Canon Mirrorless Users Have a Wonderful 50mm Option Available Now

Canon Mirrorless Users Have a Wonderful 50mm Option Available Now

One of the features about Canon that I've always liked is that they offer f/1.2 lenses where most everyone else offers f/1.4. I am a bokeh junkie, so that extra little bit really does offer a different look to the background.

For most all my primary people work, I use a 50mm lens, as I like the balance of the field of view with the subtle compression while still having the background be a part of the entire scene.

Canon's new offering, the RF 50mm f/1.2L USM, looks to be an absolute dream. Canon users should rejoice in this updated lens, as the old 50mm f/1.2 was nice, but had some optical errors like fringing, and this lens is expected to perform much better. I feel the release of this lens is a bigger deal than some are realizing simply by the fact that it isn't entirely sold out everywhere.

A few examples of some of my recent 50mm focal length work:

50mm Sigma Art lens. I love the focal length of the 50mm prime.

Another of my 50mm shots, this one was an old vintage Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.4. Having a modern optics 50mm f/1.2 would be a dream.

The RF 50mm f/1.2L USM is in stock and ready to ship at B&H today for $2,299, and while that is a pricey lens for sure, I feel it's worth it based on your shooting style, and my 50mm is my everyday workhorse.
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Matt Williams's picture

I'm sure it's a great lens, but I feel like it would have behooved Canon to release a 1.4 or 1.8 50mm first, as one of the original 4. As it stands now, two of their four lenses are insanely expensive (the 50 1.2 and the 28-70) - two lenses that most people won't ever buy.

I think Nikon did a much better job by releasing f/1.8 primes at a decent price and introducing the more exotic, faster glass just a bit down the road.

But, I'm sure most people will be using adapters for a while, whether it's the Canon R or Nikon Z.

David Pavlich's picture

If Nikon only introduced the Z6 and the 'pedestrian' glass, I would agree. But they introduced the Z7 which is pro body priced (I say it falls short of pro status, but that's for another thread) with the pedestrian glass.

Canon has chosen to get the Canon faithful where they are best known and that's terrific lenses. When their pro R body hits the market, there will be pro caliber native glass to use right out of the box.

Is it better than the Zeiss equivalent? Maybe, maybe not, but I'll bet for 99% of shots taken, it would be very hard to tell the difference, AND it has auto focus.

If anybody thinks that Canon will have a pile of these new lenses sitting around not being purchased once the pro body hits the market is mistaken. Let's see if Nikon or Sony move to match the 50 f1.2 and the 28-70 f2.

Matt Williams's picture

I think we may have different definitions of what "pro" lenses are. 1.8 lenses have historically been viewed as the beginner lenses or whatever, but I think that is changing now as people come around to the fact that 1) bokeh is overrated and 2) the difference between 1.4 and 1.8 is negligible especially considering how great modern cameras are in low light. 1.8 primes can be extremely well corrected and smaller, which is what Nikon is going for.

And Nikon is releasing a 50 1.2 next year. No idea about Sony. But I think Nikon did it correctly, releasing the cheaper (and more commercially appealing) 50 1.8 first, then a 1.2.

>> 1.8 lenses have historically been viewed as the beginner lenses <<

By loser gear fetishists. Real photographers, no. I'm not disagreeing with you - I just think your point needs making even more violently. Bokeh is a hack's tool - it's most useful exactly to beginners with poor composition skills.

If you look at the shots with the article you have to ask Why? If your blur the background to pudding, why the hell not shoot with a cheap lens in front of a painted cloth? Or shoot in front of a projected slide, or photoshop in a blurred version of anything you like. This sort of photography is an expensive form of occupational therapy, not art.

Matt Williams's picture

Absolutely agree.

One of my favorite portrait lenses is my Tamron SP 85mm 1.8. As sharp as any portrait lens out there, aside from like an Otus or something. I often stop down to f/2 or lower even anyway. I have no interest in f/1.4 or especially 1.2 lenses most of the time. Though I am absolutely going to get the Nikkor 58 1.4 but that has nothing to do with the 1.4 aperture.

Yes. One of the problems we have is that most photographers are completely ignorant of important lens characteristics that can't be associated with a number, and makers understandably sacrifice these to get those numbers. If you look at lens made for pro film and video, things are very different - just do a search for comparisons between Cooke lenses and others. (That Nikon 58 has something close to the "Cooke Look" imo.)

What the heck? An article about a new Canon lens featuring photos made with OTHER lenses, and none with the Canon lens. Really?!

Andy Day's picture

Not all of us are Tony Northrup. 😂

Frank Scallo's picture

All about getting those clicks, my dude. They love them some click bait. They also love to rehash ideas like ‘check out the new gear!’ And ‘here’s why it’s not about the gear!’. 90% of the ‘helpful’ articles here are lifted content from youtubers.

I have to remember to clean up my news feed...

William Faucher's picture

Honestly, the difference in bokeh between f/1.2 and f/1.4 seems like pretty much just placebo, and often is just how soft/unsharp the lens is at that aperture.

Has anyone actually compared results? 1/3rd of a stop seems absolutely trivial. I can definitely tell a difference between 1.4 and 1.8, which is 2/3rd of a stop, but even then I had to pixel peep and combare A/B side by side. In real-world usage, not relevant. (And this is coming from someone who chose the Nikon 85mm f1.4 over the f1.8)

I am very much open to change my mind if someone can show me clear evidence that there is a noticeable difference between 1.2 and 1.4, though.

Also, how can you not post sample images of the Canon f1.2 lens...? What was the purpose of this article if we can't see for ourselves?

Edit: After googling the visual differences between 1.2 and 1.4, I'm a little surprised. The difference is much bigger than 1.4 vs 1.8 which seems weird to be, but still, I stand corrected.

Bill Larkin's picture

It's kind of like focal length, the wider you go, the more 1mm makes a big difference, 14 vs 15mm is a big difference where 85 and 86mm isn't so much. I feel aperture is the same, 1.2 to 0.95 is significant as well. :) now, would a customer ever care? who knows. But for me, I am obsessed with that special rendering. so I like it!

William Faucher's picture

That really isn't a bad analogy actually. Never thought about it that way.

Teo Lab's picture

It depends a lot on the effective aperture of the lens, off-centre. Mechanical vignetting on the RF 50mm is sufficiently high that as soon as one leaves the dead centre of the frame, other f1.4 lenses which carry their nominal aperture further across the frame may produce as much if not more blur quantity in the corners.
The quality of the blur is also important, as owners of both, let's say, the Sigma 50mm and the Canon 50mm f1.4 USM already know.

Mark Holtze's picture

I tested out a 50mm L series FD lens 1.2 a few weeks ago at a vintage camera sale. They wanted $500 Canadian for it, a little pricy for a vintage lens but mounted to sony mirrorless the image quality and picture/video I took with it are outstanding.

For me what I’m more interested in with the mirrorles system is finally canon can adapt its old FD lenses without needing a glass element on the adapter to get proper focus.

If I ever get an R, it will be for vintage lenses hands down. Mirrorles are the best system for that imho because of EVF benefits you can use to help with focus etc.

$2300 USD for hobbiests is relatively inaccessible for a prime. Pros a different story I guess.

Martin Peterdamm's picture

as someone who started with canon and moved to nikon
this new canon r and r lenses look so nice, ok the video is shit but for stills, nice.

this lens is super interesting and might be even more interesting when adapted to a fuji gfx.

Larry Chism's picture

A lot of lens for a mid rez consumer box? Is a new pro line camera coming soon?

Rex Larsen's picture


Joel Cleare's picture

Funny how I price wedding as the same price as new gear . My next wedding will cost $2300 😳. Glad this is just a hobby.