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REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

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

(based on 956 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (804)

  • 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 956 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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5.0

Great

By Ashley

from Undisclosed

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

Worth every penny fast sharo focus right out of the box and the bokeh is sensational!

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Sharp!

By CCP

from Uruguay

Verified Buyer

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

Amazing piece of glass. My old 50mm 1.4 from Canon looks like a toy facing this one. A must have

 
5.0

Great 50mm

By Dantastic

from LA, CA

Verified Buyer

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

There are plenty of reviews for this lens and most are spot on. Great quality. Fantastic pictures. Awesome bokeh. it is a bit heavy but worth the extra weight. Love carying this one around. its a hard decision between this and my 24-70mm F/4L

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Perfect for many uses

By joaquin

from Undisclosed

Site Member

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

Sturdy lens, magnificent bokeh and fine sharpness in the center. On the sides it loses a bit of sharpness. I use it primarily for video so that lack of sharpness on the edges works perfect for me (more cinematic look, less video look). Worth the investment. I use it with Canon 5D mk IV.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

This is a true Art lens

By Mike

from Cincinnati

Verified Buyer

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

Let me start with a short disclaimer first. - If you're looking for best resolution, or low CA. This is not your lens. This lens is designed to have minimal number of optical element to create a 3D like image, a beautifully rendered art, a portret. All the additional element will make it sharp, will reduce CA, will eliminate focus shifts, but will also "kill" the soul of the lens. Any lens, not just this one. In our race for a pixel pip we forgot that photography is also an Art. This lens is here just to remind us that. You may say that Zeiss is often capable of 3d like rendering, being much more complex and certainly better overall quality lens, but then just remember that it comes without AF and with a heavy price tag that is in most cases beyond reach of simple mortals. I also don't like Zeiss bokeh (kinda swirly), but this is just my personal opinion.

Pros: Sharp. Great color and overall rendering. I haven't experienced any focusing problems with this lens.
Cons: Even for a pro, AF is not always works perfectly at f1.2. Heavy CA.

 
5.0

A great all around lens

By Ray

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

This lens takes beautiful pictures, especially in low light. We love it.

 
5.0

Yes

By Alfredo

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

Need no flash light.
Numero uno.#1

 
5.0

This Lens is the Best.

By Stuart

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

What can I say, I use this lens all the time. It looks great, it feels great, it works great. Focusing at 1.2 is a challenge, but it's really hard to beat it in terms of low light performance. I often shoot in dark places with no flash and this lens slays. 50mm is great, I've only ever been in a few situations where I couldn't get everything in the frame, and everything looks even and natural. My brother shoots on the 50mm 1.8 and in comparison, this lens works much better at 1.8, with better focus and less vignetting while giving the options for 1.4 and 1.2. Is it worth the extra thousand bucks? I think so, but it's really up to your budget.

 
5.0

I would buy this again (and again!)

By Jenna

from undisclosed

Verified Buyer

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

Favorite lens ever - amazing quality images, boca, auto focus, clarity. I love it!

 
5.0

Canon 50mm f1.2 L

By Don

from Undisclosed

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

Compact with the best background blur ever! Very sharp! Excellent for portraits that make the subject POP! Also, outstanding service from B&H!

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

On a a7ii its even more amazing

By Ronnie

from Undisclosed

Site Member

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

Everything you hear about this lens is true.  What you haven't heard is putting this beauty on a Sony a7ii with its "In Body Image Stabilization" (IBIS) this lens is TACK SHARP at all apertures and shutter speeds, especially at 1.2.  Takes some effort and proper technique on a Canon camera to get amazing images.  With a Sony, it's amazing easy.  The focus shift issue at close range and 2.0 to 4.0 or so completely goes away as well.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Amazing lens.

By JPSoler

from Undisclosed

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

Fast, accurate, solid, brilliant, crispy, sharpie...no doubts... One of the best canon legacys..

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Excellent!

By Christy

from Undisclosed

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

I am in love with my 50mm f1.2! It take beautiful photos and the bokeh, o.m.g...... yes.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

great results. pricy.

By nathan

from Northern CA

Verified Buyer

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

beautiful lens. results are lovely. it is pricy.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
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.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
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

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
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!

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