Oz Lens Ambassador Lina Hayes reviews the Canon 50mm f1.2 lens
As soon as you hold this lens, you feel like a professional
Prior to hiring the Canon 50mm F/1.2, I had only heard a few select things about it from other photographers, and overall I had my doubts about what the Canon 50mm F/1.2 could really offer over the Canon 50mm F/1.4 that I already owned. As soon as you hold this lens, you feel like a professional. It feels solid, tough and the ergonomics make it feel like a high quality product. If someone gets in your way during a shoot, you could take them out with this piece of equipment!
Much faster and more accurate than I expected
The focusing on this lens surprised me, being much faster and more accurate than I expected – I definitely preferred its performance in this area to my Canon 50mm f/1.4. It is important to note that when using the lens at 1.4 and 1.2 in particular, you need to be very aware and careful of your focus as your depth of field is VERY shallow.
The joys of f/1.2? Magical bokeh! If you’re looking for dreamy bokeh backgrounds, then this is the lens for you! Fantastic for making your subject stand out and taking your photos to the next level. In particular, the lens really starts to shine once the light drops, allowing you to fit in a few more stops of exposure while keeping the shutter at an appropriate speed to capture what you’re after.
It wasn’t until after I finished using this lens that I realised how quiet the Auto Focus had been the whole time – just like they say with some things, if you don’t notice it, then it must be doing it’s job right.
Looking back through my images on my computer in detail, the images had great contrast and clarity, giving them that little bit of extra ‘pop’ before I’d even started to post process them. There is some distortion with this lens, so when importing into Lightroom, I made sure I fixed that slight distortion. Overall, this lens puts out fantastic image quality.
If you are looking for a lens that goes a long way in terms of application, this is the one.
The Canon 50mm f/1.2 can be applied to a variety of situations –portraits, couple shoots, weddings, nature and anything else where your aim is to make your subject stand out.
It’s valuable to keep in mind that it may not be practical to use this lens at it’s widest aperture all the time, particularly with anything that moves, as you risk the shot being out of focus. In addition to this, your photos can get very soft at wider aperture and it can become tricky to get the focus sharp every time. But in low light, f/1.2 is great when trying to squeeze in a few more stops of exposure.
The first shoot I used this lens for was an Engagement session, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I had this lens on my camera for about 90% of the time for this shoot, finding that I could use it for all the different spots we went to and in all sorts of lighting situations. I’m always looking to bring out emotion and create depth in my photo sessions, and this lens definitely aided me in achieving that.
I also gave this lens a test run during a newborn session. It was super quiet when focusing, which was very useful in this situation when trying to keep noise to a minimal level. The versatility of the lens really stood out during the session – I was able to be up close and shoot details, and if I wanted to capture the whole scene in front of me I simply took a few steps back for a wider angle. Once again, the f/1.2 really came in handy whilst shooting indoors where there was limited light sources at times.
There is a lot to love with this lens – it’s fast, tough and accurate.
It goes that extra mile in terms of clarity and quality, and overall is a fantastic lens for a variety of purposes. I have no doubt that any weekend photographer will find a good use for it. Hire the 50mm f/1.2 and make your own judgment on whether it’s the right lens for you!
Lina Hayes is a professional photographer based in Sydney shooting predominately couples, families and landscapes. Lina founded Wild at Heart Photography to document genuine and honest moments between couples and families. Lina loves to create stories with her photography by getting to know the people she works with and what matters to them most.