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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
174 279261 Aug 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $1,784.94
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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heythereimrobb
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Registered: Jul 6, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: INSANELY sharp @1.2 (just nail EXACTLY what you want in focus), great DOF, excellent contrast.
Cons:
Little slow on focus, 3ft. minimum focusing distance....maybe.

So check it out. I've been through a wedding, a few portrait shoots, and other random stuff with this bad boy. I read all sorts of stuff on this lens, and everything is pretty true with all the cons....it's slow, can't get very close, pricey...whatever. Use it. Straight up. Here's how I can counter act those "cons." For one, you gotta use this lens for the right things. Don't go shooting a football game with it. Pull that sucker out when the bride is getting her make up done (Oooo this lens with window light...YUM), in the wedding ceremony, a senior portrait, detail shots. Then you don't have to worry about the slow focusing, you don't want to be in someone's grill anyways for the 3 feet focusing distance (You're just greedy to want more from an 85mm), and come on...you see ONE shot and the price tag disappears.

So just get it already if you photograph anything with people or artsy detail stuff.

Samples:

http://robbdavidson.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/201011200002.jpg
http://robbdavidson.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/2010112000031.jpg
http://robbdavidson.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/201011200009.jpg
http://robbdavidson.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/201011200026.jpg


Nov 21, 2010
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Todd Klassy
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Registered: Sep 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 290
Review Date: Oct 8, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, great contrast, f/1.2 aperture, & beautiful bokeh. Image quality overall is unbelievably good.
Cons:
Focus is a tad slow.

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is an exceptional lens. For portraits it is absolutely superb. Its bokeh is unmatched and its sharpness is unbelievably good. I love this lens. And while someone would automatically think of using it strictly for portraits, it has some many uses outside of the studio or portrait environment, too. That bokeh is oh so amazing.

Colors and contrast are also amazingly good, very little fringing (if any), and it is also built like a tank.

Buyers should be aware that it is a large and heave lens. It is like having a softball on the front of the camera. I call it 'Big Bertha'. Also, the rear element is awfully close to the mount, so I would advise anyone putting this lens on their camera to be careful when they do so as to not scratch that part of the lens. Focus is a little slow, but that would be expected on a lens with such large and heavy glass...it's not like it is the first lens you would pick to use to photograph sports.

If you do wedding photography or portraiture of any kind I would recommend you taking a serious look at this lens. Arguably it is one of Canon's three best prime lenses. Period.

Here are some examples of photographs I have taken with this lens:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/365278305/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2280382988/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2907174824/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latitudes/2863026063


Oct 8, 2010
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dves
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Registered: Jan 19, 2009
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 5
Review Date: Sep 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, nice colour, smoothest bokeh
Cons:
tripod needed, manual focus for critical work, thank goodness for liveview 5Dmkii

Just received a second hand 85L Mkii lens & feel like I made a life changing decision. No more pining for the perfect photographic tool because this is pretty close. Coming from a 30D 17-55 & 10-22 I will miss the handheld IS functionality but gain a huge wow factor. I have dusted off my light meter, tripod & am looking forward to some liveview manual focus goodness. The out of focus is amazing. And so sharp takes me back to MF days but much more immediate. Awesome! Sorry nikon but in spite of a better body you don't have this lens. (I have owned the Canon FD 50mm f1.4, Nikon 85D f1.4, a leica 50mm f1.4 Summilux & a Hasselblad with 80mm CF) This lens is special. I am so looking forward to shooting portraits with this.

Sep 27, 2010
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Chris Walker
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Registered: Mar 29, 2007
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 15, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: See Comments 2010-03-19
Cons:
See Comments 2010-03-19

See Comments 2010-03-19

Now, the link works again (See Comments from 2010-04-14).

http://www.photo-walker.ch/index.php?option=com_phocagallery&view=category&id=3%3Aef-85mm&Itemid=160&lang=de


Aug 15, 2010
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PCOWpix
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Registered: Jan 13, 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 9
Review Date: Jul 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Image quality, sharp, ergonomics, bokeh monster, object of beauty
Cons:
Hood. Spendy.

It's the 85L. A classic. Actually, being the 85L II, it's the son of a classic.

The DoF at MFD is less than a centimetre, wide open.

The bokeh is creamy and smooth and lush.

The AF isn't as fast as other glass, but it's not so slow as to be particularly annoying - especially when you consider the sheer amount of movement involved in the focussing process.

The lens hood is the most craptacular idea out of Canon .. ever. It clips to the sodding focus ring and yes, it turns when you manually focus. That's just stupid. I like my hoods to give my glass some mechanical protection from knocks and bumps, not to transmit any bumps straight into the focus ring. It's stupid. Someone should be beaten for this.

It's a little heavy, but if you're used to L glass, you're used to a bit of heft.

Hold the lens up to the light with both caps off and stare into the front element - it's like a window to another world. Stare again. You're hooked and can't resist. This lens is an art object in itself. Take pictures of it.

My copy is sharp wide open, with a little tinge of colour on areas just out of focus. Half an hour with a tripod shooting gave me an AF microadjust of -1 on my 5D Mk. II.

It's heavy. It's expensive. The hood sucks. But the first few frames you shoot will seal the deal. Hell, the frames I shot *in the shop* playing with it impressed me, and that was before AF micro-adjust.


Jul 15, 2010
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mcorto
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Registered: Jun 16, 2010
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: color rendition, bokeh, shallow DOF, ability to photograph very low light events
Cons:
price

I've had an opportunity to work with this lens for a short time. Being the owner of 24-70 and 70-200 both 2.8 canon L lenses, this one just blew me away with it's image quality. Now, I'm saving up to by myself one of those babies Smile

A little example:

A wedding example


Jun 16, 2010
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samwise
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Registered: Aug 4, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1020
Review Date: May 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, color, contrast, ability to harness available light, amazing DOF/bokeh of course
Cons:
the hood, purple fringing when shooting at wide apertures.

For background I shoot weddings, and portraits.

I had instant buyers remorse when I first bought this lens, I thought I spent way too much money, and I didn't use it very much because I was so comfortable with the 70-200 2.8 IS. I am SO happy I didn't sell it.

A year later, my 70-200 sits in the bag and that lens is glued to my 5D, and the 35L on my other 5D. I can't say enough of how happy I am with it.

If you are worried about focus, don't be (unless you are shooting sports maybe). It actually locks on better than most of my other lenses, and the speed is fine... don't let it be a decider for you.


May 1, 2010
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Chris Walker
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Registered: Mar 29, 2007
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 14, 2010 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: See Comments 2010-03-19
Cons:
See Comments 2010-03-19

Here is a link to 3 examples.
All pictures are taken in very low light conditions.

neridah wrote on march 24: "If this was the only lens I owned i would be totally satisfied." I understand now what he means an I agree with him.
The most beautiful Bokeh of a lens.

You can download this pictures at a resolution of 3072 x 2048 pixels to analyze the image quality.

http://photo-walker.ch/index.php?option=com_phocagallery&view=category&id=14%3Aef-85mm&Itemid=160&lang=de


Apr 14, 2010
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vk2109
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Registered: Jan 5, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 151
Review Date: Mar 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,790.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Built like a tank ! F1.2 aperture, Sharp Sharp, Excellent contrast and color
Cons:
Heavy (but because of its size - holds well in your hand) , Expensive, AF slower AF than other L prime

This is a wonderful lens !! I have the 35L and added this one and I am very pleased with the results. the lens is heavy but it's only 250g more than a 135L or 50g more than a 24-70L...the bokeh is awesome and having f1.2 is really nice for hand hold stage photography and low light shooting.

The lens is expensive and will be selling my 24-70L to fund it. my prime setting is 35L + 85L and I can't further recommend those lenses.

The quality of the lens, color and contrast are really what made me decide to buy this lens.

One thing that is annoying the focusing ring that is not mechanical but electronic manual focusing.

The AF is not as bad as you would think !


Mar 24, 2010
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neridah
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Registered: Jul 16, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 970
Review Date: Mar 18, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build Quality-Bokeh-Sharpness.
Cons:
Price...But that is negligible for what it offers and represents.

This is big daddy the godfather of optical engineering and excellence!
If this was the only lens i owned i would be totally satisfied.
The soft spot when shooting @1.2 will take a little time to master however when u have worked out the limitations and capabilities of this baby you will treasure it for a lifetime.
This lens isnt expensive it's a priceless lifetime investment.
It doesnt get much better than this.


Mar 18, 2010
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Chris Walker
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Registered: Mar 29, 2007
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 12, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f/1.2 , bokeh, sharpness, colors and contrast
Cons:
price, weight, extending front element, AF is slow

It is the sharpest f/1.2-lens in the canon L section.
If you are looking for a lens, you can shoot in very low-light condition, this is the only one, you will definitely not be disappointed.

This lens is my favorite among the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS and the 400mm f/2.8 L IS. All of this three lenses are sharp wide open.

I had first the 50mm f/1.2 L and compared with the 85mm f/1.2 L II, there is a difference like day and night. The 50mm is sharp at f/2.0 (f/1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8 do not produce good sharp images)

This lens is expensive, heavy and big and definitely not for sport events.
But you get a lens, once you have it, you will not regret.

You get a lens with splendid sharpness right from the f/1.2 aperture, splendid colors, and a DOF that you let you take images, non of any other lens will offer you such a creative blur.

It's simply an dream lens. A revolution for creative photography where sharpness and blur meets. Your will discover a new world.
I know, it's expensive but once you see your pictures, you forget it in 3 minutes.


Mar 12, 2010
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Dietr
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Registered: Feb 11, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Feb 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, Color, Contras, Sharpness, Price.
Cons:
Focus is slow for an L but given the heavy glass it is reasonable and accurate. Wish it focused just a little closer.

Having shot with Leica's in the past I don't mind the price. It easily performs on par with my Leica 90mm Summicron which cost about a $1000 dollars more. I love this lens. Just sold my 50L because I never mount it to my camera any more. I have a 35L and the 80L as primes and just never use the 50L. For portrait work this lens is so amazing you can't hardly take a bad shot. Wish it focused just a little closer though. I am eyeing the new 100L for head shots!

Feb 13, 2010
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timea
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Registered: Mar 18, 2005
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,870.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic sharpness and color. Bokeh out of this world. Will make you happy whenever you just attach it your camera.
Cons:
Nothing but price. But even that is not a real con - the price is fair compared to how much joy and quality you get.

I have the 70-200 2.8 IS, which worked pretty well for portraits. I was reluctant to spend 1870 USD on a focal length that I have already covered by a highly regarded L zoom.

Well, since I got the 85 prime, I haven't looked back. The 85 1.2L simply smokes the zoom. When I review the shots I made with the 70-200, I can't believe I once thought that THIS was sharp. The prime is sharp at f1.6 and cuts your fingers at f2.2. Add the ability the get a pretty decent hand held photo in near dearkness (room lit just by TV), add the fantastic colors and unreal bokeh and what you get is pure love. I just adore this beautiful piece of engineering.

I do keep the zoom because I find the 200mm end very useful. But I am so impressed with the 85L that I decided to get the 35L, which gets similar rave reviews. If it delivers the kind of joy I feel when using the 85L, I will sell my 24-70 and keep just the 35mm prime.


Dec 11, 2009
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buzzski
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Registered: Jun 27, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 169
Review Date: Dec 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp at 1.2, construction, ease of manual focus, amazing IQ
Cons:
It is expensive, it is heavy, it is big, it could focus a bit closer

I've only had this lens for a couple of hours and feel compelled to review it already. I had to sell my 50L to get this but already I am blown away with this lens. The build quality is great and despite being big, it handles really well. The manual focus IMO is the best of any Canon lens - it is so smooth - something I was wary of having read mixed reviews of it - I love it, it reminds me of a proper manual focus lens from days of old! This lens is so sharp at 1.2 but very basic tests so far have showed it to be exceptional form 1.6. AF is spot on on my 5dmk2 - no adjustment needed. I was concerned about the focus speed but am more than pleasantly surprised with it, again having read other comments I was expecting it to be real slow - IMO it isn't. If you are considering this lens, I urge you to just buy it, I very much doubt that you will be disappointed with it. No other camera lens has pleased me so much so soon.

Dec 9, 2009
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dustnet
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Registered: Jul 30, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 20
Review Date: Dec 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image quality (sharpness, bokeh), Build quality, colors
Cons:
Noisy focusing ring, extending front element, heavy, expensive

Yes, I'm recommending this lens, what else can we do in front of such an amazing product ?

One of the thing that impressed me the most in this lens is the sharpness, even at f/1.2, the result is very satisfying.

Some thoughts:
- I've used this lens on both small sensor Cameras (40D) and FF ones (5D) and I liked the lens much more on the FF cameras. For some reasons I was getting the focus wrong at f/1.2 with the 40D almost each time. The only way to get proper focus was to use LiveView and to zoom all the way into where I wanted to make the focus and then do the focus manually. With FF Camera, I'm not experiencing such problem, and I like the range much more.
- I'm also using this lens for video, it performs great but one bad thing is that the motorized focusing ring is kind of noisy, don't place the mic next to it or you'll be disappointed.

For example of pictures taken with this lens:
http://photography.emmanuelrondeau.com
http://blog.emmanuelrondeau.com/?p=375

Thanks,
Emmanuel.


Dec 3, 2009
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haringo
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Registered: Oct 7, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 12
Review Date: Oct 7, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely Sharp, magical bokeh, colors are silky smooth, solid build, just everything
Cons:
price, weight, extending front element, AF is slow

I have been using this lens for over two months. Probable this is the best lens I have owned. OK, the Canon 135mm 2L is equally good. There is nothing about the image quality I could complain about. I can take pictures of people in almost complete dark. The colors are crazy!!!!
Look at the bride on my opening page on my site: http://www.haringphotography.com/
Look at the image where the bride is sitting on a bench. I think it is the second picture on the flash site. You can see that every aspect of the image is crazy sharp. (Most of the time I don't need to use the sharpen tool!) Look at the bokeh and the colors! I hardly had to change the sky. It is nice and blue. As you see this lens is PERFECT.

The good thing that you can put it on a 1.6 frame body as well without any image quality loss.

It is slightly better than the previous version: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM. The AF is faster but it is still slow compared to other prime lenses (Canon 85mm 1.8)

I know it is crazy expensive. Buy it cry for 5 minutes and don't tell your wife the price. She will love the pictures at the end!!! Smile


Oct 7, 2009
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
174 279261 Aug 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $1,784.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.96
9.7
85II


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