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135L/85ii lens dilemma
  
 
artsf
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Iíve been shooting with 135L for years, first on 6d and now on 5div. But I recently got a chance to shoot with 85ii and really loved the results. Curious to hear throughts from those who are experienced with both lenses. I am somewhat less happy with 135L on 5div:
1) On 6d, 1/250s was plenty for me to get consistently pixel sharp results but on 30mp sensor, I have to set 1/500s minimum shutter speed or many portraits end up with tiny amount of motion blur.
2) 135L suffers from dramatic loss of contrast when shooting against bright light (with the hood on). I use this lens almost exclusively outdoors so this issue is quite frequent for me.
3) Due to the long working distance for full body portraits, the air in between robs sharpness sometimes.
4) I often shoot in the evening during or right after golden hour and with 1/500s (see #1), my most typical ISO setting is 1600 so I rarely get the best sharpness from 135L.
5) In my small home studio, I can only do headshots/head&shoulders with 135L
6) with 1.74x crop on 5div, 4k videos with 135L is out of question for me

And here is my recent experience with 85ii:
1) Even better colors than 135L, very vivid results at 1.2. Probably the best colors Iíve ever seen in a camera, even SOOC.
2) No noticeable loss of contrast - backlit portraits are a breeze. Perharps, the biggest and most obvious difference between the two lenses
3) MUCH better shutter speed and almost always low ISO shooting (1/250s and even 1/200s works just fine for me)
4) At 1.2 it is as sharp as 135 at f2 at pixel level but actually portriats look sharper when viewed as a whole due to noticeable boost in contrast/colors with 85ii
5) working distance for full body portraits and 4k video is much better. Indoor use is a breeze including home studio.
6) DPAF AI servo performance is supbar, would only use with single shot DPAF for video
7) Lens is very heavy although the size is quite compact
9) Annoying MFD but maybe can get used to it after a while
10) Canít do headshots due to MFD, must crop instead
11) The bokeh is as smooth as 135L but I much prefer the additional compression provided by 135L. Do you find than 135mm FL is more suitable for environmental portraits?
12) AF in general is much slower, I would not use this lens Servo which may be a problem with thin DoF at 1.2

If you could only keep one lens, wich one would you choose 135L or 85L?
I do have 24-70ii which I use in the studio so 85ii studio performance is less important to me hence I havenít tested it for that purpose. Then I am not sure if I would use 85ii (non-studio) indoor cause the zoom makes a lot more sense for events even if itís only 2.8.
I guess I am kinda hooked on 85iiís colors, do you find its rendering superior to 135l?

There is also the new 85mm f1.4 IS which should fully address AF issue and it comes with IS - great for video (30% of my shooting). On the other hand, its MFD and weight are very similar to 85 1.2 and itís still a question if it renders similarly to 85 1.2. Canon said itís not a replacement.



Oct 16, 2017 at 08:20 PM
Dragonfire
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


The 85L is a sexy lens that did everything well until I started shooting outdoors and the protruding barrel became a liability, then I returned to the 135L.

The 85L IS will soon be in my bag and from the test shots I have recently viewed I have a feeling it will compare favorably with the 85L 1.2.

As far as Canon is concerned, we need both.



Oct 16, 2017 at 09:09 PM
mb126
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


These are pretty different lenses, beyond the obvious difference in focal length. I own the 85L (which my assistant usually shoots), the 85 Art, and the 135L. The 85 Art is technically quite a bit better than the other two but it does lack some of the magic.

My expectation for the upcoming 85 IS is that it will be a home-run, combining all of the things that we love about the 135L (reasonable size, fast AF, internal focusing, better CA correction than the 85L, etc.), the things we love about the current 85L (rendering, speed), and some modern upgrades (IS, coatings, etc.). It might not convince me to sell my 135L but it will be relegated to only being used when it has to be.

My advice would be to wait a month and get the new 85 IS unless you very, very specifically want the drawing style of the current 85L and can live with its shortcomings.



Oct 16, 2017 at 09:29 PM
artsf
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Good advise. Considering that the IS would be of immense use to me for 4k video with 5div. I could sell both 135L and 50L which would pay for the new 85.

But what do you think about this nice compression that 135L provides and 85mm lacks?

mb126 wrote:
These are pretty different lenses, beyond the obvious difference in focal length. I own the 85L (which my assistant usually shoots), the 85 Art, and the 135L. The 85 Art is technically quite a bit better than the other two but it does lack some of the magic.

My expectation for the upcoming 85 IS is that it will be a home-run, combining all of the things that we love about the 135L (reasonable size, fast AF, internal focusing, better CA correction than the 85L, etc.), the things we love about the current 85L (rendering, speed), and some modern upgrades
...Show more



Oct 16, 2017 at 11:00 PM
tiggy
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


So, it appears you really need a better 135, or an 85 with a better mfd.

Options:
1) You could choose to keep the 135 and live with a "poorer" image quality, although it'll still shoot as well as it always did. It's natural that photographers will discover over time that there is something to be gained by upgrading, but this isn't as often required as it is exercised.

2) You could swap for the 85, which strikes me as moving to a perceived better image quality with a lens that doesn't suit your purpose. Likely the least good option. Plus which, this might be justifiable were it the new 85 f/1.4, but the IQ increment isn't going to be so great with the older one, wider aperture notwithstanding.

3) Better still the Sigma 135 Art has an mfd even closer than that of the canon 135, and the image quality hasn't yet been equaled near that focal length in an autofocus lens. One can be had used for around $1100.

I think your line of inquiry is a good and healthy one, but to really be inquiring you need to visit a shop and try out some of the third party options (and maybe the new Canon 85 v/1.4 too).

An 85 doesn't sound like the right thing for you based on your interpretation of results, although maybe one of the third party ones squeaks in due to shorter mfd. If you stick with 135, I doubt you'd be displeased with the Sigma. I find myself shooting that lens completely inappropriately just because the IQ is so amazing. Was doing close-in action with the kids yesterday and didn't want to switch to something wider just because.




Oct 17, 2017 at 01:14 AM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Although it can be used for other purposes, the 85mm f1.2L II is somewhat of a one trick pony - portraiture.

An operationally slow, deliberate lens.




Oct 17, 2017 at 02:08 AM
artsf
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


I am wary of third party lenses, they are not serviced by CPS, donít hold their value, somestimes have AF issues and long term support but even more importantly they are not equivalent to L-series rendering. What I appreciate most about Canon, it is their strong focus on lens rendering/drawing instead of simply technical sharpness. Sigma and Sony, in particular, seem to optimize their products for dxomark score which fails to capture rendering, perhaps, the most important aspect of photography. At the end of the day, it is overall look/feel of the image that matters most not pixel level. I viewed hundreds of Sigma Art 50, 85 and 135 images on flickr and 500px and it is simply not the same. IMO, Sigma Art 85 is not even close to 85L for color. I canít see all of the sharpness at iPad Pro resolution and my max print size is 24x36. I am a sucker for insane cinematic Canon L-colors (think 200mm f2)

tiggy wrote:
So, it appears you really need a better 135, or an 85 with a better mfd.

Options:
1) You could choose to keep the 135 and live with a "poorer" image quality, although it'll still shoot as well as it always did. It's natural that photographers will discover over time that there is something to be gained by upgrading, but this isn't as often required as it is exercised.

2) You could swap for the 85, which strikes me as moving to a perceived better image quality with a lens that doesn't suit your purpose. Likely the least good option. Plus
...Show more



Oct 17, 2017 at 02:30 AM
johnctharp
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


artsf wrote:
I am wary of third party lenses, they are not serviced by CPS, donít hold their value, somestimes have AF issues and long term support but even more importantly they are not equivalent to L-series rendering. What I appreciate most about Canon, it is their strong focus on lens rendering/drawing instead of simply technical sharpness. Sigma and Sony, in particular, seem to optimize their products for dxomark score which fails to capture rendering, perhaps, the most important aspect of photography. At the end of the day, it is overall look/feel of the image that matters most not pixel level. I
...Show more

Without trying to refute your main point- which I get!- I will add:

The 135 Art is considered to have good rendering, on top of being a fast-focusing lens and being very, very sharp.

The FE 85/1.4GM is considered to have pretty good rendering too, but of course is inseparable from Sony colors.

However, I would recommend that you try to match 'color' between say your L lens and a Sigma Art in post, use a Colorchecker or other solution.

In theory, it's all just different approaches to color science, and you should be able to get it close enough to not be able to tell the difference. On balance, this may not be possible for your liking, or it may be possible, but take too much work.






Oct 17, 2017 at 05:41 AM
Dragonfire
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


The 200L IS f2.0 was without a doubt the BEST portrait lens I have ever owned, but TOO intimidating.


artsf wrote:
. I am a sucker for insane cinematic Canon L-colors (think 200mm f2)



Oct 17, 2017 at 09:07 AM
fplstudio
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Both are great lenses and decision should be based on FL preference.
I think 200L gives the most unique results in terms of rendering, particularly for full body portraits. 135L is the closest. 85mm is an easier FL for shutter speed / working distance but doesn't have that compression look given by longer FL.

Edited on Oct 24, 2017 at 10:12 AM · View previous versions



Oct 23, 2017 at 11:41 AM
 

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NCAndy
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Dragonfire wrote:
The 200L IS f2.0 was without a doubt the BEST portrait lens I have ever owned, but TOO intimidating.

artsf wrote:
. I am a sucker for insane cinematic Canon L-colors (think 200mm f2)

I agree for non-professional models looking into that front element can be scary. I have both the 135L and 85L2 and I'd say the 85 gets used 95% of the time in all situations where either lens could be chosen. I'm more comfortable with the 85 and though I do appreciate the FOV and compression of the 135, I almost never think to use it.



Oct 23, 2017 at 01:45 PM
Robin Smith
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Many of us like the 135L, but no longer have it as it turns out to just not be so useful in the long term. I basically use the 70-200mm IS and I have the 100mm macro IS instead. The IS is very useful for the reasons you have noted. Yes, I give up some of the special "look" of the 135, but it is a much more useful trade. The 85L is too pricey for me, but I think probably more useful, as its camera to subject working distance is better for indoors and out. I will investigate the new 85 f1.4 IS with interest. I use the 24-70 f2.8 a lot for head shots too. It's also good.


Oct 23, 2017 at 02:35 PM
Daan B
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


85L II + 70-200L II


Oct 24, 2017 at 06:53 AM
Paul Mo
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Robin Smith wrote:
I have the 100mm macro IS instead. The IS is very useful for the reasons you have noted. Yes, I give up some of the special "look" of the 135,


Though that is comparing apples to oranges in the bokeh department. When shot wide open at mid distances the 100 L Macro has some of the worst bokeh with busy backgrounds.



Oct 24, 2017 at 01:12 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Robin Smith wrote:
I have the 100mm macro IS instead. The IS is very useful for the reasons you have noted. Yes, I give up some of the special "look" of the 135,

Paul Mo wrote:
Though that is comparing apples to oranges in the bokeh department. When shot wide open at mid distances the 100 L Macro has some of the worst bokeh with busy backgrounds.


I've been doing the same as Robin, for a couple of years. I haven't noticed any bokeh problems, but maybe I haven't seen that situation, either.



Oct 24, 2017 at 04:10 PM
Robin Smith
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


Agree the bokeh is just fine. Not as good as the 85II or 135L, but no real issues. In fact often it is excellent. The zooms also have pretty good bokeh.


Oct 24, 2017 at 06:50 PM
artsf
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


replaced both 135L and 50L with 85Lii and couldnít be happier. Great FL, shutter speed, foreground blur, working distance, etc. Versatile for both outdoor full body portraits and small studio. Very sharp in the entire central frame at f1.2, no loss of contrast when shooting backlit portraits (unlike 135L), heavy but compact size w/o hood attched, best colors Iíve seen so far (second only to 200L). And it is surprisingly great for video with DPAF, very gradual, smooth tracking AF.


Nov 09, 2017 at 05:38 PM
AEnigma
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


I have a wide array of lenses from the 24-70mm ii to 35mm ii that also includes the 135mm l. It's the oldest lens in my kit, but for portraits, it is by far my favorite lens.


Nov 09, 2017 at 06:34 PM
dtolios
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


IMHO the 135L is better/more flattering due to compression but needs to be outdoors / have a large indoor space to work with it for half length / full body work. Even more so something like the 200L. I don't have either, I personally use my Sigma 150 Macro for that, but I can dream.

The 85 is more versatile as you can work closer to your subjects in the above scenarios.

I am not super picky about bokeh, I know the 135L and 85L II are both "legendary", yet I am personally happy with all my "comparable FL" lenses: Sigma 150 2.8, EF 85 1.8, EF 24-70 II and the 50A I had for some time.

The 35 f/2 IS is also "ok" in my book though less dramatic - I feel you need the f/1.4 more in wider FLs if separation is what you are after, while it is less important in longer lenses. E.g I would probably opt for the 85 1.4 IS vs. the 85L II despite losing a stop.



Nov 10, 2017 at 12:06 AM
Johnwocher
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 135L/85ii lens dilemma


I read all of the above.
I had the 135L and now have the 85L II. I think walking a shorter distance forward or backwards with the 85L II is not so difficult, so I prefer it for that reason + the positives you mention.
Cheers,
John



Nov 10, 2017 at 02:11 AM







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