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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
174 279619 Aug 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $1,784.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.96
9.7
85II

Specifications:
Retaining the impressive optical performance and large aperture of the original EF 85mm f/1.2L USM, this new medium telephoto lens uses a Ring-type USM, high-speed CPU and optimized algorithms to achieve an autofocus speed approximately 1.8x faster than the original. The high-speed AF and circular aperture create a shallow depth-of-field that brings attention to the subject and blurs the background, which is ideal for portraits and weddings. The floating optical system, which includes an aspherical lens element, suppresses aberrations and ensures excellent imaging performance.

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Andy M
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Registered: Sep 10, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 9
Review Date: Oct 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Dreamy bokeh. Can focus in near darkness. Excellent hood design.
Cons:
Heavy. Expensive. Relatively slow to focus.

This was my dream lens - the lens I'd always admired but had never purchased. With the arrival of the mkII, and the promise of a faster focussing lens, I just had to have one.

It's heavy, it's expensive, it's relatively slow to focus, but does it produce the results!!

Highly recommended.


Oct 29, 2006
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tonyakins
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Registered: Dec 5, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 20
Review Date: Oct 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,835.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great Lens, well made, heavy but balances well on 1D Mark II N and 30D with the Battery Grip
Cons:
None Noted

Just purchased the EF 85 f/1.2L II, although it is expensive, if all lens performed like this lens, I would be happy to spend the big dollars. I have never experienced a lens quite like the 85 f/1.2L II. This lens is “Super Super” sharp, and the bokeh is outstanding, it looks like smooth “Butter Baby”. When I arrived home with this lens, it was dark outside, so I decided to take a few photos inside of my home without a flash. Maybe I was dreaming but this lens appeared to create light. The images were “Tack” sharp even after zooming in 10X on my 1D Mark II N, and my 30D 2.5” screens. This lens is so sharp, be careful not to cut yourself. I like the way Canon designed the hood. I guess I will also have to check out the “NEW” EF-50mm f/1.2L , if it takes photos like this lens, “WELL” guess what, I am going to have to buy it. I love my sharp EF-135mm f/2L for indoor sports, but it is not quite as sharp as the 85 f.1.2L II. If this is going to be your first “L” glass, beware of catching the “L” Bug.

Oct 28, 2006
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bdickers
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Registered: May 23, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 942
Review Date: Oct 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality, build quality are second-to-none.
Cons:
Price...maybe

Having owned a fair number of Canon lenses over the last ten years, I will say that for me, If I could only own one lens, it would be the 85mm f/1.2 MkII. The build quality is top drawer in all respects, the images are to me, the finest any lens could hope to produce. I have no reservation recommending this lens, it's worth the investment.

Oct 25, 2006
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junglehs
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Registered: Mar 13, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: beautiful colors, great bokeh, sharp, my favorite canon lens
Cons:
heavy, expensive

love this lens. if you can afford it - get it.

Oct 21, 2006
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kmbransky
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Registered: Mar 13, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 37
Review Date: Sep 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image Quality
Cons:
none

I could list all the reasons I love this lens, but I'm not going to do that. My suggestion is to just go out and BUY THIS LENS today and make your own determination.

Here is my logic: I suspect you will love this lens and think it is magic...

However, if you DON'T like the lens after a few months of use, this lens is in such demand that your "test drive" won't cost you more than a couple hundred dollars.


Sep 30, 2006
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tasos_at
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Registered: Aug 22, 2005
Location: Greece
Posts: 273
Review Date: Sep 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

The f/1.2 is poor but 2,0-8,0 is as sharp contrast and saturation, really excellent.
is my favourite.

http://mypalm.ath.cx/enigma/index.php?topic=810.msg3502;topicseen#msg3502


Sep 29, 2006
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Alistair Watson
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Registered: Mar 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 5871
Review Date: Sep 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f1.2, beautiful build quality, contrast and saturation and of course, amazing sharpness
Cons:
a little expensive, but hey you get what you pay for

This is an expensive and heavy lens, no doubt, but these 2 points were soon forgotten after the first proper outing with this lens. The sharpness and contrast, colour saturation and beautiful bokeh all have to be seen to be believed, simply one of the very finest Canon lenses I own, and I own quite a few! :-) While AF isn't the fastest it does snap into focus fairly quickly and tracks moving objects using AI Servo surprisingly well, this as you know is a specialised lens, and it has done wonders for the creativity of my photography.


Sep 25, 2006
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jlgo
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Registered: Jun 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 10
Review Date: Sep 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: If colors got any better than this, I'd start wondering if someone had slipped something into my drink here.....
Cons:
The focus ring.....it took a while to get over the "cheesey" feel of the focus by wire.....but Canon is forgiven after viewing the pictures from this beauty.

For my portrait lenses, I had the 85/1.8 and the 135L which served me well in the past, but finally succumbed to the mystique of this hunk of love....and am simply blown away how good it can get. In the past, I have spent hours in CS2 to get shots from the 85/1.8 to look anywhere near what these pictures look like.

Sep 12, 2006
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2in3
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Registered: Jun 7, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 11, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

..after months of experiment, i notice the CA of this lens is significant when wide open especially for low light high contrast objects, which unfortunately could not be easily corrected by ACR, and it’s even more noticeable than on screen display when enlarged to a print...

..the other thing does not make me feel great is the front element extends when focusing..to prevent lens from dust when unmounted, you have to zoom to infinity to retract before turn off the power...

..i know nothing is perfect, so it is still one of my favorites..here are some sample pix:

http://flickr.com/photos/2in3/sets/


Sep 11, 2006
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Phast1
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Registered: Jul 14, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2082
Review Date: Sep 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f/1.2 and sharp there.
Cons:
heavy and costly.

The MkII version is more of the same and then some (as you no doubt already know). Still not fast enough for sports in my opinion, but... fast enough for candids - which is great. I found the MkI not even good for that. My shots typically had to be set up.

This version gives the same look and feel images as the prior copy. Outstanding sharpness even wide open. The best color rendition and contrast of any lens I've used (all canon). It's pricey and heavy. I'd love to use this as a walkaround lens for the many possibilities of 85L type image I could get but it's just too darn heavy for that. It's not exactly stealth either, big glass.

I've owned a few copy's of the MkI version and had alot of great shots using them. The nice thing about this lens is you can buy one and sell it when you can't justify the cost anymore. There always seems to be a demand for this lens and for good reason.

Currently using it on a 30D.


Sep 3, 2006
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llcFM
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Registered: Jan 7, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 38
Review Date: Aug 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Tack sharp wide open.
Cons:
double-image in out of focus areas wide open.

The lens is a stunner: *if* you can nail the focus at f1.2, it is stunningly sharp with excellent contrast by virtually any standard (Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II). Focus accuracy at 1:20 is about +- 5mm, which is excellent, though even a 5mm error will degrade sharpness slightly at f1.2 at 1:20.

Negatives: wide open (and probably stopped down slightly), the lens has substantial chromatic aberration in out-of-focus areas as little as a few centimeters behind the focus plane (two samples tested). I show examples of this in my blog; see the August 18, 2006 entry to start:

http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/blog.html#20060818NoDoubleImageInInfrared

Background blur is absolutely gorgeous, among the best I’ve seen. Focus speed is adequate, and an improvement on the Mark I lens, but for moving subjects remains a real problem.

It is a very find performer in infrared!

NOTE: be particularly careful mounting this lens due to its exposed rear element.




Aug 18, 2006
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ashwinrao1
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Registered: Aug 8, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 194
Review Date: Aug 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,099.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Terrific for low light photography without flash, great bokeh, razor sharp when stopped down even a touch! An amazing lens, all in all, and fast becoming one of my favorites
Cons:
Bulky,with a slippery focus ring. Cost is...a lot

Wow, what a lens. Wow, what a price tag. Well, I just got this lens a few weeks back, and it has become one of my favorites, and in rapid fashion. The pictures it takes when stopped down are razor sharp. It is FAST, and great for motion stopping. Low light capability is nothing short of amazing, with its f/1.2 aperture. I initially intended this lens for portrait capture and photojournalistic activities, but I have found it to be the sharpest medium length telephoto (on my XT), and thus it has seen more use on my camera than I first suspected. Just the way this lens feels in your hand makes you feel like you have a sure thing. It is SOLID. Some say heavy, and I concur, but nothing compared to the 70-200 f/2.8 IS L lens. I have not had trouble with lens flare so far, but this lens typically is best used in low light conditions, anyways. In my opinion, the pictures it takes are "special". They are imbued with that umph that lenses such as the 85 f/1.8 cannot deliver. I suspect that this has something to do with the narrow depth of field, the additional scenarios which you can shoot in, and L glass. With the 85 1/2 lens, one becomes the envy of all of the photo enthusiasts in the room. If you have the money to invest, and was a fast and sharp lens for low light situational shooting, this lens cannot and will not be beat.

Aug 8, 2006
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Paul Sabella
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Registered: Nov 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 135
Review Date: Jul 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp, fantastic bokeh, lowlight photography, great colors.
Cons:
Expensive and heavy.

This lens is really fantastic for portraits in low/natural light. Focusing was fast enough for candid and very precise on my 20D. My favorite lens along with 35L, 135L & 70-200 IS. I would not part with it.

Jul 27, 2006
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kaop
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Registered: Sep 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 66
Review Date: Jul 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very Sharp Build Quality Perfect 'head to hip' portrait lens (on Full Frame)
Cons:
Limited application (portraits mostly) Focal lengh not perfect for event/group shots $500 USD too expensive

Great lens if you only care about Sharpness and taking studio or outdoor portraits with alot of feet zooming room. As I find focal lengh is not suitable for event photophy or group shots. 50mm 1.2L would be the perfect solution for that.

Jul 26, 2006
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staffer1
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Registered: Oct 30, 2005
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 12
Review Date: Jul 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed, sharpness; whole new world in low light. Reasonably discreet (unless someone knows what it is); well balanced on a pro body. Brilliant lens for wedding work.
Cons:
Price; because it's short,fat, smooth and heavy, I can see it might be easy to drop; rear lens element almost flush with mount, so extra care needed when mounting;manual focus nonsense.

Simply stunning. If a zoom is the 'fast food' model of a lens, then this is the slow food, as the Italians call it, but ultimately better for you! When I first put it on the camera, I thought it was really heavy, and the focal length seemed a bit short for my preferred face-only shots, but in real-world action, it's brilliant. I can always use the 135 for that style, anyway.The 85 may well be the perfect wedding lens. It's razor sharp, the focus speed is perfectly good for wedding situations, and f2.8 now seems sooo slow. I love the way it lets me blur everything around the subject. On a 1V HS it's beautifully balanced, and doesn't hurt my muscles after hours of use the way my 70-200 2.8 did. The squat, black disguise makes it ideal for street stuff. too. And if someone tries to mug you for it, hit him with it, and he'll be stunned too!

Jul 3, 2006
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stewarda
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Registered: Dec 19, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 72
Review Date: Jun 25, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

This lens is quite excellent. I have been using it for a few months now (got the second one that came to Adorama, much to the drool of the other folks there), and it is a very impressive lens, as many have described previously.

On the 5d, it is just spectacular as a portrait lens, very reminiscient of the Leica 75f1.4 on the M in tonality, contrast, and in the type of composition it inspires. Despite its focal length, it is an incredibly intimate lens, since you can essentially shoot portraits in in near darkness.

On the Mk2N, is becomes an amazing event lens. Combined with the speed and the excellent AI focusing system of the Mk2N, the lens allows for low ISO, high shutter speed shooting in waning light, when the 70-200 would have been put away already. The excellent noise reduction of the Mk2N and the 5d allows for significant cropping, making this lens more useful than a slower zoom in low light.

On the down side, it is very heavy, making it a pretty serious addition to carry around, and the movement of the focusing ring in and out of the lens barrel means that great care must be taken with it. But, this lens can be the sole replacement for the 70-200 on a trip, which is no small feat.

Combined with the 24f1.4, you have an amazing indoor kit for very intimate wide angle and portrait photography. Combined with the 28f1.8 or 35f1.4, you have an amazing travel kit that basically lets you shoot 24 hours a day. Combined with the 16-35, you have a very versatile travel or event kit as well.

I find that I use this lens more than the 135L. There are several reasons (none of which are related to the quality of the 135, which is also impressive). But here are my considerations: with the 135 on the 5d, I typically am bound by 125 shutter speed/f2 combo. If you put that lens onto the Mk2 or 20D, the shutter speed has to go up, further limiting the low light utility. If, on the other hand, I put the 85 on the 5d, I get 90 shutter at f1.2, which gives me 2.5 extra stops. It's a no-brainer for me in terms of versatility.
And, I can move the 85 to the Mk2 or 20d to get a longer reach, still gaining two stops. Not bad.

If you like the rangefinder style of shooting, where you essentially don't shoot much past 90, and you don't mind composing within the confines of a prime, or if you need a high speed lens for indoor events/sports, this lens is really spectacular.


Jun 25, 2006
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
174 279619 Aug 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $1,784.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.96
9.7
85II


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