Canon 50mm 1.2


Canon 50mm 1.2 L USM review

Canon 50mm 1.2


The Canon lens is a classic 50mm lens for Full frame cameras. What makes this lens really special is the bright f/1.2 aperture.

Build quality

The lens has a very solid build quality. It is an interesting lens regarding shape, it is a short thick lens, which is very rare. Most lenses has a longish shape. I like this short shape. The lens looks nice, the manual focus ring operates very smoothly, the USM ring type autofocus is quick and relatively silent. Seems very precise as well. There is only one switch to switch between manual and autofocus function. There is a distance scale and infrared scale as well. The minimal focusing distance is 45 cm as usual for this type of lenses. The lens is relatively compact and not very heavy, a good balance between solid build and weight. The Sigma 50mm 1.4 is more heavy for example.

Optical quality
Optical quality in general

Canon 50mm 1.2 photo sample 5Canon 50mm 1.2 f/1.2 Canon 30D ISO 100 1/800s 1200 pixel the focus is in the middle part of the image.
If you think you buy the ultimate optical quality here, you are right and wrong at the same time. This is a very high quality lens. For this price I would prefer to have more exotic lens elements though for better optical performance. Perhaps Canon will update this lens sooner or later I guess as in the case of the Canon 85mm USM II, for galactic money. The usual softness at wide apertures of most 50mm lenses here is not really present. The lens has even colors and contrast even wide open at f/1.2. The center sharpness is not bad even wide open, but FF corners are soft at bigger apertures. The lens gets sharper stopped down nicely, and corner sharpness increase as well. My impression with this lens that apart from the price tag I like it very much, excellent built even colors, nice contrast, brightness, beautiful bokeh. Most pictures made in rainy overcast weather.


Canon 50mm 1.2 photo sample 6f/2 ISO 500 Canon 30D
This a sharp lens, but not as sharp as the price indicates. I mostly interesting in the wider apertures though, why to pay so huge extra for an f/1.4 or f/2 performance ? I would say at f/1.2 the lens is usable for the usual intended purpose ( shallow dof portrait or other photography ), but on full frame cameras the corners wide open are extremely soft. Stopping down visibly increase sharpness.

Colors contrast

The lens has good contrast and colors even wide open, which is very nice because this is the main reason of this lens.


High vignetting is expected for such a bright lens, especially on FF cameras.


Canon 50mm 1.2 photo sample 3f/1.2 ISO 100 Canon 30D
The bokeh is very nice. The bright aperture helps to blur the background nicely. In close distances the bokeh at f/1.2 looks similar to the bokeh of macro lenses. The samples made with the Canon 30D camera, on FF significantly more blur can be achieved.
Canon 50mm 1.2 photo sample 2f/1.2 ISO 100 Canon 30D

Canon 50mm F1.2 L USM accessories

-Lens Case LP1214
-E-72U Front Lens Cap
-Lens Dust Cap E (Rear)
-ES-78 Lens Hood

Canon 50mm 1.2 L USM alternatives / rivals

The most obvious alternative is the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art lens. The Sigma is less bright, but significantly sharper. It is one of the sharpest lens available, even wide open, extremely sharp, which helps most for Full body portraits or distant subjects more. It is longer and heavier than the Canon lens, but the price of the Sigma is significantly lower.

The Canon 50mm 1.4 is the other obvious alternative for those who can live with the darker aperture. It is also a very good lens, soft at f/1.4 but can be usable from f/2. The big advantage over the f/1.2 version is the much lower price.

If the budget is very tight the Canon 50mm 1.8 II is the cheapest Canon 50mm out there. The build quality and autofocus is clearly sub standard, but optically the lens is not bad at all.

Canon 50mm 1.2 L USM price

The price of the Canon 50 mm f/1.2 L USM is 1549 USD. With this price this lens is really pricey. For comparison the Canon 135mm f/2 lens is 1049 USD, the Canon 50mm f/1. is 349 USD, the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art is 949 USD. The new Canon 85mm f/1.2 L II is even more pricey with it’s 2099 USD price.

Bottom line / recommendation

The Canon 50mm f/1.2 is a very good lens, reasonably sharp at f/1.2, but not stellar, but there is two things here, first the price, second the concurrence. First the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM Art is significantly sharper, wide open for half price. Of course not as bright and not a native Canon product. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 the obvious alternative for many which is even more cheap. It is usable at f/2, at f/1.4 it is not sharp, and gives aristic like images. On the other hand if we see brightness in real values the situation is the following: the Canon 50mm f/1.2 has a 1.4 T-stop (Transmission value), the Sigma has 1.7 T-stop, the Canon 1.4 has 1.6 T-stop. Perhaps there are some manual focusing wonders from Zeiss and other manufacturers there for even higher money.

Canon 50mm F1.2 L USM order link

The lens can be pre-ordered at link below if appear the link.
Canon 11-24mm f/4 L pre order at BH

Canon 50mm F1.2 L on Flickr

Canon 50mm 1.2 on Flickr

Canon 50mm F1.2 L USM specs

Canon 50mm f/1.2 USM L
Release date:
Canon EF
Filter size:
72 mm
Lens elements / groups:
8 elements / 6 groups
Exotic Lens elements:
1 asperical element
590 g ( 20.81 oz. )
86 x 66 mm ( 3.38 x 2.58 ” )
Close focus distance:
45 cm ( 1.5′ )
Manual focus autofocus
Lens Mount:
Full frame
0.15 x
Reproduction ratio:
Aperture blades:
8 straight
Distance scale:
Infrared index:
Focal length:
50 mm
Focal length Aps-C FF equivalent :
80 mm
Max Aperture:
Min Aperture:
Angle of view:
46°on FF
FTM (Manual focus override):
Ring rotates during focusing ?
Focus limiter:
Tripod mount ring:
Tilt / shift:
Sealing against dust and moisture:
Special coatings:
Lens hood:

Es-78 barrel shaped supplied

 Posted by at 12:19 pm