LensTip.com

Lens review

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM

10 August 2010
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • high build quality and very solid barrel,
  • very good image quality in the frame centre from f/1.8 aperture upwards,
  • decent image quality at the edge of the APS-C sensor,
  • slight distortion on the smaller sensor,
  • almost invisible coma in the APS-C sensor corner,
  • negligible astigmatism,
  • good work against bright light,
  • silent and accurate autofocus.

Cons:

  • weak image quality at the edge of full frame,
  • noticeable chromatic aberration,
  • distortion on full frame could have been lower,
  • high vignetting on full frame,
  • bad price/quality ratio.

The Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM is a new, expensive lens which belongs to the high-end L series. In the case of such devices I should have had problems with finding anything which could be put into the cons section. Here I didn’t have such problems – the lens had plenty of slip-ups during the test, in some categories losing to devices over ten times cheaper…

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - advertisement - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

If this lens featured f/1.0 aperture, like its predecessor, there would be nothing to say against its high price and average performance. After all it’s the gain of one whole 1 EV, compared to f/1.4 lenses. The new lens has f/1.2 aperture, though so the gain, compared to the classic 1.4/50 devices, when it comes to the fastness and depth of field is definitely smaller. I would even say it is so small that no mythical image vividness can justify such a huge amount of money we have to pay to become the owner of the 50L.

It is strange indeed because Canon has already proven that they can produce an excellent telephoto lens with the aperture of f/1.2. Our Canon EF 85 mm f/1.2L II USM test has shown it very clearly. Why this time the result was weaker? It is difficult to answer such a question unambiguously.

The makeover of Canon’s system 50 mm lenses was started from the fastest and the most expensive model and they did it with mixed result. It makes us even more impatient, though, to see the successor of the EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM lens. Perhaps Canon will perform better next time – we keep our fingers crossed.

P.S. I just beg you, please, don’t write that we tested a faulty specimen…

Sample shots

Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 8.23 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/6400 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.32 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 50
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.3 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.74 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/5000 s, ISO 50
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.93 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.6, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 50
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.83 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.2, exp. 1/3200 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.2 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.51 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.46 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 8.03 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.2, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.3 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.2, exp. 1/4000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.62 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.2, exp. 1/3200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 5.76 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/3200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 5.18 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/6400 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.2 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.42 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/2.5, exp. 1/500 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 5.01 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.2, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.98 MB
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.2, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 3.76 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.2, exp. 1/2000 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.63 MB
Camera: Canon 50D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/1.8, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 4752×3168 pix, 4.37 MB



Next chapter