Canon 50mm fixed focal length

Frank Neumann

High light bokeh monster

50mm Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Spoilt for choice:

At the end of September 2021, I decided to buy a 50mm fixed focal length. After I had bought last year the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
and now more than a year of macro photography, it should now be something “shorter”, something special. Quickly the choice fell on a 50mm lens. But which one should it be ? Canon offers 3 different models, with a price range from 100 to 1,500 euros.

For 100 euros you get the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. For just under 200-250 euros the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and with a little luck for 1,300 euros (normally 1,550 €) the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM.

As you can see, I chose the most expensive of these 3 lenses. Whether the choice was really the best is debatable and I am sure that there are as many supporters as opponents of this very expensive 50mm lens.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM delivers an attractive and uniform out-of-focus area due to its circular iris diaphragm, especially at large apertures. This comes in handy especially for portrait photography, as it makes it easy to crop subjects. In addition, the focal length of 50mm is very close to the human eye and thus captures almost the same angle of view as we visually perceive with our eyes.

Taking pictures with the Canon 50mm 1.2 takes some getting used to and is not as easy as with a zoom lens. For one thing, you inevitably learn to move around when taking pictures, because you can’t zoom in on objects. You have to approach the object in the way you want to photograph it. On the other hand, shooting with an open aperture takes some getting used to. The focus range is very narrow, and if you photograph a person from 1-2 meters with an aperture of <2, the nose is quickly in focus, but the eyes are no longer in focus.

The lens is also very susceptible to sun reflections. In this case, it is highly recommended to use the sunshade. You can, however, once you get the hang of it, use this very nicely for artistic composition. Not quite as nice is the strong tendency to chromatic aberrations. These occur quite strongly in border areas between very bright and rather dark areas in the image. Programs like Lightroom or Photoshop can easily correct them, though.

Examples

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