DXOMark: The New Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM Proves to Be Quite Nifty

Canon EOS R
The DXOMark labs show that the Canon RF 50mm f1.2L can compete with the rest of the pack.

Canon has always had a knack for making gorgeous 50mm lenses, and perhaps one of their best is the 50mm f1.2L EF Mount lens that has been loved and adored since it was introduced in 2007. Now that Canon has moved into the Mirrorless market, it only made sense for them to release an updated version of this lens with the new RF Mount. The Canon RF 50mm f1.2L has now been tested by the fine people at DXOMark and the results are in.

DXOMark puts lenses they test through some very stringent testing, and the metrics produced offer valuable insight into the lenses they test. When you couple their results with real world tests that we do, you can make a more informed purchasing decision. That is why we share their findings with you guys and gals. We truly enjoyed the Canon RF 50mm f1.2L when we reviewed it in September of 2018. We loved the film-like quality of the images it produced as well as the gorgeous bokeh the lens was able to render. We believe that anyone with a Canon EOS R, or even the EOS RP, will really like this lens if they have the money to purchase it, but what do the scores from DXOMark tell us?

canon rf 50mm f1.2l

Overall the Canon RF 50mm f1.2L USM scored a respectable 38 in DXOMark’s tests. Compared to the old EF Mount version of the Canon 50mm f1.2L that’s a three-point increase, but it pales in comparison to the Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art which scored 44 overall. The biggest problem area with the Canon RF 50mm f1.2L is sharpness.

During DXOMark’s lab tests, the new RF mount lens scored just 22 in sharpness – painfully low compared to the Sigma 50mm f1.4 art which scored 40. Granted, it’s hard to make a direct comparison because of the discrepancy in apertures between the two lenses, but when wide open the Canon, according to DXOMark, disappoints. It also only scored one point more than the old EF mount version which came out in 2007. Stop the lens down though, and by f1.8 it’s sharper than a box of razors.

canon rf 50mm f1.2l

When it comes to other metrics, the Canon RF 50mm f1.2L USM scored 0.2 for distortion control (excellent), -2.2 for vignetting (average performance), a 1.5 for light transmission (very good), and a 3 for chromatic aberration control (excellent). The Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art scored 0.1 for distortion, -1.6 for vignetting, 1.8 for light transmission, and a 6 for chromatic aberration. So the Canon performs better than the Sigma when it comes to controlling chromatic aberration and light transmission, but it’s trumped in every other category.

Compared to the old Canon EF Mount 50mm f1.2L, the new Canon RF 50mm 1.2L USM destroys its older brother which scored 0.4 in distortion control, -2.4 for vignetting control, and a 20 for chromatic aberration. The lenses were tied when it came to light transmission.

So there you have it. The new Canon RF 50mm f1.2L lens has been thoroughly lab tested. Use this information however you will, but be sure to combine it with our real-world tests, which we think give a better indication of what a lens can do.

If you are looking for a native RF Mount 50mm lens with a ridiculously large aperture, and you have the money to buy one, you’ll likely enjoy your images with the Canon RF 50mm f1.2L. If, however, you don’t mind adapting EF Mount lenses, and you don’t need that extra stop of light, you could opt for the tried and true Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art which costs significantly less than Canon’s offering, even after you factor in the EF to RF Mount adapter. What do you think about DXOMark’s findings? Let us know in the comment section below.