The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2, A Pretty Nice Lens, But Is it Worth the Money?
So I’ve played with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 for about three months now and figured that it’s time that I formally review the thing.
The first thing to note about this lens is that it’s expensive. Damn expensive. Now, while money, like a lot of things, is relative, at a price of about $1,400, most people are really, really, really going to need this lens in order to spend that kind of money on it. If you are the type of person where money is no object, then this lens is for you. It’s better than the 50mm f/1.4. No need to read anything more on it. Just go buy the puppy. Of course, if $1,400 is no object to you, then you probably already own this lens.
But… if you are looking for value in your lenses as well as quality, then I’d have to recommend against the EF 50mm. While the EF 50mm is the best 50mm lens that Canon makes at present, I don’t feel that it operates enough better than the non L Series 50mm f/1.4 to justify the difference in price. The f/ 1.4 50mm by the way, costs about $300.
The main reason that I wanted to upgrade to this lens was the fact that I was not entirely happy with the autofocus in the dark on my 50mm f/1.4. At f/1.2, this lens, along with the Canon 85mm f/1.2 have the maximum aperture of any lens currently offered by Canon. Because I shoot in low light a lot, I was excited about the potential of this lens. Unfortunately for me, this is where I felt the lens did not live up to its promise.
In my opinion, the 50mm f/1.2 does not do a very good job autofocusing in low light. Even when I’m able to get a focus lock in low light with the 50mm, I find that at the f/1.2 aperture I have to be so precise to get the perfect focus that I need.
The 24 f/1.4 that I own autofocuses in the low light much better. And any light advantage between the 24mm f/1.4 and the 50mm f/1.2 is not noticeable to me at all. The jump from an f/1.4 to an f/1.2 just isn’t that much difference.
If you are looking for a fast, low light lens, I’d recommend going with the 24mm f/1.2 over the 50 f/1.2.
In non low light situations the EF 50mm does a great job, but then again so did the significantly less expensive 50mm f/1.4. In better lit situations the autofocus on the 50mm is very fast, much faster than the 85mm f/1.2 that I’ve tested in the past.
Overall, the 50mm f/1.2 feels much more solid than the 50mm f/1.4 — it feels like an L series lens complete with that ever so fashionable little red strip — it is also of course a much larger block of glass. To this end, I feel like I’m getting better shots, but I’m not 100% sure.
One advantage of the smaller f/1.4 is that it’s a lot less weight to carry on a camera. I still use my f/1.4, primarily when my kids go out shooting with me and need a lighter camera.
I’d be interested in the thoughts of anyone else using this lens. Do you like it? Is it enough better than the f/1.4 to justify the price for you?
Anyways, there are my thoughts on the EF 50mm f/1.2. A good lens, but not a great lens, not as good as the 24mm in low light in my opinion — and probably not enough better than the 50mm f/1.4 to justify the price difference. I do enjoy shooting with it though and if you’ve got money to blow then by all means, go for it.