The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens — One of the Fastest Canon Primes You Can Buy
It doesn’t get any more bokeh than f/1.2.
The first thing you notice when you hold the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens for the first time is how significant the weight of this lens is over the less expensive EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens or EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens(both also excellent 50mms lenses). You can feel the quality as you weigh it in your hand. A big, solid, piece of glass allows this super fast f/1.2L lens to get the shallowest depth of field possible.
If you are going to be shooting in the darkest of environments, this is the lens for you. I use this lens a lot at night time parties or indoor events, where getting closer than you need with the EF 135mm lens is not a problem. I use this lens to take amazing photographs of paintings in museums and other places where you want a near perfect technical image at closer range. It’s a wonderful portrait lens of course.
I like to take this lens with me if I’m going out to dinner at a restaurant or out for cocktails as it does a remarkable job at capturing food/cocktails in low light. As an aside, the cocktail in this post that I photographed with it is called the verbena and is a secret drink off the menu at the Cosmopolitan Chandelier bar in Las Vegas. The cocktail contains an edible flower called a Szechuan button that you chew before drinking the cocktail. It actually alters your tastebuds and feels like an explosion of pop rocks in your mouth as your entire mouth goes numb. As you sip your cocktail after chewing the flower you taste it in a whole different way. I’d definitely recommend checking it out at the Cosmopolitan on your next trip to Vegas.
Back to photography, the only drawback of this lens is the price. You do pay up a bit for quality here. It’s not that this lens is not worth the money (a little over $1,500), it is, it’s just that the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is such a fantastic value when you compare the two (at around $400). While I like this lens much more than my EF 50mm f/1.4, if you are on more of a budget, you may find that the EF 50mm f/1.4 lens is the better 50mm lens for you to buy. On the other hand, if you really must own the best at 50mm lens, this is it.
It should be noted that at f/1.2 this is currently the fastest (lowest aperture) lens in production by Canon but that it shares this distinction with the EF 85mm f/1.2 USM lens, another excellent Canon portrait lens that I do not own yet, but that is on my list to consider soon.
There is another f/1.0 lens that Canon made, but that lens is no longer in production that I’ve never tried.
As a reminder, my analysis of my Canon gear is being done in partnership with Canon and I am receiving compensation for this work with them. More on Canon prime lenses here.