The Canon 50 f/1.2 L Review. One of my all time faves on the Canon 1DX II
By Steve Huff
Note: The photos in this review were shot at The Lost Leaf in Phoenix AZ. The Band is THE SCHISMS
I’m smitten, and I will. be honest…it has been a while since I have been (last time was the X1D which I still own and adore), and it has come in the most unusual way.
This is a full frame lens but can also be used on APS-C cameras which will then give a nice 80mm equivalent focal length. The lens has one aspherical element, 8 aperture blades and a “Super Spectra Coating”.
Canon 1DX II – ISO 6400 – 50 f/1.2 L at f/1.2. EOS HD “Chrome” in camera preset. Keep in mind the only lighting on this artist was a RED lamp!
Click ANY image on this page to see it larger.
Those of you who have read my reviews over the years know that I LOVE a good 50mm fast prime and have written about a TON of them.
I have owned the Leica Noctilux f/1 (see samples) and f/0.95 (review). I have owned the Voigtlander 50 1.1 (see review) and 1.5 Nokton (see review). I have owned the Leica 50 Summilux (see samples of the old) (and the new) and Summicron, both the new and old version. I have owned the Zeiss 50 f/2 planar (classic review), the Zeiss 50 1.5 Sonnar (updated look) and countless other 50mm lenses. Old, new, and vintage. I have tested many. Even the ever so popular OLDER Canon lens, the 50 f/0.95 Dream Lens and yes, the new Sony/Zeiss 50 1.4 (full review) for the E mount system. There are MANY more 50mm lens reviews on these pages and on my YouTube but you get the idea.
My experience with 50mm lenses is quite vast.
Canon 1dx II – 50 1.2 at 1.2, ISO 6400 – EOS HD “Chrome” Preset which can offer up a more artistic look in these kind of scenarios. These presets are NOT just for video!
I have only owned this lens once in life, but have rented it from time to time (lensrentals.com is fantastic) when I wanted that Canon 50L fix. But I always wanted to own it again, and I told myself if I ever bought myself another Canon body I would buy this lens. But with all of my experience with this focal length, and with me owning a few 50’s already why would I even be interested in another 50mm lens?
Well, that is a great question!
The reason I love the Canon 50L lens is because of the image quality of the lens first and foremost. That’s not the only reason. I also love the size. It’s small-ish. More wide than long and it is not heavy. It has an f/1.2 aperture and lets in loads of light. The build quality is fantastic and of course it has auto focus (of which the new upcoming Nikon 50 0.95 will not). Take a look below at the Canon 50 f1.2 next to the lovely Sony 50 1.4 Zeiss. The Canon is quite a bit smaller, offers a faster aperture and offers a more “unique” rendering (imo). The Sony is one of the best 50’s I have used and is technically like a Leica 50 Summilux for 1/3 the cost. ALL lenses offer a different look, a different draw and a different kind of mojo. The question is..do you want a modern day razor sharp perfect render or more of a ethereal softer rendering?
The price is also not so bad. Compared to the $11,000 Leica Noctilux, this $1299 Canon is an outright bargain because, and I may get some heat from Leica fans for saying this…it is just as beautiful in IQ as the Noctilux, but in its own way. The Canon is one of those special lenses that offer fantastic color performance, super bokeh, a fast aperture, and in low light comes into its own, doing what it was made to do. All images shown here were shot with auto focus, so the AF is fantastic, fast, and works well in low light, at least with the 1dX II. But the main thing is that it’s rendering is so different from other 50’s and you will either love it or maybe it will not be for you.
Anyone who has followed me over the years know that this website was started for my love of Leica, and then Mirrorless cameras. I have used and reviewed so many Leica (ALL of them) and mirrorless cameras and have extensive experience with Sony and Olympus mostly. I have also used and tested Fuji, Panasonic and others. But for the last few years I have been a full time Leica and Sony guy for the most part with the Hasselblad X1D thrown in as well. I still am, as I still own and use those cameras.
Canon 50 f/1.2 on the 1dxII wide open. EOS HD Monochrome Preset. Click it for larger. ISO 5000 and clean as a whistle with zero Noise Reduction.
I have praised Sony many times here, and for good reason. They deserve it. They have practically invented full frame mirrorless and now other brands are having to play catch up, including the giants, Nikon and Canon. Sony has led the way and created mirrorless solutions that offer all of the speed and capabilities of a DSLR and then some (in some cases). Many thought Mirrorless would never take off, and not only has it taken off, it has shot off like a rocket ship with a million gallons of fuel.
Mirrorless is all the rage in 2018, the trend, the way to go these days when using a new camera. I have always been at the forefront, suggesting good mirrorless cameras and defending it against those who would trash the technology vs DSLR’s, and many DID. Many predicted Mirrorless would never take off and I now realize why many thought that. DSLR’s have been around for a LONG time. They are mature and offer solid build, full frame sensors, huge dynamic range, and an optical viewfinder experience that some prefer and always will. Mirrorless made it all smaller and while some of the full frame lenses are just as big (if not bigger as in the case with the Sony 50mm) the bodies are much thinner and can be used with many lenses, of which DSLR’s can not. (Can not use Leica M glass on a DSLR but we can on mirrorless)!
All shots here shot at f1.2, wide open. I used ISO’s between 6400 and 12,800.
I will say again that Sony and the A7III (Part 1 Review), A7rIII (review) and A9 (see review) have changed the way many people shoot stills and video. They deserve all the accolades they have received and will receive in the future as I have no doubt Sony will continue to lead the way in mirrorless technology.
The 50L 1.2 at the Lost Leaf and it passed this low light torture test with ease. In fact this lens with the 1dxII now takes my prize for best low light performance for taking these kind of photos. Look at the 3 Dimensionality of the 50L in shot #2 below as well as the butter smooth Bokeh. Click it to see it larger!
WITH ALL OF THAT PRAISE FOR MIRRORLESS I have recently acquired a Canon 1DX II to use for video work I do, which is a two year old body that sells for $5500. I researched, tested and tested some more and for me, the way to go was the 1DX II for my video needs. I will not go into it all again, as I already have, but ever since using the 1DX II for some video work (a 4 year project I am in the middle of), I started to use it/test it for some photos as well, why not right? Here and there, nothing serious. Then I started to realize something. THIS IS ONE HELL OF A STILL CAMERA.
The size, BIG.. Yep. The weight, heavier than ANY Sony …Yep. BUT and I am telling you the truth here…the weight is NOT that bad when in use due to the design and grip. With the 50 f/1.2 L on it, it feels balanced in the hand. In fact, it feels better (when gripped) than my Leica SL and handily outperforms it in all areas besides being a mirror camera vs a mirrorless (the is fact and I tell the truth without bias to any particular brand). With the larger 16-35III 2.8 on it, it is a bit front heavy but the 24L and 50 1.2 make this camera body feel great. The way it is built, the quality of every inch of this body, is stunning. Now I have shot with the 1 series before. I used to own, long ago, the original Canon 1dS. The 1st full frame 1 series body. I LOVED IT back then but remember how bad it was in low light by todays standards. But the body has not really changed much, going by memory. That’s a good thing as we always hear “They don’t make ’em like they used to”. In this case, Canon does.
That’s a bold statement as you know I love my Leica SL (review) but the 1dx II has really taken me by surprise. It’s an amazing hybrid camera and after owning the Sony A9 I will say that the 1dX II is a superior camera in just about all, bit NOT ALL ways. From build, control, menus, color, low light and even AF in low light. You guys know how I feel about the Sony A9 and how I bought it, twice. ( I eventually got rid of it as it did overheat on me twice for video, and one day it did in fact ruin a shoot. Even with the new firmware it overheated, but I do live I Phx AZ)
I can not and will not tell a lie and after shooting this with the 50L and 24L in a low light environment I have went all in with Canon, in the day of mirrorless! WHAT A SHOCKER huh? But I like being different, and unique and if something works for me, and works better than what I am used to then I use it. I now happily own a 1dxII, a 6DII and the M50 with the 16-35 III, the 24L 1.4 (my #1) and the 50L 1.2. Soon to add the 85 1.4 and 135 f/2. Then that will be it for glass. An investment for my future and my huge project I have been working on (again, video, not photo). I will never use this as an everyday or walk around camera, I would much rather use my Sony or Hasselblad for that. This will have a specific purpose for me, and for that purpose it was my best option.
BACK TO THE 50mm f/1.2 L
I adore this lens. I currently ALSO own a Sony 50 1.4 Zeiss and the ever popular A7III which is also a fantastic lens but it is quite a bit larger and heavier. I did a quick comparison of the Sony and Canon a while ago, using a Sony body. You can see that HERE if you wish but the Sony was sharper and more “modern” while the Canon offered a bit more MOJO. Some prefer sharp and perfect. Some like character.
Both fantastic but my preference due to size, the slightly faster aperture and the extended MOJO go to the Canon and I have to say, using it on a Canon body like the 1dXII is quite the enjoyable experience. The AF is nearly instant, and my focus is now spot on even wide open. On the Canon, I am getting an image I prefer and also with more dynamic range than I was seeing with the older A7RII and even the A9. It handles low light like a champ and even at this venue I go to in Phoenix, where the lighting is a true challenge and VERY VERY RED. I love this sensor in this two-year old 1dxII for what I shoot.
Wide open, the 50 L f/1.2 gives off such a nice, gentle yet powerful rendering and for the photos I shot here I was testing out two color profiles from EOS HD. Chrome and Mono. Here is one using the Canon Standard profile.
The lighting here consists of just a low output red lamp. So everything when shot in color is RED. Cameras I have shot here in the past that really had a tough time with the color have been the micro 4/3 models (they could not handle the high ISO and red color), the Leica SL (which gave me some nice B&W’s from this venue but maxed out at ISO 10K) and even the Sony A9 which sometimes blew out the reds. The A7RII did OK here using the 50L but if you look at those images they seem to not have as much life as the ones here, shot using the same lens but with the flagship Canon body. I also shot the Leica Monochrom here at ISO 10k and really enjoyed that camera as well in this scenario, but again, different. ALL are different and give off a different vibe.
This lens has some serious Bokeh and it’s just so smooth, silky, creamy and like butter. Any review you read on this glass will say the same. NO harshness at all and the Canon 85L 1.2 offers the same kind of look. Something I do not see in other 50mm or even 85mm lenses. There is just an overall level of balance here with the 50L. Smooth yet never dull. Soft but sharp. Creamy and Dreamy but not overdone. More cinematic feeling than most actually. It’s almost like some of these shots look like still grabs from a movie. But again, this look may not be what you like.
Isn’t it Ironic…
So how ironic it is. Here I am for years shooting only mirrorless cameras and really only being truly satisfied with a few of them (Sony A7RII, Sony A7SII, Sony A7RIII, Sony A9, Sony A7III, Hasselblad X1D, Leica SL) and all along there was this 1dXII I avoided because it was a DSLR and it was also huge and heavy. I mean, I have been open to DSLR’s but the last one I enjoyed, and really enjoyed was the Nikon Df (see that review here).
But the interesting thing is that in use, this combo of the 1dxII and 50 1.2L kicks some serious ass. It never felt too heavy with this lens (due to the ergonomic design and balance) but rather felt GREAT and inspired confidence and helped me keep it more steady due to the weight and size. Controls are intuitive and low light performance is fantastic as is the way it does not blow out the reds, even when pushed to ISO 12800.
I had Noise Reduction off and all of the images here are right out of the camera, JPEGS.
The 50L though. It is a beautiful piece of glass and yes, I have owned the much cheaper Canon 50 1.4 and 50 1.8 long ago. Those are also VERY nice but are not in the same league as the 1.2. The 50 1.4, I used to love that lens. It really is a great value for the dollar.
At $1299 this pro level 50L lens is not cheap but when compared to other fast 50’s like the Leica Noctilux, Summilux, Sony 50 1.4 Zeiss and others, this lens is not overpriced at all. In fact, it is well worth the cost IMO if you want what it offers as again, no other 50 renders quite like this one.
While I have owned the more exotic and pricey lenses over the years, I did not enjoy them any more than this Canon and the beauty is, this lens can be used on any Canon DSLR or even any Sony E mount mirrorless via adapter, with full AF! I call that DOUBLE TROUBLE.
Shooting this lens again, I now remember why I have always had a soft sport for it, ever since I first acquired one in 2008 or so.
While I do prefer shooting with a high quality EVF over an OVF, the Canon DSLR never gave me one issue. It was fast, responsive, and locked on with AF in the lowest of light. Wether I shot with that OVF or the Live View and touch AF, it never even stuttered, not even once. I can imagine this camera, scaled down, mirrorless, with a high quality EVF. If Canon can do that, which I doubt, it would be fantastic.
I will say that I also have the 6DII and the IQ and video do not match the 1dxII, when using the same glass. There’s something about the 1dX II I am really enjoying, and I cannot wait to get out and shoot some more shows with it as well as do work on my video project I have been working on for a while now (not related to photo work).
The files are rich, and you can do almost anything with them. These are all JPEGS and go from high contrast to low to full color with high ISO. No color blow outs and yes, I have had them using all other cameras here.
This lens is like a new and improved DREAM LENS. Much nicer Bokeh, Much nicer color, Sharper yet offering that magical dreamy analog type of feel. Cinematic, as I said earlier is one word to describe the output of this lens. It can make your photos look BETTER. It can make your images look beautiful, and it can also make them look like they were taken in another time and place. There’s something about this lens that has something special and I for one, hope Canon does not come out with a MKII and change the formula of the lens. The only other lens that offers a similar rendering is the 85 f1.2 from Canon, and that has always been a favorite of mine as well. (See samples with that lens HERE).
I have mentioned recently that there hasn’t been anything NEW that has been exciting me to want to use it or try it or test it. I have already shot with the new Sony’s and they are fantastic. The new Nikon Z6 and Z7 seem super nice but left me a bit wanting for more from Nikon with those cameras. So here I am enjoying OLD gear and not only enjoying it, but getting fantastic results from it. All I know is that for my favorite kind of shooting, which is low light live music, this camera and lens combo has surpassed any other that I have shot with in this location. I have shared a ton of photos in the past from this location, of various bands. With the Sony A7RII and A9. With the Leica SL and Hasselblad X1D. Those have been the only cameras that have “worked” in this situation but the Canon body has surpassed them, along with this lens in DR, ISO noise and overall pleasing rendering and color. Crazy. I blame it all on this 50mm.
THIS LENS ROCKS. THIS LENS ROLLS. THIS LENS IS A LEGEND.
I highly recommend the 50 f/1.2 if you own a Canon or Sony E mount body (full frame). If you love a fast 50 as much as I do and have not yet tried this lens, you have committed a photographic crime. Borrow, rent or buy one. You will not be disappointed. With that said, it is NOT for everyone! If you are starting out in photography and want a fast 50, AND own a Canon camera I would suggest the lovely and cheap 50 1.8. This lens here, the f1.2 is for those who have some experience with a camera and fast 50, as only then will you be able to exploit it and get all you can from it. I may do a “Crazy Comparison” between the cheap 50 1.8 and this pricey 50 1.2 soon ; )
WHERE TO BUY?
I did buy my copy from Amazon via PRIME. But also highly recommend B&H Photo HERE.
PS – OH, and I will also be reviewing the Canon 24 L II VERY soon. It is my #1 most used Canon lens now, and is a true STUNNER. Not a new lens, but it’s truly special.
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Ugh, the 50L. I’ve tried four copies, but returned all and gave up. None could equal the magic of the copy I rented in 2008. The purple fringe in backlit situations was just too much. As it it’s. really. bad.
I shoot 100+ weddings a year and own all the usual Canon suspects. The 35L II and 135L are their all time stand-outs, IMO. Am growing to like the 85L 1.4 more put my copy has purple fringe issues with hard back lighting.
Anxious to try this new RL 50 … someone online compared the images to a Zeiss 80 ƒ2 on 645. Now you’re talkin’ 🙂
Hi Steve, thanks for all the insights and all the energy. Love your stuff!!
And thank for reminding me to get my dream lens again. Some of my best images is with this lens.
What adapter will you recommend for my a7ii – for autofocus? The Sigma?
Thanks from a fan 🙂
I know right? I have loved this lens for years and always wanted it back. On the Sony it is great and I used a cheaper one but it works great and gets great reviews. Under $50 here at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NCZFV3
Steve – glad you are enjoying the 1DX, what a great camera. I’ve mentioned a few times during past replies how much I love my Nikon D5. Size is a personal thing, and one size does not fit all. I personally have become quite used to the 5D size, and once I see the rendering in their final resting spot (SmugMug for me), I marvel at the IQ and all things considered. I’ve never once thought, “Gee, the images are outstanding, but what a big camera.” Honestly, I find the larger bodies quite stabilizing for a guy with normal sized hands. I own 4 different bodies (one mirrorless….Fuji X-H1) , but seem to reach for the D5 every time. There’s nothing like it, in my opinion. Regardless, please keep the beautiful images coming with your Canon 1DX! Enjoy!
I admit, I adore it. I also agree that the size is something one gets used to. Thank you!
I feel like there are not many lenses that can even compare to the 50 1.2 I really love the color rendition and the contrast from this lens.
Good review and glad to read that other also love the 1.2.
Welcome back to DSLR land! I use a full suite of Canon EF L lenses and !D series bodies for news, sports, and stuff that needs multiple light sources. Plus the 6DMKII for video, which is fabulous! And I am also all in on the Fuji X series for Politics, features, quiet stuff. Why? different horses for different courses. I try to match my gear to what I am shooting. What I have found is that the Canon gear does exactly what I need every time. Never any question about “did I get that shot?”.
Get the 135 f2 sooner than later. They are still reasonably priced, and I think you’ll find it to be a go to lens despite the “long” reach.
Too funny reading thru this. I am FAR FAR less of a gear junkie than you but given all the workshops I host, one-on-one’s I teach, and all the photographers I help with marketing/tech/etc I have used pretty much EVERYTHING extensively. My two top gear criteria are 1) Do I actually like using a piece of equipment… as in like how it feels and how it makes me feel and does it get out of my way. 2) How do the pictures LOOK.. that’s it.
The too funny part is that I recently jotted down a much more succinct post on one of the 82 sites (exaggeration) I semi-maintain. Why? because I realized over the last decade and a half the 50mm 1.2L has pretty much been a constant in terms of glass that I’ve always kept and always had a body to shoot it with and if I had to pick JUST ONE LENS the 50 1.2 L would probably be it.
Ps. we’ve talked before, been a long while but I even think I may have written a couple of guest posts for you re: Leica and film
I assume you’ll have the CV 50mm f1.2 in hand later this month also. Would be an interesting comparison!
My experience with the 50L is quite mixed. I love the bokeh, there is some strange thing that other lenses can’t give (and colours seem to be rendered differently, sort of hard to explain, maybe just my own feeling though?) but the AF isn’t that good, and sharpness at 1.2/1.4 is a big drop from Sigma Art. In the end I didn’t end up with the L at all 😀
Hey Steve! Have you ever tried the old Canon FDn 50 1.2 L? It’s a very interesting lens as well. Very different character compared to the new one, but worth a try for sure.
Yes indeed, I reviewed it here on these pages 3-4 years ago. I found it to be soft and very low contrast but interesting. That was around the time I also had the 0.95 Canon and I preferred it to the 1.2. Thank you!
M4/3 and PL25, f1.4 and both eyes and ears are sharp from a 2 meter distance. That’s a true benefit of the smaller sensor. Maybe f4 and ISO 102.000 will equal that…?
Hi Steve, I liked this site for many years and checked it on a daily basis. After a while you learned that each of your gear reviews is the best ever period. With the move to Canon DSLR and lenses your strategy becomes now too obvious as you are ramping up for the next best ever thing the new Canon mirrorless. And there goes credibility and transparency. It is a pity but you lost the soul and passion. People change and opinions do but if this follows constantly new releases it is a true disappointment. So from Daily checking I moved to once a month. I think that is still enough to not miss the next best thing since sliced bread.
Sorry Frank you are wrong. I have no idea what the Canon mirrorless will be like. I hope it is good. But it may be a dog. If it is good, and ticks all the boxes I will buy it and add to this. I have not changed any opinions. I still own teh SL, and use it. Have since it was LAUNCHED! I still have a Sony A7III, love it. Still have an X1D and it gets use from time to time. I am a REVIEWER and it is what I do and have done for 11 years now. I write about the cameras I LOVE and USE. I do not write about the cameras I do not like, as I have stated for years (why would I spend days writing about a lens or camera I do NOT like, and there have been MANY). If you do not like Canon that is fine, as many do not! But do not take Stabs at me for enjoying this gear. I write about the 50L a few times, and even on DP review in 2007 or 2008. I have always loved this lens, and it was never hidden. So you are incorrect as my passion is as amped as ever. But these days I realize, after growing older, that more expensive cameras do not = better results. The Canon gear I have acquired for VIDEO is also excellent for VIDEO, and it is getting used every single day, no complaints. If you do not want honest opinions on great lenses or cameras, then do not come back. If you do, this site is open anytime, to anyone. I also stated my opinion on the new Nikon, which to me is a non starter. The A7III is already here and done better. Have a great day! BTW, I enjoy my SL much more for taking photos, even though the Canon outperforms it ; ) The 1dx Is NOT my fave camera, and never said it was.
It makes sense that newer cameras and lenses would supersede the old ones. I see no credibility lost in saying that something is the ‘best ever’ more than once, actually I would expect it. Every new camera ‘should’ be better than the old one. Not really a fair criticism.
Would be interesting to see some snaps from this lens adapted to the A7 III. Is that something you might consider? Thank you! 🙂
I can’t say I’m surprised you found your next ‘favorite camera’. I mean…you are literally shooting the Canon flagship, of course it’s a great camera. I used to own the 1DSii and that was an awesome camera back in the day. That said, the size was just too much for a walk-around, even compared to my current Leica SL.
This is not my new fave camera, and never said it was. It’s not. I do not use it as a walk around, it was bought for 95% video use, on a tripod for a 3-4 year project I am in the middle of ; ) But it is a fantastic low light performer as shown if one wanted to use it for photos. I would never use this as a walk around every day shooter though, thats what my A7III or X1D is for ; ) If you watch my 1dXII video you would see clearly where I say “Buy an A7III” ; )Thank you.
I guess I made that assumption based on your enthusiastic post…my bad. My point is that it’s Canon’s flagship camera…of course it ‘is one hell of a stills camera’. Anyway, you seem a little testy so I’ll leave it at that.
I’ve followed your site since since 2008 and I enjoy your articles and reviews. That said you often get very defensive in the comments section. Not all of us are out to get you!
Sorry Clint… I get so many who come here and make false statements (not saying you did) just to start trouble I just get more “defensive” than testy at times. With that said, the 1dXII is a FABULOUS camera but the word “BEST” is tricky here. For some it will be, if it fits your needs. I mean, it has the capability to be. It bests all others in build, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t best them in size or weight which is where most will have an issue with it. If you do not mind weight and size and not having an EVF, then I can say it is one of the best cameras on the market today, and is indeed best for me for my video and low light photo needs. But I still love the Leica SL, X1D, etc. I updated the “My Gear” page as well just the other day. Thanks.
The size and weight of a camera is a funny thing. The reason I first switched to Leica was the combination of diminutive size combined with excellent quality…I was tired of the weight of my Canon gear. Now I own an SL and with the 24-90 lens it’s definitely not small or light!
I’m curious to see what Canon has up their sleeve with the new FF mirrorless…but if I had to guess I would say uninspired and crippled with some key missing features. Hopefully I’m wrong!
Nice images. Thing is, I love the lenses but I am really spoiled with an EVF. I used my old Nikon D700 the other day ( still got lovely IQ with those huge fat pixels ) but I kind of had a constant shock not being able to see the exposure before I shot.
A good EVF spoils you , especially if you like to shoot manual exposure.
Does the 1DX2 meter well, or does it under / over expose a lot, which I guess means you end up chimping a lot to adjust exposure?
I hear ya! I am an EVF guy all the way but the 1dxII metered perfectly for me and the AF was locking on quick as well. With some cameras I have to manually focus here, so it was good to see the 1dxII could lock on. The 6DII can not lock on here at this location as it does not focus as well in low light. Using the OVF was different for me, and took some getting used to. I prefer a good EVF but the OVF did not hinder me in any way. I also activated live view for a couple of these and shot from the LCD.
Amazing lens! Never tried the lens in such lighting environment, photos look awesome! This is the lens I kept and am waiting for Canon’s FF mirrorless camera, still waiting… 🙁
Well, if Canon launches DSLR like FF mirrorless and Zeiss give us a digital FF ranger finder, what a way to end 2018, awesome 🙂
I have tried so hard to accept mirrorless over the last 6 or 7 years. I have bought and sold Panasonic systems, Olympus Systems, and most recently the Sony A7III. I read this site regularly and get excited with each generation that I might finally like it. With each foray into mirrorless I get left frustrated that it’s just not as good as my Canon system and I end up selling it all. Everything about Canon is so well thought out. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and performs almost flawlessly. Any time I try something different I just cry that I want my big freak’n wheel back and a camera that fits in my hand nicely. Plus I really love the warmth their files have over what I have experienced from other brands. As much I see things moving to mirrorless I still haven’t had an experience that beats the good old SLR. Maybe Canon’s move to mirrorless will finally change my mind. If anyone can finally convert me it has to be them!
Great shots, mouth watering review! You finally convinced me to drain my account a bit. Since many years I lurked around Canon’s 1.2/50mm and was many times close to hit the button. I love my EF 1.2/85mm (Mk. II) because it is all about painting with light, in many settings it delivers a nice transition from decently sharp areas (visually sharp, not scientific) to this huge creamy bokeh only some very special lenses can create. So I wasn’t sure that the 50mm could meet my high expectations coming from the 85, but here I see again that I’ll be happy with that lens. I gonna upgrade my EF 1.4/50mm which I don’t like too much (lousy AF, cheap bumpy feeling when turning the focusing ring, too heavy sided overall softness wide open – in FF).
Now that you’ve embraced Canon, what from your stable will you consider selling (if anything) and why?
Would probably be my Micro 4/3 system, as those get less and less use. Will always have a Sony around for a few reasons, will also most lily always have a Leica. But Micro 4/3 these days is lacking more and more, especially with all of these full frame mirrorless cameras coming into play at near the same price point. Tough for M 4/3 to beat the A7III or even Nikon Z6.
The 1dx ll is the best. It’s what you use when you have to get the photo. Clarity of image is remarkable. I teach for Leica and they are great, but this 1DX outperforms most camera’s. Try it with the cheapo 40 2.8 for walk around. It’s incredibly good and makes the package very thin and light. I use it opposite a 35 Summicrons and never regret it’s inage quality and discreet size.
Thanks Michael, will give the 40 a look.
There is a 24mm pancake as well. Those two lenses are pretty small. There are compromises in image quality but just stop down a bit and use in good light and it’s pretty amazing for it’s size.
Thank you for a great review – been shooting with various Canon lenses over the past decade but never owned the 50 1.2 or fast 85 prime. I should not have read this review 🙂 another expense coming my way …
Looking forward to the crazy comparisons of the 50 f1/2 vs f1/8. There were more crazy comparison s done in the past.
I’m impressed with the monochrome preset closeup shot of mike and face. It looks pretty sensational. Glad you are enjoying your Canon cameras. I’m loving my A9 because it gets into 1DX II performance territory in many ways in a small silent package.
The corruption has started :-O
Not sure I get what you are saying here but if you are trolling, then that is not ever welcome here. I bought this with my own money, and even showed my receipt in my 1dxII video ; ) I shoot what I like, what works and only recommend what I feel are great cameras and lenses. If anything, I am the least “corrupt” reviewer on the internet. I only talk about what I like and do not pimp out every camera under the sun. So be respectful here, or do not come here at all. Thank you.
My apologies, I was trying to be funny but I offended you. Sorry again.
THEN MY APOLOGIES! So sorry, I took it wrong. All good!
Do try to be a little more patient with your base Steve. We’ve hung in there with you through flip-flop after flip-flop … there have been more “Best Camera Ever!” here at SFP dot com than the entirety of the photographic internet 😉 Now we are along for the “Mirror Box Camera the Size of a Toaster Oven” ride. We luv ya, we feel ya and we appreciate your enthusiasm immensely 🙂 so take it easy on some of fans who feel the need to give you some raspberries every now and again 😉 Please.
Well, my “best” cameras have been in my “best” for years. Leica SL, which I still own. Sony A7 series, still own. X1D, still own. As I have stated MANY times, I only review what I like. I do review every Fuji because I do not like every Fuji. So my reviews share praise only because I love what I am reviewing. I feel writing negative pieces on gear is a waste of time as it just promotes more negativity to the world and why waste time on a camera I do not like. You seem to not really read my reviews, but just go by what some have said (who also never read them). If I truly love a camera I keep them for a long time, and use them. When I no longer use them or something betters it, they go. I still have a full Micro 4/3 system as well, with all pro primes. A camera I praised years ago and still do. ALL cameras these days are excellent, all of them. They each have their own qualities, and strengths and weaknesses. None are perfect but that will never happen.
What I meant by it is that the DSLR had corrupted you and swayed you from the mirrorless path. I did not mean to infer that you are promoting cameras for monetary gain. Sorry again for offending you.
Steve, great review of a stunning lens. It will be interesting to watch Canon’s response to Nikon’s mirrorless entry and whether Canon will abandon the EF mount (oh, sure, there will be an adapter) or if they stick with the tried and true. I’m looking forward to a 50 f.14 to echo the 85mm f1.4 recently announced. I’ve always enjoyed Canon’s ergonomics – and my chiropractor is glad I shoot Canon too.
This is awesome post … I really enjoy the one’s without videos! 🙂 Thank you!
I own an A7r2 with 35mm 1.4 sony zeiss which i love
I used to have a 5dmk3 which i sold but still had my l lenses
I bought a metabones adapter but was not happy with the performance on the Sony
So i purchased a 1dx mk2 to get the best use out of my investement of L glass
Like you i was blown away by the speed of focus and low light capability, not to mention less dust on the sensor and battery life
I feel i have a complete set up
Awesome to hear, enjoy!
I really wanted this lens to work on my Leica SL. Amazing lens loved it so much, just could not work properly with the adapter =(
Sorry to hear that, as I do know you can adapt Canon lenses to the SL though I never did try it. Good to know, so thanks for the info.
I think I know what you mean about that lens, Steve. I got hold of an older 55mm 1.2 Canon lens last year and have found it to be wonderful on both my Leica T and Olympus EM1. I look at the prices of native, fast Leica glass or Fast m4/3 primes and don’t think I’ll be buying either!
The Canon 1DX is way too big for me but those things sure feel good in the hand. They’ve evolved for decades, from the 1 series film cameras, so should be pretty sorted by now…
If you’re so enthusiastic about the 50mm f/1.2L, you should try the Canon 85mm f/1.2L. It’s even more spectacular, it’s unique.
The two lenses in 35mm or full frame I like and use most are the 24mm f/1.4L and the 85mm f/1.2L.
The Canon 135mm f/2 is also a stunner.
I have owned the 85 L and wrote about it here on these pages before (I link to the samples in this post). Thank you!
Wait for it, Steve, wait for it.
In the next 24 hours, somebody will imply you’re a Canon fanboy.
Some great photos there, by the way.
Oh they already have, lol!
Review Pentax k1