Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Review

December 20, 2018 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM is an incredible lens with a pretty incredible price-tag. It's easily one of the best 50mm lenses that we've ever reviewed, from any brand, but it's also one of the biggest and most expensive too. If you really love the combination of the 50mm focal length and f/1.2 aperture (and who wouldn't), then you need this lens in your life, but more casual users may prefer to use an adapted Canon EF 50mm lens instead.

Image quality is simply incredible, as you'd expect for a lens of this caliber. Sharpness is simply superb throughout the aperture range and at both the centre and edges of the frame, distortion is negligible, and chromatic aberrations very hard to find. The only blot on the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM's copybook is obvious vignetting at f/1.2, requiring you to stop down to f/4 to completely remove it. Otherwise, the ability to shoot wide-open at f/1.2 and create some wonderful bokeh effects thanks to the 10-bladed aperture quickly becomes intoxicating, especially as you can successfully shoot in near darkness with the EOS R camera.

The build quality is excellent, certainly on a par with the other RF lenses, with the built-in L-series weather-proofing offering peace of mind in more inclement conditions. Canon also provide a good lockable lens hood and soft case in the box. Auto-focusing was very quick, quiet and almost 100% reliable on the Canon EOS R camera that we tested the lens with thanks to the USM motor, while manual focus over-ride at any time is a great feature. The new Lens Control Ring takes a little getting used to, but soon becomes quite a handy feature to have.

Which brings us to the elephant in the room - the price-tag. £2349 / $2299 makes the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM a very considered purchase indeed, which along with the sheer size and weight of the lens will inevitably put more casual users off. The ability to easily get shots that you'd struggle to get with other camera/lens combinations, though, will surely be reason alone to make this lens a must-buy for anyone who can justify the cost.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4