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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
177 282462 Dec 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,784.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.93
9.6
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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Hacker
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Registered: Feb 24, 2006
Location: Singapore
Posts: 98
Review Date: Dec 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,935.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp even wide open. Love the contrast and the colors.
Cons:
Heavy and could be a little bit faster for its AF.

This is the standard to beat. I changed to Canon because of this lens.

Dec 10, 2006
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Donagh
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Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Location: Italy
Posts: 152
Review Date: Nov 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp at f1.2, stellar at f5.6!!!!, build quality, af better than older version, color, flare control, ca control
Cons:
af is slow respect at any 135f2, weight...

Great lens! i sell the mk1 version 6 mounth ago, and tree days ago i buy this mk2 version, af is better than older version (to infinity at 2 meter subject occorus 1/2 second)
color is great, precision of af at 1.2 is good

i raccomanded this lens for all...

85mm is good for half body shot, and f 1.2 is fantastic for low light !



Nov 28, 2006
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Gino02GT
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Registered: Aug 4, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1122
Review Date: Nov 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp at all apertures, amazing bokeh, huge aperture, built like a tank, accurate autofocus
Cons:
Not real negatives, but only what is to be expected from a lens with an f/1.2 aperture: size, weight, price, some chromatic aberration (large apertures), some vignetting (large apertures on full-frame)

The 85L isn't just a run-of-the-mill 85mm lens. It reaches out and gives you just about anything and everything that this focal length has to offer. Going to f/1.2 means you have just about total control of depth of field with this lens.

Speaking of apertures, the minimum aperture is f/16, as if to give you the hint that this lens isn't interested in being stopped down.

Mount this onto a full-frame sensor and you've got a setup that's very hard to beat. Wide open you'll get some vignetting in the corners, but this isn't always apparent. If you shoot an evenly lit white wall or ISO test chart, it will be. I find in many of my pictures at f/1.2, the vignetting doesn't jump out and hit you. I prefer the look it gives to the pictures with the kind of subject isolation possible at those apertures.

There is also chromatic aberration present at very large apertures on high-contrast areas, but that is to be pretty much accepted when you're dealing with lenses of these speeds.

Autofocus is very accurate and of decent speed. I would assume that the Mark I version of this lens could be described as somewhat slow, but the Mark II is good. Some people start crying over the idea of slow autofocus, some people's descriptions exaggerate and blow the issue way out of proportion. I think it's just fine. Definitely not something you'd praise for being all-out fast, but not a shortcoming like some would have you believe.

An interesting aspect is the focus-by-wire design. If you use custom function #4 to put the autofocus on the * button, manual focusing is active all the time, otherwise you'd have to hold the shutter button down halfway. The lens hood also clips onto the focusing ring, so you can turn the hood and focus as well. Just be careful that you don't do it accidentally. Along those lines, BE CAREFUL WITH THE FOCUS WIDE OPEN. User error is a killer in a lens like this.

Plus there is no substitute for the ego-boosting traits of this lens: take off both caps and stare into the barrel of this beast....that is a LOT of glass!


Nov 20, 2006
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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: 143
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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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
177 282462 Dec 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,784.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.93
9.6
85II


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