about | support
home
 

Search Used

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
126 245206 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,380.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.49
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.


 


Page:  1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 
          
maxx9photo
Offline
Image Upload: On



Registered: May 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2232
Review Date: Jul 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, sharp and did I mention sharp?
Cons:
None

"A" must lens for portrait simple as that. Smile

Jul 15, 2004
View profile View recent posts View reviews Add maxx9photo to your Buddy List  
Lars Johnsson
Offline
Image Upload: Off



Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Location: Thailand
Posts: 33649
Review Date: Jul 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,450.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very fast, Sharp, Great bokeh
Cons:
Heavy, A little bit slow AF (but not as slow as people say)

Very sharp and very good image quality. A great portrait lens with amazing bokeh.
And I didn't like the hood. It rotate on the lens. Same kind of hood as the 85/1,8 lens.


Jul 15, 2004
View profile View recent posts View reviews Visit Homepage Add Lars Johnsson to your Buddy List  
Arka
Offline
Image Upload: On



Registered: Jun 13, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 10686
Review Date: Jun 9, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast. Sturdy build, easy to handle. Hood attachment is fast and easy. Fast. Extremely sharp and unreal color rendition. Amazing out-of-focus background. Fast.
Cons:
Somewhat heavy. AF motor is slower than almost any other lens. WIerd power assisted focus mechanism only functions when the len is attached to a camera

I bought this lens for the speed and purported image quality. It delivers in both departments in spades. The lens has fantastic image quality at any aperture, including f/1.2. The pictures I get out of this lens have a quality that my 70-200 f/2.8 and f/4 zooms were simply unable to match, and the out of focus background is downright ethereal

Build is solid and immaculate as well. Wish it was weather sealed, but you can't have everything. The hood clips on very easily, far easier than on my L-zooms. The hood also rotates with the front MF ring, even though the lens element itself does not rotate. It's a 72mm filter thread.

So why not give it 5 stars? Well, I really wanted to, but for the sake of objectivity, the lens' limitations must be taken into account. First off, it's heavy. The weight is offest by the fact that the lens is not that large, so it is still easy to handle. But this is one of the heaviest non-telephoto primes out there.

The focusing is the real weakness of this lens IMO. The focus ring has a long travel, which allows for very precise focusing. When working with the DoF from an f/1.2 lens, this close control is very important at lower apertures. BUT, it also means that it takes more than two full turns of the focus ring to get from minimum focusing distance (about 3 feet) to infinity. The focus ring is pretty loose, so it spins easily, but it's still a long way between the two extremes.

The mechanism for full time manual focus is also unique in that it is not purely mechanical. Instead, it is a power assisted 'focus-by-wire' system that drives the USM motor as you focus. The system is very accurate, and is very easy to get used to, but one must always have the lens attached to the camera, and the camera powered on, in order to focus it. Because the front element extends, it is good to remember to return the lens to infinity and retract the front element before stowing the lens.

Finally, the greatest drawback to the whole deal; AF speed. The AF speed on the 85mm f/1.2 L is SLOW, due in large part to the long travel from increment to increment, and the enormous amount of glass the motors are called upon to move. The 85mm f/1.8 and the L-zooms blow this one away in terms of focus speed. This slowness is especially maddening on a 10D, where the focus tends to hunt, and the hunting can take upwards of 5 seconds to subside. 5 seconds is an eternity when trying to get the shot. The AF is a lot better when working off a 1-series body, but still slow in comparison to the optically challenged little brother, the 85mm f/1.8.

So, this is a lens primarily for DoF and low-light freaks. The lens can take pictures in almost any light, and once you learn to master control of DoF, it will deliver pictures that no other lens can. I love the lens, but recognize that it is not suited to everyone's style.

Arka C.


Jun 9, 2004
View profile View recent posts View reviews Visit Homepage Add Arka to your Buddy List  
christo™
Offline
Image Upload: Off



Registered: Apr 20, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1676
Review Date: May 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good build, sharper than expected wide open, fun headshot lens on 1.6x
Cons:
As everyone reports: the AF is the black sheep of the EF mount L glass line -- YEESH

Everything about this lens is wonderful, except the AF. It is a VERY fun lens to use. I would rate this lens excellent, because used in situations within it's AF capabilities, it's absolutely first class. However, the AF is really, really, a dog compared to others in the Canon EF mount L glass family, and those can't be rated above excellent, so Great is all I can give this one. The fact that it doesn't have distance encoding is a bit of a drag for those caring about flash use with an E-TTL II camera (1D MkII).

I don't know which is more unbelievable about this lens: that an 85/1.2 can be so sharp wide open, or that the AF performance can be such a dog compared to the other Canon lenses in the price range, some of which are absolutely the best AF performers I've used. In any case, when things aren't moving fast, this lens is great on all cameras.

After buying a 10D, I found my 135/2L to be just too long for any portrait work, and for a lot of other stuff I used it on a FF camera. Yet the 50/1.4 was just a tad short for those v. shallow DOF head shots. The 85/1.2 fills that bill very nicely. I bought this lens about 5 months ago, and it has probably been my most used lens on the 10D since. I just happen to love the FOV in so many of my uses and that DOF is just plain fun!

With the 1D MkII, it becomes even more of a portrait lens for me, and with people posing, the AF performance just doesn't matter. With the improved AF of the MkII, the 85/1.2 seems to work quite well even in low light, though s-l-o-w in comparison.

The only serious drawback I find in my uses of this lens is use on the 10D for low light shots, such as weddings where flash is not allowed. It is an ideal focal length, and certainly aperture, for that type of work, but between the 10D AF performance, and this slug, I find the AF speed too slow in many circumstances to allow me to finish dialing in with the FT MF ring and it becomes a shot misser.

On the other hand, I notice this lens has a high frequency of getting mounted on both the 10D and 1D MkII, so I can't say it isn't an overall performer. Furthermore, were Canon to come out with an equivalent lens that had AF performance like the 135/2L, I would upgrade immediately and never look back, despite the high probability that the resale value on the current model will be about zilch if they bring out the same lens with an improved AF so that USM doesn't mean "Ultra Sluggish Mode" as it does on this lens.

If you have a 10D and are shooting portraits, you need this lens. If you have a 1.3x or FF camera, and don't have the 135/2L, buy it first -- the AF on that is full performance, it too shoots sharp wide open, and F2.0 at 135mm can let you play all the shallow DOF games you want.

Oh, yeah, as others have said, the bokeh is cool too, but I don't bother mentioning that in Canon L glass lens reviews much, because I have yet to run into anything but great bokeh with them.



May 25, 2004
View profile View recent posts View reviews Add christo™ to your Buddy List  
gweetoh
Offline
Image Upload: Off



Registered: Oct 17, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 67
Review Date: May 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: f/1.2! what else can i say?
Cons:
slow, slow AF, weight, price, hard to find...

going from my 17-40 f/4.0 to being able to shoot at f/1.2 has almost made me speechless. theres almost no situation i can't shoot with only available lighting...

May 20, 2004
View profile View recent posts View reviews Visit Homepage Add gweetoh to your Buddy List  
Ray Soemarsono
Offline
Image Upload: Off

Registered: Jul 27, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 3883
Review Date: Mar 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Out of this world BOKEH!
Cons:
Slow AF. Price.

The bokeh produced from this lens has to be seen to be believed. It's truly a specialty lens that is ideal for portraiture & still life due to the slower AF. Most of the times, I use manual focusing. The sharpness is excellent throughout. It is heavy as a brick and the back element is unprotected, so extra care is needed when mounting/dismounting.

Mar 29, 2004
View profile View recent posts View reviews Visit Homepage Add Ray Soemarsono to your Buddy List  
Mr_Bucket
Offline
Image Upload: Off



Registered: Dec 20, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 270
Review Date: Jan 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,475.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Incredibly fast aperture, Solidly built, Incredible image quality
Cons:
Heavy, Focusing is too slow for some applications, Camera must be on to manually focus.

I bought this lens from B&H in December of 2003 and its been my most used lens ever since. The image quality and light sucking abilities of this lens are top notch. Some people complain about the focusing being incredibly slow on this lens, but I believe its fine for what this lens was intended for.

Jan 18, 2004
View profile View recent posts View reviews Add Mr_Bucket to your Buddy List  
wkfwkf
Offline
Image Upload: Off



Registered: Jun 14, 2002
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 8
Review Date: Jan 3, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent image quality: razorsharp, beautiful background-blur.
Cons:
Relatively slow autofocus. Akward Electronic Manual Focus. Expensive.

I bought this lens for available light shooting at indoor events (theatres, churches). It's amazing. Excellent image quality. Beautiful bokeh.

I find the Electronic Manual Focussing akward to use but that may just be me. Wide open the lens requires extremely careful focussing: depth of field is paperthin at f1.2 and shorter distances. Autofocus is relatively slow but that hasn't bodered me much. Just don't bring it to shoot a basketbal game.


Jan 3, 2004
View profile View recent posts View reviews Add wkfwkf to your Buddy List  
fotografz
Offline
Image Upload: Off



Registered: Mar 11, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 218
Review Date: Dec 23, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Astounding control of DOF. Bokeh that sets a standard that spoils you against other fast lenses. Incredible resolution from a lens like this, second only to the legendary Zeiss 85/1.2 IMO.
Cons:
Big, heavy and slower focusing than lenses like the Nikon 84/1.4 and perhaps even the Zeiss/Contax 85/1.4N. But that's the penalty for the extra stop, and should come as no surprise given the size of the glass the motor has to move.

I could easily shoot 90% of a wedding with a 35/1.4L and this 85/1.2L.

As a outdoor portrait lens, it is second to none IMO.

Full frame digital, the 85/1.2 and the 35/1.4L are the reasons I switched from Nikon to Canon as my wedding equipment.


Dec 23, 2003
View profile View recent posts View reviews Visit Homepage Add fotografz to your Buddy List  
WilbertC
Offline
Image Upload: Off

Registered: Mar 7, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 19
Review Date: Oct 19, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Nicest bokeh I've ever seen. Sharpness from wide open thru all apertures.
Cons:
Heavy & expensive. AF a bit slow but acceptable.

This is my 1st fastest lens I've ever owned in my 30 years of photographic experience. I'm speechless. During the past 2 weeks since I bought it, I shoot nothing but wide opened in availabe light or indoor portraits w/o flash which I've never attempted before. I'm simply fascinated by the OOF blurry background, it's a sort of dreamy like fantasy which I can't describe what I've experienced. If you can afford it, grab it.

Oct 19, 2003
View profile View recent posts View reviews Add WilbertC to your Buddy List  
rebel300
Offline
Image Upload: Off



Registered: Dec 30, 2001
Location: United States
Posts: 13833
Review Date: Oct 6, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,170.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: detail/color/background blur perfect
Cons:
very heavy and slow focusing you have to manually retract the lens at times...pain in the neck but worth the trouble as I wouldn't want to store it with the lens not retracted...seems like it would foul up the USM motor

This and the 300/2.8is are the two top lenses in my bag bar none.
Incredible detail with great focusing patience on the part of the shooter.
A heavy but unassuming lens...this is among Canons very best lenses.

Maybe the most used lens in my bag.
The Reb



Oct 6, 2003
View profile View recent posts View reviews View gallery Add rebel300 to your Buddy List  
Jack Flesher
Offline
[ X ]



Registered: Oct 23, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 3489
Review Date: Jun 13, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Optical performance, fast aperture, and a unique "look" that only f1.2 can deliver
Cons:
Price, relatively slow focus going near/far, weight

The more I use this lens, the more I like it. I upgraded from the 85/1.8 because I wanted the "look" I got from very shallow DOF. But I ended up being amazed at the optical quality of this lens. It is nothing short of stunning at f5.6, very sharp at f2, and yet you get almost etherial effects at f1.2. All in all, a great piece of glass IF you are willing to put up with its shortcomings. Vignetting is heavy at f1.2, notable at f1.4 and nearly gone by f2, which IMO is nothing short of spectacular for this speed lens. I find my copy to slightly back-focus on my 1Ds body -- I'd say about 1 CM at normal portrait distance -- and this can be problematic when focusing on eyes at f1.4... My fix is to focus on the eye-brow instead. (And yes, focus is that critical at close distance with the wider stops on this lens!)



Jun 13, 2003
View profile View recent posts View reviews View gallery Add Jack Flesher to your Buddy List  
Steve King
Offline
Image Upload: Off



Registered: Jan 12, 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 583
Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very fast lens, allows shots to be taken when flash woudl be intrusive Allows for creative ultra narrow DOF shots.
Cons:
slow AF not a sports lens. Can be too sharp for your model. Weighty piece of glass.

I used this lens recently at a wedding to grab a few shots in the church.
At ISO 400 and F1.2 the shutter speed was still only 1/50.
Focusing is slow but accurate.

50mmf1.4 is loads lighter, cheeper........but the results from this lens are something special.


Mar 30, 2003
View profile View recent posts View reviews Visit Homepage Add Steve King to your Buddy List  
sdai
Offline
Image Upload: Off

Registered: Aug 26, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 3387
Review Date: Mar 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Best wedding lens money can buy
Cons:
slow AF

If you're into weddings, it's a must. However, you'll have to deal with slow AF and very shallow DOF. Other than that, it's just immaculate.

Mar 30, 2003
View profile View recent posts View reviews Add sdai to your Buddy List  

   



Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
126 245206 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $1,380.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.49
9.5
ef85mmf_12_1_


Page:  1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8