Can This Canon Lens Outperform a $5,000 Leica Lens?

Leica makes some spectacular lenses, but they are often quite expensive. On the other hand, Canon's latest 50mm lens is not exactly cheap either, but it still comes in several thousand dollars cheaper than the Leica. Can it keep up with a Leica lens? This great video compares the two to help you decide. 

Coming to you from Alex Barrera, this great video compares the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens to the Leica APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH. lens. Canon's new RF lenses are pretty expensive, but they have been universally lauded for their stunning image quality, with the RF 50mm f/1.2L being part of that group. But as pricey as that lens is, Leica's Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH. is in another league at $5,000, more than twice the price of the Canon. Still, Leica photographers are often fiercely loyal to the brand, and Leica's lenses are well known for having a signature look to them, and with the new L Mount Alliance, you have your choice of multiple camera brands with which to use the lens. Both lenses look like spectacular options sure to deliver top-notch image quality; check out the video above for Barrera's full thoughts and lots of comparison images. 

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23 Comments

Patrick Smith's picture

Yet another stupid comparison video showing compressed JPEGs on YouTube lol. The Canon RF 50mm f1.2 is obviously sharper at f2 than the Leica is wide open at f2. The Canon is also more useful in my opinion as it’s fast enough to be used for action to photography and eye-AF portrait photography, etc. When will people realize that these are getting old, Photo A vs. Photo B on YouTube is like comparing bokeh, it’s subjective and often based on low resolution down sampled compressed images.

Venson Stein's picture

Canon is Sterile, Clinical garbage. Go with Leica if you want character and true rendering.

Indy Thomas's picture

Cat photos or it's not a test.

Rick Rizza's picture

If I want to watch YouTube videos I would go YouTube instead of this site

Venson Stein's picture

Leica lens Destroys Canon! Canon lens is sterile with no character.

Mansoor Ejaz's picture

Yes that's how Leica fanboys justify wasting their money 😂

Dillan K's picture

Please define "character." What makes the Canon lens "sterile?" Please explain.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

I don't think you will get an answer.

Dillan K's picture

I think you are right, Erpillar, but I am genuinely interested in hearing him defend his position.

Roger Borg's picture

i say the same canons always looks sterile an not good charchter. the leica is far better.Nikon have good color to. but Canon always dissapoint me. a flat system.

Roger Borg's picture

I have Nikon Z better files,better color,contrast. I have Leica to. The same thing there but even a litte better than Nikon. Canon is good in many ways. I Dont hate Canon. But flat,sterile.no "pop" .just my opionion and a thousends others. Work with that you like best.i had Canon to. But the colors and flatness bores me.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Color depends on the specific sensor, the specific lens, the specific software, the specific color profile, and the perception of the viewer, among other things. Even between Canon camera models, there are significant differences in color. There are many photographers who use Canon for advanced professional work, including work that has plenty of "pop". Words like "flat" and "sterile" suggest that you were doing something wrong. There are many ways to do it wrong.

Roger Borg's picture

i know all that:) i want good results direct from camera and files and do so little editing as possible. so i prefer "organic" pictures and color like Leica and Nikon. Canon is a good camera. so just go with it! use the canera that you like,all cameras takes good pictures theese days. iknow the Canon R uses an old sensor and that the 50/1.2 r is not sharp att 1.2 and very big and expensive. I just dont use Canon and Sony. I like Leica and Nikon. just like that. idont write moore here now, have a nice day:)

Erpillar Bendy's picture

"Organic pictures" is totally meaningless unless you can show exactly what that is and isn't. It means nothing in this comparison, because the Canon pictures are every bit as "organic" as Leica and Nikon. You can't prove (and this comparison doesn't prove) that Leica is more "organic" than Canon. The things you claim to know show that you don't know them at all. You say you "know" the Canon R uses an "old" sensor. But the sensor is that of the 5D4 of 2016, updated for the R in 2018. That sensor is excellent and not old. You say you "know" the R 50/1.2 is not sharp at 1.2 and yet reviews say the opposite. For example, The-Digital-Picture says: "F/1.2 results are very sharp, showing strong resolution and good contrast across the entire full frame image circle, including extreme corners." You contradict yourself when you say Canon "looks sterile and not good character" and also that Canon "is a good camera". You're just grasping at words like "organic", without talking about anything in reality.

Roger Borg's picture

please stop now. just take photos.use what camera you want. dont write to me moore. i have used the Canon R. But went for Nikon Z instead.ok. as a daily camera i use Leica Q 2. Dont belive everything you read. Test yourself. test nikkor 50 z and 85 z. if you want sharpnes. read serious reviews and tests. buy an icecream,hug a nice dog,take photos and be happy;) use Canon and i use Leica and Nikon and some others. have a nice summer now. Canon is a good camera in many ways i mean.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Kind of a shoddy comparison. His settings were inconsistent. You would think since they are the same focal length and set to use same aperture, he'd use the same shutter speed and ISO. In most of the tests, the settings for the Leica was set at least 1/3 stops brighter than the Canon.

Why 1/400 secs on the Canon when 1/250 would have been more comparable.

https://i.imgur.com/X5o6o4R.jpg

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Why 1/3 stops under for the Canon?

https://i.imgur.com/k8OASeI.jpg

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When set with the same settings, Canon just looks more vibrant and cleaner.

https://i.imgur.com/SmMiIYt.jpg

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Of course, why not use consistent settings? Don't you hate it when people mess up a basic comparison? Even so, this comparison shows trivial differences. Sometimes one looks better; other times the other looks better. That's why I asked the person above to prove that the Canon is "garbage". Because even this shoddy comparison proves that it isn't.

hoot hoopla's picture

Compare a Summilux 1.4, which is what a portrait photographer would use, to the Canon. A handmade lens is going to cost twice what a machine made lens costs

SPEE DING's picture

Nice comparison, makes me want the Leica.

art meripol's picture

Interesting comparison. I'd love to have a Leica. Have always wanted one. But I shoot with Canon and they're wonderful. I've never had a client ask what kind of camera I use. As long as both lenses are sharp as seen here then anything else can be tweaked in post. In the film days I shot Nikons and loved them too. Just use what feels good and intuitive to you and the rest of it depends on that space three inches behind the viewfinder.