4 of the Best 50mm F1.2 Lenses We’ve Reviewed

There isn’t a lens that’s probably as coveted as the 50mm f1.2. Yes, lots of us don’t like 50mm lenses. But I think we can make a strong exception for 50mm f1.2 lenses. What’s not to love? There’s bokeh, sharpness, and sometimes some great character. We dove into our Reviews Index for some of the best 50mm f1.2 lenses that we’ve reviewed. Trust us, you’ll really like these.

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The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pro Tips on Using 50mm f1.2 Lenses

Here’s what you need to know about buying 50mm f1.2 lenses:

  • Let’s be straight with you; the reason you’re getting 50mm f1.2 lenses is because of the bokeh. That, and they’re often considered to be the creme-de-la-creme of lenses.
  • Don’t expect these lenses to be lightweight. They’ve got a lot of technology inside.
  • If you’re shooting portraits, always use face and eye-detection.
  • Always remember that 50mm f1.2 lenses have apertures. So stop them down every now and again.
  • We’ve done our own independent reviews of all these lenses. And you can see references to them in this roundup.

Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM

Pros

  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Weather sealing
  • Pretty fast autofocus, much faster than the DSLR versions
  • Build quality is solid
  • The textured, matte feel is nice
  • The control ring around the lens feels like an organic aperture ring
  • People simply look good with this lens attached

Cons

  • Expensive, but when you consider what this lens is, then it makes sense for what you do.
  • Though it sort of isn’t needed, image stabilization would have been nice due to the size.

In our review, we state:

“The reason why you’re most likely considering reading this review of the the Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM is either because you’re interested in a purchase/switch over or you just want to find a reason why your current gear is superior. If I’m going to be very honest, the Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM is the best 50mm lens that I’ve tested. I loathe the 50mm focal length. LOATHE IT! But with this lens, I feel like I’m shooting with a medium format 80mm f2 lens in the 645 format. It’s beautiful and in every single way, Canon is leading the way when it comes to 50mm focal lengths.”

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Nikon Z 50mm f1.2 S

Pros

  • Excellent balance between sharp and sterile
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Accurate colors
  • Weather-sealed
  • Digital lens info display

Cons

  • Long and heavy
  • Autofocus is slower than the competition.

In our review, we state:

“The Z 50mm f1.2 S uses nine aperture blades to capture smooth, rounded bokeh. The lens quickly yet smoothly moves from incredibly sharp to softly blurred. The blur softens lines and edges and draws the eye to the subject.”

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Sony 50mm f1.2 G Master

Pros

  • Fast to use on both the Sony a7r III and the Sony a7r IV
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice render
  • Very sharp
  • Wow, Sony actually listened to us and allowed a little bit of flare in. Bravo!
  • I actually think that over $2,000 is a fair price.
  • Pretty lightweight

Cons

  • A few autofocus issues with strong backlighting
  • Two different hard function buttons are a bit odd.
  • Still has a render that’s nowhere as gorgeous as Canon’s

In our review, we state:

“The Sony 50mm f1.2 G Master is great. For the folks who want clinical sharpness, you’re getting it. For the folks who complained about onion bokeh, there is none. And if you are bothered by beautiful lens flare, its soul has been sucked dry. You’ll need to put all that stuff in via post-production instead. Basically, if you don’t like sitting in front of a computer, create a camera profile instead. Otherwise, get a Pro-Mist filter or something. You’ll probably need it. Sony does this thing that adds extra contrast, clarity, and sharpness. Lots of you will like it.”

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Leica 50mm f1.2 Noctilux

Pros

  • Great vintage character
  • Metal construction
  • Excellent shooting experience
  • Superb bokeh
  • Rich colors
  • Well-controlled flare
  • Focal length scale with depth of field

Cons

  • Technically imperfect with edge softness and aberration
  • Manual focus only
  • Heavy
  • Expensive at over $7,000

In our review, we state:

“The bokeh from the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.2 is simply delicious. Backgrounds have a nice, soft blur. At times, the bokeh almost seems to have a slight twirl to it. The falloff from sharp to blurred is fast, making the subject really pop. This effect works well for the foreground, as well as the background.”

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.