Canon EF Lens 50mm 1: 1.0 L Ultrasonic. Review from reader Radozhiva

Review of Canon EF Lens 50mm 1: 1.0 L Ultrasonic specially for Radozhiva prepared Alexey Egorov.

Canon EF Lens 50mm 1: 1.0 L Ultrasonic

Canon EF Lens 50mm 1: 1.0 L Ultrasonic

The Canon EF 50mm 1:1.0 L USM is a very rare, unique, extra exclusive, very expensive, unusual, ultra fast, full frame, "standard" prime lens for Canon SLR cameras. There are infinitely many epithets about this "glass".

I think that at first it is best to briefly mention the history of Canon's camera industry and this glass in particular. As we all know very well, Canon in 1987 switched to the new EF mount. One of the key features of this lens mount is its large diameter of 54 mm, while Nikon went the conservative path (but also the right one!), Keeping the old Nikon F mount with a diameter of 44 mm. The increase in the diameter of the mount gave Canon an advantage in developing aperture optics. And it seems to me that Canon immediately decided to show its technological level by releasing unique "glasses" such as 50mm f / 1.0, 85 mm f / 1.2, 200mm f / 1.8. And the most amazing thing: these old EF lenses are autofocus! The fact is that Canon has created the EF system completely electronic, and the focus motors are located in the lenses.

The 50mm 1.0 lens from this review was announced in March 1987 and became available for sale in September 1989. But, apparently, due to the very high manufacturing cost and unprofitability of production, this lens was discontinued in 2000 (according to some sources , in 2002). In 2006, a less aperture and much less expensive, also autofocus, version of the Canon 50mm f / 1.2 L USM was released, which is still produced today. Now Canon 50mm f / 1.0 is hard to find even on the secondary market, mainly on ebay. In addition, this lens is gradually becoming more expensive, and in dollar terms, so that its value, especially as a collectible, only grows every year. To some extent, this “glass” can be compared with wine or cognac: the older the age (time excerpts), the more its value increases. In general, as we all know very well, lenses become obsolete much slower than cameras, because the laws of optics are unchangeable. With each generation of optics, mainly the electronics of the lens are improved, for example, the speed and accuracy of autofocus, and special optical elements are added to reduce various optical distortions.

And again we see that Canon, having launched mirrorless cameras with R mount in 2018, was one of the first to announce unique, exclusive, sharp and very expensive “glasses” 85mm f / 1.2, 50mm f / 1.2 and 28-70mm f / 2.0, obviously designed, among other things, to demonstrate the technical capabilities of the new mount. Of course, these lenses are autofocus. It should be noted that all lenses for EF SLR cameras, including 50mm f / 1.0, work perfectly on the canon R system using the EF-EOS R adapter. Of course, it is not so important which technique to photograph, but already more, which system this equipment belongs to. Of course, other manufacturers, for example, Nikon, have their own advantages (striking examples are the presence of extremely successful and balanced cameras D780 and D850, as well as the "compact" camera Coolpix p1000 with a zoom factor of 125x!). But for me personally, as a lover of ultra-fast optics, the Canon system turned out to be preferable due to the presence of autofocus full-frame optics with f / 1.2 and even f / 1.0. Here, as they say, a matter of personal taste. In addition, as Arkady correctly and lucidly explained in his articles, the Canon system for lovers of "fifty kopecks" and "portraits" is more preferable (see. here и here).

Canon Lens EF 50mm 1: 1.0 L USM is a large (81,5 x 91,5 mm) and heavy (about 1 kg, according to various estimates from 985 to 1018 grams) lens made of metal. A kilogram is a lot for a fixed "fifty kopeck piece"! Even Mitakon 50mm f / 0.95which I used on the Sony a7s camera, and it weighed 720 grams. This lens looks very solid, outweighs the Canon 6D camera and holds excellent weight balance with the Canon 5D mark 3. The bundle of the 5d mark3 camera and this lens weighs about 2 kg, which is already quite a lot. But, as you know, good, high-quality photo equipment cannot be light and miniature. However, I did not feel discomfort during the filming, although the man himself is far from being large (height 173 cm and weight 52 kg) :). Of course, as can be seen from its full name, this lens belongs to the top-end L-series, and, I would say, it stands out even among its L-counterparts! Naturally, the build quality does not give rise to any complaints. The body is black, with a fairly convenient rubberized focusing ring, with an autofocus switch and an AF distance limiter (0,6 m - ∞ and 1 m - ∞). Near the front lens there is a characteristic red border characteristic of L-cams. The minimum focusing distance is 60 cm, and the maximum magnification ratio is 1: 9.1 (0.11x). A distinctive feature of this lens, like the 85mm f / 1.2 (II), 200 f / 1.8 (and possibly some other Canon “glasses”) is the presence of an electronic focusing ring. With this design, manual focusing is possible only with lenses on the camera (of course, the camera must be turned on); otherwise, rotating the focusing ring does not move the lens unit in any way.

About focusing towards MDF, the trunk of the lens is slightly lengthened; thus, when focusing at infinity, the length of this lens is minimal - before turning off the camera or removing the lens from the camera, it is recommended to focus this "glass" at infinity.

Canon 50 / 1.0L uses 72mm color filters, as do 50mm f / 1.2 and 85mm f / 1.2. I must say that having a filter for such an expensive and rare lens is an absolute must. Of course, polarization, neutral, gradient and other types of filters will be a great addition, expanding the creative capabilities of the photographer. In addition, when focusing, the front lens does not rotate, which allows you to use different kinds of light filters with great convenience.

Autofocus Canon 50 / 1.0L is not very fast, which is most likely due to the large mass of moving lenses. Also on the lens barrel there is a window with a focusing distance scale in meters and feet. The focusing ring rotates about 270 degrees, which greatly facilitates manual focusing and, apparently, improves the accuracy of automatic focusing. When extreme values ​​are reached, the focus ring continues to slide without affecting the focusing distance. EGF lens on Canon APS-H cameras is 65 mm, and on Canon APS-C 80 mm.

Optical design Canon EF 50mm 1: 1.0 L USM

Optical design Canon EF 50mm 1: 1.0 L USM

The optical scheme, as you can see, has 11 elements in 9 groups; there are two polished aspherical elements here. The lens aperture consists of 8 "blades" and can be closed up to f / 16: thus, the aperture range is 8 stops, which is a good indicator.

Pleased with the image quality, and the bokeh is simply excellent! The lens is sharp enough from the open aperture. On cameras canon 6d and 5d mark 3 with their relatively modest resolution, the resolution of the lens, in my opinion, is quite sufficient. Of course, there is a drop in image quality in the corners, rather significant vignetting at the open aperture. Thanks to the very high aperture and high operating ISO of the aforementioned full-frame cameras, high-quality, low-noise images are obtained even at night. I can even assume that in conjunction with the Canon ME20F-SH camera with its maximum iso 4.560.000, it would turn out to be a night vision camera :).

Here are some examples of photos taken with the camera Canon 6D and this lens. In the process of shooting was used safety filter Kenko PRO1D UV (W) 72 mm. Subsequently, I will write a review on the Canon 5D mark 3, which will also work in conjunction with this lens and, thus, in a future publication there will be new examples of photographs taken with this lens, and this is including closed apertures.


Canon Lens EF 50mm 1: 1.0 L USM - a truly masterpiece of lens construction, a one-of-a-kind fifty dollars. It can be seen that Canon has invested all its "soul" in the development of this lens. It gives an excellent bokt, allows you to shoot perfectly in the dark, suitable for portraiture. Main disadvantages: very rare and expensive. This is a lens primarily for connoisseurs of extra-exclusive optics and collectors. For professional photography, it is best to get a Canon 50mm f / 1.2 L - it is almost twice as light, much cheaper, you can buy it in a photo store, and in the secondary market it is much easier to find than a 50mm 1.0. For ordinary users of Canon SLR cameras, 50mm f / 1.4 or just 50mm f / 1.8.

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Comments: 77, on the topic: Canon EF Lens 50mm 1: 1.0 L Ultrasonic. Review from the reader Radozhiva

  • Kremlin

    Canon ef 50mm f/1.0L It was bright so I had to squeeze it down to f/4.5 1/640 sec

  • Kremlin

    Canon ef 50mm f/1.0L It was bright so I had to hold down to f/2.5 1/8000 sec.

    • Tserg

      Velma is wonderful, that by 2,5 richly better sharpness, lower by 4,5. Yakbi tse buv manual lens, you can talk about those that do not spend a focus. Autofocus optics are right there and the exposure time is too small, so that the rubble disappears.

      • B. R. P.

        Autofocus is also important)

      • Rainer

        And suddenly all Ukrainians began to remember their native language, what fun. Only here who there where having spent? Well, if you don't know the language, don't write. You can get into focus or, at the very least, get into focus, but you can’t get enough.

        • Oleg


        • B. R. P.

          +1. And “at the very least” how to be Ukrainian?)

          • Oleg

            It's disgustingly bad or maybe it's kind of bad. Literally I don't know

            • B. R. P.

              “so beadno” is similar. Not all are analogues.

        • פיטר ציפור

          yes, for sure, they’re going to heaven)) and not in focus.

  • Denis

    Arkady has an even rarer fifty kopeck 0.95 for Canon.

    • B. R. P.


      • Rodion

        You can stir it up through the LM-NEX AF adapter from Techart))))

  • StanislaVS

    Meanwhile, prices for the subject have returned to the pre-Covid level of $3600-3700. 🥲

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