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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
126 246123 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,380.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.49
9.5
ef85mmf_12_1_

Specifications:
With a large maximum aperture of f/1.2, this is the fastest 85mm telephoto lens in its class. One aspherical lens element and two high-refraction elements give sharp images with little flare even at maximum aperture. The floating system corrects coma for high image quality.


 


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Wisc
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Registered: Jan 10, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding perfomance, AF is not too slow here. Incredible sharp. Worth every penny !
Cons:
Heavy (Yes again), Expsensive.

Came from a 50/1.8 , what a perfect lens ! Bit heavy but ow yeaah !

Apr 7, 2006
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mholdef
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Registered: Sep 25, 2005
Location: France
Posts: 1152
Review Date: Apr 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding contrast, color, sharpness and bokeh, to be expected in a lens of this caliber. Great build and feel.
Cons:
A bit on the heavy side but handles well and then again this is not a "walk around lens" so you don't feel the weight in your hands (only in your bag which you do feel!). Focusing is also a bit slow but not really an issue for me.



Apr 1, 2006
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busterboy
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Registered: Apr 28, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 77
Review Date: Mar 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Tack sharp beyond belief. Colors..Contrast..Bokeh is everything that makes this lens simply awesome.
Cons:
I wish I could fault it.. I can't.

People talk about this lens being heavy and relatively slow Auto-focusing. I bought this lens for Candid and Portrait shooting and cannot fault it in either weight or AF. It is simply head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
I was certainly waiting for the MkII version of this lens to arrive, but after viewing so many good reports and seeing so many superb pictures from this lens my mind was made up.

If the MkII comes anywhere near this it will be fantastic.


Mar 24, 2006
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helios4
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Registered: Jun 1, 2005
Location: France
Posts: 75
Review Date: Mar 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: - Best bokeh I ever seen at all apertures - f1.2 lens (!)
Cons:
Focusing ring too fluid

I have tested many many high end lenses and still own some famous leicas like the 100APO, Summilux 50 1.4 etc...
Generally I do not like canon L lenses (colors, sharpness, micro-contrast )
EXCEPT this one. It is IMO the best lens canon has ever made <200 mm .
Wonderful bokeh at 1.2/1.4 and spectacular sharpness even 1.2 (but you'll see the magic around F2).

Autofocus technology is great (and slow with this one but who cares.) but you'll have better results (did I say BETTER?) when switching to Manual if you want the ultimate Image Quality.

Highly recommended..
I hope someday Canon release a 50 1.2L too;

Note:
I will probably resell my 35 1.4 and keep my leica lenses... the 85L will be the only canon lens in my list.

A legendary lens.





Mar 16, 2006
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incdigital
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Registered: Aug 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 226
Review Date: Mar 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Out of this world bokeh, Tack sharp at all stops, Border quailty is excellent, Solid "L" Build , If you shoot street fashion this lens is a no brainer
Cons:
AF Speed not as quick as canon 85 1.8

Price is worth every penny to me. Simply outstanding! .

Mar 15, 2006
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Aberdeen Photo
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Registered: Mar 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 3812
Review Date: Mar 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Truly great portrait lens with a few anomolies.
Cons:
Can I get quick focus or any focus in low light for a grand and a half?

Superb build quality and great in studio, but on the street, I prefer its little bro' the 1.8. Very solidly built, great color decent contrast and an outstanding portrait lens. I have been unhappy with performance with indoor sports. It focuses too slow and missed shots, but in the studio.........what a gem.

Mar 9, 2006
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sohet
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Registered: Feb 22, 2006
Location: Singapore
Posts: 54
Review Date: Mar 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Really sharp and most accurate AF amongst all my lenses. In fact dead accurate AF. Sharp even on the 1DMKII out of cam at default sharpness when taken RAW. Amazing Bokeh and shallow DOF. Better than the Nikon AFD 85 f1.4 in bokeh. Allows really low light shooting with shutter speeds that enable freezing action even in low light. Very good contrast and produces excellent out-of cam colours amongst all L lenses. The colours at times when shot wide open appears so surreal and so nice. Not too bad AF used on a 1-series.
Cons:
Slower than other lenses I own. Could be cheaper. But hey, it's f1.2 lens man!

Highly recommended. The 85f1.8 does not come close as it produces pictures as sharp but does not have the 3D 'pop' to the picture. Also the 85 f1.2 has better out-of-cam colours and contrast.

Mar 5, 2006
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Olsen
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Registered: May 4, 2003
Location: Norway
Posts: 147
Review Date: Mar 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Built quality, resolution, bokeh. Good for hand held photography of large animals from car, portrait and fast indoor sports. The blur of the background gives the pictures a 3 dimensional look. One of Canons best lenses for FF cameras.
Cons:
A little low contrast, heavy, slow AF, price (costs 4 times more than the excellent 85 mm 1,8)

A very popular and highly rated lense. Made for portraits, but is fine for nature & wild animals in low light conditions too. Not really fast enough for indoor sports like ice hockey, but depending on conditions, it works acceptably also for this. Gives excellent perspective for certain landscape work. Like in the mountains. Or from the deck of a cruise ship.

One of Canon's best performing lenses on FF cameras with a generous light gathering capacity. Very sharp corners, particularly from f 2,0 and up with only marginal corner light fall off when mounted on 1Ds/1ds II.

Still; only marginally better than it's little brother; the 85 mm 1,8 which is cheaper, lighter and produces better contrast. The 85 mm 1,2L is only questionably cost effective compared, unless you are dependant on this very unique blured portrait background,- or a FF camera user.


Mar 4, 2006
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lord_malone
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Registered: Oct 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 496
Review Date: Mar 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, IQ, bokeh, color rendition, rock solid build - oozes quality throughout, great focal range.
Cons:
AF is a little slow, but that's what MF is for. Exercise that lost skill.

Yes, it's expensive. But it's worth every penny. Once you've used this lens you'll see why. A must have for any Canon prime aficianado. Everything great to say about this lens has already been said. You must experience it for yourself.

Mar 3, 2006
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Craig Lockett
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Registered: Jul 30, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 566
Review Date: Feb 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Brokeh is great, low light capabilities, sharp
Cons:
A little slow to focus

This is a great lens if you find yourself needing the extra edge in low light conditions. The brokeh is fabulous and alows for very creative DOF. It a great lens that I really should use more.

Feb 27, 2006
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swormley
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Registered: Feb 15, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Aperture, Quality of the design, handling.
Cons:
I would have liked manual focus control while in AF mode as in many of Canon's other lenses.

Over the years I've done a lot of low light work using the this
lens in its FD mount version. More often than not, shooting onto
ISO 3200 film at F1.2, handholding with shutter speed as long as
1/15 second, and then sometimes a stop or two underexposed,
the result have been fantastic.

During the last few months I've switched from my film based
photography using Canon FD lenses to full frame dSLR and
Canon EF lenses. My first challege was documenting activites
of madrigal dinners (set in the 1600s) in January with little
more than candles as the light source.

The new camera, designed to take advantage of auto focusing
(AF) in the lenses, lacks a split image and micro prism collar
on the focusing screen--tools I came to rely on in very low
light situations in the past... so the first night's images often
showed my lack of precise focus.

The second night, I let the camera do its thing--evaluating
multiple focus points and choosing to focus on the "closest"
point(s) near the central third of the image area... The results
where much better--in fact, some awesome.

As has been the case over the years with the older FD version,
the EF 85mm F1.2 L USM serves me well. If I was restricted to
just one lens, this would likely be it.




Feb 15, 2006
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JHaring
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Registered: Feb 14, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Wide open, this lens shows a brighter and more colorful picture than the eye.
Cons:
None.

I've waited some time before I bought this expensive lens. I already had the 50mm 1:4, and the 35mm 1:4. I usually take photos at parties, indoor, at night, without a flash - on a 20D (1.6x crop) camera, so the 50mm is a portrait lens and the 35mm is good for "natural" medium-shots.

The advantage of 1.6x is that you only use the best part of the lens, and in that respect, the 50mm is a super-best buy. The difference with the expensive 35mm, wide open, is barely noticable.

But the 85mm... At first, I doubted the "magic" of this lens, suspected it was one of those "board-hypes" by people who spent a lot of money and had to justify it. But then I bought it anyway and started to take pictures at 1.2. Amazing sharpness, brightness, contrast and color. On a 1.6x crop, this is (more or less) a super 135mm lens, very suitable for headshots in an large room and outdoors. DOF and bokeh: not that much better than my two other lenses, but sharper wide open and slightly better color and contrast. And that one stop extra makes a lot of difference in my kind of photography.

"Heavy"? Only if you let it dangle on your neck. This lens feels very comfortable to me on a 20D. It has an ergonomic grip for thumb and index of your left hand. Nice balance.

"Slow AF"? Haven't noticed any difference with my other lenses, and the "motorized" MF feels very good too, but not very usuable in low light (unless you have 20/20 vision). Very nice in the city, on the street: you can take close shots of people who don't even notice you - this lens is black, it's short, it's very discreet, doesn't scream "tele" at all.

"High learning curve"? Forget it. Frame your subject, (auto)focus and press the button. Hint: always shoot wide-open. That's what the 1:2 is for, to get tack-sharp photos with that special DOF. I think it's a sin to stop this lens down: I always use it at 1:2 (what other lens can do it?). And believe me: 1:4 of 1:2, it can make a difference. Wide open, this lens sucks up light, color and contrast and detail like nothing else.

Very happy with my 50 and 35mm, but this one is extra special.


Feb 14, 2006
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celsus
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Registered: Feb 6, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 504
Review Date: Feb 11, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Very good sharpness, the colour rendering is on the typical L lens level. Good build, the rubberized sort of a finish adheres well to the hand holding the lens.
Cons:
Excessive purple and green fringing in the range checked: f1.2 to f2.0. As of today, still have not checked the CA behaviour when stopped down further. The CA is brought about by any higher contrast boundaries and highlights, such as in the image of a crystal vase in a rather dimly lit room. The design of my 85 f/1.8 optics clearly controls the CA better. The focusing lens group drive makes somewhat unsettling rocking noise in its target position, as if there was a degree of backlash or calibration hysterisis in it. The manual focus ring feels rickety, not consistent with the solidly built remainder of the lens. The location of the red "dot" for lens-camera mount alignment is inexplicable: one can not actually see the "dot" when trying to engage the lens onto the body. In summary, what I see in this lens design is the focus group drive assembly, CA control and packaging having been made subordinate to lens speed. I would be hard pressed to see in this lens the sort of excellence I have found in some other (cheaper) Canon L and non L lenses. Having f/1.2 nominal aperture, this brute of a lens is just (obviously) fast and probably of a sharpness roughly comparable to EF 50 f/1.4. So, do get it if you must or really want to have the f/1.2 lens speed (at 85 mm). If you can live with f/1.4 or even f/1.8, look elsewhere.



Feb 11, 2006
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Liquidpics
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Registered: Jun 14, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1107
Review Date: Feb 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The DOF is like no other lens as well as the 1.2 for available light. The AF is no problem. Geeze. It's not sloooooooow like others have mentioned. Quite the body on this one. Lens seems to be indestructable. Capable of producing creative shots with the ultimate bokeh!
Cons:
You have to pay close attention to your subject and your focus point wide open because as mentioned the DOF is razor thin.



Feb 9, 2006
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Remford
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Registered: Aug 7, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1392
Review Date: Jan 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Permits absolute artistic control, optical work of art, capable of shots which are unmistakable to this lens. Ideal for portraiture and human life-subjects. Ethereal bokeh, unlike nothing else.
Cons:
Massive mass. Unique (unfamilair) focus ring. Power-assisted USM is slow and lacks tactile response.

This is a true artist's lens; and it comes with a steep learning curve. It isn't a lens that's made to be "stopped down" just because it's fast, nor is it a lens that one should shoot with, hoping that everything will be sharp edge-to-edge at f/1.2. It's beauty is in the heavenly bokeh, razor thin DOF, and unique optical color transmission that makes shots taken with it, when hitting its sweet spot (takes LOTS of practice to do consistently, but few endeavors are as worthwhile), like none other and true examples of photographic art.

Jan 7, 2006
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Film_Ruled
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Registered: Oct 20, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 653
Review Date: Jan 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Most lenses can be compared on several levels of criteria. This one can not. At 1.2 is can not be compared, it is pure magic!
Cons:
Size, weight, focus by wire? Really quite minor.

I own the 85 1.8 and love it. I is small, light, fast focusing and sharp.
But this 85L, whoa man what a lens! I shot a 4 day advertising job with it and did not use another lens. Brilliant careers have been built on the look of this lens at 1.2 and now I can see why. On the 5D, there is no such thing as bad light with this lens.

It weighs a ton and is not easy to hide as a street photography lens, but man! Is it worth it.


Jan 1, 2006
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
126 246123 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,380.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.49
9.5
ef85mmf_12_1_


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