What's the Difference Between a 50mm F/1.2 and a 50mm F/1.8 Lens? A Lot!

The Canon RF 50mm F/1.2L USM lens retails for about $2200 while the RF 50mm F/1.8 STM lens sells for just $200. So, what's the difference between these two 50mm lenses aside from about $2K? A lot, according to Jay P Morgan of the Slanted Lens who pits the two optics against each other in a head-to-head shootout in the video below.

"It’s pretty amazing what you get with the F/1.2. And what you get for the price of the F/1.8 is pretty amazing," Morgan says. 

"Let’s take a look at these two. Let’s look at picture quality. Let’s look at bokeh. Let’s look at focus and let’s look at infinity focus. Let’s look at that close focus. Let’s just see how these two lenses compare. Now I know that you’re not going to get as great of a lens out of this little F/1.8 lens as you do with the F/1.2. But is it worth $2,000 more? Or maybe it’s not. Let’s just take a look and see exactly what we got.

Morgan tests both while photographing model Madison Bird and if you thought that a couple of stops difference in aperture would be all that separates the pricey and large 50mm F/1.2 lens from the inexpensive and lightweight 50mm F/1.2, you'd be wrong. The Canon RF 50mm F/1.2 costs a heck of lot more than its slightly slower counterpart but it also offers quite a bit more image quality, as Morgan finds during his lens test.

"So, this is the most important test to me, and that’s the image quality test. Just how sharp is this lens. And what do each of these lenses look like. I looked at the F/1.8 and immediately as I pulled these two up, I see that the F/1.8 is a little more crunchy, it’s a little more contrasty," he explains.

"The F/1.8 also has a little bit of a reddish tint to it. Whereas the F/1.2 is a little more yellowish. So, if I punch in and just look at the sharpness, that F/1.2 is pretty dang sharp. The F/1.8 is sharp. I mean, it’s not amazing, but it’s sharp. It’s not terrible. But it’s not the F/1.2 that’s for sure."

Watch below to see all of Morgan findings while comparing these two RF lenses for Canon's full frame mirrorless cameras and be sure to stick around to the end to see his conclusions and purchasing recommendations. Then hop on over to the Slanted Lens' YouTube channel to see all of their great photography content.