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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
CanonEF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens
 
4.8

(based on 942 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (790)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (126)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (13)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (6)

97%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Strong construction (616)
  • Nice bokeh (589)
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (558)
  • Durable (516)
  • Consistent output (450)

Cons

  • Heavy (192)
  • Slow focus (69)
  • Blurry focus (28)
  • Pricey but worth it (17)
  • Pricey / poor value (12)

Best Uses

  • Low light (639)
  • Weddings (548)
  • Night photography (394)
  • Video (211)
  • Landscape/scenery (203)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Pro photographer (323), Semi-pro photographer (248), Photo enthusiast (154), Casual photographer (36), Professional (26)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (672), Yes (19)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Idiosyncratic, frustrating, brilliant!

This really is an interesting lens. I've gone from hating it to loving it over a few short days. It's hugely idiosyncratic, and in that sense, much of the criticism that it has...Read complete review

This really is an interesting lens. I've gone from hating it to loving it over a few short days. It's hugely idiosyncratic, and in that sense, much of the criticism that it has received on web forums, blogs and reviews is largely correct. However, when you get to know the lens, it really is very capable and offers a unique perspective on the world.

It's heavy and does not have IS, and therefore, you will get some blur if you don't use flash below around 1/30 sec. Also, there is definitely a flaw in the focus algorithms, but only when shooting faces and focusing on eyes. Under controlled conditions, shooting a mm scaled ruler, it hits focus accurately 100% of the time. Shooting portraits, I hit around 65 to 70% success. This is quite acceptable given the incredibly narrow depth of field at f1.2. It definitely does back focus on some occasions, but not often enough to be a problem, and given the narrow slither of focus available wide open, it probably wouldn't show up any missfocus at anything much above f2.8 where the zone of focus is a bit wider.

How sharp is it - razor sharp from f1.2 up. Sharpness improves up to f1.6, and then reaches a peak at around f2.2. However, I shoot at f1.2 whenever I can as results are simply brilliant. So, this is a bit of a love me hate me lens. It is definitely not worth the money, and unless you are wealthy or a true bona fide professional earning your money through social photography (not so many of them left now), I'd think twice before parting with your money. However, if you are in this category, or a keen amateur portrait photographer, you won't regret buying this lens - just be prepared to accept it does have some foibles. It is limited to 50 or 80mm equivalence on FF or APS-C cameras, and you might miss your zoom, but when you nail a shot with this lens, nothing can compare to it. The 80mm f1.2 is too large and heavy and the electric focusing all conspire to put the 50mm ahead (cheaper too). I like this lens on a crop frame camera best as the 80mm perspective is particularly flattering. I remember when in film days of the 1980s we were all told to throw our 'useless' 50mm lenses away and buy zooms - how things change!

I was tainted by all the bad press about this lens, but I'm glad I got it. The reviews I read made me paranoid, and I was pixel peeping every image for sharpness - I guess you all will too after spending this much money. I read one review that said the lens caused strange yellow banding patterning on most frames some of the time. Imagine my thoughts when this happened to me on the second day I had it - I was ready to throw the lens in the bin (well return it). But ha - I learnt that at fast shutter speeds (due to large aperture), older style fluorescent lighting causes this patterning. Motto - don't believe half the rubbish you read on blogs! My advice is to buy this lens, it'll give you great pleasure and inject a new perspective to your photography. My view is that this is a sharp, brilliant lens, but a truly idiosyncratic one - a bit like many creative geniuses. But don't buy on a whim or a must have premise, buy if you are in need of the narrow depth of field and unique images that this trait confers Enjoy, and I hope this review dispels some of the misinformation and confusion that exists out there, and particularly with prospective buyers.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

A Necessary evil

I shoot a wide variety of subject matter for my work and, because I exclusively use full frame Canon bodies and always try to use prime lenses, a 50mm is almost mandatory.Read complete review

I shoot a wide variety of subject matter for my work and, because I exclusively use full frame Canon bodies and always try to use prime lenses, a 50mm is almost mandatory.

I have owned the EF 50mm f1.4 for years and it is a really good lens. Unfortunately, it is not a truely great one as it flares, focuses erratically and suffers from chromatic aberration, amongst other things.

I assumed the 50mm f1.2L would have to be much better because it is much heavier, many times the price and only a third of a stop faster. I was wrong. For examle, compared to my Mk. I 85mm f1.2, (which it is in the same "family" as) it is very poor. The later 50mm f1.2 should have built on this 20 year old design but it went backwards.

In some ways it is better than the EF 50mm f1.4. It has less flare and it is sharper to about f4 but it still has chromatic aberration, it is only acceptably sharp in the centre and it really suffers with back focussing and erratic focussing problems. I have paid Canon several times to try and get this lens to focus reliably, ( and had it done under warranty too). I have now given up and and accepted the best compromise after many hours of micro-adjustment with my camera bodies. I just shoot a lot of frames wherever possible. If I can get away with it I manually focus with live view or, even better, use my old Zeiss f1.4 plannar. In all I have 9 L series lenses and this has been the only truly troublesome one. My colleges are having similar problems with them. I would be o.k. about it if this didn't cost almost as much as the last car I could afford.

Australian photographers are rarely rich but, like other professionals, we get in trouble if we don't produce sharp photos. If you need the best compromise to do your job and they pay you well enough, this might be it but, otherwise, get the 50mm f1.4. It is a fraction of the price and, in in many ways it is the better lens. Now, why did I sell mine? . . . Better get another one.

Reviewed by 942 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Everything you want. And more.

By Jake

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

This thing is sexy. Super sharp. Haven't had any issues with focus.

 
5.0

The best

By Brian

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

This is my second time owning this lens. It's amazing, but you have to learn to shoot at f1.2. People who say it isn't sharp don't know how to use.

If you're thinking about this lens just buy and be ready for great photos.

 
5.0

Beautiful lens

By Nathan

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

Beautiful lens. Pricey though.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Sweet glass

By CurtD

from Washington, MO

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

Beautifully sharp lens, really well engineered and made. I use it with my 1DX2 wherever I need a specific depth of field.

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Very happy

By Kevin

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

Solid lens. Very happy with it

 
5.0

THE ESSENTIAL LENS

By Kristie

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

Amazing lens! What a difference a lens can make. The L series 1.2 is phenomenal. What a beautiful image. Love this for portraits!

 
5.0

I LOVE this lens! A must have.

By Jonathan

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

I LOVE this lens. Beautiful shallow depth of field at 1.2. Fast and quiet focus. I use it for video and photo, It's my new favorite lens! I own the 14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 100mm macro, 16-35mm, 24-105mm, 70-200mm and a 2x converter. I use this 50mm and the 70-200mm the most. A de-clicked/manual aperture for video would be a stellar upgrade on the next model.

(3 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Awesome Lens!

By Denise

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

Love this lens!! Super sharp amazing quality! Portraits and weddings.

 
5.0

Love this lens!

By Jillian

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

I've been very pleased with this lens. I upgraded from the f/1.4 version of the 50mm, and I am glad I finally made the switch.

(0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Excellence 50mm 1.2l len

By Phat

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

Awesome len. I need more times to play with this len. I should buy this sooner. Would recommend other.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

What You See Is What You Get

By Julio Cesar

from Undisclosed

See all my reviews

Site Member

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

After deeply analyzing this lens, I will start by saying that the pro line Canon 50 MM-L with it's extremely fast f1.2 a feat that no one else is replicating even in 2017 has fantastic luminosity, unsurpassed bokelicious backgrounds, truth be told no one is buying this lens to really stop down, but nevertheless it produces unique beautiful hard to define images that cannot be reproduced by any other lens simply because there is something about this bad boy that is very hard to explain, but by all means the final results compliment the feeling of the story meaning it will reproduce the image exactly as your brain remembers it, to me this lens is in a class of it's own.

Unlike the extremely expensive Canon 50MM 1.0L introduced in September of 1989 some 28 years ago (anybody remembers that lens?) this lens even wide open at f1.2 is very sharp and the color redemption, beautiful contrast and robust weather sealed body along with near silent very accurate focusing mechanism make this prime 50MM F1.2L a joy to have.

There are reviews claiming the Canon 50 MM 1.4 & the 50 MM 1.2L are very similar in overall quality so why pay more and that this lens is not very sharp, makes me laugh ... Please get real, by far the f1.4 is no where near this lens and not very sharp??, LOL *take the lens cap off! * and let's remember this lens is designed for portraits, not for close ups, keep that in mind...

As a CPS member I borrowed a 50MM f1.2 L copy from Canon for a job and the minute it got off the FedEx truck I mounted it on one of my full frame cameras & tested it fully , I was sold, right then and there, amazing images!

This is a personal believe, but in all my years of experience I've found out also boils down to how it works between you and your gear, how much you know that piece and believe it or not the chemistry between you two..

Buying photographic equipment, specially a professional one is a personal decision, I debated between the Canon f1.2L and the not so expensive Sigma 50MM Art f1.4, probably the Sigma is sharper

(I don't know) but I am telling you the Canon 50MM f1.2L is no slush in that department either and it is true it is expensive, but still I don't mind paying more for peace of mind and that glorious red ring if I am going to get indefinable images that cannot be matched by any other 50MM lens.

 
5.0

I would buy this lens again

By Gigi

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

I love this lens .. I bought it a few weeks ago and have not put it away since .. It is so fast and very sharp !!!

(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

The nifty fifty

By David

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

The nifty fifty - it's absolutely spectacular. Definitely worth every single penny. Love love love it's performance and it's build. Plus my photos turn out amazing each time!

 
5.0

what a great way to obtain results

By JG PNW

from Seattle WA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

I am so amazed with the results of this lens, definitely you get your money worth and more, I did a lot of research and hear pros and cons from all the reviewers and I made my decision.
this is a great lens if use for what is made and of course you can get very creative but so far this is amazing
I didn't have any samples of portraits with me when i did the review

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Wonderful Glass!!

By John

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

You know, it is what it is. It's a little soft, which is often the complaint about it, but it renders an image that can't be achieved with any other glass. I've owned this lens before and reluctantly sold it. I really debated getting it again, but I'm really glad I did. It's just a great performer. I'm shooting with the 5DSR and I'm very satisfied with the sharpness. I also have the Sigma Art 50. It is clearly sharper, no surprise there. But the Sigma rendering, again, just doesn't compare to the Canon. No other lens does what this 50 does. So it is personal preference, but I'd definitely buy it again.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Canon 50mm f/1.2 USM Lens

By Suzanne

from Idaho Falls Idaho

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

I am so in love with this lens! It is a perfect lens for low light situations, for couples, engagements, weddings of just the couples and details of the wedding and much more! Very sharp clear pictures!

(0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Awesome Lens

By Derek

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

Great lens that works really well in low-light situations

(0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Cool Lens

By Arthur

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

Very nice bokeh and a lot of light great for shooting at night.

(6 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Stunning images!

By paulryanca

from San Jose

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

All I can say is stunning images!

(16 of 16 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Took a snapshot and we were sold...

By Tom

from USA

Verified Buyer

Comments about Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens:

It is hard for me to buy a Canon (6D and this 50mm F1.2) after using many Nikons (one of them was the F4) in the past 30 years. However, took a snapshot of my wife on the first day and both of us were sold. Took a photo of friends in a party using F5.6 and ISO 8000 (yes, thousands, not hundreds) and I just couldn't believe it. Took hundreds of photos during the holidays and I was amazed (or surprised) time after time.

Two more good things: No need to use the flash and no need to use Photoshop. I couldn't do better than the 6D and this 50mm F1.2.

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