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Archive 2011 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8
  
 
ohsnaphappy
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p.4 #1 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


It makes me sad that the 85 debate is so potent on these forums that this guy feels guilty for owning a truly spectacular lens. On most forums people dream about the 85L and then rejoice when they purchase it. Everyone congratulates them and tells them to have fun with it. Some even express envy. But here just mentioning the 85L reinvents the debate.


Dec 30, 2011 at 05:12 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.4 #2 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


ohsnaphappy wrote:
It makes me sad that the 85 debate is so potent on these forums that this guy feels guilty for owning a truly spectacular lens. On most forums people dream about the 85L and then rejoice when they purchase it. Everyone congratulates them and tells them to have fun with it. Some even express envy. But here just mentioning the 85L reinvents the debate.


I understand your point, but he did ask. :-)

It is a good question, and there is no universally correct answer. As I wrote earlier, the 85mm L is known to be a really wonderful lens. But wonderfulness can be measured in more than one way. For some it come simply from possessing gear often described as wonderful. For others it might come from obtaining gear that is the most useful in their photography.

With lenses like the L primes, it is a real question whether owning one of them will do more or less for your photography than owning, say, 3-4 very good non-L primes whose performance is also quite good. Or whether a good zoom that covers the same focal length range might provide more utility and image quality that will be essentially the same for ones personal style of shooting.

I know I sound like a broken record (or a looping sample?) when I write this, but it isn't about owning some lens labeled as being "The Best." Such a thing doesn't exist. It is about owning the lens that is most effective at accomplishing the things you will use it for.

Going with the "saddens me" theme of the previous post, sometimes it "saddens me" to see a person so caught up on Lens Lust that they end up investing huge amounts of their limited funds in a single lens because it is Really Big and Expensive and Everyone Says it is Great, when this lens won't actually make any difference in the quality of their work, and when in some cases the alternative might have. (I'm not evaluating whether or not the OP falls into this category, just commenting on the general issue.)

Dan



Dec 30, 2011 at 05:19 PM
mfoto
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p.4 #3 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


Keep the 85L....

A few photos for you:

85L Photos



Dec 30, 2011 at 05:38 PM
WebDog
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p.4 #4 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


cohenxa wrote:
..... If I return the 85L the $$$ goes elsewhere than photography



So you will not gain anything (photographic) by returning the lens, assuming you do not NEED the money. Keep lens and play with it for a while. Then decide it you want to keep it.



Dec 30, 2011 at 06:23 PM
saneproduction
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p.4 #5 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


cohenxa wrote:
unfortunately, the 5DII is out of range/scope for me :-(. If I return the 85L the $$$ goes elsewhere than photography


To me this quote settles the argument. I hate giving up money from my photography gear budget. Keep the lens, don't spend it on other silly things like food, gas, clothes, shelter or any of that useless stuff.



Dec 30, 2011 at 06:36 PM
James Taylor
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p.4 #6 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


mark fadely wrote:
I'm not sure how the 85L would perform on a 1.6 crop body as I don't own one. The 85L is really nice on a FF body and I did find out it makes a great ballet lens when coupled with the 1-series body as in the shot below. Shooting stage performance at f1.2 is pretty nice. In this shot the dancer is running full speed at a 45 degree angle towards the camera and the focus is spot-on wide open. I'm sure some of the 85L copies vary in sharpness but mine is fantastic when coupled with a
...Show more

What a beautiful photograph!



Dec 30, 2011 at 09:20 PM
Max10
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p.4 #7 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


Grantland wrote:
maybe you have never ever owned the 85L?



I can see both lenses in your profile. Post some side-by-side comparisons. End of story.



Dec 31, 2011 at 01:41 AM
D. Diggler
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p.4 #8 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


RobertLynn wrote:
Just a small point, there is not a full f stop between f/1.2 and f/1.8.


I think the more important question than just looking at the f-stop scales is actual light transmission difference between the two lenses. When I was considering buying the L I actually did that comparison test when I had both lenses. Put both on a tripod aimed at the same subject and measured the light transmission at various wide f-stops. Don't have the results right at hand but I could look back at the image files again if anyone's interested in having the definitive answer.



Dec 31, 2011 at 02:07 AM
stanj
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p.4 #9 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


RobertLynn wrote:
Just a small point, there is not a full f stop between f/1.2 and f/1.8.


That's correct. It's actually more than one stop. (1.8/1.2)^2 = 2.25, i.e. more than one stop, by more than just a rounding error.



Dec 31, 2011 at 02:34 AM
carnac
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p.4 #10 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


I would keep the 85L. If you decide you don't really like it, they hold their resale quite well.

For me, I have a 50L (a 1.2 lens that generates even more heated debates than the 85L) and sometimes wonder if it is worth the extra money - then I look through pictures I have taken and can always tell when I'm using the 50L (vs 17-55 EF-S, 60 EF-S, and 70-200L at the 70 end) - the pictures have a quality that I just love. To those that say they can shoot the same picture with an 85 1.8, well maybe, but have found the 1.2 L lenses to have a color, bokeh, and IQ of their own. Is it worth the dollar difference? That is a question only you can answer - but don't feel guilty about such a fine lens.

Jim



Dec 31, 2011 at 03:46 AM
 

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form
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p.4 #11 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


Big thing about the 50L images...near wide open the LoCAs are incredibly bad. I took a shot of someone with black hair against a bright background near wide open and there was probably 50px of GREEN in his backfocused hair.


Dec 31, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Chris Fawkes
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p.4 #12 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8








The shot on the left










Dec 31, 2011 at 04:11 AM
James Taylor
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p.4 #13 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


form wrote:
Big thing about the 50L images...near wide open the LoCAs are incredibly bad. I took a shot of someone with black hair against a bright background near wide open and there was probably 50px of GREEN in his backfocused hair.


I thought that was the charm/character of the 85L and 50L



Dec 31, 2011 at 05:10 AM
Gib Robinson
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p.4 #14 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


Binh Ly wrote:
I would say you haven't given it enough time to make a decision yet.

I can tell you what I did. I bought the L a few years ago. It is a great lens no doubt but after 2-3 years, I realized it was just sitting in closet probably 95% of the time. The main reason - I just didn't like the AF speed. I finally realized that I had almost 2K tied up in a lens that I really didn't need for anything other than it was cool to have it.

I sold it and now I have the 1.8.
...Show more

+1

Fringing was acceptable. Weight, price, and slow AF led me to sell the lens even though I loved the IQ and bokeh. Too often I needed the AF speed of the 1.8. Also, I own a 100 f/2.8 IS macro which has very good IQ and is fast enough to be a reasonable substitute.

--Gib




Dec 31, 2011 at 05:20 AM
form
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p.4 #15 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


The 85L doesn't HAVE those nasty huge LoCAs.


Dec 31, 2011 at 05:44 AM
Grantland
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p.4 #16 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


Marcus Watts wrote:
Maybe you can produce something to prove me wrong.

Of course you can't or that would have been the first thing you would have done.



hey marcus, i am not trying to cause a fight. i was just wondering if you ever owned the 85L. i'll post some f/1.2 shots i did today at a wedding. the f/1.2 sure was helpful.

grant



Dec 31, 2011 at 06:03 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.4 #17 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


So, what is the consensus?
Can I get rid of my huge, heavy, slow AF, abnoxious 85L II?
I'm sure I won't be missing the "impossible" shutter speeds and butter melted background areas...This is definitely an emotional buy. I wish Canon would stop production of the 85mm f/1.8 so we could stop living with the guilt!!!



Dec 31, 2011 at 06:19 AM
sirimiri
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p.4 #18 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


As of 22:24 PST, we are looking like an emotional bunch!

Keep the 85L votes: 51 | 51%
Return 85L, purchase 85mm 1.8 votes: 23 | 23%
Return 85L, purchase 85mm 1.8 + 135f2 votes: 14 | 14%
"^" Upgrade 100macro to 100L + purchase135 votes: 7 | 7%
Others (please comment) votes: 5 | 5%



Dec 31, 2011 at 06:24 AM
mttran
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p.4 #19 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


I just add my vote, like Fred - i am living with the guilt!!!


Dec 31, 2011 at 06:36 AM
marko1953
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p.4 #20 · 85mm dilemma L vs. 1.8


stanj wrote:
That's correct. It's actually more than one stop. (1.8/1.2)^2 = 2.25, i.e. more than one stop, by more than just a rounding error.


I think you are right!!!
If we multiply the diameter of any circle by the square root of 2 we have calculated a revised diameter that is twice as big. Stated another way, to double the light gathering power of a lens we multiply the current diameter by 1.414. We don’t need to be so exact so we can use a shortened value of 1.4.

Conversely to reduce the light entering the camera by half, we multiply the current diameter by 0.707. This is the inverse of 1.4. We can also divide by 1.4 to get the same answer but the preferred way is multiplication by 0.707.

With the initiation of electronic light metering and precision lens making, it became possible to fine-tune the diaphragm using 1/2 f/stop adjustments. The multiplier is the fourth root of 2 which is 1.189. For finer adjusts, (mostly never needed) 1/3 f/stop which uses the sixth root of 2 which is 1.122

Full f/stop number set using 1.4

1 – 1.4 – 2 – 2.8 – 4 – 5.6 – 8 – 11 – 16 – 22 – 32 – 45 – 64

Note each value going right is its neighbor on the left times 1.4.

Each number going left is its neighbor on the right times 0.707.

½ f/stop number set using 1.189
1 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.7 – 2 – 2.4 – 2.8 – 3.4 – 4 – 4.8 – 5.7 – 6.7 – 8

1/3 f/stop number set using 1.122
1 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.6 – 1.8 – 2 – 2.2 – 2.5 – 2.8 – 3.2 – 3.5 – 4 – 4.5 – 5 – 5.6

So going up from f/1.2 , (x 1.4) you get f/1.7 (rounded up slightly)
So you are correct......
the difference between f/1.2 and f/1.8 is actually slightly more than a full f stop



Dec 31, 2011 at 07:02 AM
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