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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
177 282545 Dec 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,784.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.93
9.6
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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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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nomadbelat
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Registered: Sep 28, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 28
Review Date: Sep 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: silent focus, great manual focus action, insane bokeh, fits well in hand, looks impressive, beautiful color rendition
Cons:
none

I wanted to try this lens for a long time. When I got my 5D II, I knew I had to try it. It was weird when I first put it on. I hated the manual focus; it was so different. By the end of the first day of shooting with it, I wanted all of my lenses to employ the same kind of manual focus. I absolutely love it. It's so smooth and precise. Even in full daylight, you can shoot at 1.2 and get absolutely crisp images. I never stopped it down. I am saving a little each pay period to get this lens. I'm in love.

Sep 28, 2009
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DamienG
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Registered: Aug 14, 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fantastic colour reproduction, very sharp when stopped down.
Cons:
Can only be stopped down to f16, manual focus feels loose and is difficult to use

I've had wanted one of these for a very long time, and when I eventually went out and got one was blown away by how good they actually are. If I had to give up all my lenses and could only keep one it would be this one.
I use it a lot for indoor sport. It needs to be stopped down to at least f2.2 for consistant results, by f2.8 it's easily the best lens I own for sharpness and colour reproduction.
I was worried that the focusing would be too slow for sports duties, but I have found no problems when using it on either my 1dmk3 or 1dsmk3.
As a portrait lens (or shooting anything that's not moving) I don't believe Canon currently produce a better lens.
Wherever I go I now always have this on one of my bodies ready to go. It's very sharp from f1.2 right through to f16.
The only downside to this lens that I have noticed is it's focusing ring.... It's rubbish. It has a lot of play in it, and makes fine adjustments very difficult. Best leave this lens in auto focus.
As far as image quality goes, this lens blows away everything else I own, even my 200 f2L IS.



Aug 14, 2009
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andywang
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Registered: Jul 7, 2009
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb Excellent photo quality & DOF, Perfect use for full frame camera, potraiture, candid shot.
Cons:
Slower then 85mm F1.8, Heavy but I know WHY.

Love this lens very much, photo will from ordinary change to extraordinary thru this lens! Amazing lens!!!

Jul 8, 2009
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emandavi
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Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 998
Review Date: Jun 18, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,760.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The bokeh is unbeatable. ...and the images are crisp and clean, even at 1.2 aperture.
Cons:
expensive, but I can understand why!

I used this lens on my 1D camera, and it blew me away. Samples here, mostly taken at 1.4 and 1.2 aperture.
http://www.efelarca.smugmug.com/gallery/8579104_525QW#565480668_ncyxj.

I kept using it, even after the sun had set. I now realize how beatiful natural light photography can be when doing portraitures.

I only wish I'd bought this sooner. I recommend it be used on a professional camera like 1D() series. Their focus speed is amazing. Tried it on a Rebel XTi, and a lot of the shots were blurry.


Jun 18, 2009
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sixgun
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Registered: Nov 21, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 142
Review Date: Jun 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Speed, Sharpness, Color, Bokeh, Outrageous Creative potential!
Cons:
None, Really.

This lens is a bit pricey, and for all practical purposes at 1.2 - 2.8 this is a manual focus lens - but what you get is nothing short of a work of art in glass if you know how to control it. I prefer manual focus to control DOF anyway - but some will not. I was absolutely blown away the very first time I used this lens. It has been on my 1D Mark III since the day I got it and never been off since. All of my portrait work is now done using this lens and the ability to soft focus in low light is better than anything I have every experienced. The only other lens I have seen that comes close in IQ is the 300L IS Prime (at $4400) - it really is THAT good.

Jun 8, 2009
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blktaln
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Registered: Nov 1, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 68
Review Date: May 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: build quality, sharp, creamy bokeh, shows nice saturated colors and contrast...
Cons:
draws battery, slow focus...

just received this lens... it's magical. it captures nice colors and contrast, creates nice bokeh, to me... it's worth every penny!

May 14, 2009
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alyssajul
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Registered: May 12, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: pops the foreground like no lens i've ever seen. beautiful backgrounds, great in low light.
Cons:
steep learning curve, heavy, a little slow, costs a small fortune

I never leave for a session or wedding without this lens. In spite of its cost I would still buy this lens if its price doubled tomorrow. It really is that amazing. It takes practice, don't get me wrong. The depth of field gets real shallow, real fast as you approach f/1.2, but once you've mastered it, you'll wonder how you ever shot a portrait session without this baby. Just buy it.

May 12, 2009
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x0SiN0x
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Registered: Jan 10, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 81
Review Date: Mar 29, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,870.00

 
Pros: Impressively sharp wide open when focus is dead on
Cons:
inconstant focus on two cameras, focus ring is a little awkward

I originally rated this lens very highly, but after getting very inconstant focus I brought the lens in for testing. I had issues with this lens front and back focusing no matter what was done. I bought this lens to use at almost wide most of the time, so when focus was off at all it was not good. Im going to give this lens another try after some time, im hoping my copy had an issue. Originally thought my camera, but tried in a 20D and rebel with similar results.

Mar 29, 2009
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kevindar
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Registered: May 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2512
Review Date: Mar 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: excellent sharpness, great microcontrast, colors, very accurate focusing
Cons:
purple fringing, a little slow, price.

I bought this used on FM, while the Live.com rebates were going on for a final cost of 1400. I already owned 85 1.8, and was not planning to hold on to the 1.2 for long.
The lens quickly became my favorite. for available light portraits, it truly a remarkable lens. I also shot with the 135L, and much prefer the focal length and larger aperture of this lens. PF is a problem but correctable in acr. sharpness is truly remarkable.


Mar 6, 2009
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x0SiN0x
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Registered: Jan 10, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 81
Review Date: Mar 5, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,870.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, bokeh is silky smooth, solid build
Cons:
Slow AF, Heavy, Price, not impressed with the hood



Mar 5, 2009
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kobold2
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Registered: Mar 16, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 21
Review Date: Feb 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, DOF, colours, contrast, bokeh, overall IQ, build, hood
Cons:
price, weight, extending front element

Most exciting lens I own at the moment (still love my lensbaby tho). It is not just a portrait lens, but to shoot in any - especially low light situation: concerts, plays, functions, street photography. AF is not fast, but it is usable and with a good eye, manual focusing is still a viable option even at f/1.2. With AF servo in motor drive mode I can get a lot of keepers as well, when shooting gigs. Sharper than real life :-) Sharper wide open than my 70-200 @f/5.6-8.0 (at 400%) I think. That is after the micro AF adjustment of -11 on my 50D (the 70-200 was spot on already). I can't tell about the corner sharpness as I shoot w/ a crop camera but I will get a FF partially b/c to be able to see what it can do there. Closed down it is sharp as well until diffraction kicks in at f/8.0 or so on the 50D, but still sharp until f/11 and even further. I don't see much point shooting with a more narrow aperture anyway most of the time. The colours & contrast are better than on the 16-35mm MkI the 50mm f/1.4 or the 70-200mm f/4, which are pretty great already. The build quality is unsurpassed, but I find it hard to handle w/o a portrait grip; with a bg-e2n all is good. Still wish it would be lighter sometimes... B/C of the extending front element I keep the hood on it at all times, so not really a problem. Sometimes it is hird to change from AF to MF w/o looking... Overall a cool lens which I would buy again espeically for the price I got this copy (sheer luck when the aussie dollar collapsed). Go get one!

Feb 3, 2009
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felipin
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 41
Review Date: Jan 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality (stunning, unique!), BOKEH
Cons:
Still slow AF, not cheap...

I was very happy with the Mark I version of this lens (apart from some lack of accuracy when focusing wide open and the well known AF slowness), but I had the chance to get a mint Mark II sample at a very sweet price and now I'm even happier, since AF is noticeably faster and I think that also more accurate. I find that image quality is the same for both versions.

This lens is unique, a world apart, specially for using it wide open (I think that from f2.8 or 4 it's hard to say the difference between the L lens and the very good and much cheaper 85 1.8).

I love it!



Jan 28, 2009
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mzemljic
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Registered: Jan 25, 2009
Location: Croatia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The master of diffusion and three dimension image maker
Cons:
Slow Focus? Front element!

85 f/1,2 L II is simply the best portrait lens in my opinion.

It let me close inough to a model for good communication and again it let Your model inough relaxed to get nature sight.
At 1,2 the lens is sharp, and bokeh is so cream and dreamlike...

My best by ever...

(I' am not under any forum influence nor do I' ve owned cheap lenses before so I couldn't be "stoned" by image quality of new lens)

Strongly recomended for portraits, weddings...

Samples:
http://flickr.com/photos/mattassano/3193710077/
http://flickr.com/photos/mattassano/3193634379/

Regards, mzemljic


Jan 26, 2009
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
177 282545 Dec 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,784.94
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.93
9.6
85II


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