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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Review Date: Jun 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality and L weather seal. Colors and contrast are oustanding. Small and light for a fast L Lens. focus is is fast and quiet. Able to focus in almost complete darkness. This an my 5D2 is ultimate combo for natural light and walk-around shooting.
Image rendition was soft wide open in the begining until I calibrated my 5D2 with the micro adjustment for this lens. Then it was spot on wide open at any distance :)

As far as the canon ef 50L, I didn’t think it would be as sharp wide open as my 85L, but hoped I would get a decent copy since I’ve read a lot of reviews that it had focus shifts and very soft at f/1.2.

Well, it was soft wide open but colors and contrast was great and focused much faster and quieter then the 85L. focus speed was similar to the 135L.

I was going to return it and just keep my canon ef 50 f/1.4 until I started playing with the micro adjustment feature on my 5D2. And to my excitement, this thing started being spot on and super sharp @ 1.2 at any distance. I ended up having to adjust the focus +17 since it was front focusing.

I’ve read others had to adjust it at around +15. But when I put it on my 1DIIN with no micro adjustment feature it was back to average sharpness @ 1.2, but colors and contrast were very L quality. Made me regret selling my 1DIII with the micro adjustment feature for the IIN.

Anyway, I tested some of my other lens and the most were pretty spot on like, my 135L and 70-200IS. I’m not sure why canon chose to have it off so much, but I guess it’s part of the design.

In the end, I’m very happy with the 50L as long as the camera has the micro adjustment; coming close to the 85L wide open with the micro adjustment.

It will probably stay on my 5D2 90% of the time as my walk-around lens. Oh, it’s one of the smallest L lens I’ve owned and fairly light for an L. Smaller then the 24L, 35L and the front barrel doesn’t move forward when focusing making it more weather resistant when using a filter.

I wonder how many of my other medicre fast lenses would have been a great lenses with the micro adjustment...hmmmm

Below is a 50L sample taken @ f/1.2 Raw. No sharpening done, just curves adjustment for shadows and hightlights.