In depth

The Canon RF 50mm f1.2L USM is a normal prime lens for Canon’s EOS R full-frame mirrorless system. Introduced in September 2018, it’s one of many first 4 RF lenses that launched the system, the opposite three being the RF 35mm f1.Eight Macro IS USM, RF 24-105mm f4L IS USM and the RF 28-70mm f2L USM.

The RF 50mm f1.2L USM might be seen as a successor of kinds to the earlier EF 50mm f1.2L USM, launched 12 years beforehand. Each share the identical 50mm focal size for normal protection and the identical quick f1.2 focal ratio, permitting them to ship very shallow depth-of-field results. Whereas the older EF 50mm f1.2L USM is native to Canon DSLRs and adaptable to Canon’s EOS R although, the brand new RF 50mm f1.2L USM is designed to be used on EOS R mirrorless our bodies solely and won’t work on EOS DSLRs. So if you wish to use Canon’s newest 50mm f1.2, you’ll must spend money on an EOS R physique.

Canon describes the RF 50mm f1.2 as its final 50mm, delivering ‘supreme sharpness’ and ‘exceptional low gentle efficiency’; specifically it claims noticeably larger element within the corners of the body. To seek out out if the RF 50mm f1.2L USM actually is a step-up from the older EF 50mm f1.2L USM, I examined each side-by-side on an EOS R physique for sharpness together with evaluating their rendering of out-of-focus areas and AF efficiency for stills and video. So learn on to search out out if the RF 50mm f1.2L USM is Canon’s final 50mm lens!





Canon RF 50mm f1.2L USM design

Some new lenses are clearly primarily based on older optical and bodily designs, however that’s undoubtedly not the case with the RF 50mm f1.2L USM. One have a look at its substantial barrel and the association of its components proves that is a completely new design, optimised for the mirrorless EOS R system and making the most of the shorter flange distance.

Whereas some mirrorless techniques have launched with compact lenses and our bodies, Canon has revealingly gone giant for its first 4 RF lenses and the EOS R physique. The RF 50mm f1.2L USM specifically is an unapologetically giant lens for any system, whether or not DSLR or mirrorless, and it’s fairly a shock if you happen to’re accustomed to Canon’s personal EF 50mm f1.2L USM. Fortunately the correspondingly chunky EOS R physique doesn’t really feel overwhelmed by it.

The RF 50mm f1.2L USM measures 90mm in diameter, is 108mm lengthy and weighs 950g. Evaluate that to the EF 50mm f1.2L USM which measures 86mm in diameter, 66mm in size and weighs 580g – sure, the brand new mirrorless mannequin is nearly twice as lengthy and nearly double the load of the older DSLR model.



Above: RF 50mm f1.2 and EF 50mm f1.2; the previous is nearly twice as lengthy and heavy.


Clearly the EF / DSLR model is designed to be used on a digicam that positions its sensor additional away, so maybe a fairer comparability length-wise is to mount the older EF 50mm f1.2L USM on the EOS R adapter as I’ve completed under.



Above: RF 50mm f1.2 and EF 50mm f1.2 with adapter for EOS R fitted.


With the EOS R adapter fitted to the older EF 50mm f1.2L USM, it begins to strategy the size of the brand new RF model, however there’s nonetheless a hanging distinction in weight. That mentioned, there’s a development for bigger and heavier high-performance lenses proper now, and the brand new Canon isn’t far off the superb Sigma 50mm f1.Four ART which measures 85mm in diameter, 100mm in size and weighs 815g – and keep in mind the Canon boasts a brighter focal ratio.

By way of construct high quality, the RF 50mm f1.2L USM actually feels powerful and is sealed in opposition to mud and moisture. I used it near sea spray with no sick results, however have but to attempt it in precise rain; time will inform on the reliability entrance, however there’s no motive to consider it’ll be any worse than comparable members of the L household.

As an L lens, the RF 50mm f1.2L USM can be provided with a lens hood – a for much longer and extra substantial one than the older EF model too making it seem even bigger nonetheless – and employs a 77mm filter thread; notice the Sigma 50mm f1.Four ART additionally makes use of a 77mm filter thread, though the older EF 50mm f1.2L USM has a 72mm thread.

By way of controls, there’s two rings and two switches. The handbook focusing ring felt clean and nicely-damped, though like different RF lenses up to now, it employs a focus-by-wire system which makes use of a motor to drive the handbook focus, making it really feel a bit of indifferent in comparison with older mechanical EF designs; it additionally means you possibly can’t preset a focusing distance on the lens, energy the digicam on and off once more and count on it to stay in precisely the identical place. That mentioned, it does get pleasure from permitting you to customize the route of the focusing ring and whether or not it varies with rotation pace or is linked to the rotation diploma.




In direction of the tip of the barrel you’ll discover the second ring, a customisable management that’s fitted to all RF lenses. As customary it clicks because it turns, however I consider it may be de-clicked at a service centre if most popular. The management ring might be customised within the physique to regulate the aperture, shutter, ISO or publicity compensation.

Lastly, the 2 switches set the digicam between AF and MF modes, and set a spotlight limiter to the complete vary of from 0.8m to infinity. Limiting the vary to disregard distances between 40 and 80cm can actually scale back looking and speed up the general response.


Canon RF 50mm f1.2L USM optical design

The Canon RF 50mm f1.2L USM employs 15 components in 9 teams, 10 diaphragm blades and a closest focusing distance of 40cm. Compared, the older EF 50mm f1.2L USM employs a a lot less complicated optical design with eight components in six teams, eight diaphragm blades and a closest focusing distance of 45cm. Sigma’s 50mm f1.Four ART employs 13 components in eight teams, 9 diaphragm blades and a closest focusing distance of 40cm. None of those lenses has optical stabilisation, so that you’ll want to carry regular when pairing them with unstabilised our bodies just like the EOS R.

Of those three lenses, the RF 50mm f1.2L USM is the one native lens for the EOS R system, permitting its rear-most aspect to be positioned closest to the sensor. This in flip has the potential for sharper ends in the corners, or at the very least makes it simpler for the optical designers to realize this – we’ll see in my outcomes.

Focusing is carried out by a ring-type USM motor and in use on the EOS R physique felt pretty swift and quiet for stills pictures – once more if you happen to set the main target restrict to 80cm or additional, you possibly can minimise pointless looking and speed up autofocus throughout widespread distances. The brilliant focal ratio additionally permits the EOS R to focus beneath very dim circumstances of -6EV, at the very least with the central space. For basic use it felt a bit of faster than the EF 50mm f1.2L USM utilizing the EOS R adapter, however not considerably so.

For video, the autofocusing racked easily, though made fairly audible clicking sounds because it did so which might simply be recorded by the digicam’s inside microphones. You possibly can see – and listen to – an instance of this within the face monitoring demo under the place the aperture, shutter and ISO had been all mounted, so the one factor shifting was the autofocus system. Surprisingly there’s two audible sounds: one of many focusing motor and the second being the clicks.


Above: Obtain the unique file (Registered members of Vimeo solely).


To be truthful, the sooner EF 50mm f1.2L USM additionally made common sounds whereas racking focus which once more you possibly can hear within the clip under. I’d suggest utilizing each with an exterior microphone when recording video.


Above: Obtain the unique file (Registered members of Vimeo solely).


Canon RF 50mm f1.2L vs EF 50mm f1.2L bokeh and rendering

It’s truthful to say most individuals contemplating a lens with a quick focal ratio are fascinated by the way it renders out-of-focus areas; certainly the standard of the background blurring might be as necessary because the sharpness of the centered topic. Specifically how a lens renders blurred specular highlights or lights can change into one thing of an obsession for a lot of optical fans.

Right here’s 4 examples at f1.2 of a topic intentionally positioned with numerous lights behind it, and in every you possibly can determine and recognise the rendering model of the RF 50mm f1.2L USM. So-called bokeh-blobs are typically well-defined shapes with this lens with crisp edges and an absence of undesirable concentric ‘onion-rings’ inside. Because the objects are positioned nearer to the perimeters and corners of the body, the shapes rapidly flip from circles to ‘cats-eye’ ovals, however this isn’t unusual for many shiny aperture lenses. This impact stays on the brightest aperture values, however is nearly eradicated by closing the aperture to round f2. Shut the aperture a cease additional and also you’ll start to see the form of the aperture opening, revealing the ten blade system, extra about which in a second.





Above: Canon RF 50mm f1.2 at f1.2


To this point so creamy, however how does the rendering examine to the sooner EF 50mm f1.2L USM? To seek out out I arrange a easy still-life scene with some fairy lights and shot it from a tripod utilizing the RF lens in any respect apertures, adopted by the EF model, tailored to suit the EOS R. Beneath are the pictures shot with every lens side-by-side for particular aperture values; notice each lenses had been positioned on the identical distance, however the older EF 50mm f1.2L USM clearly captured a barely wider field-of-view, attributable to focus respiratory and variations of their precise focal lengths.



Above left: RF 50mm f1.2. Above proper: EF 50mm f1.2. Each lenses at f1.2.




Above left: RF 50mm f1.2. Above proper: EF 50mm f1.2. Each lenses at f1.4.




Above left: RF 50mm f1.2. Above proper: EF 50mm f1.2. Each lenses at f1.8.




Above left: RF 50mm f1.2. Above proper: EF 50mm f1.2. Each lenses at f2.


Judging from the outcomes above, I’d say the rendering model / bokeh of the brand new RF 50mm f1.2L USM appears lots like that of the sooner EF 50mm f1.2L USM; certainly I can barely inform any distinction between them when seen at this dimension. Look actually intently on the shapes of the blobs because the aperture progressively closes and chances are you’ll discover very minor variations attributable to their respective aperture blades.

To check the influence of their aperture blades, I’ve taken a 50% crop from the f2 samples the place their form is finest seen on this specific composition.



Above left: RF 50mm f1.2. Above proper: EF 50mm f1.2. 50% crops from f2 photographs.


I’d say the form of each aperture openings is sort of seen right here, with the ten-sided form of the RF 50mm f1.2 on the left and the eight bladed-shape of the EF 50mm f1.2 on the appropriate. The previous does look a bit of extra round, but it surely’s not an enormous distinction on this respect.

So by way of rendering of blurred areas and specular highlights, I’d say each the brand new and the previous variations of the 50mm f1.2L look fairly comparable, however in terms of sharpness throughout the body, that’s a unique matter. So subsequent let’s examine their sharpness on my High quality web page. Alternatively skip to my pattern photographs or straight to my verdict.

Verify costs on the Canon RF 50mm f1.2L at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get your self a duplicate of my In Digicam ebook or deal with me to a espresso! Thanks!

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