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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
125 243847 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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Jman13
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Registered: May 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 10317
Review Date: Oct 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,160.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredible sharpness, even wide open. Best bokeh of any lens I have ever used, (including some other f/1.2 lenses). Beautiful color and saturation, very nice microcontrast at f/1.8 and beyond). Accurate AF.
Cons:
AF is slow, but still manageable. Not a fan of focus by wire manual focus. Big and heavy. Some fringing at very large apertures in very high contrast situations.

Picked up my copy used here on FM. Absolutely outstanding lens. The lens is very sharp over 80% of the frame right from f/1.2. By f/1.8 - f/2, the lens is absolutely tack sharp. Brilliant color response and very nice contrast curve. f/2 and smaller yield nice contrasty images without being over the top, while larger apertures are a little lower contrast, but have such a good tonal response that postprocessing contrast enhancement is flawless.

Color is exceptional. Bright, vibrant yet natural colors. AF is definitely on the slow side for a USM lens, but is only an issue when focusing from near to far. AF is also very accurate. I'm able to nail the eyes at f/1.2 with little trouble.

Bokeh is the best I've ever seen...smooth, even bokeh with perfectly evenly illuminated specular highlights. The shallow DOF and narrow AOV with the super-large aperture also help this lens obliterate the background. Background separation is possible even on relatively distant subjects. When the right aperture is chosen, this lens really has an ability to pop the subject out of the background, and provide a very nice 3D effect.


Oct 13, 2008
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Xibalban
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: Finland
Posts: 109
Review Date: Aug 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: bokeh, build quality
Cons:
big, heavy, a bit slow AF

Build quality is good and it feels like a high quality product. It is big and heavy but that is. AF speed is a bit on the slow side but not much slower than 50L. I wouldn’t recommend it for sport photography but for anything other it’s just fine. It really can isolate a subject from the background like no other lens.

Have a look at my pictures taken with it (mostly wide open):

http://markuspuustinen.com/galleriat/08/08/pictures_from_kvarken_archipelago_part2/
http://markuspuustinen.com/index.php?x=browse&category=38


Aug 11, 2008
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Bruce Sawle
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Registered: Sep 26, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4159
Review Date: Aug 1, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great build, razor sharp at 1.2 and incredible bokeh
Cons:
None

I love everything about this lens. I was a little apprehensive at first to throw down 1700.00 on this lens. After a couple days of shooting with it I was amazed with he images this lens produced. Between F 1.2 and F4 there is no lens better.



Aug 1, 2008
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Mick I
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Registered: Sep 10, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 137
Review Date: Jul 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The best there is.
Cons:

Perfection at it's finest.

Jul 25, 2008
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CGrindahl
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Registered: Dec 17, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 12748
Review Date: Jul 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wide aperture, unbelievable build quality, color and contrast as good as it gets and incredible sharpness in the focal plane, which, thankfully is VERY narrow.
Cons:
Weight...

I note that one person posted TWO reviews giving this lens FIVE POINTS! WHAT????

Yes, the lens is heavy and yes, it focuses slowly, but when you have a piece of expensive glass as big as the one in this lens, what did you expect?

This lens has limitations. I wouldn't dream of shooting sports with this lens, for example. But who in their right mind would? If you're trying to capture your kid running around in the back yard, do yourself a favor and stick to the 85 f/1.8. This is a portrait lens among the best available from any manufacturer for any camera. The images it produces are so luscious that I take every opportunity I can to have this lens on my camera. Where the image is sharp, it is perfectly sharp, but where it is blurred it is GLORIOUS. It produces bokeh that is perfection. Focusing is never a problem once you've initially established the range. Slight movement of the subject requires only minimal movement of lens elements resulting in easy focusing. It is only when going from one distance to a significantly different distance that one will experience delay. Is that so hard to understand?

If I could own only one Canon lens, this would be it. Thank heavens that is not a requirement, however, so I can enjoy all those wonderful L lenses. But this beauty is first in the heart of this man...


Jul 12, 2008
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ps2user
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Registered: Jan 21, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8
Review Date: Mar 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: F/1.2, sharp, excellent color, lovely bokeh and built like a tank
Cons:
Slightly slow to focus but manageable

Managed to get a good price on a used one as i found the mk12 a bit too pricey for me.

I use this lens with my 5D and the pictures come out fantastic. Never understood people saying they have a favourite lens until i got this lens - I just try to take photos all the time with this lens and dont' feel like changing to my other lenses. I don't know what it is but the images from the lens are just in a different league to the rest of my L lens.

I use this lens for taking photos of my super energetic 3yr old daughter who can't keep still and my 3month old son. Focus is slightly slow but its bearable. Even managed to track my daughter running around in the back garden Smile

Even wide open the pictures come out sharp Smile

I wouldn't mind trying the mark 2 just to see if the focus is better but i'm more than happy with this lens and it comes highly recommeded.

I was going to be sensible and buy the cheaper 85mm f/1.8 but i knew that 1.8 was not enough for me to use indoors when i find my 50mm f/1.4 just about copes.



Mar 20, 2008
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xrayvision
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Registered: Feb 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 579
Review Date: Mar 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,749.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The best headshot / portrait lens I have. Superb color , contrast and bokeh
Cons:
Nothing worth mentioning. Lenses that perform as this one does tend to be on the expensive side and on the heavy side. Goes with the territory.



Mar 19, 2008
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kierontan
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Registered: Oct 19, 2004
Location: Philippines
Posts: 31
Review Date: Mar 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,888.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Aperture at 1.2, Build quality
Cons:
Very slow in focusing, expensive

The best wedding lens I ever used, great for low light situation. Superb image quality, it produces really sharp images. Has a beautiful bokeh too. Highly recommended!

Mar 18, 2008
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shime
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Registered: Sep 7, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 11
Review Date: Mar 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Overall performance
Cons:
If I had to choose something I would say the auto focus could be faster.

Everything positive you read about this lens is true.

The auto focus could be faster but it is not a show stopper.
I shoot dancers and acrobatics while they perform fast and complex moves in very low available light (wide open) without a problem. The auto focus is very accurate and fast enough.

In my opinion this lens is great for low light indoor sports. While it is not a forgiving lens, with the right technique this lens is amazing.

The lens balances perfectly on a 1d series camera.


Mar 18, 2008
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Peter Kotsa
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Registered: Nov 1, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 267
Review Date: Feb 6, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: 1.2 aperture, "L" glass.
Cons:
Heavy , expensive, very very very slow to focus....ridiculously slow

This is an interesting lens indeed. Although I found the lens to be quite sharp, I also found it to be almost unusable in many many applications.
Anything that moves with slightly faster than normal speed is almost impossible to focus on.
The lens just wont focus fast enough for real life applications, and that is very frustrating when you want to capture a moment in time.
As far a build quality, this lens lacks nothing, as far as sharpness and bokeh, it is second only to the MKII version.
But as far as focus speed, I found more winners focussing manually.
I have since upgraded to the MKII version and it is a 10 out of 10.
I think Canon tried very hard with this first version of this lens , but maybe should have left it as a manual focus lens, then at least the expectations were realistic. Apart from that its a 9 out of 10 in all other areas.


Feb 6, 2008
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recordproducti
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Registered: Jul 11, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 216
Review Date: Feb 6, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: This lens is awesome, one of the best there is.
Cons:

I'm only posting this as the two last reviews seem bogus, both gave it 5, neither said why such a low score or anything really. If they had really used this lens and had any experience of taking pictures they wouldn't have rated it a 5.

Maybe because of the price this lens suffers a bit of envy but I saved up for ages to get mine and it was well, well worth the wait. This lens is better than a 10.


Feb 6, 2008
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Peter Kotsa
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Registered: Nov 1, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 267
Review Date: Nov 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros:
Cons:



Nov 1, 2007
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Peter Kirk
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Registered: Sep 25, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 309
Review Date: Nov 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: 1.2 , bokeh
Cons:
heavy

a bit of flare and low contrast , but apart from that a good lens.
Very slow focus, frustrating


Nov 1, 2007
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felipin
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 41
Review Date: Aug 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Performance wide open (sharpness, color, contrast, bokeh...), image quality no matter the aperture.
Cons:
Quite expensive. Lazy AF.

Unfortunately, this wonder was borrowed to me by a friend. I said unfortunately, yes. Since then, I am no more happy with my so far beloved 85 1.8. Since then I only dream with getting this gem. Oh, my! Please, believe me, I have tried many many superb lenses and have owned quite a few of them (both Nikkor and Canon ones...), but I have never got so stuck on any...
Even if pricey, it is now on the top of my wish list...


Aug 13, 2007
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recordproducti
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Registered: Jul 11, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 216
Review Date: Aug 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Gorgeous image quality, sharp right from f/1.2, excellent build.
Cons:
None, worth every penny.

Holy smoke this thing is awesome!

I can't imagine life without it. I saved for a long time to get this and have the 35L and 50 f/1.4 so was hoping for a lot but never did I imagine it would be so much better than I ever expected.

In no time at all I was getting amazing 3D images and this complements my 5D superbly giving resolution that I had never seen before. Yes, it is expensive, very expensive. I had used the 85 f/1.8 and was not that happy with its image quality, this smokes it completely. As much as I love my 24-70L it's pretty redundant now that I have the 35L, 50 f/1.4 and 85L as this combo gives so much creative possibilities and IQ.

If you're on the fence and not sure about spending so much on this lens all I can say is that you should give it a try but don't try it until you can afford it as you'll be working out all maner of ways to raise the cash.

I've rated this as a 10 out of 10 but this is the one lens I wish I could give 11.


Aug 4, 2007
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morganb4
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Registered: Nov 2, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 5313
Review Date: Jun 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Impressive looking. Beautiful colour rendition
Cons:
Hideous CA wide open. MF ring is weird. hood is also a bit grotty

Its good and its fast. I love this lens. but not as much as the 35L

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

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
125 243847 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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