Canon 50/1.2 lenses

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verybiglebowski
verybiglebowski Veteran Member • Posts: 4,213
Canon 50/1.2 lenses
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I am planning and planning and planning... for a few years already, to make some sort of a useful comparison of super-fast lenses from my collection. 
However, I always run into some obstacles, being it lack of time, unreliable weather new variables that I realize, and the fact that there are still too many of those, that I will never get a chance to own.

But for the start, here is just one test shot (not very well controlled), from my fast Canon lenses. I know that I am missing a few - namely FL 58/1.5, FL 55/1.2, and EF 50/1.0. While I might pick the first two sooner or later, that last one will probably never enjoy my camera mount in this life.

Here we go (Shot on A7R II)

Canon FD 55/1.2 S.S.C

Canon FD 55/1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical

Canon FDn 50/1.2

Canon FDn 50/1.2 L

Canon 50/1.2 LTM (might get direct sunlight hit, but it is a lower contrast lens, at least my copy)

Canon 50/0.95 at f/1.2 (not focused properly, see the number 3 on the ruler, where I assume focus is)

Canon EF 50/1.2 L USM

I shot also with Yashinon (Tomioka) 55/1.2 but that one should go with my other fast fifties.

Tomioka Auto Yashinon  55/1.2

I like all of them and to a certain extent, it really doesn't matter much if you pick the cheapest one or go with the more expensive options. Here are some of my findings and thoughts.
Canon FD S.S.C 55/1.2, one of the cheapest f/1.2 lenses from Canon has surprisingly good contrast and fair sharpness (for the portrait anyway). While its more expensive sibling with an aspherical element sows slightly better micro-contrast, better color aberration corrections, and somewhat creamier bokeh, the difference is subtle. Where the difference does occur (from my experience) is in the direct backlight, where the aspherical model holds contrast better. 
Canon 50/0.95 is not that much younger than 50/1.2 LTM but it has visibly better contrast. That lens is one of its kind when it comes to the character, but it, unfortunately, belongs to the collector's price range. 
Canon EF 50/1.2 L lens that has rather negative reviews around has certainly smoothest rendering of the oof area and it also has plenty of character, just the opposite of the "Dream Lens". In terms of sharpness, I believe that both - FD 55/1.2 aspherical and FDn 50/1.2 L are surpassing it (slightly).
Canon 50/1.2 LTM is the one to render "retro" looking portraits with all that dreamy glow and mood. That's certainly my cup of tea, but when you look closer you might also see, that behind that glow and flare and low contrast, it is almost color aberration-free and it has a very solid resolution. Nice lens.

Canon FD 55/1.2 S.S.C. Aspherical is the one that I appreciate shooting with the most. It is very sharp, has good contrast and the right mix of aberration to render interesting oof background. It is a very solid piece of glass and metal (same as non-aspherical version) and focusing is ultra-smooth. Here are two images with it, that I shot a few years ago.

Yes, I know, the right eye is blurred too much

Overall, I am not using these superfast lenses as often as I did some time ago, probably because I have less time and inspiration for free creation. Also because my perception of the shallow depth of field photography changed in time. Not that I don't like it in general, I just don't think that it makes each photo more "artistic", as I used to.
Do you have a favorite super fast fifty and how do you use it?

 verybiglebowski's gear list:verybiglebowski's gear list
Sony a7R Sony a7R II Sony a7R III Sony a7R IV Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4 +3 more
Sony a7R Sony a7R II
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