The incredible Canon 50mm f/0.95


by Bellamy /

2 min read

Just sometimes a very special lens comes along
And that lens is the Canon 50mm f/0.95. Despite popular belief, this is not a cine lens. It was originally developed by Canon for the 7 rangefinder system. And at the time it was the fastest prime lens available in the world, beating Leica to the punch…

This lens is often called the ‘dream lens’, in fact it has a flickr group dedicated to it by the same name. It has a reputation for producing a dreamlike effect, with ultra creamy bokeh. It is also an absolutely massive lens, with a 72mm filter diameter and weighing in at 605g. That is a hefty hunk of glass.

The lens was designed by Lens master Mukai Jirou, who also designed the Canon 35mm F1.5, 35mm F1.8 and 35mm F2.0 LTM lenses. It is a Gauss type lens, with 7 elements in 5 groups. It has a 10 blade diaphragm with a minimum aperture of f/16. Not good for bright days then.

About 19,000 of these lenses were made during the early 60’s to the early 70’s. Though I would wager that significantly less of them are around now. When this lens was released it was 57,000 yen, a massive amount of money at the time (almost a years salary apparently).
The price for this lens has tripled in the last few years, with the advent of the digital rangefinder, and it is only going to continue climbing. I would consider a lens like this to be an investment (much like the Noctilux f/1.2).
The cine lens of the same specs actually came after the rangefinder lens, and was produced throughout the 70’s. Apparently about 7000 of these were produced. Though again I imagine that there are hardly any of those lens now. You can tell the difference between the two as the cine lens has ‘Cine’ printed on the filter ring.

Some of these lenses have been converted by enthusiasts in M-mount lenses. This is a mixed blessing as some of them have been converted pretty badly and have horrible problems with the mount. The one you see in these pictures was apparently converted by Miyazaki san of MS Optical. Which means this has been converted by a master with an excellent eye for detail (I have been to his workshop and the guy is amazing).

I would love to post some pics taken with this lens, but seeing as I don’t have a digital rangefinder at the moment you will have to wait for them. Though I shall certainly get some at the earliest opportunity.

Make no mistake, this is no comparison to the Noctilux, but at around a third of the price it is certainly not a lens to be passed up. It is reputed to be a great portrait lens in the right hands, but you have to be aware of the extremely shallow depth of field. I will take a bit of getting used to.


15 comments on “The incredible Canon 50mm f/0.95”

    jason gold January 24, 2012 at 1:01 am / Reply

    FWIW i owned the slower, earlier 50mm f1.2 Canon lens.It was very soft(and dreamy) wide open. Returned after being loaned to a friend, badly scratched on front element. Prior to damage, stopped down quite good. The 0.95 at the time only fitted the Canon RFDR model with special bayonet mount. The Leitz/Leica 50mm Noctilux was sharper but lacked the feel of these Canons.I sold my lens to another photographer whose front element was OK, the mount badly corroded. It was possible to get one good lens this way!

      ZDP-189 July 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm /

      I owned one of those 50/1.2’s before. So creamy that I couldn’t make a sharp image, even stopped down and onto black and white film.

    ZDP-189 July 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm / Reply

    The Canon 50/0.95 (uncoupled) that you saw in HK is still there in the store BTW Bellamy as of this last Sunday.

    Mark August 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm / Reply

    Just found this from a link elsewhere in the site – I was just wondering about the quoted price. Something doesn’t seem quite right there; I can’t ever imagine a time where 57,000 yen represented a yearly salary! Monthly, perhaps.

    Minor pedantic point, anyway. I enjoy reading your site!

    Keith August 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm / Reply

    Hi, found your blog by searching for Mr. Miyazaki’s conversion rate. Is he still active? His website returns a blank page. How much did you pay for the conversion? I have friends going to Japan and I was thinking of sending my lens. No one knows how to convert the lens here in Philippines.

    Kev Lewis February 23, 2014 at 11:29 pm / Reply

    Just a point of clarification, the Cine version was stamped Canon TV lens and had a removable c-mount on the rear of the body

    best regards

    Karl April 2, 2014 at 2:02 pm / Reply

    I am interested in this lens, I wondered whether it could fit 5d3 with an adapter (E mount to EOS). No clearance problems? anybody know?


    Bailey April 4, 2014 at 7:33 am / Reply


    Is this available?

    Conrad January 8, 2017 at 6:56 am / Reply

    Just a couple thinks, Karl. The lens was made for a rangefinder style camera with the lens being much closer to the film than the sensor would be, especially after an adapter ring is added on. You would have significant difficulty finding focus, if it were possible at all.

    Mat June 8, 2017 at 5:46 am / Reply

    I have one. No 19998 so maybe there is more of them.

    karl June 12, 2017 at 2:54 am / Reply

    where can I get a rear lens cap for this Canon 0.95/50 mm ?

    Craig September 28, 2017 at 5:13 am / Reply

    I’m looking for the lens prescription data for this lens (glass types, radii, spacings), and noticed the inventor’s name in the article, I searched online for the patent. The US online patent database does not list this lens as being patented in the US, it could be patented in Japan, however the current state of the Japanese online patent database does not allow for online viewing of patents before 1985. Would anyone out there know how to find the prescription data for this lens? Thank you for your help.

    Alejandro Alcocer December 14, 2017 at 6:32 am / Reply

    I am looking after this lens. Some one can give me a hint :))

    Rick December 29, 2017 at 6:02 am / Reply

    Just found this lens in my garage. NOS, never used or opened (until now). Original box included. Leave message at email, if I don’t reply just leave another message, i rarely use email

    Jerry Bei January 21, 2018 at 6:53 pm / Reply

    Thanks for your help with this lengendary lens and I have had several people asking about the customisation work we have done together. It is indeed the “Dream Lens” and I have had 3 copies so far, it just keeps drawing you back into getting another.

    Finally got the time to write my personal experience with this lens:


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