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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
312 487513 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $350.28
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.91
9.44
9.4
ef85mmf_18usm_1_

Specifications:
A highly practical medium telephoto lens with superb delineation and portability. Images are sharp and clear at all apertures. Through computer simulations, the lens has been designed to give beautiful background blur. Since the front lens group does not rotate during focusing special filter effects are not affected.


 


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Rubber Soul
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Registered: Dec 11, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 636
Review Date: Dec 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, compact, lightweight. Excellent build. Very sharp, colors rendition is excellent. It's the perfect portrait lens on FF and 1.6x cameras alike. Price is very reasonable.
Cons:
Severe purple fringing when shooting high contrast scenes at apertures wider than f2.8. Also, I had to send my lens back to Canon for recalibration due to backfocus.

This is a great lens. With an f1.8 aperture, you can get beautifully blurred background to isolate your subject. Colors are nicely saturated. Contrast and sharpness are somewhat mediocre at f1.8, but improve leaps and bounds by stopping down once.

When shooting wide open at f1.8, center sharpness is OK while borders are a bit soft. I was using a cropped sensor. I can only imagine the edge performance on a full frame dSLR would be quite soft when shooting wide open at f1.8.

Fortunately, corner-to-corner sharpness starts to become very impressive by f2.8, and critically sharp around f5.6.

Build quality is as good as it gets for non-L lenses. USM gives quiet and quick focusing. There's Full Time Manual focusing, and also a distance scale. Excellent sharpness, contrast, and color saturation. It has everything you could ever want in a lens, except weather sealing. For less than $350 USD, it's a bargain.

Unfortunately, my lens has a fairly severe backfocus. I had to send it back to Canon for recalibration. It's not an "L" lens, the retail price is very reasonable, and it's under warranty... so I won't hold this temporary setback against the lens rating.

Purple fringing is also fairly severe at any aperture wider than f2.8... especially at f1.8. It can ruin some shots.

All these negatives aside, the EF 85mm f/1.8 is a PERFECT lens for portraiture. On a full frame dSLR, it's great for half-body portraits. On a cropped sensor, it's more suitable for head shots.

A good alternative to this lens is its twin sibling, the EF 100mm f2 lens. Both lenses are virtually identical in build quality and sharpness. However, the EF 100mm reportedly does *not* suffer from the same level of purple fringing at wide apertures. Unfortunately, 100mm isn't nearly as popular a focal length as 85mm.

In conclusion, I heartily recommend the EF 85mm f/1.8 lens, and give it a rating of 9/10.


Dec 11, 2006
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alfieri
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Registered: Feb 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 175
Review Date: Dec 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fantastic value; must-have prime on 1.6x crop body; great sharpness and contrast; pretty sharp down to f/1.8; very fast and accurate AF even on 20D/30D; very lightweight
Cons:
135mm/f2L is better choice on full-frame 5D (same FOV); 85mm/f1.2L has better colors and blokeh if you're willing to pay $1750 for it

sample images and ramblings are here:

http://alfieri.smugmug.com/gallery/1210969


Dec 6, 2006
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Bowman Digital
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Registered: Dec 4, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent Sharpness, Contrast and Aperture Shape for bokeh effects. Well worth the price, it is well built, has fast AF, and not too bulky.
Cons:
None. It's amazing.

After using this in the past with a 20D, the lens was too long for the portrait shots I required. They did produce however the sharpest photos I'd ever taken. I know also own a Canon 5D and I knew i had to get this lens. It is now my perfect portrait kit, shots come out amazing! Amazing, colour, contrast and sharpness. This definately has to be one of the best prime lenses canon makes that isn't an L series. If you are thinking about getting it, do it now, you will stare at the photos you take with it with awe!

Dec 4, 2006
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--Daito--
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Registered: Nov 28, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 1
Review Date: Dec 3, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 1 

 
Pros: Very Good performer on the paper
Cons:
Can not find a good one yet

I rate this lens very low because I've lost a lot of time in test trying to prove to my dealer how soft my copy was and also trying to get a replacement to the dealer.

Please Canon, increase your insurance quality - this is not the single one which I had insurance quality problem.

Compare to my 50mm it is very soft. @f2.8 the 85mm it is less sharp than the 50mm wide open. Compare to my 70-200mm (set at 85mm) my copy of this prime 85mm @f4 is less sharp than my 70-200mm @f2.8

- what a waste of time -

What keeps me still on the Canon camp is their stuning FF sensor


Dec 3, 2006
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CarusoPhoto
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Registered: Nov 30, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 54
Review Date: Dec 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, color
Cons:
none

This is quite a lovely little lens. Even though it's not designated as an L, the images it produces come quite close. I am quite excited about its sharpness and color. I began my lens collection with zooms, but recently I have begun to explore the wonderful world of primes. Buying this lens started me down that path (which has, incidentally, led me directly to the phenomenal 153 f/2L).

I believe the quality of this lens outstrips the cost. If I had paid more, I would still have been very pleased.


Dec 1, 2006
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Gaby Jalbert
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Registered: Nov 23, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: For the price excellent lens. Great detail, excellent build, fast focus and even in low light will rarely search. Silent.
Cons:
Only negative aspect I found so far is intense purple fringing between f1.8 and f2.5. When chrome is involved prepare to see ALOT of purple. Over f3 its excellent. But since this lens is for portraits its not really a problem.



Nov 23, 2006
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Thomas Ware
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Registered: Nov 17, 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, AF-speed
Cons:
For the price, none

I have been using this lens just for a couple of months with 20D. However, it is becoming one of my favourite lenses. I am very pleased with the results, pictures are sharp, the AF is quick, bokeh nice and the price is not too bad. Complements well my 50/1.4 in non-flash situations such in indoor events and the like.

Nov 17, 2006
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john Paul
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Registered: Jul 22, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 150
Review Date: Nov 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $369.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast glass, great price, well built, very sharp, compact, & offers full time manual focus over-ride, which the L doesn't..
Cons:
Hmmm....none really..


I bought mine in 2000, and have been a very happy owner of it ever since.. I often shoot with this lens at f2.0, to f2.5, and get great results.. It's min. focus distance that I hear some reviewers complain about,...is not an issue for me when ever I use it.. It's made for portraits, right..? Why does someone need to move closer than 2.8 feet to your subject...? Nose shots..? Heck,..if you want to get any closer, it works very well with the Canon extension tubes.. I've even used the 85mm w/ extension tubes instead of my 100mm f2.8 Macro lens for close up work, and have been satisfied with the results..

Mine shows a lot of wear around the front ring,..but that's because I use it an awful lot.. In my studio, I shoot most of my stuff with this lens.. On location, it is a wonderful tool to have in the bag.. It is light weight, performs better than the 70-200mm f2.8 IS L,...it is small and black,...and doesn't stand out as much,.. it is brighter to look through,...it focuses faster than the L version of this lens,..and offers full time manual focusing, which the L doesn't....(neither does the MkII version of the 85mm f1.2 L).. For a portrait L lens, doncha think they would include that very important feature on a lens designated for portrait photography..?

Any ways,...I know many professional photographers who use this lens,..and are very happy with the results.. I might upgrade to the L,.. but I might just hang on to this one regardless.....BTW,...if you use a filter on the end of your lens, ans judge your lens sharpness with that junk on your lens,....don't! I never shoot with protective filters on my lenses.. strangely, I get pretty darn good results.....go figure.. :-p

JP


Nov 9, 2006
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dturina
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Registered: May 16, 2004
Location: Croatia
Posts: 139
Review Date: Oct 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: ultrasharp, fast, dirt cheap, absolutely great bokeh, a must have
Cons:
some blooming on highlights, a bit soft wide open; minimal focus distance too great

It's one of the best optics I own, and if not for the purple fringing (it can be annoying around the catchlights in the eyes), I'd say it's a perfect lens. I use it as a portrait lens on my 5d and I keep congratulating myself for buying it. It makes absolutely beautiful pictures; not only portraits, but landscape details as well. I wish it could focuse closer, for 1:4 semi-macro, but it gets better with a macro extender.

Oct 28, 2006
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mbohunsky
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Registered: Dec 30, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 3668
Review Date: Oct 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light, fast aperture, quick AF, build quality, inexpensive, nice bokeh, super sharp from f/2.2, sharp wide open. Great portrait lens on a crop body
Cons:
Lots of purple fringing below f/2.8

This has to be my favorite lens to use. I think the value of this lens is unsurpassed in the Canon lineup. The build quality belies the price. As does the amount of glass.

This lens is very usable wide open and at f/2.2 this lens is razor sharp. One aspect that I wish this lens could improve on is CA, especially purple fringing, at large apertures. Shooting cars with chrome is out of the question with apertures larger than f/2.8. Wide open to f/2.2 the purple fringing is very noticeable even at standard viewing sizes. At f/2.8, you have to look very closely and past f/3.5 CA disappears. This is only a problem with very reflective objects and it never really poses a problem with portraits.

Portraits is where this lens shines. This lens produces very creamy bokeh with head shots and large apertures. I find the level of detail striking. This lens might be too sharp for some that may be sensitive to wrinkles and facial hair on female models.

Autofocus performance is on par with the 135 f/2L. Never did I find this lens to have problems with focus speed or hunting in low light.

This lens will stay with me for a long time.


Oct 11, 2006
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tutumon
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Registered: Jan 3, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1086
Review Date: Oct 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: I have 5 'L' lenses(had the 85 1.2L also), The quality of this is on par(with all and better than!) some of the 'L's. I use this for indoor volleyball on my 20D at ISO 1600, and the pictures are absolutely fantastic!!!! Enough said!
Cons:
I don't see any.

Simply outstanding! Fast(large aperture) and Fast(focus). A must for all indoor sport activities. Also gorgeous for portraits. Very sharp at 1.8 I always use this at 1.8 for indoor sports. Pictures are tack sharp. Sharper wide open than many 'L's. Infact sharper than ,most if not ALL 'L' zooms that I have used.



Oct 10, 2006
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Justin D
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Registered: Sep 8, 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 789
Review Date: Oct 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp at f1.8, Very sharp at f2.8, feels good in the hand even if it is not L quality build (whatever that is). AF accurate and fast. Colour and contrast good, too. Good price and from what I read, consistent QC.
Cons:
Can't think of any. I remember thing the depth of field was a bit wider than I liked in a shot or 2 at or about f5.6, but I can't see the shots now. Probably imagining it.

An impressive lens. Fast enough to pull in almost as much light as my eye in some situations (at 1600), very sharp, comparatively light with a solid feel, good colours and contrast. For some reason, it took me a couple of hours (~50 shots) to start getting good results (could have been the behaviour of my 8 year old subject, though), but within a couple of hours, I had 5-10 shots I reckon are pretty good. Highest keeper ratio of all my lenses after the 70-200 f4L, but I'm not dealing with extremely narrow depth of field with the zoom.

Oct 6, 2006
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condrup.eu
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Registered: Jul 20, 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 38
Review Date: Sep 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp as h... Not as huge as the L edition, cheap.
Cons:
Not L, but you can live with that. Focus is not so fast.


I use this lens for portrait work, mostly. Sometimes when i want to make low DOF images, its great too. Images are crystal sharp, it may not be an L version, but its lighter, both in weight and in money. I will never get rid of this lens, not even with the 1.2 version in my back, since this lens is so easy to get around with and makes great images. So, dont hesitate, buy it! Smile


Sep 23, 2006
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Areta
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Registered: Feb 19, 2005
Location: Poland
Posts: 334
Review Date: Sep 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, not expensive, fast focusing
Cons:
Hood mount

I bought this lens following FM recommendation and I love it. It is very sharp with nice colors and fast focusing. Excellent for children. Cheap for what you get and compare to some recent Canon lenses

I do not like its hood. I do not understand why Canon could not apply hood mount of 50/1.4 for 85/1.8.


Sep 23, 2006
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routerguy666
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Registered: Aug 16, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, optical quality, sturdy build.
Cons:
None.

Excellent lense. Sharp as a tack, great colors, great contrast. People who post about focus issues at 1.8 or with the 50mm primes need to learn how to use them. On a crop camera this is a great portrait lense and the bokeh is very fine. Price is right, autfocus is quick and quiet. It's all been said before, this is just another thumbs up for a great piece of glass.

Sep 21, 2006
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Lasse Eriksson
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Registered: Sep 13, 2006
Location: Sweden
Posts: 2773
Review Date: Sep 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Image quality, Fast AF
Cons:
A bit soft wide open



Sep 18, 2006
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
312 487513 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $350.28
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.91
9.44
9.4
ef85mmf_18usm_1_


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