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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
184 307163 Aug 30, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,776.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.96
9.7
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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UGADawg
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Registered: Aug 4, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 435
Review Date: Jan 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: This lens is a master for weddings and portraits, the focus issues seem to be quite a bit faster than the first version. You get what you pay for.
Cons:
Cost, weight, Cost.



Jan 8, 2007
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Gary Jean
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Registered: Oct 26, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 146
Review Date: Jan 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,689.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness wide open, suberb bokeh
Cons:
By far the slowest AF of any of my EF lenses

I'd been looking for a good used 85 f/1.2 gen I for some time and I was willing to pay $1,500. When Beach Camera listed a new gen II for $1,689 after rebate with free FedEx shipping, I bit.

After a few weeks with this lens, I am very pleased with it. It clearly adds a new capability to my arsenal. The wide-open sharpness and creamy bokeh continue to amaze me. This lens on a 5D, with its low noise at high ISOs, can turn night into day.

AF is adequate in bright light, but poor in dim light. Pointed at a low contrast subject (like a face) in near darkness it will hunt forever, where other fast primes can still achieve AF. This is not a big issue for me, having grown up with MF. However, it keeps me from giving this lens a perfect 10. Perhaps low light AF would improve on a 1 series body.

At the moment, I rank it 2nd among all my lenses (all L zooms and primes, except for the 50), slightly behind the fantastic 135 f/2 and ahead of the workhorse 70-200 f/2.8.

If you need the aperture and can live with slow AF, this lens is among the best. An appreciation for its solid build and impressive looking glass may help ease the initial pain of the big hit on your credit card. Despite the high cost, at around $1,700 I consider it to be a good value.


Jan 5, 2007
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gervaise
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Registered: Apr 9, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 3879
Review Date: Dec 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Admittedly, I am an admirer of the Canon L Series lenses, but this one is simply the most elegant, superb optical and mechanical device I have ever owned. The images are magic, and the colors superb. If you have the $$ and appreciate fine things, this is for you.
Cons:
This lens takes a delicate hand to keep in focus at the wide open end, and is not easy to use but the results are worth the effort. It is heavy to carry and very expensive in comparison to many other lenses, so the casual photographer might be better off with a lesser and less expensive lens.



Dec 23, 2006
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alfieri
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Registered: Feb 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 178
Review Date: Dec 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,680.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: the hype is all true, this lens is magical; colors and skin tones met my very high expections; contrast and sharpness exceeded them; f/1.2 renders paintings; f/2 and up render very sharp, contrasty, 3D images; audible focusing motor helps signal when i'm closer than minimum focusing distance; no issues with focus speed; the lens is well worth its price and weight (2.25 lbs); IMHO, it blows away the excellent 85/1.8
Cons:
minimum focusing distance of 3.2 feet

sample images and ramblings:

http://alfieri.smugmug.com/gallery/2256513

85/1.8 sample images for comparison:

http://alfieri.smugmug.com/gallery/1210969


Dec 21, 2006
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tasos_at
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Registered: Aug 22, 2005
Location: Greece
Posts: 273
Review Date: Dec 18, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: amazing sharpness beautiful contrast and saturation
Cons:
expensive

The f/1.2 is poor but 2,0-8,0 is as sharp contrast and saturation, really excellent.For my portrait lenses!
is my favourite.

http://my.opera.com/tasosart/albums/show.dml?id=175978


Dec 18, 2006
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ryan aguas
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Registered: Dec 7, 2006
Location: Philippines
Posts: 42
Review Date: Dec 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: the best 35mm portrait lens available to date
Cons:
just a regular lens if used for other applications. astronomically overpriced

This lens is purely a specialist portrait lens. For those who want to bring out the wow in every portrait, for those who want something that's extraordinary, and for those who want to shoot studio-like quality portraits in any lighting situation, this is the ultimate, must have lens.

This lens is for those who want very high standards and complete control in portrait photography. It's not easy to handle it but in the hands of a good photographer, the results could be very stunning.

It's very expensive, but then the price barrier maintains its legendary status as an object of desire to be coveted and afforded only by those who really have the passion for good portraiture.


Dec 11, 2006
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mark Jos
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Registered: Dec 10, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Dec 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,060.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: One of the sharpest lenses you'll find...
Cons:
just the money.

Just picked her up a couple weeks back. It's very sharp and the background blur is a thing of beauty. My suggestion, get one if you want a drop dead portrait and you have the bucks to spare. If this is a hobby, you'd better rent a while until you can get a gig to pay for it...

Dec 10, 2006
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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: 1003
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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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
184 307163 Aug 30, 2017
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,776.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.96
9.7
85II


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