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Andrew Reid

Canon RF 50mm F1.2L Review - If this is the future of Canon lenses then count me half-in, half-out

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In or out?

It's the big question facing the British today.

Native lenses for mirrorless cameras offer all sorts of advantages. They can be smaller.

They can be video optimised with internal autofocus.

Canon themselves said recently: "With the move to mirrorless the aim is to optimise the space where the mirror box used to be - that was what we were looking at. This allows us to make the lenses smaller and also to raise the optical quality."

So how's it going making the lenses smaller?

If you imagine at the Canon factory they have a range of levers to prioritise. When it came to planning his lens, the man on the optical quality lever pushed fully forward. The man on the price lever wrenched it as far forward as it could go. The man on the size lever was drunk, his entire body slumped forward on the lever. The man on the video autofocus lever was absent in entirety, and the factory sign in book empty for months. In fact the Japanese police think he may have been abducted by the Yakuza.

Read the full review

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

The tragic part is that the lens doesn't look as good when you compare it to medium format, and for 4300$ you can buy medium format.

This is a mamiya 80 1.9 (200$ lens) on a 1500$ Phase one Df with a P45+ back (48x36mm sensor). The bokeh isn't swirley in the corners, equivalent 50mm 1.3,and this lens covers 6x7 (andrewwww put this on your gfx with a speedbooster)

 

CF072160.jpg

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If the new $2300 Canon R 50mm 1.2 struggles with AF in video, won't the new $2300 Panasonic 50mm 1.4 L-Mount struggle even more with AF on the S1?

I really want to like the S1 but the AF video samples I've seen on the web seem to show inconsistent AF in video. Seems like DFD tech is still lagging compared to Full Frame cameras featuring sensors with phase detect AF. I recognize that using manual focus eliminates those issues, but reliable AF is still something I like to have as an option in fast moving situations. Have you tried the Voigtlander 50 1.2 on the S1? Preferred adapter?

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Agree that they need to optimize the Variable ND adapter. The drop-in filter does not seem to be super secure and I don't have a lot of trust that it's keeping any dust away from my sensor. With that said, having a variable ND filter in the adapter is brilliant and truly a game changer for quick changes. But, would much rather have it in the body and electronically controlled like the FS5 - all ND filters should be like this from now on.

The EOS R is overall pretty disappointing, especially after playing around with the S1 for a few days. It really does feel like the first real professional mirrorless camera I've used that is not called a GH5. 

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2 hours ago, seattledv said:

If the new $2300 Canon R 50mm 1.2 struggles with AF in video, won't the new $2300 Panasonic 50mm 1.4 L-Mount struggle even more with AF on the S1?

I really want to like the S1 but the AF video samples I've seen on the web seem to show inconsistent AF in video. Seems like DFD tech is still lagging compared to Full Frame cameras featuring sensors with phase detect AF. I recognize that using manual focus eliminates those issues, but reliable AF is still something I like to have as an option in fast moving situations. Have you tried the Voigtlander 50 1.2 on the S1? Preferred adapter?

It is a shame Pany didn’t improve DfD with the release of the S1 or didn’t go all-in for a phase detect system. But I would say if AF is number one on your list then you should just buy canon and take the canon cripple hit for other features.  Just don’t buy this 50mm for video. Thanks Andrew.

Is the EM-1X review up next?

 

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Hmm... 15 elements and 950 grams on a 50mm prime. Granted, it's f1.2. One has to wonder when they're going to stop? I don't see this as progress in 2019. Wouldn't 8 elements and 300g be more of a target? Let's sacrifice the surgical sharpness for something a little smaller. Just an idea.

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12 hours ago, seattledv said:

If the new $2300 Canon R 50mm 1.2 struggles with AF in video, won't the new $2300 Panasonic 50mm 1.4 L-Mount struggle even more with AF on the S1?

I really want to like the S1 but the AF video samples I've seen on the web seem to show inconsistent AF in video. Seems like DFD tech is still lagging compared to Full Frame cameras featuring sensors with phase detect AF. I recognize that using manual focus eliminates those issues, but reliable AF is still something I like to have as an option in fast moving situations. Have you tried the Voigtlander 50 1.2 on the S1? Preferred adapter?

Not necessarily. PDAF can find a focus point faster but is less accurate than CDAF. With a very small dof you probably will get better performance from a CDAF camera, so while it might be counter intuitive, the Panasonic camera might perform better with a fast lens like this if the focusing algorithms are better than the ones Canon uses in spite of DPAF.

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10 hours ago, John Matthews said:

Hmm... 15 elements and 950 grams on a 50mm prime. Granted, it's f1.2. One has to wonder when they're going to stop? I don't see this as progress in 2019. Wouldn't 8 elements and 300g be more of a target? Let's sacrifice the surgical sharpness for something a little smaller. Just an idea.

Indeed. Big, heavy and expensive lenses and only small & light amateur body. They better had released some lighter and cheaper lenses first.

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1 hour ago, Avenger 2.0 said:

Indeed. Big, heavy and expensive lenses and only small & light amateur body. They better had released some lighter and cheaper lenses first.

Here's a 50mm f1.2 with 7 elements (385 grams) from Pentax made in 1975. Full-metal and glass design with an aperture ring, but manual focus. Almost 50 years after, we can't make an autofocus version of this lens that's lighter? Someone please tell me why that is.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-K-50mm-F1.2-Lens.html

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Obvious, size - complex syndrome of who has it bigger than the other!

That shows a lot about the situation both are at the moment. They are trying to compete in imaginary segments, while the rest of the industry is moving to 2030.

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3 hours ago, Django said:

FWIW.. Nikon's answer is the even bigger, even more expensive, manual-only 58mm f0.95

Screen-Shot-2019-02-28-at-8.56.48-PM.jpg

 

Well that lens at least won't have that horrible Field curvature I'm seeing in Andrews pictures. Nikon will also Release a 50 1.2

Anyway, medium format is the way to go for stills and eventually for Video too.

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On the other hand the Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 is actually surprisingly not boring. I am quite enjoying using it. Very good AF in video mode too.

Nikon gave up altogether giving the F0.95 autofocus, I see. It's going to be a tank, that tanks sales wise as well. It makes the RF 50 1.2 look balanced in terms of size.

The new Voigtlander 50mm F1.2 Asph is the best rendering and best overall performing smallest, highest 50mm F1.2 on the market right now. In stills mode that can be autofocuses on the Techart adapter on E-mount, and soon on Z mount too. The AF is fast, and moves entire lens, so optically that is superior to moving just one element. I find it very practical and don't mind the few MM the lens moves during use. Hand doesn't block the movement even when cradling the lens.

I wish Canon would do a smaller softer 50mm F1.2 with more vignetting, and internal focussing elements, no larger than existing EF version, but I guess the pixel peepers would be up and arms about it.

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18 hours ago, Django said:

FWIW.. Nikon's answer is the even bigger, even more expensive, manual-only 58mm f0.95

Screen-Shot-2019-02-28-at-8.56.48-PM.jpg

 

That’s not really a comparable lens. The 0.95 is a speciality lens which will excel for low light. It’s a specialised lens for a specific use, just as your 600mm telephoto or macro lens. It’s also a showpiece where Nikon wants to exhibit the state of the art.

The coming Z 50/1.2S would be a better comparison. Unfortunately also a large lens. Comparable in size to the Leica 50mm 1.4 SL or the new Panasonic 50mm 1.4.

The Z 1.8 primes are incredible and in my opinion a perfect balance between size, cost, build quality and performance. I also really like the look of the new F2 primes for the Leica SL. Out of my price range for sure but very nice design (I mean in terms of handling/performance not looks).

Would be cool if the coming non-S lenses are super compact with less resolution but still ok for most uses at an affordable price. 

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