Archive for: EF 50 f/1.0L

Review: The Other $4000 50mm Lens for Canon

Review: The Other $4000 50mm Lens for Canon

From KenRockwell.com
Canon used to make an EF 50mm f/1.0L lens. It was big, slow and expensive and only seems to get more expensive by the day.

We recently saw thoughts on Zeiss’ $4000 55mm lens, so why not look at another $4000 50mm lens?

Says Ken
There are three primary reasons to own this masterpiece:

  1. Used at larger apertures, gives a unique look which cannot be duplicated any other way. There is no way in software or with other lenses to duplicate its precise combination of artistically pleasing falloff and its unique rendering of out-of-focus areas. If you want this effect, you need this lens.
  2. For ultra-low light, f/1.0 is 1/2 to 2/3 stops faster than common f/1.2 lenses. In fact, this f/1.0 lens as about as much faster than an f/1.2 lens as an f/1.4 lens is faster than an f/1.8 lens.While the ultra-high ISOs of today’s DSLRs let us capture anything in any light hand-held with slow f/2.8 or f/4 lenses, we still can’t stop action at 1/125 in near darkness unless we have a lens this fast. High DSLR ISOs let us shoot indoor and night sports that are dimly lit, but if we’re shooting where there isn’t any supplemental lighting, we need the f/1.0 to stop action in the dark.
  3. Subject Isolation: no other 50mm lens can isolate a subject from its surroundings as strongly as can this lens. If you can’t control your background when shooting outside your studio, this lens lets you make the background go away.

I personally don’t have the same affinity for this lens that Ken does. I have used it a couple of times and even considered buying it. The knock against buying it; is repairs may prove to be difficult. While I’m sure there are parts out there somewhere for the lens, they aren’t sold by Canon anymore and could require a lot of legwork to find.

I found the lens to be heavy and SLOW, slower than the EF 85 f/1.2L II! For me that made using the lens less enjoyable. I do agree it gives a look nothing else does, but is it unique enough to justify the $3000-$4000 price tag? That can only be decided by someone with the money who takes the plunge. Although, you can still rent this lens at LensRentals.com in the USA.

Read the full review

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