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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
311 487125 Mar 4, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $350.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.92
9.45
9.4
ef85mmf_18usm_1_

Specifications:
A highly practical medium telephoto lens with superb delineation and portability. Images are sharp and clear at all apertures. Through computer simulations, the lens has been designed to give beautiful background blur. Since the front lens group does not rotate during focusing special filter effects are not affected.


 


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eyalg
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Registered: Sep 15, 2005
Location: Israel
Posts: 3
Review Date: Feb 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $315.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent color and sharpness, fast, accurate.
Cons:
None for the price.

Everybody says the best bang for the buck is the 50mm f/1.8, and that may be true, but this lens is so much better.
On my 10D, it gives head shot portraits that exact 'wow' factor I was looking for.
It could be a bit tight indoors on a crop body, but it's worth cramping in the corner to get the shot.


Feb 10, 2008
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infinityG35
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Registered: Nov 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 213
Review Date: Jan 31, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $310.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: For what it is it has a nice build and quality. It is in the level of consumer price but the quality is up far with L lenses and even better with some of the L zooms.
Cons:
None

I used 20D & 5D and its like have 85 and 135 1.8 for me. Best bang for the bucks. It leaves with all the hipes that you read in here.

Jan 31, 2008
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Tigadee
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Registered: Aug 4, 2005
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jan 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $440.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light, very sharp, great contrast/colours, fast focus and deliciously creamy bokeh.
Cons:
None except the limited use it gets.

Now I know what real beautiful bokeh is! 85mm combined with f1.8 produces the best bokeh I've seen in limited years in photography. Love this lens and wish I could use it more often. not much else to say except that is you like your 50mm f1.8 or f1.4, then you'll like this lens too!

Jan 30, 2008
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Jedd
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Registered: Aug 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ in all aspects, weight, cost, speed.
Cons:
Harder to use inside on a crop body.

I've been though a dozen of different lenses, zooms, primes, Ls, non-Ls and still consider this one to be the best IQ for the buck. Whenever I look through the pictures after the shootout and see something breathtaking - 9 out of 10 it was done with the 85mm f/1.8. If left with the choice of the only one lens - it will be the one.
I also own 85mm f/1.2L II which is a true masterpiece as well, but I can hardly find any difference above f/2 between them IQ wise, while autofocus is much faster on non-L. So to answer the popular question of 1.8 vs 1.2L - get both if you can afford 1.2L, get 1.8 otherwise.


Jan 29, 2008
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three60
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Registered: Jan 5, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast-focusing, sharp, lightweight, inconspicuous
Cons:
Minimum focusing distance is too far - 3 feet

This lens has got to be one of the best values in the EF lens lineup. This little guy has incredible resolving power and very good sharpness from f/2 onward. Optimal sharpness is around f/4 or f/5.6 by my eyes.

Sharpness talk aside, I love it because it's so compact and lightweight. It's not a large intimidating lens, like the 70-200/2.8 and so when shooting portraits or candids, people don't freak out. I recently used it to shoot several young children/babies and they felt comfortable around me. I probably wouldn't have been able to get right up to them had I brought along a big long piece of glass. The creamy bokeh is quite good, though it doesn't have that etheral quality that the 85L produces. Then again, this lens costs about 1/6th the price of the 85L!

The only thing I wish this lens would do is focus closer. 3 feet is a bit too far when using the lens for existing light shooting indoors. Other than that, no complaints at all.



Jan 12, 2008
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David Israel
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Registered: Nov 6, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 3763
Review Date: Nov 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $329.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Reasonable Price, wide aperature
Cons:
Softer than my L Zoom lenses, occassional front focusing

The EF 85 f1.8 has become my least used lens (by me, anyway. I have a friend who does portrait photagraphy and she borrows this lens from me all of the time). My EF 70-200 f2.8 L IS has virtually replaced this lens, for me. The Zoom is sharper at 85mm than this prime is, so I hardly ever use it. In spite of this, however, I do still recommend this lens. Why?

My EF 70 f2.8 L IS cost over $1,700.00 and this lens cost me $329! There is the "Law of Diminishing returns" to consider. If you can pay 200% more to get 20% better performance, is it worth it to you? Would you pay 400% more to get 10% better performance? Each person has to make these decisions for themselves.

Our most respected local photography studio uses this lens (with great results, I should add). I thought that, surely, they must use the 85 f1.2; but they don't, they use this lens!

This lens is a little long for full portraits on my 1.6 crop factor body (I'll bet it would be perfect on a 5D), but makes a decent head and shoulders lens. My biggest complaint about my lens is that in lower light it seems to front focus a little, requiring some manual adjustment. It does focus quietly, however.

If you are coming from a package lens (i.e. 28-105 f4-5.6 lens) than the 85 f1.8 will really feel like a stellar performer. If you are accustomed to a red stripe on most of your lenses than the image quality may seem more "adequate" than exceptional.

My opinion of this lens changed over time. When this WAS one of my better lenses, it was the bomb! When this became one of my more affordable lenses, it compared less favorably to other lenses in my bag. However, when you take price into consideration, I still feel that this lens delivers a lot for the cost. I would still recommend this lens to a friend and I'm still not quite prepared to part with it (and that should tell you something).


Nov 28, 2007
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Steve Spencer
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Registered: Nov 7, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 7429
Review Date: Nov 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast autofocus, great IQ, great in low light, very sharp from f/2.0
Cons:
none

This is a very nice lens at a very reasonable price. With its fast focus and wide aperture it is easy to use even in low light. A stellar performer and an excellent value.

Nov 25, 2007
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Wil Fry
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Registered: Nov 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $309.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast AF, Extreme sharpness, Low cost, Great bokeh
Cons:
No hood

This is the sharpest lens I've used on my Canon Rebel XTi. It's regularly produced crisper images than the 50mm f/1.2, and sharper than the 70-200mm f/2.8L.

For portraits, I haven't found anything better. The 85mm f/1.8 gives great "bokeh," focuses quickly and quietly, and the colors and contrasts of each photo are dead-on.

My only complaint is that it doesn't come with a hood, and the one you can buy for it isn't that great (flimsy, ugly). I'm not sure why Canon can't include their hoods like Sigma does.

For just over $300 (brand new), I haven't found anything in this category that's better.


Nov 19, 2007
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jcmedeiros
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Registered: Jun 30, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 760
Review Date: Nov 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: price-focus speed-contrast
Cons:
el cheapo hood

The EF 85 f/1.8 may be the best value in the Canon line up. I used it this Fall to shoot volleyball and I am very impressed. It consistently produces sharp contrasty images. Wide open it has a nice smooth brokeh. I've used the 85 f/1.2L and the 1.8 hold up quite favorably against it, especially considering the price difference.The focus speed is also quite good, way better than the high inertia 1.2/L.

At its price point, the 85 1.8 is very tough to beat.


Nov 14, 2007
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toma7
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Registered: Jan 31, 2007
Location: Austria
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: perfect portrait lens, sharp from f/2.2, DOF, light, bokeh, cheap, fast AF, might be the best non-L lens, not much worse than 85mm 1.2
Cons:
some CA wide open, focusing distance
Nov 12, 2007
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Perry Ge
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Registered: Jul 29, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 9
Review Date: Nov 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $357.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, super-fast AF, gorgeous bokeh, great IQ, price!
Cons:
Some CA wide open under harsh conditions, AF can hunt a bit in low-light, stupid hood.

Picked one of these up second hand and it's my favourite lens by far. Amazing bang for the buck - images are sharp, colours and contrast are great, 1.8 aperture is really useful for creating gorgeous bokeh or shooting in low-light conditions. The AF is lighting quick and for the most part, very accurate. Fantastic price for a lens of this quality as well.

My only beefs with it are that there is a bit of CA when shooting wide open under certain conditions (when harsh whites with sharp borders are present), and in low light, the AF occasionally hunts. The lens hood is also an incredibly stupid clip-on design that feels flimsy at best.

All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens - especially given its price!


Nov 4, 2007
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Peter Kotsa
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Registered: Nov 1, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 267
Review Date: Nov 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $670.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: compared to the 1.2 version its quite good/sharp
Cons:
misses focus quite a bit at 1.8

good lens but not at pro levels. CA plus not focussing accurately is where this lens is let down.

Nov 1, 2007
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sivrajbm
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Registered: Mar 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3242
Review Date: Oct 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $314.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Speed, handling, IQ, bokem, sharp, vibrant colors and bright viewfinder image.
Cons:
Hood not included

This is my second 85/1.8 the first died in a tragic second story balcony accident. I really like this lense, it fast and sharp. It's the perfect portrait lenses on a 1-series camera. For all that it does Canon could have put a red ring around it and no one would think anything different it's that good. To get the most from it outside in bright light get the hood it helps kill flare and improve color, contrast and saturation. This little lense is a real winner.

Oct 31, 2007
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Doug Weasner
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Registered: Oct 24, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 221
Review Date: Oct 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $360.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast and reliable autofocus, even in low light on a Rebel XTi. Fabulous sharpness and incredible bokeh, especially for a consumer lens.
Cons:
Pay extra for a hood...and a clip on one at that? Buyers of genuine Canon glass deserve better than that, L or not, IMO.

This lens gets it done without breaking the bank. Ring USM with full time manual, usable wide open with great sharpness from f2.0 on (at least on my copy). Good color, flare resistance, and other hallmarks of high optical quality are there as well. Past reviewers have mentioned unusual CA with this lens - I haven't noticed it with my mostly indoor use of this lens.

Sharp. Zoom. Cheap: Pick 2. For photographers on a budget, Canon's lineup of prime lenses will introduce you to a new level of image quality that consumer zooms just can't reach.

After using this lens, then going to pick up the hood about a month later, that was a sizable let down. My Tamron and Tokina lenses have solid bayonet mount hoods; I feel like I'm going to break the hood for this unit every time I clip it on/off. The excellent performance of Canon consumer prime lenses in general keep me loyal to them in that segment, but I will look at either L units or to other manufacturers (as I did with my Tamron 17-50 and Tokina 50-135) for my zoom lens needs.


Oct 24, 2007
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S Zozgornik
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Registered: Oct 17, 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 9
Review Date: Oct 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Best Lens for the money
Cons:
none

A Gem, sharp even at 1,8.
Quick focus, well build but compact and lightweight.


Oct 17, 2007
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lord_malone
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Registered: Oct 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 496
Review Date: Sep 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $349.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Focal length on both full frame and APS-C sensors, image quality more than matches the 85 1.2L I & II, AF speed, large max aperture (sadly not 1.4 or below, but fast nonetheless, cost vs. the 85 1.2L, lightweight, inconspicuous, sharp, sharp and sharp! Does sports, weddings, portraits, household pets, ducks... This is an L lens in disguise.
Cons:
lens hood is bit weak, lens hood sold separately, AF is a tad noisy, doesn't have that L quality build (obviously for the price)... Honestly I really can't pick this lens apart. This is the best prosumer lens I've ever used PERIOD.

BLUF, this isn't a very technical review. Most everything good that can be said about this lens has already been mentioned and repeated. I'll just hit on a few points that are important to me. I once owned the mighty 85 1.2L and it was truly a stellar performer. I used to long for the days I could go back to having that ultra-fast 1.2 aperture, but the 85 1.8 pretty much mitigated the need. The 85 1.2L is now at the very bottom of my lens priority list, and I don't even feel that it's a necessity any longer. Yes, the 85 1.8 is THAT GOOD. How can a $350 lens possibly match its more expensive faster brother(s) for IQ? I don't know, but Canon has done something right and this is absolutely to best bang for buck non L glass you can buy. If you're in need of a lens for indoor sports, this lens fits the bill. Fast aperture is a plus, but the faster auto focus puts the 1.2 version to shame. If you're in need of a lens for portraits, this lens is arguably among the best Canon has to offer, and ranks right up there with the 85L and 135L. I've used this lens for weddings and environmental portraits and it does not disappoint at all. This lens is sharp across the aperture range, and out performs some L's I've owned. If you're considering the 85L, I strongly recommend you try this lens before you plunk down all that hard earned cash. Yeah, this lens may not have a red ring, but it deserves one.

Sep 25, 2007
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
311 487125 Mar 4, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $350.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.92
9.45
9.4
ef85mmf_18usm_1_


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