Earlier this year, Canon announced its first full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R, as well as the new RF mount, which features a shorter flange distance than the EF DSLR mount. According to Canon, this combination of a wide and short mount should allow for new possibilities in optical design, and the RF 50mm f/1.2 – one of four launch-day lenses – is an excellent example of what Canon has already achieved.
Ethics statement: The 50mm 1.2 was sent to us for a month to test. We were not asked to write anything about the lens nor were we provided with any other compensation of any kind. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
- Focal length: 50mm (50mm in 35mm terms)
- Lens configuration: 15 elements in 9 groups
- Lens mechanism: Inner focus (USM motor)
- Angle of view: 46°
- Closest focusing distance: 40cm
- Maximum image magnification: 0.19x
- Aperture blades: 10 blade circular aperture diaphragm
- Aperture range: 1.2 to 16
- Coating: Super Spectra
- Filter diamater: 77mm
- Weather sealing: Yes
- Optical stabilisation: No
- Dimensions: 89.8mm Ø, 108mm
- Weight: 950g
Summary of our findings
- large and heavy but the build quality is excellent
- being an L series lens, it is fully weather-sealed
- comes with a petal-shaped lens hood that is easy to attach and remove thanks to the release button on the side
- features an accurate fly-by-wire focus ring and a textured control ring to which you can assign a custom function (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, or white balance)
- there are two switches on the barrel: an AF/MF switch and a focus limiter
- super sharp at f/1.2 and through the rest of the aperture range up until f/11, both at the centre and in the corners
- has a smooth and creamy bokeh
- almost no distortion and very little chromatic aberration
- flare is well-controlled and vignetting is present up until f/4 (but it can be easily corrected)
- fast and accurate autofocus system which is also fairly quiet considering the number of elements moving around inside the barrel
If you love super fast, sharp primes, the RF 50mm f/1.2 is the kind of lens that will make you go weak at the knees. Sharpness is exceptional wide open, the bokeh is sublime and the build quality is exactly what you’d expect from an L series lens. Not only does it illustrate the current capabilities of the RF mount, but it also foreshadows what we can expect from future optics – and the future certainly looks bright.
Of course, this kind of quality almost always comes at a price. In the case of the 50mm f/1.2, you can expect to pay as much for this lens as for the EOS R camera itself. It is also larger and heavier than very good alternatives like the EF 50mm 1.2, even with the adapter attached.
So, should you buy one for your EOS R? Well, it’s ultimately up to you and quality you require for your work. Granted, it’s a fantastic lens but it’s definitely worth reflecting on how much you’ll actually use it on a daily basis. Portrait and wedding photographers, for example, could easily find themselves using this lens on every assignment whereas photographers who focus on other genres may not get as much use out of it. Either way, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll fall in love with the look it gives your images – I know we did!
Check price of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 on B&H Photo