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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
176 327913 Aug 27, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
81% of reviewers $1,415.73
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.38
7.02
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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ladomat2001
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Registered: Sep 7, 2005
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 26, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Build Qulity, best bokeh (out of 50mm primes).
Cons:
Heavy, overpriced, major sharpness issues, purple fringing.

I purchased this lens to be able to shoot in low light wide open, or at least at f1.8. The biggest problem with this lens ist the sharpness and purple fringing. I tested twho copies: first was always backfocusing, the second was kind of blurry - even at f8 - f 11. The purple fringing was also quite present, a lot more than on my new 50 1.4 - That is in my opinion not acceptable for a L prime at this price. Instead i bought the 50 1.4 and it's really sharper at all appertures also at 1.4. So the L is only a freak, that you will need if you REALLY need the 1.2 - if you ca live with appertures below - you dont'need it.

Jun 26, 2008
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Christobel
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Registered: Sep 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: May 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing low light capabilities, colors pop, bokeh is creamy, very sharp, size, weight, and wow factor.
Cons:
Be careful when shooting at mimimum focus distance

Low light capabilities with this lens are amazing on my 5d. I rated this lens a 10 because it has produced some of the most beautiful and artistic shots Ive ever taken and would put it on a par with my 35L and 135L. It has a magical quality, colors pop, and bokeh is creamy smooth. So far, I have not experienced any front or back-focusing, although when shot at a minimum distance of F/1.2, with several subjects on the same plane, it did focus drift. When I locked focus on one subject and recomposed, I did not experience a focus drift. Stepping back a foot, all subjects were in focus. For low light candids and portraits, this is my favorite lens and would highly recommend it if only for the wow factor alone.

May 26, 2008
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goodpictures
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Registered: May 19, 2008
Location: N/A
Posts: 11
Review Date: May 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: build, contrast, bokeh, size, sharpness. Most of my hangable-keepers come from this lens.
Cons:
A lot of money to spend with all of the bad focus reports. It takes some practice, and I find myself snapping more to make sure I got the area I

I spent weeks reading all of the reports about the focus problems with this lens. I still went ahead and bought it in September 2007. On my 30D, I immediately experienced the focus problems, but I knew what to look for so I didn't spend much time experimenting. Rather than sending it back to B&H and messing with the "I got a defective, bad copy" claims, I decided to send it right to Canon, days after I bought it. I didn't want to give up on it - I wanted this lens, and I wanted it to work right. Canon (Irvine) confirmed my claim that it "mis-focused" (I still don't understand that "backfocus" means). This was very gratifying, and I couldn't wait to get it back. After a seven-day turn around, and about $20 for shipping/insurance, I got the lens back, and I mean the lens I wanted from the beginning. I now have every confidence that my lens works how it's supposed to, but I still need to be careful about depth of field. I still get mis-focused pictures from time to time, but I know it's user error, not lens error. I believe the autofocus works well on my XTi and 30D, but I don't think these cameras are able to "nail it" when I pick a different focus point and shoot wider than f/2. I may not understand this correctly, but I am confident when I use the center focus point, and hopeful on the rest. I'm getting a 5D this week, and I can't wait. In my opinion, the focal length of this lens on a crop camera is too long, narrow and tight. I bought this lens for my future full-frame camera. I'm expecting the auto focus accuracy to be even better, more accurate; even with various focus points selected. I hope I'm right and I hear that I may need different focus screens for the 5D for wider apertures.
If you want this lens, don't give up on it. Send your to Canon for service, with a clear letter about the problem, and get it right. It was well worth it to me. I love this lens. It's my favorite.


May 19, 2008
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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: 997
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! Its 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 L. Very nicely done.
The lens itself exhibits the obvious fantastic bokeh and is quick to AF as far as Im 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!
Im getting better at dealing with the very shallow DOF at 1.2. Im 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, Henrys 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: 139
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: 961
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: 139
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 SLRs 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 F 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 SLRs 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: 1870
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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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
176 327913 Aug 27, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
81% of reviewers $1,415.73
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.38
7.02
8.7
ef50lusm


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