First look: Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Image Quality

brad-man

Semi-Reactive Member
Jun 6, 2012
1,310
81
S Florida
I had a go with the RF50 yesterday and my god what a lens! I’m buying for sure! The IQ at 1.2 is almost not rivaled by anything larger than f2.0 in any lens ever. It’s amazing.

And I did not notice a lot of vignetting at all, so I don’t know how TDP got theirs to show four stops. I say it’s very close to the 85 f1.4 L.

And the lack of aberrations even in the extreeeeme cornes is crazy. It’s sharper at 1.2 by quite some bit than my 35 L II... AF is instant and so certain. It made my 85 L IS seem like a toy. Also much lighter than I expected.
And therein lies Canon's marketing prowess. They aren't going to force you to switch over to mirrorless, the're going to make you want to...
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
3,804
363
Samples! I'm sure there are cats nearby
I’ll see what I can do today I took some in the store and a couple outside... they needed it back for a presentation, well, I had it first I replied and got a few more, lol:p
 

Talys

Canon 6DII
Feb 16, 2017
2,039
308
Vancouver, BC
On the wide end, the RF 50mm 1.2 not only blows away the EF 50mm 1.2L but is impressive against other lenses including the excellent EF 24-70mm 2.8L II (50mm at f/2.8).
It had better blow the 24-70 out of the water... that's a prime vs a zoom that's substantially cheaper :D

The EF50/1.2 was never a sharp lens (heck, just compare it with a 50/1.8STM), but that's not why anyone bought it. On the other hand, if you compare RF50/1.2L IS with EF 85/1.4L IS, they are both razor sharp.
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
3,804
363
It had better blow the 24-70 out of the water... that's a prime vs a zoom that's substantially cheaper :D

The EF50/1.2 was never a sharp lens (heck, just compare it with a 50/1.8STM), but that's not why anyone bought it. On the other hand, if you compare RF50/1.2L IS with EF 85/1.4L IS, they are both razor sharp.
I think he meant 50 vs 24-70 both wide open. And that’s true the 50 is sharper. The 35 L II matches the 24-70 at 35 both wide open.

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the 85 f1.4 L IS isn’t even remotely close to the wicked sharpness of the RF50 both wide open...
 
Reactions: Larsskv

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
947
65
The 85 1.4 is super sharp at apertures f2.8 and narrower. It also produces decent results at f2 - on the 5DSR no less - and if you put your subject in the center, even wide open at 1.4. The fact that this lens is stabilized puts it at a major advantage, IMO. At least until Canon finally comes out with an IBIS R body.

The RF 50 looks like a winner...I have been waiting for a decent 50 from Canon ever since I started shooting their DSLRs. Just hate that I can’t get it for use on my 5D cameras!
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
3,804
363
Couple of sample shots, I didn't want to use center, but see more in high contrast and typical problem areas with corner performance. I love how easy it is to use extreme corner focus.

Nothing special, but I think they show what I wanted to know, CA, sharpness in the extreme corners, vignetting, bokeh and focus etc..

Everything at "0" in Lightroom, except some added sharpness.

f1.2 sample
f1.2 extreme left upper corner focus
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
947
65
Nice. One of the issues I have with the EF version - two, actually - is consistency of focus at 1.2 with outer points (i.e., away from the center), and focus shift when stopped down, particularly between 2.8 and 4. Does the RF version suffer from these setbacks? Some reviews mentioned occasional backfocus at 1.2. Honest opinions...
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
3,804
363
Nice. One of the issues I have with the EF version - two, actually - is consistency of focus at 1.2 with outer points (i.e., away from the center), and focus shift when stopped down, particularly between 2.8 and 4. Does the RF version suffer from these setbacks? Some reviews mentioned occasional backfocus at 1.2. Honest opinions...
All the shots I took were spot on at least. It wasn’t more than a hundred or so, but 77 of them would have been off with a DSLR and the EF 50:p

The focus shift was due to lack of a floating element in the EF version, and is almost the only lens in the EF lineup that suffers that bad with it.

I didn’t shoot at any other aperture than 1.2, so I can’t say for certain. But considering all the cr@p Canon got for the 50 L they surely have corrected it all in RF.
 

SwissFrank

EOS T7i
Dec 9, 2018
97
43
So depending to who you talk to, the sharpest normal lens on the planet is the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2. Or the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4. Or the Leica 50mm f/2.0 APO-Summicron .

Has anyone seen a lens comparison review that addresses even two of these, much less all three?

It's actually more than a bit academic, since all three work on the R. (I'm actually very much enjoying the Leica 35/1.4 ASPH on the R.)
 

SwissFrank

EOS T7i
Dec 9, 2018
97
43
Go to wonder about vignetting, the RF should be better there as well.
Well, one source of vignetting is called cos^4, due to light striking the sensor/film at highly oblique angles. Everything else being equal, an SLR lens design is farther from the film and would tend to have a bit less of this. So, I'd predict the RF to be worse, not better.

And the actual result is in fact 3-stops vignetting, which is pretty terrible, except for the fact that the lens aberration correction (Periphheral illum corr) on the R will fix that.
 

mangobutter

EOS 80D
Dec 11, 2014
101
13
www.e46mango.com
A straight EF version would be even better! I know the adapter thing was a joke, but I wonder if Canon is really only going to make an RF version of this lens.

Physically impossible. The whole reason this type of lens with this particular performance exists is due to the reduced flange distance. That's the whole reason behind the new mount. New options for lens designers never before possible. With this new mount, Canon is going to wipe the FF mirrorless floor with everyone. If they can create legends in the past with a huge flange distance/mirror box space, imagine what they can do with the rear element right up against the sensor.
 
Reactions: SwissFrank

SwissFrank

EOS T7i
Dec 9, 2018
97
43
Nice. One of the issues I have with the EF version - two, actually - is consistency of focus at 1.2 with outer points (i.e., away from the center), and focus shift when stopped down, particularly between 2.8 and 4. Does the RF version suffer from these setbacks? Some reviews mentioned occasional backfocus at 1.2. Honest opinions...
No, on the RF, the AF sensors ARE the image sensor. The image can't be sharp for one but not the other because, they're the same thing. Ditto focus shift.

The reviews I see of the 50/1.2 are that it's sharp corner to corner at any distance wide open. There's nearly no improvement from stopping down.

Now, the complete story is that there IS a huge trade-off. The lens is a monster, far larger than the EF 1.2 or even the old 1.0. It's far heavier. It's far more expensive. I'm probably getting one but my strongest wish is that they also issue a 50/1.4 or 50/1.8 with an old-fashioned "double-Gaussian" design that might not be so sharp but is at least small enough to have on the camera in the backpack any time you don't plan on taking pictures but might want to anyway.