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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
181 296063 Nov 9, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,776.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.94
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.

(more...)



 


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nivenu
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Registered: Jul 16, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 10
Review Date: Apr 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Contrast, sharpness, bokeh...all are first rate!
Cons:
Watch that back element when changing lenses...it's very vulnerable.

Sorry I did not buy this excellent lens sooner.
It is a joy to use. The IQ is superb, even wide open.
DOF wide open is very small, but remember it's f1.2
Bokeh has been well documented by others so I wont add.
The rear element is vulnerable to damage and great care is needed, especially when changing lenses. Having said that, this lens is that good you may not want to change lenses
often.

The weight is not a problem and you soon get used to the
balance, especially on a D or N body.

Price is always going to be a problem, but I believe this is reflected in the quality of this lens. Optics, build quality,
and weatherproofing.

Mine's a keeper...


Apr 12, 2008
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simonella_viru
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Registered: Nov 19, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 644
Review Date: Apr 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: - large aperture for low, natural light environments - useful focal length (for full frame) - beautiful contrast, bokeh - sharp wide open, even sharper stopped down
Cons:
- electronic manual focus (i.e. camera off = no manual focus) - protruding front element, when focusing - heavy - slow auto-focus

can't give this lens a 10, as much as i'd like to. there are obviuos negatives that i just can't ignore. but the positives are so strong that, in a relative sense, they help me stomach the negatives.

i'd say the biggest weakness of this lens, even with the mark II version, is the slow auto-focus. if you're thinking of catching moving things/ people at a wide open aperture, you'll definitely miss-focus the majority of your shots. even stopped down, you'll still miss shots- depending on how close the subject is to you of course. with the auto-focus being as slow as it is, it's easy for subjects to outpace the DOF envelope.

at the end of the day, you use the right tool for the right job. this tool has its specific purpose, so as long as you use it for those purposes and as long as you learn the limitations of this fantastic lens, you'll be very pleased with the photos that it can help you produce.

cheers,

Simon


Apr 12, 2008
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cgi_photo
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Registered: Mar 27, 2008
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 36
Review Date: Mar 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: build, AF, color, contrast, 1.2 (if you need it)
Cons:
slow af-speed, heavy for a 85? don't like the MF

This lens is amazing. It's color, contrast and bokeh simply blow me away. It's the best lens for portraiture I own and it is my most used prime.

pros:
- sharpness at almost all apertures
- excellent build
- bokeh, colors, etc.
- AF accuracy

neg:
- AF-speed a bit slow
- price
- don't like the MF

If you can afford it, buy it :-)


Mar 30, 2008
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krobatshov
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Registered: Jan 22, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 552
Review Date: Mar 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharpness, AF accuracy, colors
Cons:
"way too loud" for me, AF speed, weight

It's the perfect addition to the 135f2L -
The fact that this lens is almost as heavy as a 70-200 2.8 made me get a handstrap -

If you're shooting under "controlled situations" and are ready to burn a hole in your wallet - go for it

Technically flawless - sharp all the way -

Compared to other L lenses, however, the canon 85L is slow & loud - which shouldn't be a problem when shooting in controlled situations, e.g. portraiture/advertorial in general

Despite the "negative" aspects mentioned in the paragraph above, AF is accurate - a real keeper




Mar 21, 2008
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jirok12944
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Registered: Nov 22, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp and contacty wide open
Cons:
size, wight, price

I'm happy owner of 35L and 50L. Both incredible and very special lenses. Decided to try 85L. Used it about 500 shots. It's all true, it is sharper and contrastier wide open. I'd argue about magic affect compare to 35L and 50L, it seems the same blur , and same 3D effect. On negative side 85L slower, heavier and difficult to use in limited space. Subjectively 85L is difficult to use, even with sharper images AF misses (due to slownesses) ruin everything. IMHO 85L is a lens for controlled shots with enough space. Again subjectively I have very limited use for 85L ... unfortunately. It's a good chance I'll struggle with it for few more months and sell it. Nonetheless 85L is very special and very capable lens, in right hands it's gold!!! I rated all three lenses 10, all of them have some limitations and they are expensive... but they are capable of capturing images magical way, other lenses can't get anywhere close ... try them all to understand yourself.


Mar 13, 2008
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Dr Jimson
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Registered: Mar 3, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 80
Review Date: Mar 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp. F1.2 is awesome for indoor shots and ultra shallow depth of field. Very smooth bokeh.
Cons:
Some chromatic abberation.

This is my favourite lens. It produces fantastic portraits that have an almost 3D effect.
The lens is very sharp, especially if stopped down slightly.
Some reviews say the lens is difficult to use but I have not found this to be the case. The shallow depth of field can cause problems but I have found the best way to deal with this is to select the central focussing square, focus on the eye and reframe the shot.
I like the heavy weight of this lens and find it sits in the hand nicely.
My only criticism is that there is some chromatic abberation visible in high contrast shots but this is not usually a problem in portraits and is also only really noticeable on heavily cropped or enlarged images.


Mar 10, 2008
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lextalionis
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Feb 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness at 1.2 is great! At 2.2 it's unbelievable! Bokeh is dreamy!
Cons:
AF seem a little slower from other L lenses

Perfect portrait lens in every way! The lens feels quality-built and balances nice on the camera body. This AF does seem a little slower but it doesn't bother me.

Here's a set of sample photos taken with the EOS 1D MkIII:
Sample Photos

-Roy


Feb 29, 2008
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performant
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Registered: Feb 17, 2008
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: wide aperture, superb build quality, practical lens hood, very sharp
Cons:
weight, feels a bit weird (short & heavy), price, a little slow focus

This lens is awesome.
You can't imagine how fun such a large aperture can be.
I get a little paranoid about scratching the rear element, but I'll get over it Smile

Canons definitive portrait lens.
Image quality is excellent. (I noticed a little CA tho')


Feb 20, 2008
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panthercz
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Registered: Mar 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 33
Review Date: Feb 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bokeh, clarity, sharpness, image depth, color, contrast.
Cons:
Rear element exposure, minimum focus distance, only goes down to f16.

Nothing really new to add onto what everyone else has already stated. You get what you pay for, and with this lens you get every penny that you put into it. f/1.2 is amazing just for the wonderful bokeh. Images have such great depth and can take on a near 3D quality. Color and contrast are beautiful as well. Really everything about this lens is great! I love shooting at ISO 50 with my 5D and this lens, images are so clear and sharp it is amazing.

My only gripes with this near perfect lens is the rear element can easily be damaged if you are not careful. I would like to be able to go down to f/20 but sadly this beauty can only hit f/16. Finally the 3.2 foot minimum focus distance is a little much. These are minor gripes and more just my own preferences, not any actual fault with this lens.

The images this lens produces are like the 300mm f/2.8L, only better.


Feb 17, 2008
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Studio58
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Registered: Apr 21, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 862
Review Date: Feb 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Arty, awesome bokeh. Sharp through the range. Quality PLUS.
Cons:
A little tricky to attach to the camera.

I recently purchased the 300 2.8L is & was after one last lens to round out the range. The 85 was an option I had been considering for a while.
Nothing I can say adds to what has already been stated. I can only add my vote to one absolutely awesome lens.
The weight feels nice on the MK3's.... well balanced.


Feb 11, 2008
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Evan Baines
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Registered: Jan 15, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 5807
Review Date: Jan 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,590.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp at all apertures, color, bokeh... pretty much anything IQ related.
Cons:
Makes other lenses feel inadequate. AF is "delibrate" but not nearly as bad as I expected... Haven't made it hunt yet. More than adequate for candids.

Yes, it really is that good.

Jan 5, 2008
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recordproducti
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Registered: Jul 11, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 298
Review Date: Jan 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Simply an awesome lens! Superb clarity, sharpness, smoothness, richness, punchy and so 3D. This lens deserves 11.5, not 10.
Cons:
After using lenses like this even good zooms just don't get close.

The 85L mkII is worth every single hard earned penny! The colours are super fantastic and it gives the most amazing 3D images. Wide open it's just amazing. I find it's my lens of choice for social events, in low light and in good light. I use it whenever I can.

I have yet to use a better lens.


Jan 5, 2008
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kazunori
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Registered: Jun 26, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jan 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,590.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ/sharpness at f/1.2, snap-on lens hood, and great bokeh. f/1.2 is a wonderful feature.
Cons:
Heavy, relatively slow focusing, high price (but not unexpected), electronic focusing.

f/1.2 is a lot of fun. You almost never have to worry about cluttered backgrounds, as everything turns into a nice blur of colors. You really can focus on an eye and get the eyelashes out of focus (although I can tell that I'll have to practice quite a bit to really learn how to use this lens well).

Another plus is that at f/1.2 you can take photos indoors at ISO 100-200 without flash. It's quite liberating!

At f/1.2 it's not as sharp as the 135mm f/2L I tried a while back, but this is completely expected, as 85mm is wider, and f/2 is nothing like f/1.2. I find it amazing that it is so sharp at f/1.2. It has none of that halation that the 50mm f/1.4 has, but it does have a bit of purple fringing that creeps in, although that's not an issue when taking low-contrast images like portraits.

One minor annoyance is having the electronic focus. It lags a bit behind your manual movement of the focus ring, and you also have to manually focus to infinity to retract the lens before putting it away. The focus being slow does make taking shots of moving objects or babies difficult, especially when you're trying to frame with a narrow DOF. I miss the focus speed of the 135mm f/2L, but you just can't get images similar to those from this lens without f/1.2.

I use this on a 20D, and it does feel pretty heavy. But it does make me want a FF camera, as that would allow for even narrower DOF for the same framing.

Although it has its drawbacks, its IQ and the total artistic freedom it allows for has made it my new favorite lens.


Jan 3, 2008
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Tony Rogers
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Registered: Jul 9, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 358
Review Date: Dec 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb sharpness, brilliant bokeh, focusses well (albeit a little more slowly than other lenses). Excellent lens in the studio.
Cons:
Heavy, but balances well on a 1D series body. Expensive!

It took me a long time to buy this lens, because I'd tried it a couple of times on a 5D. For some reason, it doesn't seem to focus as quickly on a 5D. Put it on a 1D3 or 1Ds3 and it seems to focus faster (still noticeably slower than a 135 f2, but pretty much everything is!)

Glad I finally got one. This lens completed my conversion to shooting primes (begun with the 135 f2 and 200 f2.8). Forced me to buy a 35 f1.4 and 50 f1.2 (such a shame!).

I would not recommend this lens for shooting sports - it does not autofocus fast enough. This lens was designed for use in the studio, and it takes on all comers there.

One warning - if you buy this lens, be prepared to become dissatisfied with all your zooms...


Dec 28, 2007
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albertino
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Registered: Dec 22, 2007
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: eccellente qualità-sfocato meraviglioso-luminosità estrema
Cons:
nessuno

Un obiettivo meraviglioso sotto tutti gli aspetti.
Nitidezza esemplare e dolcezza di sfumature incredibili.
Bokeh inimitabile-luminosità impressionante.
In teatro, con luce scarsa, ho scattato serenamente a 1/60° con 100 iso Da consigliare certamente-


Dec 23, 2007
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blue_streak
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Registered: Jan 25, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 35
Review Date: Dec 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, unparalleled bokeh, resulting images justify the price (for me anyway)!
Cons:

Wow.
The results that come from this lens are something else! This is what I have been looking for, a lens that can do what no other can. A lot of money, but I do not regret it.


Dec 4, 2007
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
181 296063 Nov 9, 2015
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,776.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.72
7.94
9.7
85II


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