Home | Reviews | Lenses | 35mm Primes | Canon

Canon EF 50mm f/1.0L USM 35mm Primes

4.36 star rating
                      4.36 / 5 (11 Reviews)
MSRP : $4210.00

  • Camera Format35 mm SLR
    Lens TypeFixed Focal Length Lens
    Focal Length50mm
    Lens Max Aperturef/1
    Min Aperturef/16
    Focus TypeAutofocus
    Macro LensWithout Macro Lens
    Closest Focusing Distance24 in
    Picture Angle46 degrees
    Attachment / Filter Size72 mm
    Groups / Elements11 Elements in 9 Groups
    Diameter3.60 in
    Length3.20 in
    Weight35.2 oz
    Product ID21745355

Product Description

The world’s fastest interchangeable SLR lens with a super large maximum aperture. It has two aspherical lens elements and four elements with a high refractive index. Outstanding delineation with minimal flare even at the maximum aperture.

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Tim Champion a Expert

Date Reviewed: August 17, 2012

Strengths:    Wonderful lens when you know how to use it, you can create a dreamy bokeh round the subject with practice. Needs lot of practice and trial and error, but with digital who cares! depth of field needs careful consideration and planning to get the best from the lens. This lens is not about clarity, its about creating a dreamy shot that softens everything.

Weaknesses:    None but the photographer's expectations of an easy shot, this is a lens that rewards planning. Don't expect a great keeper rate but you will be rewarded with some outstanding shots that no other lens can give you.

Bottom Line:   
For those special occasions you need a special lens, this lens can deliver superb results with extra planning,

Expand full review >>

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Luther a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: January 5, 2010

Strengths:    Excellent bokeh.

Great for portraiture.

Excellent in low light situations.

Great build quality.

Rare and historically significant.

Weaknesses:    High Price. Be prepared to pay $3500 - $4500 or more for a lens in the 8 - 10

High learning curve.

Slow AF.

Heavy: 985 g

Bottom Line:   
The Canon 50 MM 1.0 L is no longer made by Canon. I use it in low light situations. The last time I used it was New Years eve 2008 during the 1st Night festivities in Monterey California. These images were mostly handheld images and a few were made with a monopod.

The pictures for that night are of people and street scenes. Most poeple complain about how difficult the lens is to use, because of its shallowl depth of field and slow AF. I learned through trial and error how to use this lense. First I read about how to use the lense, then went out in the field and took pictures with it. I have decided to keep my 50 mm 1.0 L. It is a perfect example of this rare lense and I have learned to use it. Besides being a perfect eample of this rare lense, it has practiical value for me.

The lense produces a great bokeh. It is not a lense for the casual photographer, who does not want to spend some time learning her tools. You have to spend some time with this lense, if you are going to use it well. I shoot with a first generation Canon 1 Ds and I love the quality of the pictures that I get when I use this lense.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $2800.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   Canon 85 MM f 1.2 L

Type of photography:   Fine Art

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by apeshift a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: February 12, 2005

Strengths:    *f/1.0
*build quality
*precise AF
*impressive size, if that counts
*practical hood

Weaknesses:    *SOFT!
*very slow AF
*big and heavy (I really didn't mind though)
*manual focus use is beyond me with this lens (electronic by wire and only when shutter button is half depressed)
*oh yeah, PRICE

Bottom Line:   
I've been drooling over this lens eversince I read about it. Couple of months back someone from photography forum said he owned the lens, so for some time we switched lenses. He said the lens had some fungus when he bought it, but he had Canon service clean it up and check it.

The lens was a major disappointment. I cannot stress 'major' enough. Pretend MAJOR is written in size 200 bold underlined capital letters on fire.

First you have to understand this lense should only be used from f/1.0 to f/1.2 since at f/1.4 there is another 50mm lense that makes much sharper images at that aperture and much less $. To add, at f/1.2 the use of it is already questionable.

This lens actually IS usable, for low light portraits, it WILL create great images, because softness of the lens has always been flattering to human complexion, especially if the subject is a middle-aged woman. Other than that, I would pretty strongly disadvise you this lens.

However, if you really like to hunt images in pretty much nonexistent light at highest ISO possible, this is the lens to go. I've made pleasing shots with my 10D at ISO 1600, f/1.0 and 1/45s, so, no other Canon compatible lens would be even near of making a handheld shot at that situation. Now the question arises; is it better to have a really soft shot, or no shot at all?

My advice: if you already have all the lens that you need and have the SLR body you want... AND really NEED a faster lense than 50mm 1.4, then get this one, otherwise, forget about it.

BTW. I had no chance to try it out, but everywhere I read the 85 f/1.2 is a whole differend story sharpnesswise.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

Similar Products Used:   none

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by dony a Professional

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2004

Strengths:    Photos are possible that I could not even consider with any other lens. Take hand-held photos by a single candle! Portraits must be seen to be believed. I have had portrait subjects (especially 50-something women) tell me these are the best portraits of them they have ever seen. This you can take to the bank. Concerts and other events pose no problems. Interior church shots without flash but with incredible clarity and a shallow depth of field are easy. CS easily takes care of any low contrast issues. Outdoor shots are clear with great color gradation. Absolutely better than the 1.4 and 1.8 lenses.

Weaknesses:    Heavy lens and shallow depth of field. This is not a lens for everyone. It takes practice to understand its strengths and weaknesses (as does every lens and camera I have ever used).

Bottom Line:   
This is a superb lens. Low light photos (for example side-lit window photos, photos with low ambient light and a few candles, a cabin, wooded stream, etc.)are better quality then any I get with other lens. The mood of the occasion and the participants is easily seen. For weddings, bride and groom, portraits, children and so on, this lens is unequalled. I now shoot only digital. I always use the appropriate tool for the specific task at hand. This lens has a permanent place in my equipment for these uses.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Camera Store in San

Similar Products Used:   At this time, I own and use the following. All lenses are Canon: 50 mm f/1.0 L and f/1.8.; 20 mm f/2.8; 28-70 f/2.8 L; 80-200 f/2.8 L; 300 f/4.0 L and I have used the 1.4 and several others.

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:1
Submitted by pentax-user a Professional

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2004

Strengths:    f1.0 aperture, gets sharp when stopped relatively far down, but then you wonder why you paid 1000 bucks for it if it isn't sharp at the apertures that make it so expensive...

Weaknesses:    Not as sharp as much cheaper or even outdated lenses from competing manufacturers when compared side by side at f1.4.

Bottom Line:   
Overpriced for what you get. I guess for a 1.0 aperture its fairly sharp, but like another reviewer noted, it's much less sharp stopped down to competing lenses apertures even if it does open up to 1.0. I have almost all of the Pentax 50mm lenses available ranging from the screwmounts to the newest FA lenses... I can tell you that for fifty to a hundred bucks you can get a Pentax lens that will put this expensive Canon out to pasture in terms of sharpness, contrast, and resolution at f1.4. Another reviewer mentioned that it sharpened up when you stopped down, well stopped down to f1.4 the Canon is not as sharp as my Pentax SMC-F 50 1.4, or as sharp as the newer FA 1.4. The newer FA lens is available for 300 bucks brand new... It's tempting to think that this Canon L costing 1,000 dollars should be sharper than a lowly ole Pentax, but it isn't. Overall, this lens is a waste of money when you consider what it does. There are better normal lenses out there period, and for the money it's just not an option, don't buy this lens unless you want an expensive gimmick. Don't get me wrong, the lens isn't bad, but for a thousand bucks, you might as well say f*** it to the f1.0 aperture and get a normal "normal" lens and spend the money elsewhere.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Similar Products Used:   Takumar 50/1.4, Takumar 55/1.8, SMC-M 50/1.7, SMC-A 50/1.4, SMC-A 50/2.0, SMC-F 50/1.4, SMC-FA 50/1.4, SMC FA 50/1.7

Type of photography:   Other

Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Check out our holiday gift suggestions for these categories!

See All Holiday Gift Guide coverage - Click Here »


PhotographyReview Videos