My friend Marius has tons of product connections, likely because he’s talented, rational, and fair in his reviews. He spent a couple weeks with the venerable Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L lens recently and had a few words to say:

Studio, wedding, and other fair weather photographers have less to gain, but that won’t stop them from buying this lens anyway. It’s desirable, and sometimes we buy things not because we need them but because we want them. I think that’s perfectly fine if you can make the purchase responsibly, especially if it brings you satisfaction and inspiration.

For those photographers, buying this lens represents the epitome of chasing that last ten percent of sparkle, of polish, of specialness in their output—even though it’s almost certain that only they will notice and appreciate it.

There is nothing conservative about this lens. It is a marvel of photographic technology and I’m grateful to have had the chance to shoot with it.

Knowing that this kind of talent is being poured into Canon’s new products really builds confidence in the future of the RF mount, particularly since all of these advancements will trickle down to the lenses that the rest of us can afford.

This is, of course, all correct — I’m not sure the analysis could be more spot on.

When I purchased the Canon EOS R at the beginning of January, I planned to initially purchase the RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro STM and then save for a few months to buy the RF 50mm f/1.2L. After some additional deliberation, I convinced myself to put the 50mm aspirations aside and save up for the RF 70-200mm f/2.8L instead.

Thanks to Marius, I’m back to where I started.

There are three specific reasons I want the RF 50mm f/1.2L:

  1. I prefer the 50mm focal length to the 85mm focal length for portraits. I tend to prefer portraits with additional background context. I also prefer full-body portraits, and the 50mm focal length means I don’t have to step back as far to nab the full-body photograph.
  2. The f/1.2 aperture is big, wide, razor thin, and fast. Too fast, for all intents and purposes — I doubt that thin depth of field would throw more eyes out of focus than it would keep in focus. But subject separation at a distance matters a lot to me (again, think of full-body portraits) and the fast aperture allows for even faster shutter speeds when shooting indoors. My two little girls seem to move faster and faster each day, so the faster shutter speeds are tremendously helpful to snag more indoor keepers.
  3. I tend to prefer 50mm-85mm focal lengths when shooting product photos for The Sweet Setup. These focal lengths feel more immersive, in my opinion. My small bedroom office has walls that hit quickly when using an 85mm focal length. A 50mm focal length is perfect for my little home office and for getting the angles I prefer to shoot.

So, clearly, preference is king here.

I’m not sure which lens is next on my list at this point. I’d like to stick it out and see how Canon releases new lenses with all the shipping delays in the world, but there’s not a single day that goes by where I’m not clamouring for additional focal lengths for my EOS R.

The RF 50mm f/1.2L just snuck back up to the top of the list thanks to Marius.