31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic lens, but a steep learning curve.,
This review is from: Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
This lens receives a ton of negative reviews, mostly dealing with focus problems such as back focus or focus shift. However, this lens has been locked on my 5D for over a year and I have NEVER experienced any of these problems. I haven't shot a brick wall or a test chart with this thing; nonetheless, I'm very picky with my real world shots and have just been blown away by the results.
Every lens is designed for specific purposes and the 50mm f/1.2 is certainly no exception. Consequently, the negative aspects of this lens should be expected if you are familiar with ultra-fast 50mm's:
1. Significant chromatic aberration wide open. Easily fixed in post-processing.
2. Lots of vignetting wide open. No surprise here. It's beautiful for some shots, is fixable in PP for other shots.
3. Hard to focus wide open. The numerous reports of back focusing probably has to do with the limited skills of most users (myself included) or slight variations in lens/body combinations. I've never experienced this problem. The special Canon focusing screens (optimized for fast lenses) certainly help in this regard.
4. If you shoot mainly above 2.8, the much less expensive 50mm f/1.4 will likely give you great results as well. Even below 2.8, the 50mm f/1.4 is quite good.
Now, the pros:
1. If you live below f/2.8 and especially f/2.0, this lens is astounding. That's why I use prime lenses.
2. If you can nail the focus, this lens is sharp at f/1.2. I can see individual eyelashes when I nail the focus.
3. The lens is even more sharp starting f/1.4 and above.
4. Sharpness isn't everything. This lens produces out of focus areas that look like paintings. Much, much better bokeh than the 50mm f/1.4.
5. Colors are out of this world. Just a lot of work with... Post-processing becomes much easier, your results are of a higher quality.
If you are a skilled photographer who needs this lens, just go ahead and get it. The limitations are greatly exaggerated and don't inhibit the creative process much at all.