries Canon's top autofocus abilities and therefore it is actually a bit slower on AF than the 50mm 1.4 usm. Give this lens a chance if you struggle at first using it, it takes practice.

Sample photos taken with a Canon 5D

-Roy


Mar 27, 2008
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1dvsgti
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Registered: Mar 19, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 41
Review Date: Mar 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Amazing Bokeh, FAST focusing, excellent build...what you would expect for a L lens..and L pricing..
Cons:
With any 1.2...it takes a little practice, this is not a len you would rent for the first time to shoot a wedding on the weekend

If I had to give up all my lens collection and keep just one lens, this would be it. The 50L is amazing at 1.2, giving a creamy like bokeh and "pop" to the subject. I use this on my 1D mark II and on my XTI and never run into any focusing shift as stated all over the net. There is a min focusing distance you have to keep in mind, which I attribute some of my off shots to my user error.

The build quality is L, and its a lot of glass...this is one of those lenses that pro won't survive a small drop...( I would literally cry if that ever happened)

Like many, I had the 50 1.8 and the funny thing was, I hated using that lens and it spent most of its life in the bag before I sold it. Given that, now with the 50L, I try to find any excuse to use it.

Focusing is speed is quick, from my experience is a faster then the 85L mark II....but not a quick as my 16-35 II as a reference.

This is definitely a speciality lens for those looking for 1.2 and sharp! Well worth every hard earn dollars in my opinion.


Mar 18, 2008
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EyeBrock
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Registered: Dec 3, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 982
Review Date: Feb 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great build, love the bokeh, light, very nice to use, looks good too!
Cons:
I can't really see anything negative on this. I've paid way more for my zooms!

I have had this lens a whole week now. I love it! Itís a bit long on a 20D but I just have to take a few steps backwards to sort that out.
The build quality is definitely ďLĒ. Very nicely done.
The lens itself exhibits the obvious fantastic bokeh and is quick to AF as far as Iím concerned.
I see no difference in daylight from my 16-35 II or the 24-70. It does seem to hunt in very low light but the flash AF assist deals with that issue.
It has taken me a few days to stop trying to zoom it ( my first Canon prime!) as the last 50 I had was on my old OM20 back in the Duran Duran era!
Iím getting better at dealing with the very shallow DOF at 1.2. Iím very happy with the LCD views of my little girl jumping in Florida puddles but the pixel peeping will have to wait until I get back to Ontario.
I do love this lens! $1100 from B&H was the clincher, Henryís gets no more of my cash!
God bless America and B&H Photo and Canon!


Feb 20, 2008
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primeshot
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Registered: Jan 21, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,285.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good focusing capability in low light; sharp at f1.2; great build; wonderful bokeh
Cons:
None



Feb 15, 2008
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Xibalban
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: Finland
Posts: 109
Review Date: Feb 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: contrast, color, bokeh
Cons:
back focus with center AF point at f/2.8-f/4

Pictures speak louder than words:
http://www.markuspuustinen.com/galleriat/08/02/pictures_with_canon_50mm_f_1_2_l/

Those are all taken with 5D using only aperture f/1.2.


Feb 9, 2008
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davidmarsh
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Registered: Oct 26, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 133
Review Date: Jan 10, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros:
Cons:

My answer to the previous comments are as follows..

First, there is only so much room in which to post and answer and my previous comments were kept as short as possible.

When calibrating any camera to a specific lens, the camera becomes faithfull to that lens. Most other normal lens with smaller F stops will still work fine. With regard your 85m 1.2 lens, you may just be lucky that it works OK. If you had your canon dealer clibrate your camera to accomodate both the 50m 1.2 and the 85mm 1.2 you would be probably be OK.

In rear situations, and depending on your camera, you can have the actual lens calibrated as well to fit the camera. The trouble here is that the lens might not work on another camera.

My previous points were basicaly trying to point out that certain specialist lenses do need setting up to work correctly. Many people simply sell their equipment hoping that they will find an alternative lens else where when in fact all they needis a specialist to calibrate their equipment. Canon could not sell this lens if it were as bad as these posts suggest.

Canon make regular minor improvements to their equipment and in certain cases where you have a new lens with a six month old camera you may get different results if the camera were only 2 days old!

My main point is before you dump your equipment, which by its nature is specialist, you need to source the correct advice or you will lose what is extremely high quality equipment!


Jan 10, 2008
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Sisoje
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Registered: Jan 25, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 950
Review Date: Jan 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: f1.2
Cons:
back focus, back focus,... Dis I say back focus?

Well,

first the closing: I did return this lens.
At the store, I tried 2 other copies but those were form the same batch so I did not expect anything better.

I did try this lens on 2 different 1D series bodies FF and 1.3X (1Ds MKII and 1D MKII) and the result was the same: back focusing on distances 1-3 m. Now, I do have 3 other high speed EOS lenses (24/1.4, 35/1.4, 85/1.2II) and none of those have this problem. So the statement from the previous reviewer on "accuracy" of my cameras sensors does not stand. The only lens with problem was the 50/1.2!
Sad, but I can not keep this lens at this time. Even with excellent results when manual focusing, I can not keep 50/1.2 just because those rare times when I really need critical AF (full open) ability...


Jan 10, 2008
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davidmarsh
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Registered: Oct 26, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 133
Review Date: Jan 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: high quality large apature lens, tough body and crisp images
Cons:
no weather seals

I have read all of the reviews on this lens and without wishing to seam rude, I feel many of the users have misunderstood the lens completely. I would like to explain why some people experience focus issues.

All moderns digital SLRís take their focusing from the inbuilt sensors. Often, these sensors do not actually place the focus area in the dead centres of the lens or over the focus point you chose. This is normal and on lenses with apertures in excess of 1.4 you will not notice focus issues, or in reality your cameras sensor misalignment.

However where you have an ĎFí stop of 1.2 you have such a small depth of field that if the focus point is slightly out the image will appear out of focus. The best way to test this is open up the lens to F1.2 and put the cameras on a 45 degree angle and focuses on a news paper. If the centre of the image is in perfect focus, then your SLRís sensors are set correctly. If, however, you notice that the centre of the images is blurred and the foreground or background is in focus, then your cameras sensors need calibrating.

This is normal. It is only because you are using such a large aperture that you may notice a problem with the focusing. It is not the lens; it is your camera that needs calibrating.


Jan 3, 2008
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pookipichu
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Registered: Jul 13, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1853
Review Date: Jan 1, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: The lens has nice quality finish, bokeh is nice and colors are vivid.
Cons:
It doesn't focus properly. Not very sharp.



Jan 1, 2008
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thedowling
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Registered: Feb 16, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 70
Review Date: Dec 13, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,259.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: build, 1.2
Cons:
focus issues. see my story below.

i know that some will roll their eyes when they see another post regarding backfocus on this lens. however: it is a very real problem.

i bought this lens for use on 5d. immeditaely experienced difficulty focusing at various apertures (not just 1.2) and various distances (not just closest focusing distance).

a canon tech rep in L.A. looked at the lens and found that, while it seemed to be fine on a mark III body, he could replicate my problem on a 5D. he suggested taking to canon for calibration.

i will keep my canon service center story short but will say that i was very, very unhappy with how my problem was handled. lots of driving back and forth and, finally, the lens returned to me in the same condition as when i dropped it off.

finally, someone head my complaint and i brought the lens back to canon 1 final time.

HERE IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING:

1. the technician DID find that it backfocused.
2. he said that 4 CM was "within the spec" for the product.

i found this preposterous and asked him to have a crack at calibrating it.
he did.

in 20 minutes he was able to get the lens focusing properly on my 5D.

this 20 minutes was the culmination of 2 weeks of persistance.

in short:
- my copy of the lens did backfocus (i actually tried TWO copies: both with this problem)
- it was correctable.
- it was a terrible ordeal
- i have yet to determine if it was worth the time and aggravation.

this lens may yet go back to the store.

i am not a pixel-peeper and i rarely put my lenses through precise testing. this lens had GLARING issues, to my eye. perhaps my "review" will spare someone else a bit of grief.


Dec 13, 2007
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looscanon
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Registered: Dec 16, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 162
Review Date: Dec 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,460.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Wonderful on 20D. Color, focusing speed in low light, beautiful blur in out of focus areas, sharp at f/1.2, lens quality top notch. Absolutely worth the money for me. My lens is one of the earliest copies. UU1000.
Cons:
None. No focus issues at any focal length or distance as reported by some. I've tried to duplicate focus failures at close distances from f/1.2 to f/4 without success on a tripod or hand held.



Dec 13, 2007
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Martin Rudolph
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Registered: Dec 10, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 10, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: solid built, Sharp, fast AF, very nice transition from sharpness to blur, great color
Cons:
Price, some AF-problems, focus problems if shooting distant objects, heavy

Itís a great lens. Iím very glad I bought it. It works well with my 5D. Itís far better than 50mm 1.4.

But it has some AF problems. I usually shoot 5 times the same object and usually 1 only of the shots is sharp. Thatís not a flattering rate. But shooting digital makes this not a major problem for me. And on the other hand: If itís sharp - its not just sharp, its razorsharp, its marvellous, itís magic, the blur in the background very pleasing, nice colors, and you canít get a comparable shot with the 50mm 1.4 (let alone the 1.8).

If shooting distant objects (3m or more) the focus problems are even bigger - at least with my copy. Even if stopped down it can be hard to get the focus on the right spot.

It is a wonderful lens in poor lighting conditions. Af still works (with the 5 to 1 rate of succesfully. With it I never have to use flash, not even when shooting a jazz band in a dark club.

I would certainly recommend it for everyone who needs a good portrait lens or has to work in conditions where light is poor.




Dec 10, 2007
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remixity
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Registered: Feb 21, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 28
Review Date: Dec 10, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: 8-blade and f/1.2 wide circular aperture makes for great bokeh, great contrast and color, reassuringly solid build quality, relatively quick autofocus speed
Cons:
consistent backfocusing and focus drift

I tend not to harshly evaluate lenses, as I know that no lens will ever be perfect. However, this lens has been a very large disappointment for me (in addition to a waste of time and money). I heard plenty of talk about focus issues with this lens and how it's not much sharper than the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. Still, I purchased it because I expected very good contrast and wide aperture effects (thin dof, pleasant bokeh).

I did experience the above characteristics, but the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens suffers from a design flaw: focus drift and backfocusing. The lack of a floating aspherical element means there will be depth of field aberrations when stopping the lens. That is, the depth of field will appear to shift back when narrowing the aperture.

I have evaluated four copies of the lens on two camera bodies (one old calibrated body and a relatively new body), and each copy exhibits backfocusing. Even after compensating for the backfocusing, the lens sharpness at the center of the image circle within the depth of field isn't too good. I compared it against the 50mm f/1.4 USM lens at f/1.4 and f/8. While the 50mm f/1.2L is the clear winner at f/8 in terms of contrast and sharpness, at f/1.4, the 50mm f/1.4 lens actually wins out in sharpness. I couldn't believe it so I exchanged the lens once in May. Same deal. When I decided to give the lens another chance in October, I was disappointed yet again.

People with a need for speed will buy the 50mm f/1.2L USM because of its strengths and in part due to a need for speed. But with severe issues in terms of the focusing and focus drift, I don't think any price, no matter how reasonable, can justify this lens' flaws. If you're looking for a great f/1.2 lens, the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM will do everything you ask of it. But as for the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM, buyer beware.


Dec 10, 2007
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†††



Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
173 323210 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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