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Thread: Canon EF 50mm 1.2L First Impressions

  1. #1
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    Default Canon EF 50mm 1.2L First Impressions

    First of all, this is my first prime lens. I've shot extensively with zoom lenses, and really fallen in love with them. Their flexibility is amazing.

    In order to gain a better appreciation for composition and some of the other fine points of photography and to simplify the number of decisions I have to make when packing a photo bag for a trip, I decided to pick up a good prime. I went with a 50mm because I think it is the most versatile for my lifestyle.

    Another huge consideration was that the lens is capable of F1.2. This allows me even more flexibility because it gives great low-light performance. Nights out on the patio with friends and family, outdoor evening bbqs and any other low-light situation are much easier with a lens capable of doing well without a flash. Indoor photography is greatly benefited as well.

    The two obvious questions I had with this particular lens were:

    a) how is sharpness full open
    b) does it really have the focusing issues that others have cited (back focusing being the most common)

    I'm pleased to report that neither are an issue for me. Granted, I don't have the best trained eye in the world, and I haven't done any serious post-production work to really be able to tell, but so far sharpness is the best I have ever seen.

    I'm using a Canon 30D body (for now), so I am not taking full advantage of this lens (I am switching to a FF model when the 5D replacement is available or when I win the lottery and buy the 1DS Mark III) but the ~ 70mm effective focal length is still very flexible.

    I love this lens. It is the fastest lens I have ever used, razor sharp, and can literally shoot in the dark.

    I was walking down the pier shortly after sunset, with decent moonlight and was able to capture boats in the water with no flash and in great clarity. I was amazed. In fact, I had to double check that my flash had not fired.

    I'll have to play around with the custom functions so that I can assign a button to manual/auto focus switching, but the lens is capable of full-time manual focus, so for now I am mostly leaving it in AF.

    The "feel" of this lens is fantastic, and I think the weighting is nearly perfect (I am running a Canon grip on the 30D). The focus ring is perfect in my opinion, and reflective of the overall quality of the L line by Canon.

    I don't yet have any negatives to report.

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    That's some quality R&D there!

    Got any example photos? The 1.2 should be great for portraits.

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    Was the extra $1000 worth the extra 1/2 of a stop? Or is it just too hard to bump up the ISO by a 1/2?
    Last edited by seer_claw; 10-27-2007 at 05:34 PM.

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    Originally posted by seer_claw
    Was the extra $1000 worth the extra 1/3 of a stop? Or is it just too hard to bump up the ISO by a 1/3?
    Oy, enough busting the guy's chops. We gave him the gears in the other thread, let's give him the benefit of the doubt this time.

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    typical shot. great sharpness. probably better to show a low-light shot, but this one is a good example of the great sharpness of the lens.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Are you too stupid to read my post? I bought it for low-light performance. A lens capable of 1.2 is interesting for more than technical reasons, it also performs REALLY WELL in low light. Stop being a moronic troll and get back to the rigs.

    Originally posted by seer_claw
    Was the extra $1000 worth the extra 1/2 of a stop? Or is it just too hard to bump up the ISO by a 1/2?

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    Here is a great low-light example. Please dont criticize composition, etc. it was spur of the moment.

    (Had to downgrade to 2 Euro Cristal after "wasting" all that cash on the 50mm 1.2L..)
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    and a "wide open" shot at 1.2.. notice the [edit]Bokeh[/edit].. beautiful.
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    Last edited by E36M3; 10-28-2007 at 08:00 AM.

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    Originally posted by E36M3
    Here is a great low-light example. Please dont criticize composition, etc. it was spur of the moment.

    (Had to downgrade to 2 Euro Cristal after "wasting" all that cash on the 50mm 1.2L..)
    great low light performance with built in flash?..if you are going to use flash,,,,why even bother to buy 1.2 prime lens....


    and your second pic....Is it slightly back focused..? cuz pic doesn't look sharp at all.... also i don't see any sort of bokeh in your second pic...maybe my eyes are wrong..

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    It is a good lens .. good for u .. I would love to pick one up from the State too .. 20% less then here ..
    The Original !

    1234567, hҦho

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    I try not to use the flash inside, especially the built in one. If have to, I'll use the 580EXII with a diffuser. All three shots were taken without flash.

    Second pic is kind of shitty, it was meant more as a joke.

    the Bokeh was mentioned in the context of the third shot (which is why it is in the same message as the third attachment).

    Originally posted by muse017


    great low light performance with built in flash?..if you are going to use flash,,,,why even bother to buy 1.2 prime lens....


    and your second pic....Is it slightly back focused..? cuz pic doesn't look sharp at all.... also i don't see any sort of bokeh in your second pic...maybe my eyes are wrong..

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    Default Re: Canon EF 50mm 1.2L First Impressions

    Originally posted by E36M3
    I'll have to play around with the custom functions so that I can assign a button to manual/auto focus switching, but the lens is capable of full-time manual focus, so for now I am mostly leaving it in AF.
    Custom function 4 will assign AF to your * button (near your thumb).

    Originally posted by E36M3
    All three shots were taken without flash.
    Shot #2, the brighter arm/hands compared to his face, and the bright spots on the bottle, nose, forehead, cheek, and above his shoulder (metal?) seem to indicate otherwise. Plus it's in the EXIF

    Good review though. Primes all the way.

    If I may add a bit of advice: custom white balance can do a world of difference sometimes, though I'm sure these were just snapshots. Probably would've looked closer like this.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Re: Canon EF 50mm 1.2L First Impressions

    They were quick shots, they weren't setup or anything, like you said, they were snapshots. If the flash was on it wasn't on purpose.

    Anyway, thanks for the help with the custom function.. that is exactly how I wanted to have it setup.

    Originally posted by D'z Nutz


    Custom function 4 will assign AF to your * button (near your thumb).



    Shot #2, the brighter arm/hands compared to his face, and the bright spots on the bottle, nose, forehead, cheek, and above his shoulder (metal?) seem to indicate otherwise. Plus it's in the EXIF

    Good review though. Primes all the way.

    If I may add a bit of advice: custom white balance can do a world of difference sometimes, though I'm sure these were just snapshots. Probably would've looked closer like this.

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Canon EF 50mm 1.2L First Impressions

    Originally posted by E36M3
    Anyway, thanks for the help with the custom function.. that is exactly how I wanted to have it setup.
    Yeah, it's a really handy feature. Downside though is you lose flash exposure lock (FEL) if that's something you use, since that's what's normally assigned to the * button.

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    Originally posted by seer_claw
    Was the extra $1000 worth the extra 1/2 of a stop? Or is it just too hard to bump up the ISO by a 1/2?
    Of course it's worth it. the 50L is a much more solid lens than the 1.4. the focus is more precise, the body is weather sealed and the best of all is the wonderful bokeh. you get alot more than the larger aperture with this lens.

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    Plus, chicks dig it.

    Originally posted by turboMiata


    Of course it's worth it. the 50L is a much more solid lens than the 1.4. the focus is more precise, the body is weather sealed and the best of all is the wonderful bokeh. you get alot more than the larger aperture with this lens.

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    Originally posted by E36M3
    Plus, chicks dig it.

    naw, chicks dig the 600.

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