Review RF50mm F1.2

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,503
607
Southeastern USA
Mr. Frost should have explained why he didn't like the "feel" of the build quality, or the "quality" of the plastics used. Comparing this to L series EF lenses that have been released in the past ten years, such as the ef 16-35mm f/4, the venerable workhorse ef 24-70mm f/2.8L II, and the ef 35 mm f/1.4L II, the rf 50mm 1.2L feels just as well made to me. And I believe the lensrental teardown suggests very good build quality. (I can't remember any mention of problems.)

I've been following discussions of 50mm lenses for about seven years. In this time I've noticed it is a focal length that brings shrugs or great enthusiasm. Some could care less, some are obsessed. Perhaps I'm being unfair to Mr. Frost, but in this review he reveals little passion for the joys of 50mm, and so, despite the dazzling IQ, more or less yawns and grumbles about the price.

Full disclosure: I've been moaning and groaning about Canon's lack of a suitable 50mm for me ever since joining this forum. I think I was every bit as eager as another member, ahsanford, though nowhere near as prolix. I have often speculated that he stopped posting here for what seemed ages because he was apoplectic when Canon did finally release a 50mm, instead of the nifty one he had been praying for, we got this oversized, jumbo jar-of-mayonnaise costing over $2k USD that doesn't even work on EF bodies!

I was upset too, but thought, in time, Canon would release the perfect Rf body for me, and, meanwhile, I was close enough with the amazing 35mm f/1.4 II (which I've asked my wife to cremate with me) and the pretty good 85mm f/1.4L IS.

But the relentless siren call of the rf 50mm f/1.2L drew me onto the rocks of GAS, and so, I bought the EOS R which I had been ignorantly disparaging...Only to find that it is one great little camera to use with this monster lens, a marriage made in gear heaven.

The attached photo of my daughter, taken with the new 50mm, expresses how I feel about the lens. Hard for me to be objective about it.Bike Racks CR.jpg

So that's why I'm perplexed by Mr. Frost's lack of proper respect and enthusiasm! :D
 
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mjg79

EOS 80D
Feb 19, 2016
113
50
Mr. Frost should have explained why he didn't like the "feel" of the build quality, or the "quality" of the plastics used. Comparing this to L series EF lenses that have been released in the past ten years, such as the ef 16-35mm f/4, the venerable workhorse ef 24-70mm f/2.8L II, and the ef 35 mm f/1.4L II, the rf 50mm 1.2L feels just as well made to me. And I believe the lensrental teardown suggests very good build quality. (I can't remember any mention of problems.)
I think he was referring to a bit longer history than that. The lenses you mention are all quite recent ones and have plastic dominated exteriors similar to the RF 50L.

I remember distinctly when I bought the EF 24-70 2.8L II being disappointed when I first handled it - it felt cheap compared to the Mark I. Lensrentals however did a good teardown of it and showed it to be really well constructed inside, indeed better than the Mark I where it mattered, with even the optical design thought out so it wouldn't get decentered from the front being knocked. The plastic made it lighter without compromising build quality.

So that was the sort of spirit I understood the video in. The EF 50 1.2L is from an earlier era - it feels very solid and nice, actually nicer to hold than the RF one. The 35mm 1.4 L also for example felt higher quality on the exterior than the Mark II yet the II was declared by lensrentals to be the best built normal prime they ever took apart. Another example would be the 24mm 1.4 L II - it feels very solid and it's a fair bet the replacement in RF whenever it comes will be lighter, probably better built inside and feel more plasticky.

The RF lenses seem to continue this trend - lighter feeling (even if actually heavy, they don't have that sort of dense feeling one gets with metal exteriors) and more plastic on the exterior but apparently well built inside. For me it's a sensible trade off but I can actually understand people, given the price, being a bit surprised when they first hold them if they are expecting something like a Leica or Fuji type feel.
 
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Bennymiata

EOS 6D MK II
That's a great shot of your beautiful daughter YuengLinger.
These new high-end lenses for the R are just spectacular in how they draw the subject and give the images that almost 3d effect.
Like you, I've been trying to hold back, but I'm starting to feel that to get "that" look that the RF lenses give, I'll have to either bight my nails for a better model or just bight the bullet.
 
Dec 6, 2018
101
132
The thought came this week to start a thread at POTN forums about IDIOT opinions RE "build quality". That would also include Dustin Abbott or Christopher Frost whom I both enjoy a lot.

But I realized this month that most every review I ever hear about build quality is from someone merely fondling a lens body and guessing if a ring turns the way they think it should. That's bogus dog pile thinking.

I remember like 10 years ago buying a new Dodge RAM truck. I could have said the build quality looked great because of how the doors closed or the apparent ease of the steering wheel. But in a few months, as the shocks came loose from city street driving, and the valve spring broke in the engine, things surfaced the eyes and hands couldn't see. Or, the two flat tires in 10 minutes on a gravel road where 10 other cars in our hiking group didn't get a single flat.

There's no way the real build quality can be known other than someone getting into the inner workings of a lens, or months and years revealing it's true worth. I used to think Zeiss were better build due to all the metal. Now I'm realizing that Canon could be better because if light weight is the tool a pro needs to earn a living and shoot all day, then too much armor is a worse build for those people. So there is more than one way to have good build quality.

To express a bit further ... I bought a Zeiss 135mm lately, but not the Milvus, because I had a Milvus and it was too heavy. So at present, there's no way I'd want Zeiss-like metal and weight on any of my new fast RF lenses. My bag is is as heavy as need be right now. In fact, I bought an extension tube today, deciding not to add the weight of a 100 macro to my kit. Strong plastics are a wise component for many lenses.
 
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CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
3,964
1,525
Irving, Texas
Mr. Frost should have explained why he didn't like the "feel" of the build quality, or the "quality" of the plastics used. Comparing this to L series EF lenses that have been released in the past ten years, such as the ef 16-35mm f/4, the venerable workhorse ef 24-70mm f/2.8L II, and the ef 35 mm f/1.4L II, the rf 50mm 1.2L feels just as well made to me. And I believe the lensrental teardown suggests very good build quality. (I can't remember any mention of problems.)

I've been following discussions of 50mm lenses for about seven years. In this time I've noticed it is a focal length that brings shrugs or great enthusiasm. Some could care less, some are obsessed. Perhaps I'm being unfair to Mr. Frost, but in this review he reveals little passion for the joys of 50mm, and so, despite the dazzling IQ, more or less yawns and grumbles about the price.

Full disclosure: I've been moaning and groaning about Canon's lack of a suitable 50mm for me ever since joining this forum. I think I was every bit as eager as another member, ahsanford, though nowhere near as prolix. I have often speculated that he stopped posting here for what seemed ages because he was apoplectic when Canon did finally release a 50mm, instead of the nifty one he had been praying for, we got this oversized, jumbo jar-of-mayonnaise costing over $2k USD that doesn't even work on EF bodies!

I was upset too, but thought, in time, Canon would release the perfect Rf body for me, and, meanwhile, I was close enough with the amazing 35mm f/1.4 II (which I've asked my wife to cremate with me) and the pretty good 85mm f/1.4L IS.

But the relentless siren call of the rf 50mm f/1.2L drew me onto the rocks of GAS, and so, I bought the EOS R which I had been ignorantly disparaging...Only to find that it is one great little camera to use with this monster lens, a marriage made in gear heaven.

The attached photo of my daughter, taken with the new 50mm, expresses how I feel about the lens. Hard for me to be objective about it.View attachment 186723

So that's why I'm perplexed by Mr. Frost's lack of proper respect and enthusiasm! :D
These lenses really are spectacular, aren't they? The R body is good bang for the buck, but I can see myself with the high resolution model once the lens line fills out a little more. I really came to appreciate the EF 35mm f/1.4L II like you, but it is gone now. Somehow I think we will see an RF 35mm f/1.2L sooner or later. When I weighed the cost of going all in for these lenses, two things made me say, "What the heck, you only live once." 1. My grandson 2. My age. I'm only 56, but these will be the last lenses I'll ever buy. I loved all my EF glass, but these super fast RF lenses are a whole different world for me.

Frost's review aside... these lenses are worth every penny.

Great shot of your daughter. I can hardly wait for my grandson to get more cooperative than the 2 year old he is. ;)