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Archive 2016 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?
  
 
Glenn_Law
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


I'm renting an 85 f/1.2 L lens tomorrow. I'm looking forward to trying it out. Does anyone have any advice for using this lens?

I'm planning on doing kids portraits in a wooded area (for fun, not for profit). I have an 80D and a 5D2.

I'd like to hear your tips and some of your favorite settings for this lens.




Oct 13, 2016 at 10:35 PM
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


The 85/1.2 is a tough lens to use. If you get one eye in focus the other is out and the nose is out. It takes some time to get used to it and the keeper rate will be small because of the really tight dof. So my advice is
study the depth of field calculator at 1.2 - sometimes 1.2 is too tight a dof
the lens is really sharp in the centre and softer on the edges at 1.2. Put the spot you want to be sharp near centre and use the blurring of edges as a artistic tool
stay away from fast moving situations - eg kids - because the focus will be all over the place
for kids consider f1.8 or higher
move back a bit to get more depth
shoot lots. when they move just a bit they are oof. shooting more increases your odds. focus lots.
Ask the kids to slow down
check the lcd often and do x 10 to check where its focussing
practice using the select the focus spot on your 5d2



Oct 13, 2016 at 10:42 PM
tuantran
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


I would stay away from f1.2 - f1.4 in a group settings.

The lens makes you want to shoot at f1.2 because you think you can do it and your photos look good on the LCD screen but at the end of the day looking on your monitor, you realized that you goofed.

I find that even at f2.0, the lens gives a special look compared to 85mm f1.8.

Now, I use f1.2 only for longer distance.



Oct 13, 2016 at 10:53 PM
gvg45
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


With the 5D2, use center point only as the others can be unreliable when shooting wide open. I've never shot with the 80D so I'm not sure how that focus is.

Try to get your subject's eyes on plane with the camera. As Scott mentioned, the DOF is so narrow that an eye slightly off plane will result with one eye in focus with the other eye OOF.

Try shooting at f/2 with the 5D2 at first and then open it up from there. For me, I found f/2 to be the sweet spot where eyes, nose & mouth were in focus and ears and everything else melted away. Of course this is dependent on your distance to your subject.

You may want to try Servo focus as opposed to One-Shot. With the very minimal DOF this lens can produce, Servo focus can help with small movements by your subject & help with your keeper rate.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.



Oct 13, 2016 at 10:59 PM
Glenn_Law
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


Thank you all! This is great advice!


Oct 13, 2016 at 11:01 PM
Iwas joeking
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


Shooting a lot of frames helps too. Whenever I use mine, I blast many frames. The AF floats around a bit and taking lots of frames will increase the odds you get an eye sharp.


Oct 13, 2016 at 11:30 PM
SoundHound
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


The 85L is a very specialized lens for a special look. Head and shoulders (and closer) portraiture comes to mind. Focus is on the near eye-and that's on the pupil-not eyeglass lenses in front of the pupil.

If you (or your subject) lean you will affect focus. So shoot a burst, lean a bit, and pick the best shot.

The 85L is the lens that you buy after many other more "useful" lenses. If you are shooting @ F2.0 then just use the 85mm F1.8 It is lighter/smaller and will focus faster. The 85L's real purpose is at F1.2-F1.4.



Oct 14, 2016 at 01:07 AM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


I have the 85Lii. I did own a 5D2 and used it a lot on the camera. I second the advice to stick to centre AF point only.

Question is why you are after this lens. I find I only take it with me if I'll be doing serious and low paced portrait work. And I'm still extremely happy with it for that specific task. But when shooting young children's portraits, it's not my favourite because they move a lot. I prefer a good 70-200 for that.

Also, keep in mind that you don't want to shoot only at 1.2/1.4. Especially when shooting shoulder portraits, this can be way to much of the shallow DoF effect. It can be nice, but only for the special look and it will get boring if you shoot an entire series wide open. I use it a lot around f2.5 and I don't agree that above f/1.8 a 85/1.8 is just as good. The 85L has exceptionally nice background blur even when stopped down.

Just make sure you try different poses, different apertures and most of all: different subjects and settings to see if this lens brings you what you are after for your typical subjects. It's a waste of money otherwise.

Have fun!
Ralph

Edit: here is a few samples from Lisa Holloway that show what this lens (and a good photographer) can do at f1.2.:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1111338/0



Oct 14, 2016 at 01:23 AM
mogud
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


The lens is a bit on the heavy side. To compensate, I shoot at a relatively higher SS. I don't focus and re-compose with this lens and especially at wider appertures. Also, this lens is known as the "purple fringing queen".

Get ready when you are about to mount this beast. The back element is frightfully close to the edge of the mount.

The 85L f1.2 II is one of my favorite lenses to use. Very sharp and the bokeh is pretty special to my eyes. YMMV.



Oct 14, 2016 at 04:05 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


Might try the touch-shutter live-view option on the 80D if you want to shoot wide open, though do note that you'll be sacrificing some subject isolation in the process.


Oct 14, 2016 at 07:53 AM
 

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dmacmillan
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


tuantran wrote:
I would stay away from f1.2 - f1.4 in a group settings.

The lens makes you want to shoot at f1.2 because you think you can do it and your photos look good on the LCD screen but at the end of the day looking on your monitor, you realized that you goofed.

I find that even at f2.0, the lens gives a special look compared to 85mm f1.8.

Now, I use f1.2 only for longer distance.

This is good advice. I did some photos of my grandchildren over the weekend. One of the lenses I used was my 135L, which has similar shallow DOF when shooting tight.

When taking a photo of my granddaughter, her two friends jumped in. I backed up and shot all three at f2.0. The images looked great on the LCD screen, but when I got back home and looked on the big screen, I found one of the girls was not in the same plane with the others and was a little too soft for my standards.

I have not used the 85 1.2, but I think it would be most useful at waist up and wider where you really need a little wider than 1.8 to control the background better. If you shoot any tighter at 1.2, focus becomes critical and you will have to be very careful with the position of the face in relation to the camera.

I suggest you test at all distances when you take it out for a drive. I also suggest you take plenty of test shots at 1.2 and then the same shot at 2.0 or even 2.8. That will give you a point of comparison. Have fun!



Oct 14, 2016 at 01:10 PM
ashton lamont
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


If you use AI Servo rather than One Shot your keeper rate ought to be higher as the AI Servo should take account of very slight subject movement (as recommended by Tony Northrup). I can't recall if you get spot focus on a 5DII, if not use the single centre focus point.

Pete



Oct 14, 2016 at 01:23 PM
Glenn_Law
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


Thank you all. I will experiment but do much of my shooting at 2.0 so that I don't get home with a day of out-of-focus shots. The AF has always been the weak point on my 5D2 anyway. It's been years since I've used anything other than the center focus point on that camera. I'll do some shots with the 5D2 and some with the 80D.

John - I didn't even know what the touch-shutter was on the 80D until I saw your post and then looked it up. I've only had the 80D for 3 days. That looks like a great option for this type of shooting.

Thanks again,
Glenn



Oct 14, 2016 at 02:13 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


Glenn_Law wrote:
Thank you all. I will experiment but do much of my shooting at 2.0 so that I don't get home with a day of out-of-focus shots. The AF has always been the weak point on my 5D2 anywayThanks again,
Glenn

I'm shooting with the 5D2 as well. Do you have any other lenses that is close to the 85mm focal length to which you can compare?

While I understand the look of the 85 1.2 at other f stops is different from the look of the 85mm 1.8, the 1.2 is 5 times the price. Some people also complain about the CA of the 1.8, but I have the lens and rarely is it a problem. LR takes care of it anyway.

I'm curious, why are you considering the 1.2 over other options at that focal length? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have the 1.2, but I have a hard time justifying the admission price.



Oct 14, 2016 at 03:13 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


dmacmillan wrote:
I have not used the 85 1.2, but I think it would be most useful at waist up and wider where you really need a little wider than 1.8 to control the background better.


Have a look at Lisa's sample pics. It can be done: shoulder portraits at f1.2. And it can be very nice. But you need to get the eyes perpendicular to the lens axis.

Just practise and be rewarded



Oct 14, 2016 at 03:22 PM
Tom_W
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


Lisa's samples are great. It really pops when you get the eyes on the razor-thin focus plane. A 3 dimensional quality almost.



Oct 14, 2016 at 03:33 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


rabbitmountain wrote:
Just practise and be rewarded

Thanks. I've been practicing since 1957. I've also shot portraits with 4x5 view cameras, which is a lot trickier than this!



Oct 14, 2016 at 03:35 PM
Glenn_Law
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


dmacmillan wrote:
I'm curious, why are you considering the 1.2 over other options at that focal length? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have the 1.2, but I have a hard time justifying the admission price.


I am interested in the Tamron 85 1.8. I wanted to rent it and discovered a camera rental place in Houston - 10 minutes from my office. So I can rent lenses without having to pay for shipping. They have the Canon 1.2 but not the Tamron 1.8. It was only $60 for a weekend rental (cheaper than rent + shipping for the Tamron). I'll see how the lens does and next time I'll probably rent the 70-200 2.8.

I've got a 24-105L so I can compare them at 85. I expect the 85 1.2 will be a tad sharper.



Oct 14, 2016 at 03:44 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


Here is one from one occasion where I borrowed a 85L v1 to see if I liked it:

5D2 + 85Lv1, 1/4000 f/1.2 ISO100, AI Servo centre point

http://www.yulaniss.nl/FM/161014-85L/85L-f1_2.jpg



Oct 14, 2016 at 07:57 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Tips for using the 85 f/1.2 L ?


dmacmillan wrote:
Thanks. I've been practicing since 1957. I've also shot portraits with 4x5 view cameras, which is a lot trickier than this!


That sounds fantastic. Would have loved to do that kind of stuff.
By the way I didn't mean in any way to sound condescending. On the contrary, it was meant to be an encouragement to anyone not familiar with this lens (not you in particular) and its quirks. I started photography in 1987, bought the 85Lii in 2014 and still needed to practise a lot before taming the beast. Especially choosing aperture carefully to fit the occasion or look you want was a challenge for me and it continues to be. Maybe with your experience it's easier.



Oct 14, 2016 at 08:18 PM
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