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Archive 2013 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison
  
 
OntheRez
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p.2 #1 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison


Russ,
I can't comment on an 85L and 85 f/1.8 comparison as I've never had the scratch for the L version. In this set it seems that the 85L creates nicer backgrounds but it's hard for me to see $1k difference. The athlete focus is really hard to differentiate with either lens. Russ, a key bit of information would be the difference - if any - between the keeper rates of the two lenses. Does the L focus fast enough? I've found the 1.8 to be very quick

I use the 85 f/1.8 (along with a 135L and a 35L) to shoot VB and BB in truly dank gyms. All on a 1DIV. In most cases the gyms are too dark to use something as slow as f/2.8 which obviously leaves out my 70-200 f/2.8L II. I find that about 80% of my keepers come from the 135 and the 85. I also think the 85 is excellent in BB. It's only failing is that it's too long for action on my side of the court though it works well on the far line also coming down and going up court. The 135 is shot from the bleachers. I got the 35L to shoot at the baseline (or net) and it does a great job except that action on the far side is often just too far away. I was using a 50mm f/1.4 but bluntly it just didn't focus fast enough.

Would be real curious to know how you evaluate focus acquisition on the L vs the 1.8. In my market, I can't see investing in the L even if does produce a better background.

Robert



Feb 20, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.2 #2 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison


No worries, Tom. I was trying to be succinct with my response and cover all offered comments with relatively few words. I didn't misinterpret your comments, and I do plan to go back to higher-res versions of some of these files to look again at the differences.

Robert: I haven't tried the 85L (with the 1Dx) for any action other than gymnastics. I will say that I did not notice any difference in AF speed between the two 85s, which is quite different from my experience with these two lenses on earlier 1-series bodies. I can't say I'm seeing differences I would value at a level equal (or even close) to the difference in cost between the 85 f/1.8 and 85L II lens, but for me, this isn't the issue since I already own both lenses. As long as the L's AF is not hindering me, I don't see any reason not to use it.



Feb 20, 2013 at 07:18 PM
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p.2 #3 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison


Russ Isabella wrote:
Equipment questions arise often, and I know I always am thinking about which lenses are best suited to which kinds of shooting. This is particularly relevant when multiple lenses can provide the same focal length. For gymnastics, for me, the main 'competition' is between two pairs of lenses: the Canon 85 f/1.8 vs the Canon 85 f/1.2L II, and the Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II vs the Canon 200 f/1.8. Regarding the 85mm lenses, the main questions are whether the L glass is fast enough, and whether image quality is in any way better enough than the 85 f/1.8
...Show more


interesting comparison, the L is nice but the cheap 85mm 1.8 looks good






Feb 21, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Focus Locus
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p.2 #4 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison


Russ Isabella wrote:
"As long as the L's AF is not hindering me, I don't see any reason not to use it."



Chalk might be one reason not to use the L in gymnastics, if the L offers no other benefit worth the risk of chalk dust working it's way through the barrel seams and inbetween the elements.

It appears to me that the barrel construction in the 85L (both I & II) is more vulnerable to chalk dust infiltration than the 85 1.8, and even if both types of 85's were equally vulnerable, clearly the 1.8 at $400 is more easily sacrificed than the 1.2 at $2,200.

However, if the L offers other benefits... like faster focusing due to more light hitting the focusing sensor via the wider aperture (presumably still fully open prior to shutter click), or noticeably superior color rendition (cannot be determined by this set, since different meets are compared), then the risk to the more expensive glass might be worth the superior or more consistent results.

The third lens compared is supposedly "sealed", but requires higher ISO, as well has offers less light availability to the focus sensor prior to shutter click.

I really appreciate your inititiative in putting forth this comparison to help answer this age old question. It is interesting how the answer changes as the camera bodies evolve... with unexpected observations. Of particular intrigue is your report that the L no longer hunts or crawls with the 1DX. That is an interesting and surprising revelation that no amount of image comparisons can convey.

And that is a prime (ha ha) example why your comments, as an operator of all three lenses behind the entire lineage of Canon 1 series bodies over the years, are just as important as the comparison images you have shown. Without your commentary, we would not know that the L behaves differently on the 1DX, we would not know that you have found color differences over your entire take, meet after meet, between the 1.2 and the 1.8, etc.

The images here alone, without your commentary, are more or less a wash, with perhaps the 1.8 looking a bit more "washed" out than the 1.2. Yet that surface observation is ignorable due to the reasons you already established at the outset of this comparison. Other respondents to this thread have called out for more of your commentary that cannot be determined or divined via these (excellent, as usual) images alone. And I would agree with those calls for your verbal conclusions as a user to supplement the visual examples you have so kindly presented.




Feb 27, 2013 at 07:35 PM
 

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Russ Isabella
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p.2 #5 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison


Thanks, Focus. Your point about my commentary is well taken. In response to the calls for more controlled tests (or the raising of issues calling to question the utility of the comparison), my point has been that from my standpoint, the fact that I, as shooter and post-processor, have been the constant in all of these photos is significant in that while specific settings, lighting characteristics and other features of the context may vary to some small extent from shot to shot and meet to meet, the overall strategy and thus the general process (from capture to posting) has remained the same. Perhaps it is only for me that this is a compelling argument for the utility of the comparison.

Regarding additional commentary: given my perception that AF speed is no longer an issue for the 85L given the 1Dx's prowess, I decided to use the 85L to shoot vault at the last meet. Because I typically have shot vault with a 35L, my position had to change to allow for the much greater reach. So that's a factor. The overall result was that I struggled mightily acquiring focus and finally, near the end of the rotation, resorted to pre-focusing and getting whatever I could. My conclusion is that the fairly extreme AF challenges associated with vault (as I shoot it, I can not begin to work at acquring focus until the athlete hits the springboard, thus requiring almost immediate acquisition and successful tracking thereafter) very well may have revealed that the 85L is not quite up to par with historically faster focusing lenses. I haven't tried the 85 f/1.8 for vault so I can't address that comparison specifically, but just as I can say about shooting beam and bars that the 85L is every bit as fast to focus as other lenses I've used, I can say that the 85L appeared to struggle with vault compared to other lenses I have used. Can I say for sure that the 85L was solely responsible for the problems I had? No. Will I try the 85L again for vault? No.



Feb 27, 2013 at 07:54 PM
tntcorp
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p.2 #6 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison


based on the posted images. i think the f/1.8 is just fine for sport shoots. but for portrait, i would want the warm color of the f/1.2l


Feb 27, 2013 at 08:20 PM
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p.2 #7 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison


Just stumbled on to this thread as gymnastics really isn't my forte. Thanks Russ the comparisons and your comments were very interesting.


Feb 27, 2013 at 10:03 PM
andyz
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p.2 #8 · Gymnastics: 85mm Comparison


Having purchased the 85 1.2L I can easily say I like those images the best.

I do like the color and depth of those images, seriously but it does make one question the cost difference.

I must also say "wow" as to the consistency of the shooting that allows this comparison.

Thank you for bringing us on this journey with you.



Feb 28, 2013 at 05:05 AM
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