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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
125 244448 Feb 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,381.37
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.52
9.5
ef85mmf_12_1_

Specifications:
With a large maximum aperture of f/1.2, this is the fastest 85mm telephoto lens in its class. One aspherical lens element and two high-refraction elements give sharp images with little flare even at maximum aperture. The floating system corrects coma for high image quality.


 


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michaeldejesus
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Registered: Jan 29, 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 25
Review Date: Feb 7, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Wide open it can be downright amazing. Stopped down a few stops it's truly outstanding.
Cons:
Heavier than lead! Slower than a dinosaur.

Back in the day this lens was a must have hunk of glass, especially for portraits. Now looking back at it I'm amazed I can still hold up my arms. Lots of keepers, especially stopped down, and every once in a while an amazing keeper wide open at 1.2!

Feb 7, 2014
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andrel23
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Registered: Mar 3, 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 3, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Amazing Bokeh, sharpness quality from wide open, L quality built.
Cons:
Color fringing (wich can easily fixed in Lightroom,) a bit from the weight but the quality of this lens balances off easily the negative points. Flimsy hood.

I have just bought this lens used.

Long time Canon user, I can say that I am really astounded with this lens so far. Many reviewers said that this lens is veeery slow for focussing. I think not that much, I am quite surprised. If compared with the fasted auto focus speed from the fastest lens, yes it is. If you come from a distant subject to a very close one, it could take some time but it is not that slow for still objects. However, for a moving at different angle or speed, tracking must be a difficult task for this lens. There is a lot to move in there.


Mar 3, 2013
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dweter
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Registered: Jan 14, 2012
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 18, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: bokeh, bokeh, bokeh ! colors, handling
Cons:
slow AF performance
Apr 18, 2012
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nswelton
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Registered: Jan 16, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 246
Review Date: Apr 11, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: beautiful images
Cons:
heavy, slow to focus, prone to flare

i sold this bad boy to move up to the mark II. it was unusably slow to focus while tracking people walking (think: bride walking down aisle). also flared a fair bit if an errant strobe or the sun was in the frame (at least, flared more than the Mk II version). significantly less contrast than the Mark II. i like it -- great lens especially for the price -- but the new one is really worth the extra bucks.

Apr 11, 2012
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LPrimeFreak
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Registered: Jul 29, 2010
Location: Belgium
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 29, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Amazing f1.2 bokeh, super lowlight, built like a tank, the portret lens for weddings and people for fullframe!
Cons:
Very slow AF, heavy, expensive

THE lens for portraits & weddings, next to the price is the slow AF the biggest problem for moving subjects.

It's slow if you have to take pictures of moving subjects like overactive kids Smile If you have an model that can pose for you it's no problem offcourse.

I bought version I for $1050, the MKII would not be so much faster. It's a lot of glass that your camera has to move which results in the slow AF.

At first sight the diameter of the lens is very big, probably to let more light in for the f1.2 bokeh.

WCastleman compared this lens with the cheaper f1.8 version with fast AF, but you can't see the bokeh and image quality differences so good on the pictures with the dolls.

With the f1.2 you can do amazing things that no other lens can do, dreamy portret/wedding pictures.

It's sharp overal, so you don't have to worry.
As some people say, you have to learn to work with this lens.

I use it together with the 135 2L, the fastest AF in a Canon lens ever, but cannot chose between one of the two, they are complementary. The 135L is more for candid pics+sports.



Jul 29, 2010
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Grandin
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Registered: Mar 12, 2006
Location: Sweden
Posts: 51
Review Date: Apr 9, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp from f/1.2, fantastic bokeh, fantastic DOF field control, excellent build quality, handles well (I love the rubbery grip with identations) can be found at a bargain price used now that the success has been on the market for some time.
Cons:
Slow autofocus, heavy.

Initially bought the 85 L II and later sold it as I did not use it enough to justify the immense cost. Missed it ever since. Recently stumbled upon a used 85 L I and bought this in good shape at a great (as in low) price.

Its being used on a 5D II and really happy I re-aquired a 85L. The only difference is notice in actual use is a minor difference in autofocus speed and maybe a very slight autofocus accuracy advantage for the Mark II.

I'm extremely happy with the pictures I get with the Mark I and see no reason whatsoever to ever upgrade to Mark II.

I've owned a bunch of fast short teles such as the mentioned Canon 85L:s, 85/1.8, 100/2, 135/2 & Samyang 85/1.4. To me, either version of 85L are in a league of their own!


Apr 9, 2010
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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: Everything...except price and weight
Cons:
NONE, ok...big and bulky

As you see in my previous posts I am totally in love with this lens!

Oct 7, 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

 
Pros: Sharp, bokeh is silky smooth, solid build
Cons:
Slow AF, Price, Man this is heavy! :)

I have been using this lens for a while. I am going to put on ebay because I have thei II. But I am not sure it was a good decision to buy it because the AF is still slow. The old one was equally good.
Having said that, 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 dancing with the groom in the wedding portfolio: http://www.haringphotography.com/
You can only see her face and his face. I took it on a 40D in almost complete dark. Not kidding. You can see that every aspect of the image is crazy sharp. As you see this lens is PERFECT even in low light conditions.

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 slow compared to other prime lenses (Canon 85mm 1.8)

I know it is crazy expensive. You can buy it second hand but it is still crazy expensive, I know. 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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sinbad747
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Registered: Sep 4, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 592
Review Date: Sep 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: -color -bokeh -sharpness -excellent build
Cons:
-slow focus

I really was looking for a MKII version of this lens and this one became available. The colors, the sharpness, the bokeh are excellent. I shoot with the 5D MkII and this lens really shines. I haven't tried a MKII version but I quite happy with the old version.

Sep 14, 2009
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Haring
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Registered: Sep 11, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Sep 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: everything except focus
Cons:
focus is slow

Great lens! Good image quality and nice blurrrrr….:) It is hard to focus with it. It is good if your subject doesn’t move. I have a it on a Canon 5D and sometimes pictures are totally out of focus. My Canon 28-70 or 17-40 never had this kind of problem...
I mainly use it for wedding photography.
If you want to see samples: www.haringphotography.com
Look for the engagement session. Look at the blurr in the background where there is a couple at the ocean. Look at the colors!!!!
It's great for portraits, but if their is any movement in the subject the shot will be out of focus 9 out of 10 times.


Sep 11, 2009
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UsaFromAbove
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Registered: Aug 11, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 21, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great Blur
Cons:
Focusing issues

I would add that the lens has some back-front focusing issues. I have a it on a Canon 5D and sometimes pictures are totally out of focus. My Canon 28-70 or 17-40 never had this kind of problem...Any suggestion? I have a few examles at www.usafromabove.com Furthermore, it is a heavy lens!!! Smile:):)

Aug 21, 2009
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ComSoup
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Registered: Jan 29, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 325
Review Date: Jun 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Killer DOF, Sharp as hell, accurate AF w/ my 1DsIII, outstanding blur
Cons:
Large lens, rear element flush with mount (nature of the beast, though)

This is my favorite lens, and used the most often. It's an outstanding lens for portraits and creative uses, even with simple event documentation. Love the DOF and smooth, creamy blur. It's certainly a must-have for me.

Jun 16, 2009
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canonfan93
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Registered: Dec 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 104
Review Date: Jun 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,769.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp even from F1.2, beautiful color reproduction and contrast. All in all, IQ and excellent built deserve its legendary reputation as a top notch L-series prime.
Cons:
Price, but you truly get what you pay for in this case.

I have gradually weaned off my Canon zoom collection in favor of primes. I read many reviews on the positive and negative aspects of this lens then decided to take the plunge. I love portrait photography and this lens really represents one of my best purchases to date, despite of its price. On my 5D its FL is perfect for what I need. Its built and the IQ production exude top-rated L-series excellence. Along with the 35L and 135L, it truly completes the Canon holy trinity.

Jun 15, 2009
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Perry Ge
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Registered: Jul 29, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 9
Review Date: Jan 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, bokeh quality, IQ IQ IQ IQ. Build quality excellent, accurate focus.
Cons:
Slow focus, heavy, extends during focusing, weird FTM, exposed rear element.

This is the best lens I own. By far.

- It's the slowest focusing, by far.
- Its full time manual implementation is annoying, especially since it only works when the camera is on, and since it extends during focusing, this means I have to turn the camera on to retract the barrel.
- The rear element is really exposed and looks vulnerable, care needs to be taken when changing lenses with this one.
- It's heavy, and very expensive, and not weathersealed.

However, despite these shortcomings, this is my favourite lens ever. The images it spits out are jaw-droppingly good. Images are tack sharp wide open, and they make my eyes bleed at f/1.8 - I have to soften most of the shots that I make with this lens, not sharpen them. Bokeh is unbelievable at all apertures. Pure quality. The build is great, and there is a wonderful, subtly rubberized finish on the lens that makes gripping it very comfortable. AF is extremely accurate, and only slow if you are going from one end of the throw to the other - if you're in the ballpark already it's pretty quick.

For all the shortcomings of this lens, all is forgiven when I look at the images it produces. Canon have something special here, and IMO this lens is one of the best arguments for using the Canon system. I love it.


Jan 15, 2009
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solomon10
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Registered: Nov 21, 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 178
Review Date: Dec 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Outstanding sharpness, great bokeh,
Cons:
none. okay, a little slow to auto focus-

I have previously owned nikon 105mm f2 dc lens, 135mm f2 dc, canon 135 f2 and now this gem. This is the best portraits lens i have used. I believe this lens is sharper than my Canon 300mm f2.8(non IS). The ability to isolate subjects is so much fun. This is the only reason why i will stay with canon.

Dec 11, 2008
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toma7
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Registered: Jan 31, 2007
Location: Austria
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp at 1.2, razor sharp at 1.8, fantastic contrast, creamy bokeh, clip-on hood, one of the best lenses out there
Cons:
heavy, CA wide open, pricey, slow in focusing
Nov 15, 2008
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
125 244448 Feb 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,381.37
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.52
9.5
ef85mmf_12_1_


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