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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
174 280285 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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PhotoproX
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Registered: Apr 6, 2007
Location: Albania
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great IQ, great bokeh
Cons:
price, weight, weary AF, strange manual focusing

Canon has the fastest 85mm lens available today and you pay the premium...

Image Quality is great and shallow dof allow breathtaking shots in the hands of skilled photographers.

Is this worth the hassle with price, weight, weary AF and strange manual focusing? Only if you´re rich and absolutely love the 85mm perspective.


Apr 15, 2007
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Fabien.B
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Registered: Jan 20, 2006
Location: France
Posts: 47
Review Date: Apr 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1.50 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: One of the most beautiful bokeh in Canon L lens series, sharp at f1.2, ultra sharp at f5.6
Cons:
Heavy & massive (difficult to be discret in street), some chromatic abb. but clean after using raw converter



Apr 13, 2007
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richardho11
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Registered: Jun 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp wide open, 1.2 aperture, unbelievable bokeh!!!!
Cons:
hunts forever in very dim lighting and cost.

I've had the 2nd version of this lens for a month and now it is the most used lens in my artillery! It was hard for me to dish out $1600 to purchase this lens because I am still an ametuer hobbist and still in school, but once you use this lens, you can see why it costs so much! Its TACK SHARP wide open!! The Bokeh is unbelievable... nothing like I have ever seen. I also have the 35L, 24-70L and the 50mm 1.4. But this 85L is king! It hunts forever in dim light but completely worth it to me for f/1.2. The focusing speed is very acceptable. I can tell its slower than my 35L but not too much slower. I highly recommend this lens!!!! Buy it if you can afford it!

Mar 29, 2007
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jonbrach
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Registered: Dec 22, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 896
Review Date: Jan 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,749.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: the lens is tack sharp at 1.2 which allows me to get shots at jazz clubs and concerts i cant get with other lens...out of this world bokeh...great build quality..simply a marvelous lens and a fair bit faster focusing than version 1 which i used to own
Cons:
cost,size,relatively slow AF

I sold my 85L version 1 to get this newer version as soons as i saw the price drop to a more reasonable level...i loved the version 1 and this one is even better...faster AF and the very same razor sharp wide open performance...expensive but like everything else you get what you pay for...highly recommended

Jan 17, 2007
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DLai
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Registered: Nov 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1130
Review Date: Jan 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, feel, and f1.2
Cons:
Price (You get what you pay for), focus by wire, slower than usual AF (but f1.2 makes up for it).

This is as good as it gets...below the $2,000 mark at least. Many users will complain about it's slow af and heavy weight but for f1.2 what else would one expect. Excellent for weddings, car shows, and still life photography. For sports try the 1.8 version.

Jan 12, 2007
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chancellor
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Registered: Nov 29, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 225
Review Date: Jan 9, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Colors, contrast, fast aperture.
Cons:
Slightly slower AF.

I purchased it from B&H in December and I've been using it for a while. I knew that it was an amazing lens - I owned it when it just came out, but returned it since I felt that the price of nearly $2200 was too much for it. Nowadays, it's priced less than $1800 with potential $100 Canon rebate (double) makes it a no-brainer to me. Love the fit of the lens on 5D (with grip) and how it feels. If you're doing a lot of portraits or low-light - buy it. If you're having hard-time justifying paying almost 5 times more than f/1.8, buy the 1.8 one - from what I've heard/read - great lens. I never owned one, so I can't speak to it.

Jan 9, 2007
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UGADawg
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Registered: Aug 4, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 416
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: 176
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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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
174 280285 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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