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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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179 330784 Nov 16, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
80% of reviewers $1,406.27
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.35
6.96
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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lucas lumiere
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Registered: Feb 10, 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 244
Review Date: Feb 7, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Colour, Bokeh, Build, Size, Sharpness, Rendering
Cons:
Needs a good AF System, Good firmware installed between the ears.

I've owned the 50 1.8 II, then the metal mount 1.8, then the 50 1.4 and finally found a good deal on the 1.2L. I used to find it frustrating to use on my old 5dc, however, that could be said for a lot of lenses. When they worked, the images were amazing, but there were lots of out of focus frames.

You need a Full Frame camera with a top notch AF system to get the most out of this lens. It absolutely SINGS on the 5dIII.


Feb 7, 2013
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fingerling69
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Registered: Jan 24, 2013
Location: Australia
Posts: 8
Review Date: Jan 25, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: F1.2, Bokeh, Sharp.
Cons:
Price.

Wow, what a lense. Superb @ F1.2, Sharp @ F1.2 and the Bokeh, brilliant. Worth every cent.

Either it's user error or there is a variation in quality between copies, mine has no such issues. My new favourite lense.


Jan 25, 2013
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mttran
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Registered: Nov 3, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 6930
Review Date: Jan 1, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Just one knock behinds the legendary 50f1.0
Cons:
none



Jan 1, 2013
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Peter Kotsa
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Registered: Nov 1, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 267
Review Date: Dec 14, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 1.2, bright viewfinder and fast focus, excellent build.
Cons:
$$

You get what you pay for, this is a specialised lens for low light situations.
I use it mainly between f1.2 to f2, outstanding bokeh and colours.
Pricey lens but well worth it.


Dec 14, 2012
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kyerthenomad
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Registered: Nov 29, 2012
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 29, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: It's the lens that spends the most time on my camera. It's sharp. It's a great all around focal length.
Cons:
It's doesn't focus well in low light sometimes with my mark ii. I look forward to using it with a mark iii down the road.

Even though I've calibrated this lens, I've never seen it sharp at 1.2 or 1.4.
I also love the 35m mm 1.4 and it focuses well and it's consistently sharp even full open.
But the 50mm is a better all around focal length for photographing people (horizontal shots or vertical).
The 35mm 1.4 and 135mm 2.0 make a solid combination for shooting events.. but solo.. my 50mm 1.2 wins for me.


Nov 29, 2012
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Rob Holloway
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Registered: Oct 28, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 28, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Glorious color, depth of field and bokeh to die for
Cons:
Takes time to learn how to get the best out of this lens. it's not Point and shoot at f1.2. Focus is not super fast.

This is a specialist lens that takes time to master. It's completely different to the f1.4.

I purchased this lens to shoot our rescue dogs for our website. It's been amazing how many people have commented about the shots. They can't explain why they like the shots but i repeatedly hear that it's like 3D

I started with the 50mm f1.8 which is great for $100. Then moved to the 50mm f1.4 which is great for $350. I had about focussing issues but simply love L primes.

Every time I review a set of shots I am in awe of 3 things. The color, blacks and bokeh. It's surreal. I am not sure I have taken a shot beyond f4.

All that said, there is a learning curve with this lens as the temptation is to immediately shoot at f1.2 - because it's there. You'll be frustrated at first.

If you're looking for lightning fast AF, this lens is again not the one for you. It's not slow, but it's no speed demon.

Every time I clip this lens onto my 5D2 I am as excited as hell. Every time I fire up Lightroom, I just smile.


Oct 28, 2012
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davidmarsh
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Registered: Oct 26, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 140
Review Date: Oct 27, 2012 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Clarity, quality, robust
Cons:
A lack of understanding of this product, but that is not the products fault!

I have posted this before but any Canon service agent will tell that the so called 'back focus' issue is not down to the lens, but the setup of the sensors within the camera. With lenses over f/1.8 you do not really notice this issue suntil you hit the f/1.2 range. The camera sensors are aimed towards the centre of the frame but will need adjusting for lenses with such a tiny depth of field. The principle is the same as the famous 'bouncing bomp' used in WW2. Many cameras are setup for the main lens product range but if you plan to use a low f/ stop on a regular basis, you need to visit a Canon service centre to have the sensors re-aligned. Alternatively you can run a series of tests to acertain where the camera sensors tend to focus and make the adjustments when shooting.

Oct 27, 2012
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David45
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Registered: Oct 27, 2012
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 27, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Beautiful bokeh, sharp in centre at 1.2
Cons:
Can miss focus (probably due to user error)

I bought this as a mint condition 2012 model and have used it for several weeks. I have been using it with my 5d Mark iii. I am using it mainly to take photos of my children wide open. The lens is sharp enough in the centre at f1.2. There is a little vignetting at f1.2, which is not a problem when taking portraits. Contrast increases when stopped down a little.

I was concerned when reading about problems with back focusing. I do have some focusing errors, but believe this is down to user error and subject movement rather than a problem with the lens itself. I have not found a problem with back focusing at close distances when using between f1.2 and f2. When I have stopped the lens down to f5.6, the lens is very sharp across the frame. The colours are very attractive.

I was not sure whether to get this or the 35 1.4l but I am now very pleased with my choice. I would thoroughly recommend this lens as a portrait lens or for general use.

There are some excellent portraits on the flickr canon 50 1.2l site by a photographer taking a series of photos of people that work in Soho (whose name I forget) which shows what can be achieved by this lens in the hands of a skilled photographer.


Oct 27, 2012
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Gunzorro
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Registered: Aug 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 6768
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing bokeh, IQ is incredible from soft wide open to sharp smaller apertures. Size is manageable, not too big or heavy. Impressive build quality.
Cons:
Price? It's been out of my reach for a long time.

Amazing lens! Beautiful bokeh (and I'm not a bokeh fanatic) and smooth tonal transitions up to 2.8. From there it is as sharp as you could hope for from a 50mm.

I've only used it through the CPS program to shoot a wedding and do some prep shots and personal stuff afterward, but I absolutely fell in love with this lens and its images, especially from f/1.2 to 1.8 on a 1Ds2 -- such lovely transitions between tones, but also super sharp at f/4!

I've got to buy this lens, even though I'm usually an f/8 kind of guy, this won me over.


Sep 26, 2012
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susi
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Registered: Sep 28, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2584
Review Date: Aug 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beautiful Bokeh, Sharp, Great length for most shots, build quality, great walk around lens.
Cons:
There is a learning curve! All of my OOF shots have been user error.

I love this lens on my 5DMKlll , the new focal system creates a lot more keepers with a lens that can be tricky to nail focus. It took me a while to get to know this lens and to learn how to shoot with it, as 1.2 is a pretty shallow window to shoot with. I am getting a lot more keepers now due to the new camera and more experience with the lens. I find it is a great camera for senior sessions, some wedding work, Bridal and pretty much any portrait session. It is also a great walk around as the weight is not bad and pretty small for an L lens.
If this is your first 1.2 lens , be patient and persistent and you will be rewarded!
Here is a gallery shot entirely with this lens and the 5DMKlll
http://susilawson.zenfolio.com/p611838668
susi


Aug 5, 2012
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Nimra
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Registered: Jan 4, 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 37
Review Date: Jun 22, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: built
Cons:
PQ

Good lens, but not as good as the 85L or 35L.

Close to my 45 TSE stopped down, barely useful between 1.2 and 2, good behind 2.8 (better contrast and colors than the 50 1.4).

Contrast is good, but the sharpness got no chance against my Zeiss 50 2.0 Makro, this is another world!

So ... I stay with the 45 TSE and the Zeiss. (No need for AF in studio)

I wouldn't hesitate to buy it, if needed for the job (low light and AF, if the 35 or 85 wouldn't fit).
But it is not tempting enough to put it into the shelf as a ' ... try it with this glas ... ' lens.


Jun 22, 2012
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lexvo
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Registered: Sep 13, 2002
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 3824
Review Date: Jun 20, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp, well built, good color and contrast
Cons:
expensive

Introduction
I like shooting with the 50mm focal length, I use it for all kinds of photography like street shooting, available light, people, landscape etc... This love for 50mm started with the purchase of the Canon 50/1.4 lens some 10 years ago.

Although the 50/1.4 is a very fine lens, I always had the latent desire to own an even more professional 50mm. When the AF of my 50/1.4 broke, this seemed a good moment to think about that desire again. After reading a lot about the 50/1.2 I decided to buy it.

Not an optimal start
When I took my first shots with this lens, I quickly discovered that focus was off. After some testing I found that a micro adjustment of -12 was required to get accurate focus. Hmmmm, this troubled my first impressions of course: I had expected to receive a L-lens with according quality. Would there be something else out of order? This made me testing this lens even more thouroughly :-)

Sumary: Well, after some more testing and specially ‘real live’ shooting I know this lens is excellent. AF is spot on now (after the -12 MA correction).

The positives
Usable sharp wide open. You can shoot wide open with this lens and with some sharpening the results are quite good.
Very sharp stopped down. I think this lens is not as sharp as my EF 135 F2, but it is (very) close.
Very good color and contrast.
Well built.

The negatives
Of course some negative remarks can be made. But for me these are not severe because either they can easily be corrected in postprocessing or don’t bother me that much.
CA when shooting wide open. Can easily be corrected in post-processing (Lightroom 4.1 is very good).
Heavier than the 50/1.4 (twice as heavy as a matter of fact). But this extra weight is not disturbing.
Vignetting when shooting large apertures. Well, I feel part of this is the character of such a lens and it can easily be corrected also. At f/2 vignetting is almost gone.

Focus shift
I have to admit that when the 50/1.2 first came out, I was distressed by reports of focus shift. Apparantly focus shift shows up when shooting with apertures from f/1.8 to f/4 or so at shorter distances.
Reading about this I found that opinions were split if this was a real problem or not. But it seemed that newer copies of this lens had fewer problems.

Yes, it has some focus shift. But on my copy, I think this will only show between f/1.6 and f/4 and only at distances smaller than 4 feet (1.2 meters).

Why? I discovered that at short distances, but above 4 feet/1.2 meters, the DOF expands backwards and not forwards. But the subject stays in focus and that may be the reason that some people don't notice the focus shift. From f/4 the DOF also extends forwards and everything starts behaving 'normal'.

At distances smaller than 3 feet/1 meter I can see that focus shifts backwards and the subject will go out of focus (the closer the distance the faster). But all in all, focus shift isn’t a problem for me.

Conclusion
For my use, this is an excellent lens. It has great sharpness, color and contrast. Build quality is superb. There are some drawbacks but for me these are not that important and/or can easily be corrected.

Why didn’t I just buy a new 50/1.4?
Well, apart from the desire owning a ‘serious’ 50mm as described before, I also wanted to improve on:
wide open shooting
build quality: although the 50/1.4 lasted me for 10 years, I also read reports about broken AF after shorter periods (like 18 months)
even better image quality: well, I knew that this would only be marginal (if at all), because the 50/1.4 is already very good in this regard





Jun 20, 2012
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aestiva
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Registered: Feb 17, 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 15, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build quality, bokeh, smoothness, sharpness, fast AF
Cons:
Price and wide open a little bit soft

Very good lens. Also de AF is accurate, even on 1.2. A lot better bokeh and color than the Canon 50mm 1.4.

A lot of pictures of my site are made with this lens.
www.totaalfotografie.nl


May 15, 2012
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Mich Verbelen
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Registered: Apr 19, 2012
Location: Belgium
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 19, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

Hi EF 50 1.2 L users,

I am a photography teacher, in a school for adults, and yesterday a strange effect occured on a lens of one of my students, an efect for which I can't find a reasonable explanation. The 50mm lens was used in studio, on a 90% white subject and produced varying white balances or color shades on shots taken immediatly after each other.
I tried different shutterspeeds, apertures, white balances, thinking there was something wrong with the camera sensor.
Then I tried different bodies, being 2 7D', a 450D and a 1DS, and always the problem occured. A heavy color shade, going from green to blue, more intense when working on full aperture, but still visible on f:8 and f:11
Has anybody seen this effect before, and more important: Has anybody got an idea of the reason of this bizarre phenomenon?


Apr 19, 2012
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felipin
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 41
Review Date: Apr 17, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Color, contrast, sharpness (once a bit stopped down), bokeh, AF.
Cons:
A bit too soft wide open. Not cheap...

Before buying this lens I had tried some other 50s: a Canon 1.4 (pretty good lens for the price), a Leica f2/Summicron (very nice color and contrast rendering, but I wanted something faster) and an old (Contax) Carl Zeiss 1.4 (very nice as well, but lacking AF was not so nice, as it happened with the Leica). I must confess that I was kept away the 50L because of its bad reputation. There was so much bashing about this lens (too soft, erratic AF...) that it always seemed too expensive to me. At last, I found a used one in mint condition, so I bought it. Now I am very happy! I've found that I feel more and more comfortable every time with this focal length, understanding why it is called "natural" or "normal", and I'm using it most of the time. In my opinion, it gives to the pictures that magic, distinctive "L" touch which makes people say "wow" when they see them.

Apr 17, 2012
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nswelton
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Registered: Jan 16, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 260
Review Date: Apr 11, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp, nice bokeh
Cons:
design flaws cause it to fall apart, could focus faster

mixed feelings on this lens. here's the problem: the sun shade is attached to the front of the lens, to a little plastic part that recedes into the outside of the barrel. i can't explain it exactly but basically if you have this guy in a belt pouch and you pull it out by the sun shade, which is pretty common if you're working a wedding and operating quickly, you will eventually break something inside the front of the lens barrel and the hood will become loose and the red L ring will separate from the lens. i don't know how this problem will progress if you don't take care of it sooner or later. ultimately i suspect that the shade and lens will come apart without twisting. if you do take care of it it's a $400 repair. pretty lame for a 40 cent part.

anyway, otherwise a nice lens optically. i read a ton about it being not so sharp, not so accurate, etc. i thought my copy was tack sharp. not as awesome as the 135, but good nonetheless.


Apr 11, 2012
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
179 330784 Nov 16, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
80% of reviewers $1,406.27
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.35
6.96
8.7
ef50lusm


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