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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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179 330922 Nov 16, 2014
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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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colonel_purple
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Registered: Jan 13, 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 22, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: colour rendition, bokeh, focus, build, f1.2, smoothness, balance, sharpness at wider aperture
Cons:
would have preferred back focus to front focus mechanism, canon should quote minimum focus distance as higher or provide guidance in instructions

This lens is a pleasure to use and hold, like a fine watch.
I find it sharp at all apertures and focus is spot on.
The bokeh is super creamy, colour rendition and contrast are superb and flare control is outstanding.
All lenses focus shift to an extent but i am told you can see it on this lens between f1.8 to f4 at close to minimum focus distance. Perhaps Canon should just have said the minimum focus distance is 3 feet, as they did with the 85mm.
for me the lens really delivers. it is perfect for hand held indoors and portraits. also excellent for walk about and reportage. lastly it is excellent for landscape and architecture. it's on my 5Dii 90% of the time.


Jan 22, 2011
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Keith Broad
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Registered: Aug 14, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 122
Review Date: Jan 13, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF accuracy, light gathering ability, bokeh, contrast, colour, build
Cons:
Weight, AF speed

I've been procrastinating about buying this lens for 3 years. The number of poor reviews for this lens kept me away. I compromised by getting an f1.4, which I've used for 2 years. I have a wedding to do today. We have heavy rain and dark skies. I decided yesterday that the 50L may help me take shots that have that special quality, despite the weather. So I took the plunge. I shopped around for an hour and knocked $700 off the RRP.

This morning I have tested the lens extensively using my 1DIII and 5D2. I have been focusing close and at middle distance, mostly at f1.2. I have also done some stopped down (f2) focusing at less than 4 feet. In all instances the focus has been accurate without any micro-adjustment or focus shift.

I have also been able to take some of the best portraits of my Boxer dog during his 7 years of life. This lens has me really excited. I feel like it is going to take me on a new voyage of photographic discovery.


Jan 13, 2011
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kaifri
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Registered: Dec 12, 2010
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00

 
Pros: bookeh, construction-quality, weather-sealed
Cons:
sharpness@1.2, price

I tested all three Canon 50mm lenses and this one is clearly the best. Yes, it is true, sharpness at f1.2 is disappointing and does in my humble opinion (I'm a professional wedding photographer) not match higher expectations of professional photographers. However, sharpness improves significantly at f1.4 and again at f2 but overall sharpness from corner to corner is not reached before 2.8. Of course, sharpness at 1.2 is NOT all blurred but absolutely sufficient for private portraits etc. However, in comparison to the 85mm 1.2 sharpness is disappointing.


Another con is the autofocus. While it is fast enough to focus quickly on non-moving subjects it is a real challenge to focus on moving subjects. Don't get me wrong, autofocus is not slow but in comparison to Canon's latest lenses like 70-200 f/2.8 II it leaves much to be desired!


Still, this is my favorite lens and much better than the 50mm f/1.4 , so why is that:


1) Its bokeh is far superior in comparison to the Canon 50mm 1.4, above all much smoother. Check out my webgallery as a reference (roughly 50% of the pictures were taken with 50mm, most between f1.4 and f2)


http://www.kajul-photography.de/de/galerie/hochzeiten


2) Colors and contrast of the 50mm f1.2 are much better than other 50mm lenses.
3) It is fully weather-sealed in combination with a front-filter. This becomes an important issue when traveling. I've recently used it in the Sahara desert and not a single grain of sand made it onto the sensor or onto the lens' inner elements. Check out some pictures:


http://blog.kajul-photography.de/blog-hochzeitsfotograf-frankfurt/53-one-week-in-marrakech.html


4) Construction quality is perfect. The lens feels and handles very well.


Overall, I absolutely recommend this lens. It is for sure the best 50mm lens on the market and if you like the 50mm focal length this truly is a must-buy!


Dec 17, 2010
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WhyNotGallery
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Registered: Dec 9, 2009
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 25, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: NICE BOKEH, AMAZING SHARPNESS AT APERTURE AT F 1.2 – F 2.2, BUILD QUALITY, GREAT COLOR. EXCELLENT CONTRAST, OVERALL LOOK OF THE PICTURES TAKEN WITH THIS LENS. LIGHTWEIGHT, LOW LIGHT POSSIBILITIES.
Cons:
NONE

If I wanted to evaluate this lens as a whole, it probably would be at level 5 - 6 points, because of the fact that I would have to take to assess a total of seven lenses. So many copies have already tested together for the last 3 years. All the previous six lenses were characterized by all possible technical flaws, has repeatedly been reported in the pages of this forum and elsewhere on the Internet, i.e, backfocus, frontfocus, shift problems, etc..
But the last one, the 7 copy of this lens tested by me deserves the scores 10 points, because it is simply perfect in every way. The quality of images regardless of the distance is ideal, any error in focusing, sharpness comparable at the f/1.2 - f/1.4 with the EF 85mm/f.1.2L USM II and EF 35 mm/ f1.4L USM, which I also use for 3 years on FF.
Compared to the EF USM 50mm/f1.4 (which I used more than 3 years) in the apertures of f/1.4 - f/2.2, the f/1.2 version is definitely sharper.
In summary, a really wonderful lens (just a pity that you have to test as many as 7 copies to get one good), a brilliant bokeh, excellent design, excellent optical properties (excellent sharpness at f1.2 - F.2.2).

Really recommend !!!
Sample pictures on the page www.whynotgallery.pl.


Oct 25, 2010
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liaobq
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Registered: Aug 15, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Review Date: Oct 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: nice bokeh, amazing aperture 1.2. L lens build quality. Sharp and great color.
Cons:
price. corner is soft (i think few people will care, it is not a wide angle lens at all.)

Got this lens several days ago. Found not a few negative reviews of this lens, generally say, it is a really nice build "L" lens besides the price of it.

I didn't find any focus shift problems on my 5D till now.My lens code starts with UVXXXX. But it is kindly hard to focus during dim light situation.

From flickr's users, some of them said that if focus distance less than 4 feet, the focus have a big trouble when you are using the center point focus. I'm lucky, I don't have this issues. LOL~

Besides the price, it is much better than 50 1.4 USM. The sharpness is all depend on your focus skill.

Canon 50mm f1.2 is the unique autofocus lens in the world( never think about the former 50 1.0L of canono, it looks like a monster...), for this point, what else could I say.


Oct 18, 2010
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davidmarsh
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Registered: Oct 26, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 140
Review Date: Sep 18, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Amazing clarity
Cons:
Cost

I have previously left a lenghy post on this lens. I thought it wise to just cover the points that a major UK Pro Canon service agent told me. Every pro camera that is supplied has it's sensors responsible for focusing, factory set and pointing at a pre designated area of the screen, hopefully close to the centre. However, in many cases these are just a few percentages out. When using normal lenses from say F1.8 upwards you would not notice any difference. However, on a lens with F1.2 that has such a deffined DOF you will then become aware of the this problem with the sensors. The lens itself is also specific to a point and two different manufaturers making F1.2 lenses may also have a variation.You can have Canon reset the sensors to point directly at the centre of the screen, or if you like in the middle of the centre red square.
I have used both the 50mm 1.2 and the 85mm 1.2 extensively and have had no issues what so ever other than human error where i may have moved just after foscusing and got a blurred picture. Despite Canon charging way to much, I feel these two lenses are the best I have ever used and I have been lucky enough to have a wide range of L Lenses. Forgive the spelling I can't find my glasses!


Sep 18, 2010
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Greenmarine
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Registered: Sep 17, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Sep 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: effect of narrow DOF combined with OOF bokeh, sharpness @large f's (if focussed correctly), overall build quality (weather sealing)
Cons:
plastic filter thread & hood mount, some OOF CA, a bit pricey for a "normal"

after much debating due to the many negative reviews I decided to "bite the bullet" & buy one of these, coz I love the challenge of “normal” focal length on FF (5Dii) but hate the f1.4 version I had up to now. I was lucky to be able to choose the best one out of 3 copies (all UY code)

the razor thin DOF / sharpness @large apertures & the beautiful bokeh of this glass give pictures a unique, dreamy, 3 dimensional look which is absolutely amazing !

would like to share my experiences on the 2 hot topics I’ve read about so much here: “focus accuracy & -shift”:

I really needed to (re)learn how to focus with this lens: you gotta be extremely careful where to place the focus point (normally using the central one): I only get correct focus consistently if the highest contrast within the coverage of the focus point is also the part I want to have sharp in the picture. before realizing this I was “randomly” getting “back” or “front” focus shots !

I only experienced only slight focus shift, but it remains within the increasing DOF (when stopping down w/o refocusing)

concluding, I can only highly recommend this lens but you will need to work hard for top results ;-) !

PS: all three copies I tried out had the same focus behavior, only one needed +1 micro adjustment & there was a slight variation in sharpness between them (only visible in direct comparison)


Sep 18, 2010
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michael valeri
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Registered: Nov 28, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 24
Review Date: Sep 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,099.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Colour rendition, Contrast, Build quality & Bokeh to die for ; )
Cons:
OMG the Price ha ha!!!

Well you have all the read the negative reviews & just like you I was put off. I bought a sigma 50mm f1.4 & for the price it was good, however it seemed to focus shift at times. So I exchanged it within 14 days & bit the bullet to give the canon 50mm f1.2L a try. Everything seemed just that little bit better, focus, colour rendition, contrast & smoooooth bokeh.
I have tested it & mine is perfect straight out the box (I'll have to buy a lottery ticket ha ha) Anyway back to the good stuff. At 1.2 mine sharp & very useable, I would say its the best 50mm out there from 1.2 -2.8 hands down. The quality of the images this baby can capture, will make you fall in love with 50 focal range all over again. It has a very unique quality about it, goes with being an "L" series I guess, so in the end you'll cry hard at your empty wallet & live to take life one photograph at a time.

Buy it & have fun ; )


Sep 10, 2010
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mino3x
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Registered: Sep 5, 2010
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 6, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,490.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, bokeh rendetion, colour
Cons:
none

I am happy with the result given by this lens.

After considering and trying the 50mm/f1.4 one for cheaper price, I think this lens worth the price. Build quality, AF speed and rendetion is just many times as great compared to the cheaper one.

My build code is UY and I didn't experience any shift focus issue.


Sep 6, 2010
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311erin
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Registered: Sep 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 166
Review Date: Jun 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Bokeh, contrast, overall look of the pictures taken with this lens. Lightweight, general purpose, low light, all around lens.
Cons:
Not as sharp as my 85 1.2 II at 1.2, but pretty close.

I am on my second copy of this lens, because that is how much I like this focal length and the results this lens gives me. I park my 85 1.2 II in the bag and choose this lens 90% of the time. I just bought a newer UY version and sold my UW version, taking a gamble there would be an improvement after two years, and I am glad I did. Not that the UW was the worst, just that it was always lacking some sharpness. I tried two copies when I bought the UW and both were the same, but when I brought the UY home I couldn't believe my eyes, huge difference in sharpness. Also the UW was never a good match with my 1DsMKIII, with a microfocus adjust of -20, I never felt comfortable. The UY is zero adjustment, and the sharpness is a very noticeable improvement. People love or hate this lens, and my only recommendation would be go out and shoot your subject matter with it before you believe all the negativity surrounding this lens. Judge for yourself.

Jun 13, 2010
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Liquidpics
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Registered: Jun 14, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1107
Review Date: Jun 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: After reading about rumors that recent copies of this lens being revamped I went out and got another one because any 1.2 in my book deserves a second shot....I have to report that it appears to be true! No "focus shift" that I have noticed on my copy and I can actually see no difference in IQ quality and AF performance compared to my 85L. My date code is UY**
Cons:
Older copies, including one I tried and returned reportedly had focusing issues.

An awesome lens that deserves to be a be added to the 35L 85L and 135L holy fraternity.

Jun 11, 2010
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highway0691
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Registered: Dec 14, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, challenges the user, Build quality.
Cons:
Zero

There's no doubt that this lens is just fantastic. I've just shot 350 images at a wedding (hours ago) and after viewing them I am so stoked. Yes - it takes skill to use this lens, it not for the point & shooter. Focusing is challenging and the DOF is extremely shallow at 1.2 I would say that I nailed the focusing in 80% of the shots compared to about 90% with 17- 55 2.8 IS. I read volumes on this lens before buying it and quiet frankly I am amazed at how how some people have given it the thumbs down. I must say that I am using it on a 5D2 which it seems well paired to. The quality of some of my shots is I would say the best I've ever done at weddings and I've only used it once. I'm perhaps a bit over-excited about this lens but it really is the best thing I've done for my wedding photography. My only tip is you must really consider the shallow DOF when wide open and also you must really pay extra attention to focus - which we should be doing all the time anyway, some lenses make us lazy in this respect esp wider angle zoom lenses. The discipline this lens requires from the shooter is evident but it will make a better photographer of me for that reason.

May 29, 2010
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spectral7
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Registered: Jan 9, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 53
Review Date: May 5, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: construction, bokeh, AF speed, contrast, smooth focusing ring
Cons:
cost

Great lens overall. I had a Sigma 50/1.4 for a year before buying this. The optics are similar, but I like the L's bokeh and contrast better. The AF on the L is definitely better - faster and with no hesitation, which the Sigma usually does. The focusing ring is a pleasure to use, very smooth and with much greater travel than the Sigma. I have not had any issues with focus shift. It has a bit of chromatic aberration, both lateral and longitudinal, but that's not unexpected for an ultra-fast lens.

May 5, 2010
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willis
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Registered: Jul 23, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 478
Review Date: Mar 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic colours and bokeh, build quality, sharper than its given credit for at wide apertures. Closer MFD than 85L.
Cons:
Soft edges on FF wide open, LoCA. No sharper than 50 1.4 at apertures smaller than f2.8. Lots of internet noise about focus shift. Vignetting. Expensive for a standard lens

Buying this lens was a leap of faith for me but I'm very pleased with it on FF, APSH and APSC formats.
It has the best colour rendition of any lens I've used and the bokeh is really smooth, similar to 85LII. The much talked about focus-shift problems just haven't been a problem for my uses. LoCA is its biggest optical limitation but it shares this with most other very fast lenses. The other optical flaw is heavy vignetting wide open but thats easily fixed so not of great concern.
I tried several sigma 50mm F1.4 before giving up due to focus problems. The 50L worked straight out of the box with no MA on 1DIII and 7D.
This lens is all about bokeh and low light IQ - if you value these then look no further.


Mar 10, 2010
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Igor N
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Registered: May 30, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 4
Review Date: Mar 6, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: sharpness, saturation, contrast, f1.2, build quality
Cons:
price

This lens has suffered some really harsh reviews in the past both by expert reviews as well as by the public on the forums. Reading the reviews it seems like from mid 2009 they all started to turn around and the reports of focus shifting and blurry images have slowly dies down. Has Canon really responded to bad press and changed its production to a new set of higher quality? We’ll never know but I do wish all those, just like me, who really like the idea of this lens but never bought it because of the bad press do give it a go as it is worth the risk. The lens is excellent.

I posted my own detailed review on http://www.ignphotography.com/2010/03/review-canon-ef-50mm-f1-2-l-usm-lens/ and you can see a short video review on Youtube by following this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fge2IpSUq-A


Mar 6, 2010
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t_streng
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Registered: Jan 25, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 665
Review Date: Feb 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: OOF-rendering, solid lens, contrast, speed
Cons:
CA when shooting between f1.2 and f2.8 on a 7d, price

I bought this lens as a portrait lens on the 7d.
I tried the 50/1.4 but it did not seem as smooth (bokeh) IMO as the images I had seen from the 50/1.2 and the 50/1.4 showed strong CA in contrasty areas of the images on the 7d.
Overall I like the 50/1.2mm for its smooth rendering, my sample does not seem to suffer much from focus shift problems (I had however to do some micro AF adjustment in my camera for this lens).
However the 50/1.2 also does show the CA problem in contrasty scenes. The problem is gone around f4.0.
I am not so concerned though since for the intended use (portraits like images) I dont see the CA as a big problem.
I wonder if this problem is much more pronounced on the high pixel density 7d camerad compared to FF.
Dont know.
Anyways, overall I really enjoy the lens. DOF is pretty shallow at f1.2, definatly as shallow as I would want to go. So nobody tell me a crop camera is not good for shallow DOF.


Feb 23, 2010
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
179 330922 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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