Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens Review
For many years, a fixed focal length (prime) 50mm lens was standard for motion-picture show SLRs. Although 50mm lenses are not about as popular as they used to exist, there are nevertheless many people who want one of these in their kit.
Prior to the introduction of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens, the Canon 50mm standard lens choices were the Canon EF 50mm f/1.eight Ii Lens (beneath left), Catechism EF 50mm f/i.4 USM Lens (below center) and Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro Lens. The f/ane.8 lens is an first-class value (precipitous images for a inexpensive price) but offers piffling in terms of build quality. AF is slow and loud. The f/1.4 lens is a step up in build quality simply is yet in the middle of Canon’southward build quality range. The f/1.four offers excellent prototype quality if stopped down to at least f/two or f/2.eight. AF is quieter and faster than the f/1.8 merely not as fast as Canon’s best lenses – and is poorly damped. The f/two.5 macro is only half-a-macro (.5x), has mediocre build quality and has a rather slow discontinuity for a prime lens in this focal length range. It has slow, loud AF. A long-discontinued Catechism EF 50mm f/i.0 50 Lens is bachelor for an extremely loftier cost on the used marketplace, simply the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens was the best 50mm lens available new prior to the 50 f/1.ii’s release. In that location was definitely an opening in Canon’south lens lineup for a new high quality, professional class 50mm lens.
At present the l f/1.2L (in a higher place right) enters the marketplace. Being a prime Canon L Series Lens, the Canon 50 f/one.2 far exceeds all existing Catechism 50mm lenses in virtually all aspects – including three negative ones: size, weight and price. Since Canon already has a 50mm f/1.4 lens, they would not release a slightly wider discontinuity version at a far higher price, size and weight without offering significantly improve features and image quality. Otherwise, people simply would not buy the lens. The question is –
are the actual differences plenty?
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens looks similar a smaller version of Canon’due south other electric current f/1.2 lens – the recently-released Canon EF 85m f/1.2L II USM Lens. The 50 f/one.2 is somewhat shorter and much narrower – three.4 x 2.half-dozen” (85.4mm x 65.5mm)(LxW) compared to the 85’due south three.6″ x 3.3″ (91.5 ten 84.0mm) – and is significantly lighter – 19.2 oz (545g) compared to 36.2 oz (1025g). The build quality of both f/one.2 lenses is very high. Considering of their solid build and large amounts of glass, both lenses experience heavy relative to their small-medium size.
Pictured to a higher place from left to correct are the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Lens, Canon EF 50mm f/one.2L USM Lens, Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM Lens and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Lens. The aforementioned lenses are pictured below with their included lens hoods.
Both the 85 f/i.2 and the 50 f/i.2L fall short of Catechism’s top AF performers. Though not terribly dull, the 50 f/ane.ii uses a front-focusing design that extends/retracts the front lens elements inside the lens barrel. Moving this big amount of drinking glass yields an AF speed is not on par with Canon’s ultra-fast rear-focusing lenses. This Ring USM implementation is very authentic (including in AI Servo way) and is serenity – making a “shhhhh” sound – and FTM (Full Fourth dimension Manual) focusing is enabled. The focus ring is smooth, slightly stiff and very well damped. This is a mechanical transmission focusing lens – different the 85 f/1.2’due south focus-by-wire design – I like this design improve.
The Canon EF 50mm f/i.2L USM Lens adds a characteristic lacking on the 85 L II but common on Canon’due south newer L series lenses –
atmospheric condition sealing. I should say weather-sealing-capable because a filter is required to complete the factory weather sealing. The front lens elements that extend/retract inside the lens barrel require a 72mm filter to complete their sealing. The filter attaches to the outer lens barrel – and does non rotate or extend.
While the concrete features of this lens are mostly first-class, they would not exist worth much if the resulting image quality was not good. To this regard, the fifty f/1.2L turns in
decent but not-as-good-as-I-expected sharpness. Information technology is reasonably (and usably) sharp at f/1.2 and continues to become sharper as information technology is stopped downwards several stops. From f/i.2 to somewhere between f/ii and f/ii.eight, no other Catechism 50mm lens is every bit precipitous as this 1 at respective apertures. At effectually f/2.eight through f/5.six or f/8, at that place are other Canon 50mm lenses that are sharper. The relatively shut proximity of the ISO 12233 resolution chart did not bring out the all-time in this lens. As the razor thin DOF allows no margin for fault, I have shot this test about 30 times to ensure optimal results – the best results are posted. If you are buying this lens, y’all probably intend to employ information technology primarily at its widest apertures where information technology delivers all-time-available sharpness – and stopped downwards results are still very decent.
The 100% crop sample pairs in a higher place and below are from the same Catechism EOS-1Ds Mark II Raw files. Both samples were shot with the l f/1.2 at f/1.two. The to a higher place sample was taken from about 30% from the center toward the upper-left edge, the sample below was from well-nigh-center of the paradigm. The samples on the left were sharpened with a DPP setting of i (very low) while the samples on the right were sharpened with a setting of two.
Sharpness isn’t everything. And the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens delivers fantabulous results in other of import areas.
Flare is especially well controlled
– This helps the 50 f/1.two to lens deliver
excellent colour and contrast. Results even at f/i.two are very pleasing. I see slight barrel baloney at minimum focus distance but that is mostly gone past about 30″ (.8m). CA (Chromatic Aberration) is noticeable at the broad end of the discontinuity range – expect it from areas of very strong contrast at f/ane.2. Exposure accuracy is very practiced. Corner light fall-off ranges from stiff at f/1.ii on a total frame body until becoming negligible at f/2.8 or so. Users of i.6x FOVCF bodies will notice only slight light fall-off in the corners at f/1.2.
With a widest-currently-available f/1.2 aperture, the 50mm f/i.ii allows extremely fine control over depth of field – allowing the primary subject to popular. An 8-bract circular aperture delivers
best-in-class out-of-focus blur
fifty-fifty when stopped downward. This lens allows handholding and activity-stopping shutter speeds in very low low-cal weather. Candlelight yields a shutter speed of 1/lxxx from a few feet away at f/1.two and ISO 1600 – easily enough for handholding this lens. This lens is sure to be favorite of hymeneals and portrait photographers also equally photojournalists. Activity sports photographers with reasonably close subjects are another group that will regularly employ this lens – equally long every bit its AF can keep upwards with their particular subjects. Like the 85 f/1.2L II, the 50 f/1.2L has an f/16 minimum discontinuity.
The 50 f/1.2 L’due south closest focusing distance is 1.48′ (.45m) – well-nigh identical to the 50 f/i.iv. The relatively low maximum magnification of .15x can be easily enhanced to .39x and .67x with 12mm and 25mm extension tubes. Canon recommends transmission focusing when using extension tubes with this lens. A Canon 500D Closeup Lens will provide .25x of magnification – the 500D is more helpful with longer focal length lenses.
It was been mentioned by others that the 50 f/1.two exhibits slight back-focusing at these maximum magnification, near-minimum focus distances. Since I don’t shoot with a lens like this at these distances very often, I had to go back and bank check mine. And my aditional tests confirmed a slight backfocusing at 10-xx” or so. The mis-focusing isn’t dramatic, but will have a slight negative effect on paradigm sharpness at these distances.
A Canon ES-78 Lens hood and Canon LP1214 Lens Pouch are includes in the 50 f/ane.2L box. Like the 50 f/1.4 and l f/1.viii, the lens hood uses a non-as-cool-looking-as-the-petal-type apartment design. An advantage to this pattern is that y’all can sit your lens or photographic camera/lens combo in a hood-downwardly position on a apartment surface without information technology immediately tipping over. This makes irresolute lenses or using multiple cameras easier. Like most of Canon’s L primes, the 50 f/1.two has a 72mm filter diameter. The lens cap is a fleck hard to achieve within the installed lens hood.
As I mentioned in the kickoff, Catechism had no currently-built professional-course-build-quality 50mm standard lenses prior to the Canon EF 50mm f/i.2L USM Lens’ release (above right). But, Canon’s other 50mm non-macro lenses, share high popularity. Both the Catechism EF 50mm f/ane.8 II Lens (above left with optional ES-62 lens hood) and Canon EF 50mm f/1.iv USM Lens (higher up center with optional ES-71 Two lens hood) remain great values today. I’ll outline some of the
differences between these three models
The Catechism EF 50mm f/one.8 Two Lens is the low finish fifty. It delivers very good image sharpness – especially for the extremely depression price. It is even slightly sharper than the f/1.2 from f/2.8 through f/eight or then. Information technology is very light (4.vi oz/130g) and very small (2.7″ x one.half-dozen”/68.2mm ten 41.0mm – WxL). CA is minimal.
The downsides … First, the lens feels like a toy (for the relative price, it is practically disposable). It has all-plastic construction including the lens mount (the eyes are glass of course). A 5-blade aperture delivers a very harsh background blur quality and flare is a trouble for this lens. It delivers only adequate colour compared to the two other 50s. AF is noisy and the MF ring is barely useable – there is no FTM and no distance window or markings. The l f/1.eight extends up to 5/sixteen” during focusing. But, it is a very sharp lens for a toll that is a small fraction of the cost of the fifty f/one.4.
The Canon EF 50mm f/i.4 USM Lens falls in the centre of the 3 50s I am discussing in many ways. It has the middle price, the middle build quality (decent), the middle weight (weighing 10.ii oz/290g), the middle size (WxL: two.nine” x 2″/73.8mm x 50.5mm) … It delivers the middle groundwork blur quality – much ameliorate than the f/ane.viii only non as practiced as the f/i.two. It shows the centre amount of CA, but often shows strong halation at f/1.iv (yields a soft, dreamy await). Information technology also shows the middle amount of flare – noticeably less than the f/1.8 and noticeably more the f/ane.2. Again, in the vignetting category, the 50 f/ane.4 delivers better performance than the f/1.viii only does not perform likewise equally the f/one.2 (at the same discontinuity settings). Information technology is slightly sharper than the 50 f/1.2 from f/2.5 through f/viii or so and slightly sharper than the fifty f/1.eight at all comparable apertures (the f/1.8 wins some Full Frame corner comparisons). The l f/one.four quietly focuses slightly faster than the f/ane.two, just is not well damped. The f/1.4’s MF ring is much more usable than the 50 f/1.eight’s but is not almost as nice as the 50 f/one.2’s. Like the 50 f/1.8, the fifty f/one.4 extends up to 5/xvi” during focusing. My fifty f/1.4 exposes 1/three stop brighter than the other two 50s (the other two beingness correct). The Canon EF 50mm f/ane.iv USM Lens delivers excellent image quality for the price.
Although the maximum aperture opening differences betwixt these lenses is obvious, the bear upon of the lens design and aperture blades on the groundwork blur is not. In the above comparison image, the background mistiness of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens (left), Canon EF 50mm f/ane.4 USM Lens (middle) and Canon EF 50mm f/1.viii II Lens (right) are presented. These pictures were taken using identical (neutral) settings (that include an f/2.eight aperture). A tripod was used – the camera was focused on a stationary exam target. In the top row of pictures, the difference in groundwork blur harshness is easily seen. In the lower row of pictures, the event of the shape and quantity of the aperture blades can hands exist seen fifty-fifty at the relatively wide f/2.8 aperture. As I noted before, the f/1.ii performs best in the bokeh category – followed by the f/1.4.
The 50 f/ane.2L is shown higher up mounted on a Canon 1D X DSLR and compared the fifty f/1.4.
The 50 f/i.2L is going to exist purchased past those who want the all-time prototype quality they can get from f/1.two to f/2, by those needing a more-pleasing background blur quality than the other two 50s deliver, past those requiring the least corporeality of lens flare in their results or by those who need/desire the best quality (build) lens they tin go. I can’t say that the Canon EF 50mm f/ane.2L USM Lens is as dandy of a value equally the l f/one.4, but I exercise retrieve it is worth the price to serious photographers who need what information technology can deliver.
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