Hands on With Canon’s New RF Nifty Fifty: How Does It Compare to the 50mm f/1.2?

Canon just announced the launch of the RF version of one of its most popular lenses: the 50mm f/1.8 STM. How does this nifty fifty compare when placed up against an f/1.2 lens that's more than $2,000 more expensive?

Photographer Irene Rudnyk is famed for her stunning natural light images that frequently use a shallow depth of field, making her well-suited to putting the new nifty fifty through its paces.

The RF 50mm f/1.8 will be available from December for just $199, meaning that like the EF version, it’s an ideal choice for anyone pondering their first prime lens.

By contrast, the impressive RF 50mm f/1.2L USM costs $2,299, so just how much more bokeh do you get when you spend almost 12 times as much and buy yourself that extra full stop of light?

Seasoned professionals might turn their nose up at the news of a new nifty fifty, but I can’t think of a lens more widely owned than the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM (assuming that we count all three iterations). It was the first “proper” lens for probably tens of thousands of photographers around the world, and that’s one of the reasons that I was pleased to see Canon keep the price down, as explained in this article.

Will you buy the f/1.8 instead of the f/1.2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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9 Comments

Scott Wardwell's picture

Jesus Andy, you really are enamored with the term "nifty-fifty". Can anyone at F-Stoppers write a piece on a 50mm lens without defaulting to this?

Dan Ostergren's picture

Who knew the term "nifty-fifty" could be so triggering?

Scott Wardwell's picture

So you like droll uninspired writing that relies on hackneyed cliches? Broaden your view. The subject matter. - How does a bargain basement 50mm 1.8 compare to a 1.2 is luducrous? What's next - How does an ancient Coolpix D995 stack up to the new Hasselbad medium format?

Dan Ostergren's picture

I'm having a hard time seeing the connection you're trying to make between comparing a coolpix to a medium format camera and comparing two different Canon 50mm lenses that MANY photographers are always comparing and trying to figure out the differences between before deciding which one to purchase. I can't imagine literally a single instance in which someone might be making the choice between buying a coolpix or a Hasselblad or would even bother to want to know the difference, but actually know of many instances in which photographers were deciding between the 50mm 1.8 and the 50mm 1.2.
I thought you were mad about the term "nifty fifty", I never said anything about liking "droll uninspired writing" or anything like that, but go off. Sure, we could all benefit from broadening our views, and I especially think you should take your own advice when it comes to that. The ridiculous overdramatic comments on this site never fail to give me a good laugh. :)

Scott Wardwell's picture

Well no one can accuse you of being too nuanced Dan. Such is the literal hivemind. Went right over your head didn't it?
All of these stupid gear comparison reviews andl videos. Andy thinks we need a comparison between a $200 lens and a $2000 lens when the only connection between them is we can hyperventilate and get to use the term "nifty-fifty" or "bokeh" again for umpteenth time on FS. Measurebators to the nth-degree.

Dan Ostergren's picture

Like I said, these over dramatic comments never fail to give me a good laugh. Cheers Scott.

JEREMY MOORE's picture

It's basically a nickname that's widely accepted. Like Madonna. That's not so hard is it?

Dan Ostergren's picture

Honestly I like the term, but I guess that makes me part of the "literal hivemind".

Michael Maynard's picture

What I would like to know is what advantages buying the RF nifty fifty Jas over sticking with the EF Nifty fifty and an adapter on an R Body. I’m a poor photographer and still waiting to afford the EOS R6, I will not be able to afford any RF lens with it. I have a number of EF primes and zooms I want to adapt for the R system.. any thoughts?