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Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

ef50lusm
Review Date: Mar 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: f/1.2, build quality and feel, great AF and image quality, beautiful bokeh, no problems whatsoever
Cons:
So expensive!

I knew I wanted an upgrade from my 50 1.4, but I really didn't want to spend the money on this lens. I basically avoided using the 50 1.4 below 2.0 because it looked bad. I tried the sigma, focus was terrible, sent it back and got this. I must say, I have no regrets. I wouldn't say it's a $1500 lens, but the amount that I use it now vs. the 1.4 definitely justifies the cost for me. It pretty much shares the position of most used lens with my 35 1.4, which is really saying something for me. The image quality is amazing, although different than my other L lenses. It seems much more aimed at looking pretty than absolute sharpness, which I don't mind. Sometimes everything's a little soft, but not like how cheap lenses look soft. It's clearly in focus, but the fine details don't stab you at low apertures. Instead, the whole photo has a gorgeous, dreamy look that's unattainable with other lenses. It's the only kind of softness I've ever liked. Softness isn't really even the right word, it's hard to explain. But by 2.8 and up it easily gets into detail stabbing territory. Is it flawless? No, but my hunt for the 50 that suites me is over. (And it had better be at this cost!)

 
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

image_copy
Review Date: Nov 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Great build quality, fast AF, beautiful optics
Cons:
the copy I had focused fine except far away objects, where it consistently missed pretty miserably.

I gave this lens a try hoping it would indeed be a cheaper 85L with almost no sacrifices. But, after some testing I found that the AF was not at all reliable at far distances. It was consistently way off actually. So, returned to b&h, but I was bummed to do so!