Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 USM L - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published December 2018

Introduction

It took us a little way (as always) but it is finally here - the review of the first Canon RF that came into our lab, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 USM L. Unless you lived behind the moon for the last few months, you probably know that Canon released its first full-frame mirrorless system at the Photokina 2018 (trade show). Now Canon wouldn't be Canon if they didn't have something for showing off and besides a monster of a zoom lens (RF 28-70mm f/2), they decided to go for something they are known best for - an ultra-high speed prime lens. Now that alone is not that unique actually - the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 USM L has been in the DSLR lens lineup for years (and some may even remember the EF 50mm f/1 USM L). However, unlike that DSLR lens, the RF 50mm f/1.2 USM L has been completely redesigned featuring no less than 3 aspherical and one UD element.
Unfortunately, that also translates into a much higher price tag. The RF lens is currently selling around 2300USD/2500EUR whereas the EF 50mm f/1.2 USM L is available for almost half (...) of that.

The build quality of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 USM L is exceptional. The body is made of a combination of metal and high-quality plastic parts based on a metal mount. It features a weather-resistant design that protects against dust and moisture. There is, however, an inner lens tube that moves during focusing. The focus ring operates smoothly. On top of that Canon incorporated a secondary control ring at the lens' front. It can be configured to various functions like e.g. exposure compensation or aperture control - and it even clicks. Think of that ... a Canon lens with an aperture ring. How long ago did we see this the last time? That was during the dark ages. Of course, all that can also be controlled on the camera. A deep petal-shaped lens hood is part of the package.

The AF performance is, of course, always heavily dependent on the camera. However, the EOS R and the RF 50mm f/1.2 USM L with its Ring-type USM deliver a quite snappy and silent performance. Manual focusing works "by wire". The focus action is very precise and amongst the best that we've seen in a mirrorless system. Full-time manual override is also possible. Some users may miss a distance scale on the lens but there's one in the viewfinder/LCD.

Specifications
Optical construction15 elements in 9 groups including 3x aspherical & 1 UD elements
Number of aperture blades10 (rounded)
min. focus distance 0.40m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.2)
Dimensions89.8 x 108mm
Weight950g
Filter size77mm
Hoodpetal-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresweather sealing, configurable control ring, fluorine coating