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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
125 244351 Feb 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,381.37
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.52
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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Thouse
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Registered: Aug 3, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 807
Review Date: Aug 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,175.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optics are out of this world; build is typical L; light-sucking ability is unreal; colour and contrast are superb......I can go on and on and on with how great this lens is!!
Cons:
None for me!!

Having had the very good 'cheaper' cousin (85F1,8), I found that with my DRebel, I just wasn't using this focal length all that much. Once I switched to a 1D, 85mm suddenly seemed to work much better for me. I also decided that I am a prime person so my dream trio of primes are 35L, 85L, and 135L. I picked up a great condition used 85L and was immediately drawn to the heftiness of this lens!! It is quite a chunk of glass. I find that while the AF is slightly slower than the f1,8 version, it doesn't bother me at all! The quality just exhudes from this lens.......contrast and colour are the best I have seen (and yes, I have owned a 135L). People often describe shots taken with this lens as magical and once you start using it, you quickly realize what they mean. It is as good as you read about..........

The one thing I must mention with the 85L is that there is a learning curve in getting consistantly good shots with the very narrow DoF wide open and even stopped down a bit. I am still in the learning mode but that is half the fun! It is a fun lens to learn and when you do get a great result, it is well worth the expense. Highly highly recommended!!


Aug 30, 2005
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3ABX03
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Registered: Dec 26, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Aug 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: DOP,build quality,1.2
Cons:
non

Amazing lens. Nothing to compare with. If you can afforded gat one.
http://www.pbase.com/3abxo3/85_12


Aug 28, 2005
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Edwingoh
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Registered: Aug 18, 2005
Location: China
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good sharpness@F1.2...Color and Bokeh are very good....Nice Portrait lens...
Cons:
Slow AF...but for me, the AF is ok.

I brought this Big lens on last June. Before i have it, i have EF 85mm F1.8....after shooting around 300 shots....the color and sharpness are really good ! Although this is a heavy lens, but with 1DMk2, good balance. The AF is slow but it is acceptable. I really like the bokeh of this lens...wash away the background. This also a good for low light Shot....just like my 135 F2L, very nice lens.


Aug 21, 2005
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DaveClarkOne
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Registered: Aug 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: As sharp as the eye can see. Build quality. Shoot anywhere lens. Compact
Cons:
A bit weighty, but well balanced.

This is the ultimate, sharp/lowlight portrait lens. Depth of field comes out better than artists with paint brushes in hand. The only qualm was that the first one had "variable" friction with the manual focus ring (would turn with uneven friction). The second one purchased has a consistent, very light, focus mechanism.

I'm overall very satisfied with the RESOLUTION that matches my 135L. The 85L will shoot where others won't, with unmatched bokeh. I highly recommend if you shoot people. It is large, stubby even, but not objectionally so. Its photographic limits are only your own skill at using it.


Aug 20, 2005
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nsbca
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Registered: Aug 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 385
Review Date: Aug 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, sharp and great bokah.
Cons:
Slow AF

Positivly the best aestetic affects of any lens I have ever used. I sold mine to buy a 85/1.8, 100/2 and a 70-200/2.8 L. I should have never done that. The 85/1.8 doesn't come close to the satifaction I was getting with the 1.2. Buying a new one this week.

Aug 4, 2005
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luckyrwe
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Registered: Jun 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jul 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: EXTREMELY sharp images, be sure to be spot on with the focus however. Fast AF, the ring just has a long way to go is all.
Cons:

This lens is amazing. I shot some grab shots and they came out sharper than any other lens I have. I may sell my 24-70 and 70-200 is prime lenses are indeed this good.

I owned the 85/1.8 for ONE DAY before not being happy with it. Once you go L you never go back. I posted some test results on a board, email me at astcell at gmail dot com if you wish to see the link.

Anyone who says the 85/1.8 is better is suffering from sour grapes. This lens is amazing. it is definitely my new favorite.


Jul 22, 2005
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andy1100xx
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Registered: Dec 19, 2004
Location: Thailand
Posts: 303
Review Date: Jun 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beautifil image quality, low light capability, build quality.
Cons:
none

I purchased this lens for the low light ability but it is the 'feeling' you get in the images that has really suprised me and completely blown me away. Difficult to explain but very noticable.

I have had mainly L zooms and a few of the 'cheaper' primes to date (50 1.4, 85 1.8), but this is something else altogether and will probably lead me to now get the 35 and 135 L's.

Not a lens for every use (slowish zoom etc) but suits my shooting style perfectly and exceeded my expectations.

Definately my favourite lens.


Jun 28, 2005
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A.Tan
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Registered: Feb 6, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 412
Review Date: Jun 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp! Wonderful bokeh, Solid construction, quiet motor.
Cons:
Slow AF

Great lens, I can get really sharp images even at f/1.2!
The bokeh is really so much nicer than my other L lenses including the 135mm f/2L.
The AF is slow but it is fine for me because it's really not a sports lens.
This lens is highly recomended.



Jun 18, 2005
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macfly
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Registered: Jun 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jun 15, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

well, as a follow up.....it seems that that third visit was in order. took it back to B&H today and exchanged it for now my third copy of this lens. this one hopefully will be it. the focus ring is much smoother and does not have the same sticking / frictiony feeling as the last one. hope i can now get out and use this thing some more. like what i have seen so far. im really amazed that Canon has so many QA issues though. for a lens of this price one would think they went over them with a fine tooth comb before letting it out of the barn.

Jun 15, 2005
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cjac
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Registered: Dec 12, 2004
Location: Belgium
Posts: 2530
Review Date: Jun 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Stunning quality : sharpness, bookeh, build quality
Cons:
Price - but worth every penny as you get what you pay for ; weight (you know it when you buy it) ; relatively slow AF and minimum focusing distance.

A stunning lens, second to none - by far - for portraits and any 85mm work that doesn't require ultra-fast AF.

I don't understand people complaining about price or weight as you know it when you buy it, and quality ALWAYS costs more, and is heavier ... and it's worth every penny.

Some might argue that there is not a huge difference between the 85mm f/1.2 and the f/1.8 when shooting at f/2. Maybe right - but who cares ??? When you own this gem, you'll be using it mostly at f/1.4, giving you the most incredible bookeh, not to mention the speed.

A must have.


Jun 15, 2005
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macfly
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Registered: Jun 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jun 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros:
Cons:

i got bit by the bug and finally decided to pick this lens up...so far i am loving what it can do but am not seeming to do well on quality control. the first one i got seemed fine and then after a day i noticed a nice big speck of dust sealed inside the rear elements. back to B&H it went and they nicely replaced it. this one is clear of dust but now i have a question about the focus ring mechanism. i know its a fly by wire kind of deal but i notice that there seems to be a difference in how smoothly it rotates...it seems like every full turn has a point where it gets "sticky" for lack of a better word...like friction increases for about 60 degrees of rotation and then goes back to being lighter...is this normal or am i in need of a return visit?


Jun 14, 2005
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Ben Horne
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Registered: Jan 9, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 11737
Review Date: May 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing Bokeh, Very fast, silky smooth manual focus
Cons:
slow to AF when going from close focus to infinity, but this is because the lens is built with precise MF in mind.

Yes, that is right, I paid nothing for this lens. It's a long, but beautiful story. :-) I don't use this lens as much as I would like, but it's a great piece of glass to own. It is simply unmatched when it comes to portrait work.

There is a bit of a learning curve with this lens though. You will need to pay very close attention to your DOF, and it's also a good idea to take multiple shots of your subject. Sometimes if you move forward or backwards a tad, it will throw off the focus. Take your time with this lens, and the results will be stunning.


May 30, 2005
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CBDigital
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Registered: May 26, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 316
Review Date: May 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, wonderful color, fantastic portrait lens when used with 20D
Cons:
My only negative comment would be that I wish it would zoom. But then it would not be what it is! So I have no negatives whatsoever. It's wannaful!

I bought this lens to try for outdoor portraits. It has become my favorite lens. When faced with portrait situations I LOOK FOR WAYS to make this lens fit the situation. The color is great, the bokeh is fantastic, and it is my favorite lens. The only problem is that, if used in fast action situations, you need to be prepared to zoom with your feet at times. I like the comfort of zoom lenses. But this one is certainly well worth the extra effort of giving up the zoom.

May 24, 2005
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hbuxx
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Registered: Dec 13, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 155
Review Date: May 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,474.49 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp even @ F1.2 , Great background bokeh , Good hood design. Solid build. acceptable AF speed
Cons:
heavy , Price

This lens a awesome. Perfect for portrait. Sharp at wide open.

The focus speed is accepable, not slow at all.

This lens is heavy but I am ok with it.


Be careful when you screw the UV filter on the lens. Don't tide the UV filter to hard. Otherwise you might unscrew the whole front focus section out from the lens.

So far, this lens very good in build quality and image quality.

I owned more than 15 Canon lens before. This 85L lens is one of the best lens that Canon made.



May 11, 2005
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Digitalpowersh
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Registered: Dec 19, 2004
Location: Austria
Posts: 9
Review Date: Apr 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great build quality, great bokeh f1,2 right, great MF, this kind of lens hood,
Cons:
none

I just unpacked my Canon EF 85mm f1,2 L USM and ...WOW... what a lens...


Weight: It is heavy, but on my 1DMkII this is THE SET UP! Very good balanced and I can hold it without any problems with the 580EX on the camera.

The build quality: is great, it's like a fine Rolex like somebody said.


AF: is not slow at all. I expected a very slow lens, but it shows again, that it is wise not to listen to all posting people in the internet (as I did when I bought the Canon 16-35mm f/2,8 L USM instead of the Canon 17-40mm f4 L USM). Maybe the most of them didn't use the 85mm f1,2 at all.

Even AI SERVO works better as some of them said. (it's a portrait lens, but I tried AI SERVO too, because they made me curious)

Overall I'm impressed (because I expected a slow lens as well)!It's a "normal" L lens!

MF: the MF ring is sooooooo smooth. You can perfectly adjust the focus and I really like it!!!

f1,2: it's a dream!!! The bokeh is out of this world. I took some pictures @f1,2 and even there are some items in the background of the person, they disapear as soon as you shoot at f1,2.


Overall impression: GREAT lens!


Apr 24, 2005
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sieracki001
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Registered: Mar 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Mar 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,429.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing Bokeh. Sharp at f1.4, not bad at f1.2. Awesome lens barrel.
Cons:
Bit of CA on contrasty subjects at f-stops less than f2.

Been shooting with this lens for a couple of weeks so I want to share some initial impressions. This is designed as a portrait lens, and optimized for that type of subject, so I am 'misusing' this lens a bit, perhaps better to say that I'm not using it for what it's main purpose is.

Not to just repeat what others have said, although I agree with most of the posts on this lens, I want to comment on some of the negtive aspects of this lens. Believe me, the pluses outweigh the minuses, but at this price I'm nitpicking of course.

Focusing: ring has tremendous travel. Camera has to be activated to allow the ring to change the focus. Autofocus is slow. Others have said all this. Well, this lens is designed for very precise focusing at a very shallow DOF that is possible on the lens. The ring's travel is actually an advantage when you are shooting under f4. This allows very precise movements and enables you to select what will be in focus with precision. I don't recommend autofocus with this lens, especially in low light. Since the viewfinder is as bright as it ever will be, you should be able to focus pretty accurately.

Weight: Fine for me. Not a trivial lens to shoot with. The price you pay for the extra light.

Price of alternatives: Very difficult issue. Is bokeh really better at f1.2 than f1.8 to justify the purchase of the lens? Yes IMO. The f1.8 isn't bad at all. Go for that lens if the price scares you off. The extra $1000 or so could be used else where (for example, a super duper Gitzo tripod).

This is a hard core lens for the perfectionist. Maybe bragging rights factors into this too. Everyone who has heard of this lens wants to see what f1.2 can do. It can do plenty, but I'm not always going to shoot at f1.2, trust me. You pay a price in being able to get anything in focus. Very specialized lens here, must be used appropriately. Remember no lens is as good wide open relative to what it is at f8. With this lens, you are getting as good as it gets wide open. So the question is, do you really need to shoot wide open? Are you ready for the trade offs?


Mar 27, 2005
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
125 244351 Feb 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,381.37
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.52
9.5
ef85mmf_12_1_


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