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Author Topic: Comments on Canon 85mm lenses  (Read 5485 times)
Yoram from Berlin
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« on: December 29, 2008, 08:27:28 AM »
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Hi all.

I'm evaluating 85mm lenses for my Canon cameras (5D, 1Ds Mk III). It's not a focal length I use much, I tend to shoot wider... but over the last few months I've been getting some great shots. I own a Leica Summilux-R 80mm f/1.4 with an adaptor, and really love the way it draws. However, I must admit I miss the auto-focus, especially when shooting kids.

I'm currently renting the 85mm f/1.2 L Mk II. I am shocked by the size of the lens, and believe it will stop me from bringing it along on longer trips. Unfortunately I can't find the 85mm f/1.8 for rent, so I've come to ask for comments.

A quick aside: one of my all-time favorite Canon lenses is the 50mm f/1.4. I like its size and weight, and more importantly I love the images I get with it. I never saw the value in moving to the Canon 50mm f/1.2 L. I guess my subsequent question is whether Canon's 85mm f/1.8 comparable to Canon's 50mm f/1.4.

Also, I gather Zeiss has introduced an 85mm lens for the EOS mount... but I think it's manual-focus. Am I right?

Thanks for helping me think through this.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 08:35:10 AM »
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Quote from: Iron Flatline
Hi all.

I'm evaluating 85mm lenses for my Canon cameras (5D, 1Ds Mk III). It's not a focal length I use much, I tend to shoot wider... but over the last few months I've been getting some great shots. I own a Leica Summilux-R 80mm f/1.4 with an adaptor, and really love the way it draws. However, I must admit I miss the auto-focus, especially when shooting kids.

I'm currently renting the 85mm f/1.2 L Mk II. I am shocked by the size of the lens, and believe it will stop me from bringing it along on longer trips. Unfortunately I can't find the 85mm f/1.8 for rent, so I've come to ask for comments.

A quick aside: one of my all-time favorite Canon lenses is the 50mm f/1.4. I like its size and weight, and more importantly I love the images I get with it. I never saw the value in moving to the Canon 50mm f/1.2 L. I guess my subsequent question is whether Canon's 85mm f/1.8 comparable to Canon's 50mm f/1.4.

Also, I gather Zeiss has introduced an 85mm lens for the EOS mount... but I think it's manual-focus. Am I right?

Thanks for helping me think through this.

I have the 50 1.4 and the 85 1.8, it beats the heck out of the 50mm, sharper wide open than my 24-70L was at f4. Much nicer bokeh, faster focusing, sharper.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 10:45:42 AM »
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The 85mm f/1.8 is a stellar lens - very sharp, fast autofocus, and compact size. It doesn't do the otherworldly dreamy defocus of the 85mm f/1.2 L shot wide open, but it still is a very good lens.

I agree with Ben, the 85mm f/1.8 is notably better than the 50mm f/1.4.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 10:46:06 AM by Sheldon N » Logged

rcdurston
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 11:01:55 AM »
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I love the 85mm f1.8 on my new mk2. I agree with everything that has been said. At the price it is amazing.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2008, 11:17:09 AM »
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Quote from: rcdurston
I love the 85mm f1.8 on my new mk2. I agree with everything that has been said. At the price it is amazing.

Thing is that my 50/85/100mm primes are so far ahead of my canon L zooms on 5D (original) that the difference must be incredible on a mkII.
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feppe
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 01:58:39 PM »
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If you google for reviews on the 85mm 1.8, you'll see lots of praise for it - some even say it's a better lens than the 1.2 except in very specific circumstances demanding wide apertures.

I bought the 1.8 based on those, and am very happy with it. Shockingly sharp for such a low-priced lens, and fast enough for portraiture. I use it mainly for facials (shoulders and up and close-ups) on a x1.6 crop body and it performs flawlessly, focuses fast, and is sharp. Bokeh is quite pleasant as well. On a x1 body it would work great for hips up, even full-length.
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Andy M
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 02:09:56 PM »
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The 85 1.8 is a lovely lens - sharp, lovely bokeh etc etc, but it's no 85 1.2 which is a different league altogether.
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canlogic
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2008, 02:20:26 PM »
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I have an 85 1.2 that I use on my 1DSMKIII and i do not find it large at all (on that camera). It is truly an outstanding lens and if it is not Canons best it is certainly right up there.
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k bennett
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2008, 02:34:21 PM »
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I have both the 85/1.8 and the newer 85/1.2 II. If I had to choose only one, it would be the 1.8. Don't get me wrong -- I love what the 1.2 version can do for low-light photojournalism and amazing portrait effects, but in terms of the overall usability of the lens, the 1.8 is more versatile and much easier to carry around. At f/2.8 and above, there's essentially no difference in image quality. (Note that I use both lenses on 1-D series bodies, and a 40D, so I have no experience with full-frame cameras as yet.)

The 85/1.8 is a much better lens than the 50/1.4 (which I also like.) If I had to pick a pair of lenses for full-frame shooting, it would be the 35/1.4 and the 85/1.8.
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narikin
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 02:26:19 AM »
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85 1.2 is great, and VERY sharp, but yes heavy for general walk around. The II version is a big improvement in useability.

85 1.8 never owned bu heard great things. if weight matters then go for it.

200 f2 is my sharpest canon lens. even shows the 85 1.2 up

50 1.2 is not worth it unless you simply must have the fast aperture. and then only for night - too many aberrations in bright light to be useable

50 1.4 a so-so lens at anything less than f4. I have a friend who swears by the 1.8 though!

it always amazes me that even very experienced people test these ultra high resolution digital cameras with zooms, not primes. I know they are convenient cover-alls for general work and walking around, but for maximum quality, (or testing...) a prime will out perform in every occasion.

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stever
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2008, 11:05:15 AM »
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you should be able to rent the 1.8 from lensrentals.com

i'd be interested in a comparison of the 85 1.8 to 100 2.8 macro which i find had wonderful performance corner to corner sharpness wide open on my 5D
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ddk
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2008, 12:25:14 PM »
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Quote from: Iron Flatline
Hi all.

I'm evaluating 85mm lenses for my Canon cameras (5D, 1Ds Mk III). It's not a focal length I use much, I tend to shoot wider... but over the last few months I've been getting some great shots. I own a Leica Summilux-R 80mm f/1.4 with an adaptor, and really love the way it draws. However, I must admit I miss the auto-focus, especially when shooting kids.

I'm currently renting the 85mm f/1.2 L Mk II. I am shocked by the size of the lens, and believe it will stop me from bringing it along on longer trips. Unfortunately I can't find the 85mm f/1.8 for rent, so I've come to ask for comments.

A quick aside: one of my all-time favorite Canon lenses is the 50mm f/1.4. I like its size and weight, and more importantly I love the images I get with it. I never saw the value in moving to the Canon 50mm f/1.2 L. I guess my subsequent question is whether Canon's 85mm f/1.8 comparable to Canon's 50mm f/1.4.

Also, I gather Zeiss has introduced an 85mm lens for the EOS mount... but I think it's manual-focus. Am I right?

Thanks for helping me think through this.

i want to add my praise of the 85/1.8 and in someways I even prefer its rendering to the 85/1.2. I have the Zeiss 85/1.4 too and yes its manual focus, and a slow focusing lens at that, definitely not suited for fast moving targets like children.
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david
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Yoram from Berlin
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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2008, 02:36:05 AM »
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Thanks all.

I'm returning the 85mm f/1.2 Mk II today. I will not be buying it. I will buy the 85mm f/1.8 because it that price I don't mind buying a lens that doesn't get a lot of action... and maybe that way I'll figure out how I might shoot with it.

I get more intimate pictures of kids with a wider angle camera, because they let me in closer and it puts them firmly in the context of their world. Older kids and grown ups move slower, and feel differently about how close you can come in with a big camera. I've been using the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro for that (just like stever) and really like it... but it is a little too long at times. Or the Leica, but manual focusing wide open is a rather deliberate process.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2008, 12:19:29 PM »
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I'm doing sort of the opposite thing myself currently...

I have a 85mm f/1.2 L II on order and will be selling my original 85mm f/1.2L. I had debated whether to get faster autofocus by keeping the version I lens (optically wonderful) and adding a 85mm f/1.8, but I'd hate having to choose between the two every time. So, I just upgraded and got the version II lens.  
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