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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
173 273718 Feb 13, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $1,787.04
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.96
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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AGeoJO
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Registered: Jul 8, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 11820
Review Date: Jun 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent in isolating objects, smooth bokeh
Cons:
Bulky and heavy but for a reason: f/1.2!

This is a great portrait lens although on a FF camera, the focal length is a tad on the short side for my taste. If used at wide open aperture settings, especially at f/1.2, you have to pay close attention to select the point of focus. The chance of getting perfectly focused shots is greater, if you stop the lens down somewhat. Again, the rounded apeture up to f/2.5 helps.

Jun 22, 2006
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wcastleman
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Registered: Nov 21, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 313
Review Date: Jun 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Of the 85L: Super shallow plane of focus and superb bokeh. Of the Mark II over the Mark I: 1) 1.8x faster autofocus; 2) Better resistance to flare.
Cons:
The EF 85mm f/1.8 will do almost everything the 85L will at 1/6th the cost, smaller size, lighter weight.

I have reviewed this lens at length here:
http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/85mm/index.htm

The biggest improvements of the Mark II lens:
1) 1.8x faster autofocus: Autofocus in the EF 85mm f/1.2L Mark II is now fast enough to use in sports and other fast moving action photography;

2) New lens coatings: Flare is markedly reduced which results in better image contrast in unusual lighting situations;

3) Round aperture diaphragm to f/2.5: Results in smoothed out of focus aperture diaphragm patterns at apertures from f/1.4 to f/2.5

4) Electronics changes to support E-TTL II flash function



Jun 18, 2006
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2in3
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Registered: Jun 7, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,099.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: as others posted
Cons:
loose manual focus ring

..this is actually my first canon lens comes with my first canon dslr, 5d...

..i know there is 85/1.8 out there, but Iíd rather spend more time on taking good pictures than fiddling around with qualities of different lens...

..every pros for listed here is proved, tack sharpness, nice bokeh, vivid contrast, low light handheld possibility, faster focusing, tank build, blah blah...

..any cons?..yes, the very loose manual focus ring makes me feel not that great..well, nothing is perfect...

..weight?..many people complain about the weight, but i guess thatís where the quality comes from..how can i blame...

..price? .. for sure itís not worth every penny..the thing is, did mercedes buyer ever consider of cost-effective things?...


Jun 9, 2006
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BrittMcT
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Registered: Oct 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2306
Review Date: Jun 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,850.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible bokeh, tack sharp, fast focus considering the amount of glass being pushed around.
Cons:
A bit on the expensive end, heavy... but worth it.

I saved 4 months to afford this lens and it is an absolute beast providing excellent images and most wonderful bokeh I have ever seen. I love the depth of field possible with the f/1.2 f-stop and like I said, the bokeh is amazing. It is very heavy and if you have a 5D with battery grip and this lens you would be holding 5+ pounds.

Jun 8, 2006
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Gordonjohnmac
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Registered: Sep 17, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 29
Review Date: May 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: With 5D: Very very sharp, accurate fairly fast AF even in low light, solid build, bokeh smooth and beautiful, all I hoped for and more.
Cons:
Price but you get what you pay for!



May 23, 2006
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ken peachey
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Registered: Oct 11, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 16
Review Date: May 22, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Used with 5D & 1d MkII - Super sharp, wonderfull bokeh, this is the sharpest lens I have, focus spot on and acceptably fast. well worth the wait (not a pun)
Cons:
Weight, price.



May 22, 2006
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Anthony8858
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Registered: Jul 10, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 805
Review Date: May 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,950.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fun piece of glass to use on a 5D. FF keeps you close enough to your subject to keep it "personal". Loves light, AF is fine.
Cons:
Probably could use a lower price point, then again, if you have use for 1.2, then I guess we should pay for it

I guess by now you've heard that from a technical standpoint the lens is fantastic. I also find the AF fast enough for its intended purpose......and that's portraits. Another aspect overlooked, is that this lens is FUN to use. I keep it on my Canon 5D every chance I get. If there people around, and I need some help with the lighting, you bet I'd have my 85mm 1.2L II with me. Great lens.

I also have the older version of this lens, and the focus ring is much tighter, and thus much easier to be accurate in MF situations. So I guess you could say that I would like the newer version's MF ring to be a bit tighter too.


May 16, 2006
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cwphoto
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Registered: May 23, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 1668
Review Date: May 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros:
Cons:
Correction to KPV-1Ds' remarks: the original EF 85mm f/1.2 L also had an ultrasonic motor, the remarks below are misleading.



May 13, 2006
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fotografz
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Registered: Mar 11, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 217
Review Date: May 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: I have the need, the need for speed. Very good image quality. Beautiful out of focus areas. Faster focusing than the previous 85/1.2 ... but still slower than other mid-teles. Can be made faster in low light by using a STE2 for it's focus assist beam.
Cons:
Huge lens with a huge price tag. Sloppy manual focus control.



May 13, 2006
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IraGraham
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Registered: Oct 30, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 622
Review Date: May 12, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,899.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Build quality. Reasonable fast autofocus speed (though not accurate). L glass. As solid as a lens can be made.
Cons:
Very inconsistant autofocus. Price I paid $1899.00 is a rediculous price.

I bought mine for a great price at Cord Camera in Columbus Ohio. At $1899, I still feel the lens is overpriced. My biggest issue with the lens was inconsistant autofucus on the 5D. 2 or 3 out of 5 images were not critically in focus. I compared it to my 85 1.8 at the same 1.8 aperture and the 85mm 1.8 was dead on sharp 5 of 5 times compared to 2 of 5 times with the 85L. I thought it was me until 3 other experience photographers had the same results. Two of them had the first version of the 85 1.2. I ended up repurchasing the 85 1.8 and returning this beast. In short, for me it was not worth the money considering it's problems. I will just use the 85 1.8 instead.

May 12, 2006
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KPV-1Ds
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Registered: Dec 29, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1170
Review Date: May 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,045.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Improved autofocus speed over the previous model. Improved rear element coating to cut down on ghosting. Transfer of ETTL II distance data to camera and flash.
Cons:
Very minor...Focus by wire.

I sold me old Mark 1 version of this lens in anticipation of this revised edition. I brought the old one to PMA 2006 to do an A vs. B comparison of focusing speed. I autofocused on a close target (about 3 feet away) with a half press of the shutter button. I lifted my finger, raised the camera and aimed at a distant target across the convention center. I would estimate the second, distant, target was 200 feet away. I half pressed the shutter button to achieve autofocus. I did this procedure several times with each lens, the Mark 1 and the Mark 2. The Mark 2 took 2 seconds and the Mark 1 took 3 seconds to achieve focus. So, it is measurably faster to focus and consistent with Canon's specs.
The optics are claimed to be the same and in all of the photos I have taken thus far, the quality is the same and there aren't any perceivable differences between the old and new optics.
The other two benefits of the Mark 2 are ETTL II distance data conveyance to the camera and flash and the use of a special coating on the rear element to reduce ghosting from the reflectivity of the digital sensor's glass filter.
All in all, I am happy to own this lens for the speed alone. But bear in mind, that does not mean it is a fast focusing lens. It is not! I generally haven't used this lens with a camera mounted flash as it is primarily used in a studio environment with strobes in manual mode. I also haven't ever experienced ghosting with the old version, but it is great that Canon thought to update the coating for digital use.

If you have never held an EF 85mm f/1.2, or a EF 50mm f/1.0 (also in my arsenal) for that matter, you have been missing a real treat! These lenses are so exquisitely made they simply drip with quality.

Most of Canon's newest lenses utilize USM's (Ultrasonic Motors) to drive the focusing mechanism. The EF 85mm f/1.2 Mark II now does as well. It does, however, use a focus by wire. It works well, but there isn't that tactile, instantaneous, feel of a normal mechanical focus lens. It is just a tiny nitpick, and not worthy of much weight in a decision to purcahse or not.

Regarding bokeh, nothing comes close. Shot wide open, the bokeh and particularly the bokeh in the area of background highlights, is simply beautiful.

Feel free to shoot by candlelight, this lens is very fast in that sense of the word!


May 11, 2006
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keithallenlaw
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Registered: Feb 23, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 98
Review Date: May 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: It would be so much more informitive if the people reviewing this lens would state the the camera they used, please!
Cons:
n/t

n/t

May 10, 2006
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timn2087
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Registered: Dec 7, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 19
Review Date: May 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,099.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: amazing bokeh, sharp in every way, well built - it's every bit a s sharp as my other L lenses
Cons:
none nein zero nothing



May 9, 2006
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
173 273718 Feb 13, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $1,787.04
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.96
9.6
85II


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