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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
182 351519 Jan 11, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
81% of reviewers $1,399.44
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.33
6.93
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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andox
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Registered: Sep 19, 2008
Location: Austria
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, solid construction, great handling, "charm"
Cons:
CA, vignetting (FF)

After carefully reading of all the reviews in this forum (backfocus issues!) I decided to see if I would be one of the lucky owners who had *not* to complain.

First test shots (1Ds III at minimum distance, f=1.2) made me feel if I'd won the jackpot: no problems with backfocus, sharp and clear images even full open! Honestly I did not shoot flat test charts but every object had been in focus so there are no issues with sharpness to complain about.

Vignetting can be easily fixed in ACR or DXO. Some reluctant CA which can be removed using Shay Stephens Color Fringe Reducer (PS action).

Great lens with charm - good purchase!


Sep 19, 2008
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hexbeam
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Registered: Aug 20, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Clear clean crisp images. Built like a tank, very sollid.
Cons:
Expensive

I have been using this lens in the field and for portraits and am always pleased with the results. Maybe I have a good copy but; no calibration was required. Right out of the box each shot was very impressive. I feel it is over priced as with most "L" lenses however, quality is not free and you get what you pay for.
People keep comparing it to the cheaper 50mm F1.4v and the only thing I would ask is what are your photos worth? Are they worth the added expense of the "L" or are you completely satisfied with images from other glass. This lens is obviously better glass and has been proven many times.
It's a keeper in my opinion. If you are price concious and always looking for negatives, get the cheaper 50mm F1.4 version. If you don't mind putting out the extra $$$ for the higher quality then this is where the investment is.


Aug 20, 2008
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stupor
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Registered: Jun 23, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 16
Review Date: Aug 19, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Build quality, focusing ring. Bokeh is one of the best I have experienced.
Cons:
Focus problems that could not be fixed.

I tried two copies, both had serious backfocus issue. I read all the reviews here, but I had to see it myself! First one I returned "no questions asked" immediately after quick test. I really wanted a working one and I ended up buying a second one from different dealer. He was really helpful and I was assured that if there would be any problems, he would help me. Backfocus again, two times calibration in Canon service with the body (5D) would not correct it. I still don't know what the problem is/was. I expected it to have focus shift when stopped down slightly, but it was a suprise that the two copies I tried had serious focus issues at the maximum aperture. I ended up changing it to 85L II although it is no my favourite focal length. No problems at all with that one.

I would say that this truly is a great lens, when focus is where it should be. For me it was impossible, because I like to shoot very close with 50mm and it just didn't work. I would definitely buy this one again if I would be sure it works. It would have to be 10 lenses in a row to try out. I would not recommend anyone buying one with backfocus and trusting 100% that Canon service will fix it. I guess I will have to wait for new version or try the 50/1.4.


Aug 19, 2008
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CBDigital
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Registered: May 26, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 335
Review Date: Aug 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, great life like color, great control of depth of field. Very well built
Cons:
I guess I would have preferred to buy it for $199.99 instead of $1400. Other than that, no complaints. I have had none of the focus issues I have read about.

I have had the lens for a few weeks now and used it for portrait sessions. 50 mm is not a focal length I have used much in the past but it produces interesting and high quality results. It's just a whole different look than 135 mm and it takes a whole different approach to shoot a subject at 50 mm. I like what I am getting. It is very usable wide open but stepped down it seems a couple notches better than the 50 1.4 or the 24-105, both of which I have used.

Aug 19, 2008
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JORDI350D
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Registered: Dec 7, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 36
Review Date: Jul 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Low light posibilities, sharp at 1.2 and super sharp from f2, beatiful boken.
Cons:
AF.

Perfect partner for a Canon 5d. Very sharp after Canon calibration.
I think that it is a lens with a high creative posibilities.
The contrast and flare control is much better than the Canon 50 1.4 from 1.4 to 2.2 or so.
After Canon revison, the lens is very loved by me.




Jul 17, 2008
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legba999
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Registered: May 17, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: An amazing lens. Comparable to 35mm and 85mm L lens. Not as sharp as either, but color and bokeh are simply superb.
Cons:
Some people seem to have recieved bad copies of the lens. But I honestly don't understand the depth of the negative reviews on this lens.

I own the 24L, 35L, 85L and 135L. I think the 50mm L lives up to its siblings reputation. I've never written a review on a lens before, but the negative reviews on this lens could turn away many people from a lens that I consider impressive.

The 50mm L is clearly superior in image quality to the 50mm 1.4 - Just compare images on PBase.


Jul 10, 2008
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Dalian
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Registered: Mar 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Review Date: Jul 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: fit finish is typical L
Cons:
oof not great, no attempt made by canon to make the aperture rounded till 2.8, poor resolution at wider aperture levels and close distances

This lens didn't work from me, it has cured my L addiction. Besides the usual complains, I wasn't impressed by the oof areas. Tree lights, for example, would change shape in the oof areas based on the aperture selected in the range 1.2 to 2.8.

Jul 10, 2008
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DoubleNegative
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Registered: May 15, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 857
Review Date: Jun 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid build, weathersealing, good size. Amazing bokeh/drawing. Sharp across the range of apertures, requiring little USM (if any) in post-processing.
Cons:
None other than perhaps the price.

After reading enough of the anti-50L hype on the forums I decided to pick up my own copy, albeit used - for a good price (that I couldn't resist). It's a UV07xx date code and the previous owner just had it calibrated at Canon (in January 2008) so I can't speak of its performance out-of-the-box...

My impressions are that I have absolutely no problems or reservations using this lens. I purposely went out to test for issues in real-world shooting and found none. From near to far, at all apertures - this lens produces some of the sharpest, contrastiest and colorful images and ranks right up there with the other L primes, IMO. Shooting at or near wide open gives excellent DoF/bokeh effects like the 35/85L and stopped down the sharpess and detail throughout the frame is amazing. Most images need little or no USM.

I try to buy primes that offer me something tangible over the zooms, typically bright apertures and sharpness. This lens delivers on both counts - plus offers something few of the other standard L primes (currently) offer; weathersealing. To be able to go out in just about any condition - day or night, rain or shine and have no worries is great.

I wholeheartedly recommend this lens if you enjoy the likes of the 24L, 35L, 85L or 135L. It's right up there with them, IMO.


Jun 30, 2008
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pixelda
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Registered: Sep 4, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ -Good Colour Rendition, Contrast and Sharpness, Build Quality, Sharpness at wide apertures
Cons:
Slow Focusing. AF issues with subject near minimum distance. Requires experience to use well, f16 max aperture

The lens arrived today and I immediately performed focus tests on my 5D and 1D Mk III. The only issues encountered were slow focusing, which I already knew about on this lens, and indecision with the subject at the minimum distance (and the red AF square indicating focus lock when it wasn't). As observed by others, moving back a foot or two cured that. Otherwise AF focusing was spot on.

Taking some test shots with both cameras provided images that required little in the way of post process, and the Raw files were nice straight out of the camera.

Easier to manual focus than the 35mm f1.4 L, probably because of slightly more magnification of the subject (using standard focus screens)

Not a beginners lens - you are better off with the f1.4, or 35mm f1.4.

I was wary about buying one after previous bad press, but I needn't have worried, the copy I have is a good one.


Jun 26, 2008
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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: 37
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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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
182 351519 Jan 11, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
81% of reviewers $1,399.44
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.33
6.93
8.7
ef50lusm


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