Canon EF 50mm f1.2L USM Gordon Laing, June 2013

Canon EF 50mm f1.2L USM review

The Canon EF 50mm f1.2L USM is a prime lens with a standard focal length of 50mm and the joint-fastest focal ratio in the Canon lens catalogue - a position shared with the EF 85mm f1.2L USM. Announced in August 2006, the EF 50mm f1.2L USM is one of the most aspirational and exotic mass-produced lenses around, although it's actually the replacement for an even faster model, the legendary EF 50mm f1.0L.

The earlier 50mm f1.0 was discontinued for being too expensive and the f1.2 brought in as a more 'affordable' option, although it remains considerably more expensive than the other 50mm lenses in the Canon catalogue, costing around five times the price of the EF 50mm f1.4 USM and around ten times that of the EF 50mm f1.8 II.

Like the f1.4 version, the 50mm f1.2 enjoys USM focusing, but it's the only one of the threesome to be a member of Canon's L range which grants it superior build quality, environmental sealing, a silky-smooth full-time manual focusing ring and a lens hood included in the box. It's long been a highly desired lens by portrait photographers, but does it live up to expectations? In my test report you'll see how the resolution, sharpness and contrast perform across the frame, and crucially what the depth-of-field and out-of-focus effects look like in practice. I'll also reveal how the latter compare against the cheaper f1.4 and f1.8 versions, allowing you to make the best choice. I also intend to expand this test report into a full review in the future with build quality and focusing tests, sample images and an overall verdict, but for now wanted to share my optical results for this fascinating lens.

So without further ado, check out my Canon 50mm f1.2 quality pages and use the contents box in the upper right of those pages to navigate between my five results pages. Many thanks to Jason Law for capturing the images used in the results.

Canon 50mm f1.2 review

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