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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
180 345193 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

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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asiafish
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Registered: Apr 18, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 429
Review Date: Jul 8, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Buy this for f/1.2, beautiful bokeh, sharp (in the center), excellent color, high build-quality, weather sealed, accurate focus.
Cons:
Strong chromatic aberrations, soft in the corners at most apertures, heavy, expensive.

This is a love it or hate it lens, and I just happen to love it. The Sigma 50/1.4 ART is a better lens in every measurable way except maximum aperture, but there are some lenses that excel in non-measurable ways. Those non-measurable things can be very important.

I also shoot Leica and own both Leica's damned-close-to-perfection 50mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH and an uncoated Carl Zeiss 5cm f/1.5 Sonnar made in 1937 with air bubbles in the glass. The Summilux is, by all measurable ways a vastly better lens than the Sonnar, but there is something magical about Sonnar portraits that causes people to hunt these lenses down and get them converted and adjusted to their modern Leica cameras. The Canon 50mm f/1.2 is not a Sonnar, but it is great for the same reasons the Sonnar is great.

I've rented this lens about a half dozen times over the years and have always enjoyed using it for portrait and event photography. Auto focus is difficult wide-open unless you use the center point and then crop in post (focus recompose isn't a great idea, especially wide open or up close). That said, wide open or close to it there is magic in this lens. The bokeh is about the smoothest I've ever seen, every bit as good as the Leica Summilux and with the benefit of autofocus and much closer focusing than a rangefinder can. At wide apertures everything is so far out of focus that sharpness matters little (the center is very sharp when properly focused, even at f/1.2).

This is a specialty lens. When I travel with my 6D I usually bring just my 35/1.4, and MAYBE bring along the 100/2.8 Macro. This is not a travel lens, or a landscape or architecture lens. This is a PEOPLE lens, the one I would bring to an intimate jazz club or a wedding reception.

I would also like to mention focus shift and quality control. I've rented copies of this lens that had pretty severe focus shift between f/1.4 and f/2.8 at close distances (never had any problem at all beyond two meters), but newer copies seem to be better. I just bought this lens last week and after testing it for wide-open AF micro-adjust (none required) used it for an indoor event (Rotary club meeting) where I took a lot of low-light portraits and a few candids.

My event shots were all perfectly focused. After the event, I set up my focus target and tried slightly stopping down at a close distance (24 inches) and focus shift was present, but so minimal as to not matter to me as available depth of field still covered the area focused on. My lens has a date code of UE, meaning it was made in March of 2016. It would appear that Canon has solved some of the early focus shift issues and vastly improved calibration before shipping the lenses out from the factory.

I've wanted this lens for a few years, and with this, the 35/1.4 L II and the 100/2.8 L IS Macro feel that I have essentially a complete set of high-end Canon glass for the way I like to shoot with a DSLR. This 50mm is definitely the weak-link in the chain when it comes to all-around versatility. The 35 and 100 are as close to "perfect" as a lens in their category can be. This 50/1.2 is no Otus or even Sigma ART replacement, but it is a delightful lens that will return gorgeous images when used within its limitations.

If I didn't have the Summilux for my Leica, I would have gone for the Otus or the Sigma ART, and still may, but for the way I shoot, this lens is a good fit and while expensive for what it is, I really wanted f/1.2.


Jul 8, 2016
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Trevor Sowers
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Registered: Aug 14, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 111
Review Date: May 25, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent ergonomics and focus
Cons:
Price

I just love this lens! I can nail focus under almost any conditions and it tracks in servo very well. I get beautiful and unique looking photos with this lens and it is one of my favourite lenses. Lots has been said about focus shift but in my experience that only occurs with focus distances under 1 meter. It's always with me and it's one of my best purchases.

May 25, 2016
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DesertFoxPhoto
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Registered: Sep 20, 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 47
Review Date: May 21, 2016 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,070.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Beautiful out of focus rendering style. Great build quality. Weather sealing is an added bonus.
Cons:
Somewhat soft image rendering when manual focusing wide open or stopped down. Autofocus can be challenging on center point even with in-camera adjustment.

This lens is fantastic for shooting subjects with an incredibly beautiful out of focus background and somewhat dreamy rendering style. Due to the character or the lens, the 50 1.2L USM is certainly a specialty tool and will not be the right choice for everyone.

There is a minimum focusing distance of roughly 1.5 feet which may make it tricky to shoot smaller objects close up. Due to this, the lens is really intended for portraits and street photography.

If you're a buyer looking for similar quality wide open to Canon's recent zooms such as the 24-70 2.8II or the 70-200 2.8 II, this lens won't compare unless you stop down the aperture significantly to 2.8 or 4.0. Even then, this lens doesn't quite have the pop or sharpness of the 24-70 2.8 II, but the background blur looks fantastic.

In the right hands, this lens can produce some incredible shots when the conditions are just right and no lens I have used has rendered images with a comparable out of focus background blur.

Overall, this is a specialty tool used to achieve a specific look for weddings and formal portraits where blowing out the background takes priority over absolute sharpness. If the unique, slightly hazy look is what you are going for, this may be the lens for you.


May 21, 2016
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Carles77
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Registered: Sep 19, 2012
Location: Spain
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 18, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Colours, contrast, "magic" in many photos
Cons:
Price and Many optical problems but...

This is a lens that you love and hate at the same time. This lens is the only one capable to extract magic from a photo that no other lens can, and in another make a very boring one... I think that this character makes the relation a little difficult but interesting.. Lens have many optical flaws but in some moments this gives the especial imatges that can produce. The price is too much for such a lens, but when some photo comes with magic it's really priceless for me. So this is a keeper!

Nov 18, 2015
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tcphoto
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Registered: Mar 29, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 967
Review Date: Nov 16, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The 50L is truly my go to lens and creates beautiful images. I especially love the boken when shot between F1.4-2.0. Whether shooting portraits or product, I haven't been disappointed.
Cons:
It's priced at 3x the price of the Canon EF50/1.4.

I have never been disappointed with the results of shooting with this lens. You may be tempted to shoot wide open with it but will find that F1.4-2.0 to render quite beautiful results.

Nov 16, 2014
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aestiva
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Registered: Feb 17, 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 12, 2014 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Sharp after f1.6 amazing built Beautifull bokeh, almost as good as the 85 1.2L II
Cons:
Price slow AF but fast enough for sport very soft at 1.2 - 1.4 Cheap lenshood

This lens is one of my favourite lenses. This lens has an amazing built and feels solid en professional.
Don't buy this lens if you want to use it on 1.2 of 1.4! Then the Sigma 50 1.4 art is a better choice. The Sigma has a better sharpness on open diafragmas and a fast AF.

Buy this lens if you also want to use it in the rain en if bokeh is important. I prefer this lens above the Sigma art because of the bokeh. It's far smoother! Almost as good as the 85 1.2L

See my page for a lot of samples http://facebook.com/totaalfotografie


Nov 12, 2014
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Dpedraza
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Registered: Jan 8, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1593
Review Date: Sep 4, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp; build quality; bokeh;
Cons:

I bought this lens to use on my 6d when I had it. I read all the negative reviews but still bought it regardless. In all honesty it lens is better than the review will lead on. It was quick to lock focus(even on the af of the 6d) was pretty nice wide open. It wasn't as bad as everyone made it out to be at least in my opinion. There was color fringing wide open which is easily fixed in post. The lens was pretty sharp by f2 but wasn't terrible at 1.2. With Ultra fast aperture lenses nailing focus is important and I think a lot of people weren't nailing focus which resulted in poor IQ. I had very little problem with this lens wide open even handheld. The size was very nice it felt very nice on the 6d. Honestly I'd say rent one before buying or skip this lens altogether and get a sigma 50mm 1.4 Art. If you're buying this lens you are probably buying for the character of the lens not so much über sharp images.

Sep 4, 2014
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Soulphoto2014
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Registered: Sep 3, 2014
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 3, 2014 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,120.00 | Rating: 3 

 
Pros: Model photographers use it for half body, but Sigma 50 1.4 Art is way better!
Cons:
Not sharp wide open, focus shift, too expensive

Good for half body modelshots, but buy the newer Sigma 50 1.4 Art instead, the Sigma is sharp wide open, no focus shift, best deal!!! Canon should stop producing this one and start an enhanced 50 1.2LII.

Sep 3, 2014
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Jim Heine
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Registered: Apr 9, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 316
Review Date: Aug 27, 2014 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: It's Canon's best 50, bokeh is fine, autofocus for center point is pretty good, decent flare resistance
Cons:
Using outer focus points doesn't really work well with this lens, focus/recompose doesn't work well either, not very sharp on the edges of the frame even at f2.8-f4, bokeh is decent but I don't love the overall rendering, focus shift is real, too heavy, CA, slow autofocus

I've tried all of Canon's 50mm lenses, including the macro. I've used 3 copies of the 1.2L. My latest copy is the best one.

I have a hard time loving this lens. It has problems, which I mentioned in the Cons above. It's still Canon's best 50mm lens in almost every regard. And I love this focal length.

The focus on the 50 1.2L is more accurate than the other Canon 50's, but that's not saying much. If you put your subject on the edge of the frame, you may have problems focus/recomposing or using outer focus points with this lens. Even if you can nail focus, it's just not sharp towards the edges of the frame at any aperture, really. There's also focus shift, which you can read about online. That said, the other Canon 50's aren't accurate focusers either. The 1.2 is the best of the evils.

The lens isn't that sharp at f1.2 even in the center. It's just abysmal in the corners at that aperture. Around f1.6 it becomes more acceptable. At F2 it's good in the center. At f2.8 it's great in the center. Unfortunately outside the center is "meh" even at f2.8.

I'm not sure I love the bokeh or rendering of this lens. Compare this lens to Nikon's 58 1.4. There's no contest. The bokeh is still very much better than the other Canon 50s.

This lens is mildly heavy. For some reason, it seems heavier than some other lenses of a similar weight (24L, 35L, 100L). Must be something with the balance. If you're carrying this around all day, you'll notice.

Most amateur photographers should probably get the f1.4 version, but professionals will be stuck getting the 50L for accuracy of focus, better bokeh, flare resistance, etc. It's not a lens without its flaws. Really praying to the photo gods that Canon releases the rumored 50mm 1.8 IS that's reasonably sharp, lightweight, and has accurate focus.


Aug 27, 2014
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JesseShotland
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Registered: Jun 17, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 328
Review Date: Jul 15, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast aperture, solid build, weather sealing, unique look.
Cons:
somewhat heavy, slow AF, not sharp in the corners regardless of aperture.

I've this lens for a bit now. It's solid, it's hunky, and it's chunky. But damn, it's not funky. This thing is pretty sharp even wide open, but not at all in the corners. In fact, the 1.8 nifty fifty is sharper at 1.8 than this is at 1.8 which is silly.



Jul 15, 2014
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PabloJij
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Registered: Apr 29, 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 7, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Just beautiful dreamy photos. All the emotion of and old lens with the practicality of modern one. Focus on mine is pin sharp Low light performance with a full frame (6D) body is just phenomenal. Focusses in near darkness!
Cons:
Expensive. (But so is a Ferrari) Not a clinical laboratory-sharp lens, but who wants that?

I read most of the reviews here before pushing the Buy button, but so glad I did. I now have some stunning shots of family and friends that I will treasure for lifetime. This lens captures people, it captures their emotion and essence. It's the combination of not needing a flash, (so people ignore you taking a shot), and the isolation you get with such a wide aperture. The colour rendition has great character (with the some CA correction help from Lightroom), and the vignetting gives things a warm feel that I love.

This lens now lives on my 6D. I tried going back to my 17-40mm f4.0 but it never gives satisfying results.

Also used it on a 70D which has more advance focussing than the 6D, (lens works well with the 70Ds on-sensor PDAF, so you can be more incognito using the swivelling LCD screen). But the bokeh is better on the 6D (you can be closer to the subject) and the low light performance too, with is what it's all about with this lens.


Jul 7, 2014
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mentelfoto
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Registered: Sep 3, 2013
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 3, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: One of the best lenses Canion have made. I always have i with me on a wedding shoot. Its expensive, but you will love it!
Cons:

De bruidsfotograaf van Nederland: http://www.mentel.nl

Sep 3, 2013
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John57
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Registered: Jun 13, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 53
Review Date: Jul 19, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, weight for an L lens. Compact size. Image quality. f1.2 sharp for me !
Cons:
None so far.

I rented a copy of this lens before I bought it. I figured £38 for a day was fair given the write ups on the internet from various users are a bit variable to say the least !

I enjoyed using the rented copy so bought one. I am using it on a 5D Mk 3 and am used to using numerous L lenses as the wife is a professional photographer. Has this lens lived up to expectations ? Err, yes - in fact far more than I expected !!

It is built solidly and it not too heavy. Yes, far heavier than a 50mm f1.8 but then you can't compare the two. One is a pro lens and the other, though a good lens ... is the cheapest 50mm Canon make.

I weighed up whether to try the 50 1.4 but having read a lot thought the extra contrast and detail from the 1.2L was worth a go.

The copy i have is made in 2013 and whilst I think most of the issues people have with this lens are down to either it's design or inexperience I also think Canon has upped their quality control for it in the last couple of years. People now seem to have less issues than the first year or so it was out - back in 2006.

I am aware of the 'focus shift' issues and using it close up at f1.2 is asking for trouble. I haven't bought it for that but tested my copy and found it OK at 1.2 unless at the min focusing distance. Anything over 5 feet and f1.2 was quite sharp ! In fact, far sharper than the hire lens from Calumet. At the min focusing distance issues are a bit hit and miss but f1.2 is truly shallow and your target easily missed hand held.

It gives good clear images with excellent contrast, sharpness and colour. It is a nice weight on a 5D and a good carry around lens to make you think more. I generally use a 24-70 f2.8 or 24-105 f4 ... but am now thinking use primes to stop being lazy. This is only the 2nd Canon prime I have used ... but plan to make more effort in taking photos and using a super hallow depth of field that this lens offers.

I would definitely recommend it but if worried do what I did and rent first. It will not be everyones cup of tea but if considering a lens of this price I guess you know what it is capable of Smile


Jul 19, 2013
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nelvayut
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Registered: Apr 26, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 104
Review Date: Jun 13, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Built, bokeh, f/1.2, sharp, color quality
Cons:
Weight, sometimes I experienced shift focus



Jun 13, 2013
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Nektario K
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Registered: Jan 5, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 266
Review Date: Jun 8, 2013 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: not many..
Cons:
see original review

Can't seem to correct a review..in my Pros area..I meant to just write good Bokeh -
Cons is that it does not focus fast..at least not as fast as a 1.4.. So if your shooting kids in ambient light..you will need a faster focus - I can foresee how OOF my shots will be when I will be shooting baptisms and trying to catch baby in mom's arms as she walking with him/her etc.. This 1.2 is set for a real steady subject at least to shoot in the 1.2 1.4 range


Jun 8, 2013
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Nektario K
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Registered: Jan 5, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 266
Review Date: Jun 8, 2013 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: slower than the 1.4 and I can see why..
Cons:
way over priced for this lens' purpose..

Got this lens this week..been shooting non stop with it..before I use it on my contract.. I'm not really impressed for the price I paid.. Sharpness pre-post is not amazing.. Good bokeh, good build but nothing that the 50 1.4 EF can't do at a fraction of the price.. $1600.00 for a red ring?? Not this one anyway...Its going back...Better spend your money (1500.00) on a 70-300 4L..now that is WOW glass...

Jun 8, 2013
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
180 345193 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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