Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras - Fixed
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- Weather-resistant standard lens
- Focal Length & Maximum Aperture-50mm F/1.2, Closest Focusing Distance - 1.48 ft. / 0.45m
- AF with full-time manual focus, 72mm filter size
- Ultrasonic Motor (USM), Lens not zoomable
- Purchase this product between May 1, 2016 and July 30, 2016 and get 13 months of free damage protection from Canon. The product must be registered within 30 days of the purchase date to be eligible.
- Batteries : 1 Product Specific batteries required.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 6.6 x 8.6 x 8.6 cm; 580 Grams
- Date First Available : 12 February 2016
- Manufacturer : Canon
- ASIN : B000I1YIDQ
- Item model number : 1257B002
- Department : Lenses
Best Sellers Rank:
14,815 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
- 122 in Camcorder & Camera Lenses
- Customer reviews:
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The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a peerless new standard lens featuring an ultra-large aperture for a narrow depth of field and soft background blur so loved by photographers everywhere. The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is suitable for any shooting situation; its lens coating and construction are optimized to minimize the ghosting and flare that frequently occurs when lenses are used with digital cameras. This high-performance, weather-resistant lens delivers all the superb image resolution and contrast you expect in a Canon L Series Lens. Sample Image MTF Chart
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens
The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a peerless standard lens featuring an ultra-large aperture for a narrow depth of field and soft background blur so loved by photographers everywhere. The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is suitable for any shooting situation; its lens coating and construction are optimized to minimize the ghosting and flare that frequently occurs when lenses are used with digital cameras. This high-performance, weather-resistant lens delivers all the superb image resolution and contrast you expect in a Canon L Series Lens.
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First, let's get the distinction between the two predominant primes and a zoom lens that covers the 50mm focal length. With a high end zoom, the 24-70 f/2.8L II, you are using an aperture that is 2 stops more narrow than the primes. Additionally, you have a lens that has a premium placed on sharpness and versatility. This means that when you use the 24-70 you will find the sharpness to be incredible at an aperture of f/5.6 and it will be indistinguishable or better than the sharpness from either the 50mm f/1.4 or the 1.2. Sharpness at f/2.8 will be about the same as the 1.4 and better than the 1.2. You also are buying the versatility of the zoom range. Many people will say to buy the 24-70 f/2.8L II because they think it's as sharp as any prime in it's zoom range. But that's not making a holistic recommendation based on all the strengths and weaknesses of each of these pieces of equipment. Unlike Miriam Weeks (Belle Knox), you definitely do not want to sacrifice all of the positives of several options, while you're chasing the single positive of one option. You would choose the zoom if your application requires very good sharpness or versatility. You don't pick a zoom for it's bokeh, contrast, and color representation.
Now, to distinguish between the 1.4 and the 1.2. First, you are considering these because you want to shoot at wide apertures. If you want to shoot at an aperture of 2.8 or narrower, you really should choose a zoom, because you are being handicapped by focal length for essentially the same or worse sharpness and bokeh is going to look about the same. Where these wide aperture lenses have an advantage is in character of the photograph at wide aperture. The sharpness is sacrificed in the design of these lenses in favor of more attractive color, micro contrast, and blur. You can't have everything in a lens design and high resolution is optically mutually opposed to high contrast. To create the best sharpness, you have to reduce spherical aberration. As an aside, it should be noted that spherical aberration is also necessarily more prevalent in a lens that has a very large aperture, because you have a lot of light coming in from the periphery that isn't moderated unless you decrease the size of the aperture. When you attempt to reduce spherical aberration by lens design, you sacrifice beautiful looking blur. Bokeh will take a hit, and color saturation changes as well (because spectral varying wavelengths of light (this means different colors) are behaving differently as they are refracted through the lens elements.) This lens design does the best it can to reduce spherical aberrations by placing an aspherical element at the rear of the lens, but there is a limit to what lens design can do to mitigate the nature of physics. Aesthetically, all of this combined could be called 'pop' to the picture, or attractive isolation of the subject. This is actually desirable in certain circumstances, especially when the sharply resolved detail of a subject isn't as important as an emotion you are trying to evoke. So that is why a photographer will choose a wide aperture lens despite it's deviation from an ideal lens characteristic (also, because they want to photograph in low light at low ISO.)
So where does the 1.2 distinguish itself from the 1.4? The 1.2 design team made the decision to place a greater focus on not reducing spherical aberration but improving the way the blur and color transitions look in the resulting image. You would be absolutely correct if you noticed that the images from a 50mm f/1.4 look slightly washed out when compared to the identical image from a 50mm f/1.2. That is by design. More emphasis in the design of the f/1.4 was placed on reducing spherical aberration, astigmatism, and comatic aberration in a different way while still providing an ultra wide aperture (and the 50mm f/1.8 has a design emphasis on being as cheap as possible.) The 50mm f/1.2 is designed to make the bokeh more creamy and the colors more popped. You won't get that quality with the 50mm f/1.4.
THAT is why you would buy the 50mm f/1.2 over the 50mm f/1.4. The bottom line, is that if you are going to shoot most of your images below f/2 and you are trying to get images that really have a subconscious character to them, then you really should spend the extra money on the 50mm f/1.2. People can't always articulate it, but they can see a difference from the f/1.4. It would make perfect sense to place a 3 stop neutral density filter on the 50mm f/1.2 and shoot images with that lens in daylight because you're trying to get a specific look in your pictures. I can't really see a reason to do that with the 50mm f/1.4.
The f/1.4 is going to be best for someone who is on a budget or really just wants the ability to take images in low light at low ISO. It's a cheaper way to get there, and beautifully composed images with a narrow depth of field can be taken with it. But the 50mm f/1.4 doesn't perform well below f/2, so the advantage of low light photography is competing with image quality at large apertures. You have to understand how it was designed with a different application and design focus in mind.
By comparison, when Canon updated the 85mm f/1.2, the lens design team didn't change a thing (the version II is literally the exact same lens design) - it produced images exactly they way they wanted it to - they just added some new coatings and improved the autofocus hardware and software. Does the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II produce images with equally resolved image sharpness? Yes. But it doesn't matter - that's not what the 85mm f/1.2 is about. Same with the 50mm f/1.2. Just remember that professional primes are not going to be perfect. They are going to have design differences that make them different.