Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 ‘L’ USM Lens Hands on Review

On this video, photographer, Christopher Frost takes a look at Canon’s fastest RF lens to date – the RF 50mm f/1.2 ‘L’ USM which was announced last September alongside the EOS R camera.

We had a chance to play a little bit with this lens at the Photokina 2018 show and it is a beast of a lens, both in terms of its size and weight (it is a 1kg/2.2lbs lens). This is an RF lens only so it won’t work on Canon’s DSLR bodies.

The lens is a tad plasticity which is a bit strange for a lens of this caliber, but it seems that Canon did all it could to reduce weight here. AF speed is average (not surprising given the huge elements the motors needs to move) and it is audible. Accuracy is pretty good (although Frost did catch it missing once or twice). Also, keep in mind that this lens has some real breathing so if you are thinking of using it for video work – keep this in mind.

In terms of design, this lens has both an AF/MF switch and a focus limiter as well as Canon’s control ring which has small clicks and has a filter thread of 77mm and it comes with a hood.

In terms of image quality, this is where this lens really shines. Even wide open at f/1.2 the center is very sharp and contrasty and the corners are pretty sharp although you will need to close down a little for more contrast (at f/2.8 this lens is as sharp as it will get). We would say that this lens is designed for higher megapixel sensors than the EOS R 30MP that Frost tested it on and it will be interesting to see it tested again once Canon will eventually release their high megapixel camera.

This lens has a tiny barrel distortion (if you turn off auto-correction off), you will see very heavy darkening in the corners wide open though (again both can be fixed with the cameras auto-correction or in software).

Even wide open the lens is very sharp in the minimum focus range of 40cm. On the downside this lens has some flaring and coma is not fully controlled as well. Bokeh is great with this lens.

As for pricing, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 ‘L’ USM isn’t an inexpensive lens as you might expect, and is currently selling for $2100.

You can find many more previews and reviews on our Photography review section here on LensVid and you can find more of Frost’s videos here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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