Lenses: Canon 50/1.2 LTM

A bit of introduction, I bought this lens some weeks ago from a member of the Leica Forum in photo.net, I had been curious about it for a while and the price was so good I just couldn’t say no (as always, hehe), anyway, I promised to post some of my experiences with it there, and as I found the HTML code of the post I submitted, well, I thought it would make a nice blog entry as well. Remember, the lens is the Canon 50/1.2 made for Leica thread mount rangefinder cameras, it’s a huge piece ofa lens, and often underrated.

  • First impressions:
  • The lens is quite big and reminds you pretty much to a normal SLR one. That said, it looks at home on a big camera such as the Canon 7, and for what I’ve seen, looks to be just the right size as well for the Epson RD-1. The focus throw is loooong but smooth, thanks Huw for ‘disabling’ the annoying infinity lock ! šŸ™‚ You can see that I’ve been using it with an empty filter ring that the previous owner placed there (thanks again) for security, as some filters may touch the protruding front element. Over that one I had a Hoya 2K yellow, at first I was afraid of having to stacked filters but found no visible vignetting at 1.2.
  • Handling: I’ve carried this camera and lens for a while… and believe me, it is heavy. By adding that metal grip I made it even heavier but the extra handle came in handy while shooting and while walking with the camera in my hand. Here you have it on the Canon 7 side to the Canon P with the 50/1.8.

  • First shots: To start, I did a series of shots placing objects at different distances and shooting at 1.2 to see how the lens managed the focus and oof areas. All these four shots were as close up as I could.

Then I switched focus to the second object starting from the back

Swallow DOF, mainy for the objects in front of the focus point, now for the next one

The lamp is clearly blurry now, and notice how the holes in the shelf in the background start to render as semi-circles.

and the last one, I had to back off a bit to get close up on this one. The holes in the shelf are clearly semi-circles now, as are the light reflections on the lamp.

  • Some portraits: I think that the lens may be in its favorite land when used for portraits where you want a massive oof effect.

and finally some candids at 1.2

  • The end?
    No, I must still so some more work with this one at other aperture ranges. At first I thought it would be too big and heavy for using it as a daily 50, and … well, it is big and heavy but the chrome 50/1.8 is not exactly a light lens either so it’s not that much of a problem. That said, I decided for this lens mainly for trying it in the 1.2-2 range, also, and as Huw stated in the ad, there’s a tiny haze in the rear element that would probably improve the lens resolution/contrast performance if removed.

  • Tech notes:
    Just for the record, all these shots were taken using the lens on my Canon 7 body, film was Neopan 400 developed in Diafine. Negs scanned on a Epson 3170, but not that it matters much at this size. However, you can get an approximate idea of how the focus and oof areas behave. It’s not the king of resolution at wide apertures, but probably it wasn’t designed with that in mind šŸ™‚

And yes… it’s true, I admit. I also got this lens because it looks way cool ! ;^)


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