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Canon EF 50mm f/1.0L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
20 313734 Nov 9, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $2,859.09
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.69
6.36
8.9
ef50mmf_10l_1_

Specifications:
The world’s fastest interchangeable SLR lens with a super large maximum aperture. It has two aspherical lens elements and four elements with a high refractive index. Outstanding delineation with minimal flare even at the maximum aperture. This lens ushers you to a new avenue of photographic possibilities. A dream lens in the AF age.


 


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Mutual
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Registered: Oct 14, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Nov 9, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Unique capabilities.
Cons:
Very heavy.

Some years ago I saw an ad for Canon body which came with a '50mm lens.' The price for the body was fair market value ($800), so I went to take a look. The '50mm lens' turned out to be the 50mm f1.0L Series, which I later sold here on Fred Miranda for $3,000 (there were people fighting over it at that price - in 2006).

The lens was in literally mint condition, but that caused me to be almost afraid to actually use it, due to it's value...which led to eventually selling it.


Nov 9, 2013
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Spy-Glass
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Registered: Dec 21, 2005
Location: Belgium
Posts: 14
Review Date: Jun 9, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f1.0, build quality, image quality, colour rendition, low-light AF
Cons:
price

This is why i love Canon!

Extreme in every way.

It's not an ordinary lens because f/1.0 pushes
your AF-system and your focusing technique to it's limits.

For spot-on AF results you REALLY need to calibrate your lens and body their AF-system for accuracy!

The rumors you can read about this lens is soft; are from people who don't calibrate their gear or cannot handle it's extreme thin DOF.

Flares easy but i like the recognizable lens-flares. They add some magic to your images when shooting against bright lights.

This lens is heaven to me!



Jun 9, 2013
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mouzhik
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Registered: Mar 31, 2010
Location: France
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 17, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: colour rendition, sharpness and saturation, bokeh, IQ, max aperture
Cons:
weight, challenging to master

using this lens on a 5D Mark II me too, I totally agree with Fr3d: wide open, this lens is a diva, but really a great one..;-)

it's quite sharp even quite open and after f/2.0 it's tack sharp and crispy.

here you can see some pictures taken with this lens, mostly wide open:

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjpK4Szb

and this one with no proceeding (SOOC = Straight Out Of the Camera):

http://flic.kr/p/7nAdz1

I am happy with this lens!..;-)

Highly recommended!



Jan 17, 2013
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mttran
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Registered: Nov 3, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 6927
Review Date: Jan 1, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: It's a perfect 10 from me. Nothing less than 85L1/2. Extremely sharp lens from f1.0 and up way up.
Cons:
Jan 1, 2013
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Fr3d
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Registered: Nov 28, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 292
Review Date: Feb 7, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: A wonderful lens that ...
Cons:
... challenges you to master it.

I am using this lens on a 5D Mark II, here are my observations:

The lens becomes a diva if you open it up more than f/2.0. It can yield
stunningly sharp images and utterly smooth backgrounds wide open.

But if you don't pay attention to the scene you can get ugly
ghosting at highlight edges mixed with lateral ca and purple
fringeing which you cannot automaticaly fix in post because
it can be more than 20 pixels wide!

But more often than not this behaviour does not show. You can get
very crisp eye and hair detail at f/1.0 if you manage to nail focus. A
slight bump in contrast or clarity puts you in the ballpark even when
pixel peeping a 21MP file at 100% magnification. When you go down
to f2.0 everything becomes tack sharp and contrasty, CA's are also
very much absent in real world images.

The other thing that surprised me is just how sharp the lens becomes
when stopping down. It rivals the plastic fantastic at f/5.6 and that
is saying alot.

The only caveat is that the lens performs less good at greater subject
distances. Things become muddy if they are 20 or 30 meters/yards
away from the camera and are shot wide open. At f2.0 or 2.8 things
are starting to become crisp again after f/5.6 or f/8.0 no further
improvent can be detected as it is already pin sharp.

All in all I am very happy with the lens and can only recommend it.
The fact that the lens has such strong characteristics (some would
say personality) just makes me appreciate it even more. It is a great
lens to have and a callengeing tool to master. Highly recommended!




Feb 7, 2011
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fraga
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Registered: Sep 10, 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 2241
Review Date: Aug 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Max aperture, build quality, image quality, sharpness
Cons:
slow AF, price

Very good image quality.
My copy is very, very sharp even wide open. While I haven't done any direct comparisons yet, it is my believe it is nearly or as sharp as my 85L II.
Great colours and contrast, as long as you don't shoot with it in the direction of the sun. If you do, it will flare badly and contrast will go down the drain. In some occasions (portraits), it can be a desired effect, though.

DOF is very thin and getting the shot focused exactly where you want can be troublesome, even using the 7d's spot AF.

However, since it's a 50mm lens, background blur is not as evident despite the very large aperture and razor thin DOF. I have portraits taken with my 500mm f4IS that have more background blur than the 50mm 1.0 wide open, yet DOF is larger (most of the face in focus).

The bokeh can be very nervous under certain circumstances.
And in some occasions, the background will have a swirling look to it, giving the appearance of circular motion.
I love when this happens, since it gives a very distinctive look to the pic. It's the lens unique signature.
Wouldn't want it in every pic, though... :D

It's hard to use it wide open outside. Since it lets in so much light, you will go over the 1/8000 SS limit very easily, even at iso 100.

All in all, a fantastic lens.
My only complaints would be the price and the sluggish AF.
At least it's faster than the 85L II!

Highly recommended if you can get a sharp copy (unfortunately it seems there aren't many...)


Aug 1, 2010
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G. Thomas
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Registered: Feb 5, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 853
Review Date: Jan 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice colors, saturation, and sharpness. Oh yes... the f/1.0!
Cons:
Slow AF (like the 85L), bokeh can look weird sometimes

Although relegated to museum status by most, this lens can work wonders if you use it correctly. My copy is pretty sharp in the center wide open, and increases in sharpness until about f/2. After that, I can't really tell a difference. Vignetting is there, but nothing troublesome unless you're taking landscape shots. Of course, why would you with this lens? It's definitely an available light lens meant for portraiture and art. The colors and saturation in available low lighting is very nice which, in addition to the f/1.0 bokeh gives it a distinctive look. For the most part, the bokeh is nice and creamy. Out of focus higlights in the background can have the concentric ring, onion pattern sometimes. It isn't a huge deal for me, but if you're looking for it you'll find it. It's a pretty heavy lens with a slow AF, much like the 85L. It has the focus by wire thing, meaning even manual focus is slightly sluggish (again, like the 85L). Overall, I think it's a fantastic lens to use. So much so, I'm going to buy back the one I sold!

Jan 13, 2010
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dancam
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Registered: Nov 13, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 1638
Review Date: Jun 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Amazing bokeh and excellent IQ. A real low light monster.
Cons:
The price and very slow AF

The 50 f/1.0 is nothing short of amazing. This lens has a very distinctive look and the images that it generates are absolute magic. My copy is supprisingly sharp wide open and improves slightly when stopped down. It has very noticeable vignetting wide open to about f/2. It will also flare easily into the sun or other bright points of light. These to qualities where actually something I was looking for so I don't consider them negatives. The lens delivers a timeless, flattering look to portraits. The 50 1.0L pairs nicely to the 5D2 which makes the combo useable in almost near darkness and also gives the ability to correct for the vignetting if so desired. The only real negative of this lens for me is the slow AF. Don't use this lens for chasing toddlers or sports action. The size, weight, and design/build is almost identical to the 85L. The price is worth every penny if this on your list.

Jun 12, 2009
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eraneran70
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Registered: Apr 16, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great bouque, works perfectly with at night shots with the automatic iso just set the speed and let them work. I love the soft focus for portraits. Give me chance to photograph in area have never was able before.
Cons:
Heavy to carry around, slow on the auto focus, has a fringe

I am have a great experience with the lance. I knew about the disadvatage when I have purchased it, but for my need this is an amazing improvement shooting in night seen at speed of 1/125 or 1/200 and let the iso be varied is unbelievable. I can capture people in the street like never before.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eraneran/3429189461/in/set-72157615790104914/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eraneran/3418705589/in/set-72157615790104914/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eraneran/3387081026/in/set-72157615790104914/

Portraits are extremely soft and so touching that I am re-finding the bouque glory all over again.

Eran


Apr 16, 2009
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Gaonan
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Registered: Feb 23, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: low light ability and can be handy to use in broad range of condition.
Cons:
Not shape with f1.0 due to very shallow DOF.

bought it used at a image show recently. Heard a lot about poor IQ but want to check it out personally. It is very difficult to use with wide open f1.0 due to very shallow DOF. I took some pictures during the show, the images were pleasing but not sharp. Eyes were sharp but ears were not sharp. But when use with f1.2 or higher aperture, it is as good as other 50mm lenses. Because of its beautiful bokeh, I believe that it can prouce beatiful pictures in certain condition or special effects.
The following picture taken with this lens with 1dmkIIn:
http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=2263893




Dec 8, 2008
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Mimoso
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Registered: May 20, 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

I just saw some amazing daylight and indoor shots from this lens on Jessica Claire's Blog: http://www.jessicaclaire.net/index.cfm?postID=263

Even though they're highly processed, the overall quality, especialy those in daylight (one of the main negative issues that critics often point to this lens), is simply amazing!



Feb 20, 2008
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pookipichu
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Registered: Jul 13, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1875
Review Date: Feb 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Widest aperture available for 35mm, bokeh, color, build quality, accurate focus
Cons:
Price, heavy.

Cons - The lens is incredibly expensive in new condition. Rather large and heavy for a 50mm lens. Focus speed is slightly faster than 85mm f/1.2L mk II, in other words, slow. Lens flares easily when shooting into the sun. Barrel distortion evident.

Pros - 1.0 is amazing. Shooting in near darkness, capturing the otherwise uncapturable. The colors are beautifully rendered in tones and saturation. Build quality is excellent, and focus is accurate, snapping with confidence.

Mixed - Lens is not as sharp as the 85mm 1.2Ls, but sharper or sharp as the 50mm 1.2 in the samples I owned/tested. Lens vignettes HEAVILY in many lighting conditions, beautiful for vintage photos/portraits, but easily can annoy those who don't like vignetting. Very low contrast, which I love, but if you like snappy photos/jpeg out of camera, well you might need to turn up the contrast settings.



Feb 6, 2008
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M Annaratone
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Registered: Apr 14, 2007
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 14, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Substantial vignetting (in line with that of the Noctilux, qualitatively speaking) at f/1.0 and even at f/1.4, but that was to be expected. Resolution at full aperture and whereabouts is sufficient at best. This too is not surprising. Significant barrel distortion, and that was a real surprise to me. Lastly, the unfortunate habit of Canon to design heavy and bulky lenses (the Noctilux is half of the Canon 50/1.0: is this because of the AF?). Someone should explain the rationale to me, I just don't get it.

Any 1.0 lens has a ton of appeal, and indeed there are situations where the extremely shallow depth of field becomes a creative tool in the hands of the photographer. But my take is that the 50/1.0 is by now a somewhat old design and the new 50/1.2 a much, much better use of one's money. For collectors of exotic pieces of glass --- and Canon's 50/1.0 is undoubtedly a milestone in 35mm lens design --- the story is of course different.




Apr 14, 2007
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Amsterdam
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Registered: Jun 16, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1
Review Date: Oct 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent low ligh capabilities, dreamy bokeh (tho not as good as the 85mm f/1.2),
Cons:
Price, softness of the picture at f/1.0 (high ISO and noise reduction can make this even worse), slow AF, vignetting

I've used this lens for a few years and finally decided to sell it. I was quite happy with it tho. I mainly used it for the available light shooting at f/1.0. That's what this lens is made for. For all other kinds of photography a 50mm f/1.4 is a much better choice.
I do recommend this lens only if your favorite style of photography is available light or street photography.


Oct 10, 2006
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Lars Johnsson
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Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Location: Thailand
Posts: 33650
Review Date: Sep 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Very fast,Build
Cons:
A bit soft at large apertures, expensive

Very similar to the 85/1,2. But not as sharp as that lens. Especially wide open or close you will see the difference.
Fantastic ability in low light.


Sep 29, 2006
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johnastovall
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Registered: Apr 7, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1332
Review Date: Sep 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: You can shot where no other Canon lens can. Interesting Monet like Bokeh. This will the low noise Canon dSLRs and you can truly stalk light in the night. Beautiful solid build.
Cons:
Its cost but you get what you pay for. Very hard to learn to use with in it's DOF. But it's the only game in town for SLR's.

I love shooting in low light at night and this is the greatest one for that. It takes time to master and learn what it will do and what it does. But on a 5D body it opens up the nigth to you. No tripod just walking the streets, taking snaps of the dark world. Here is come of the thing's I've doe with it. All were taken before the sun was above the horizion.

http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=635539



Sep 3, 2006
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.0L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
20 313734 Nov 9, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $2,859.09
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.69
6.36
8.9
ef50mmf_10l_1_


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