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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

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312 487717 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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gberger
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Registered: Apr 29, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 230
Review Date: Sep 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $369.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: After reading the reviews here, my question was not "should I buy this lens?", it was "How fast can I get my hands on one?". I've just finished spending the morning fooling around with it, and it's every bit as sharp as everyone says. Stopped down to f4 or smaller it is stunning. A previous reviewer commented that "nothing is in focus at F1.8", so I ran a test. I photograped a detailed 3-dimensional small sculpture at the closest distance I could get to it, with the camera on a tripod of course, at f-stops ranging from 1.8 to 16. Depth of field is indeed very shallow at F1.8, as you would expect, but there was a definite plane of focus. This lens is an excellent value for the money, I'd have to think long and hard about whether the small increment in sharpness in the "L" lens is worth the money before making the move. For a pro it's a no-brainer, but for hobbiests like me this is a fantastic lens. Over 35 years of shooting, have used many lenses, L and others, and I think this baby is one of the best. I can't give it a 10 while the L series is out there, but I'd like to give it 9.7.
Cons:

I used to have a 135 f/2 Canon FD manual lens that I really LOVED, and I have been looking for a reasonably priced replacement. After reading the reviews here, my question was not "should I buy this lens?", it was "How fast can I get my hands on one?". I've just finished spending the morning fooling around with it, and it's every bit as sharp as everyone says. Stopped down to f4 or smaller it is stunning. A previous reviewer commented that "nothing is in focus at F1.8". I ran a test to see what he was talking about. I photograped a detailed 3-dimensional small sculpture at the closest distance I could get to it, with the camera on a tripod of course, at f-stops ranging from 1.8 to 16. Depth of field is indeed very shallow at F1.8, as you would expect, but there was a definite plane of focus.
This lens is an excellent value for the money, I'd have to think long and hard about whether the small increment in sharpness in the "L" lens is worth the money before making the move. For a pro it's a no-brainer, but for hobbiests like me this is a fantastic lens. In over 25 years of shooting I have used many lenses, L and others, and I think this is one of the best. I can't give it a 10 while the L series is out there, but I'd like to give it 9.7.


Sep 16, 2006
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ilind
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Registered: Aug 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Sep 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, clear, good color. Reasonably priced.
Cons:
None that I can see.

I love this lens.

So far, I haven't been able to afford an "L" lens to use with my Canon 350, but this lens gets excellent results. It is sharp, clear and handles well.

I grabbed it a couple of days ago and headed out on the back deck with some of our cats.

Here are the results, all shot with the 85mm f/1.8.

http://ilind.net/gallery_2006/cats090906/

-Ian Lind
Kaaawa, Hawaii


Sep 10, 2006
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mainephotonut
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Registered: Aug 20, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Awsome color, sharpness, "wow factor" when I see the results. I used a freinds 100-400L, and IMHO the color's were just as nice with my 85/1.8.
Cons:
Need's a tripod if you really want to get sharp, but that's with any lens. However with the 85/1.8, the results are wonderful. Not really a negative aspect of the lens however. Lens hood seems easy to pop off if not careful

This was my first lens I bought (other than the kit lens that came with the 20D) and I was blown away by the sharpness and color. It just makes me grin everytime. It feels solid, the focus is quick and accurate, and I like the full time manual focus ring. (Of course, anything compared to the 18-55 kit would be better. Smile )

It's a keeper, I dont plan on giving up this lens anytime soon, it'a great portrait lens, and I've done some flowers with it that have come out nice. But with people pictures, it really shines.

All the pictures in this gallery http://www.pbase.com/kratka/people_pictures were taken with the 85 1.8.

I am pleased with it, I think you will be too if this is the kind of focal length you seek.

Cheers.


Aug 21, 2006
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I Simonius
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Registered: Apr 22, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 51
Review Date: Jul 27, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Small,cheap, excellent resolution
Cons:
a little flimsy, not 'L' quality ( but it's not an 'L' so that's fair!)

The sharpest lens I have once stopped down a little, sharper than my 50mm 1.4 when both @f5.6 - so that's saying something!

I'm not convinced the 85mm1.2 would be sharper at similar apertures, but I might have to just try anyway to see (one day) ;-)


Jul 27, 2006
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LanceUSA
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Registered: Mar 7, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very sharp, fast autofocus, descent bokeh, small size
Cons:
fringing on metal surfaces and areas of high contrast, non existent DOF at f/1.8 at minimum focusing distance

I bought this lens based on the many positive reviews found here. But I felt there were a few things people left out about this lens and its more about the usage than the actual lens.

For one, when I first placed it on my camera I thought I'd try it out at f/1.8 just for some tests. I shot a few objects about 5 feet away...instantly went to my laptop to view the samples and to my amazement absolutely nothing was in focus...I mean nowhere! I thought, maybe I have a bad copy of this lens which has never happened to me in any of my other lens purchases. So I packed it back up and was ready to take it back today.

Then later in the day I thought I'd give it a second try. I tried the same shots (5 feet away) with varying apertures (f/1.8, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11) and believe it or not there was nothing in acceptable focus until about f/5.6 at that distance. A light bulb went off in my head...at minimum distance from my subject a very small aperture is required to get any acceptable focus at all because of the paper thin DOF this lens creates.

So next I did the same test outside and took shots from 25-50 feet away...and low and behold f/1.8 even produced sharp results at this distance (beware of chromatic aberations though).

So let me tell you that this lens is not for close shooting wide open...if you do, stop it down quite a bit...but at farther distances use it wide open all day. So I figured out that this lens is for low lighting situations when there is a great distance between you and you subject. I'd be better served to use my 50mm f/1.4 at a closer distance.

This might be useful info to other newbies to fast lenses like I am!


Jul 26, 2006
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dubya
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Registered: Sep 27, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 54
Review Date: Jul 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, fast, great color / contrast...blah blah blah...
Cons:
at this price...none...

there's a saying: "once you go BLACK (a.k.a. black L primes), you never go back..." I, for one, believe this to be true. The experience of shooting w/ the 35L & 135L has made me a believer....

However, in terms of my 85 1.8...i just can't give it up. It has done everything i've ask it to do & has done it exceptionally well.
My copy can do 90% of what the 85L can do and at 1/4 of the cost...the cost-benefit trade-off is not worth it for me...

I am by no means doggin' the 85L - the other 10% is pure magic. But the 85usm stays with me....it's heresy to think otherwise....


Jul 20, 2006
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radiodenver
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Registered: Apr 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 490
Review Date: Jul 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast. Sharp. Excellent Bokeh.
Cons:
Nothing

Absolutely stunning results using this lens. I have yet to find a negative about it. I use it on the 5D and 30D. The autofocus is very fast and very quiet. Shots are so sharp, they don't need touching in post processing. This lens will make a 5D sing a lovely song with portrait shots. Excellent for medium range landscape shots too.

Jul 18, 2006
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leiho
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Registered: Mar 21, 2006
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness, AF speed, bokef, 1.8, price for value
Cons:
CA at 1.8

I've been using this lens for few weeks, still learning and exploring its pros - it has not too many cons Smile Excellent sharpness, handling, fast AF . At 1.8 sharpness is not that great, but well, try to stop down a little bit, to 2.0 or 2.8 - you get knocked down. At 4.0 this lens is uber fantastic. Plus beautiful creamy bokeh at 1.8 and not only at 1.8. As mentioned before, lens is really sharp, from 2.0 or 2.8 on. I ve tried to make few test photos on Coke bottle (tripod used etc). Except more than expected purple fringing at 1.8 in central part of the bottle (where brand name is put, white on red label), the rest seemed so fine. CA is almost completely gone at 2.0 and and 4.0 you must be tax inspector to have any complaints- there should be none. Lens highly recomended.

Jul 16, 2006
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vin14
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Registered: Jun 28, 2006
Location: Ireland
Posts: 274
Review Date: Jul 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $340.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp even at f1.8, weight, price, AF
Cons:
colour fringing in areas of extreme contrast at f1.8

This lens lives up to the hype. It's sharp, even at f1.8. The AF is fast and it's well built. The only negetive is colour fringing in areas of extreme contrast at f1.8. This greatly improves by f2.

Jul 13, 2006
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Xenedis
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Registered: Feb 11, 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 6
Review Date: Jul 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lightweight, small, fast, quick to focus, very sharp (even at f/1.8), nice bokeh, and it's inexpensive.
Cons:
Lack of hood, but this is standard for non-L lenses.

I have only owned the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens for a few hours, and have not yet taken any photos other than the test shots I took in the store.

Looking at those test shots (taken mostly at ISO 400, and all at f/1.8 under less-than-optimal fluorescent light), I am floored at the sharpness of this fantastic lens.

The background blur is very pleasing, and the edges of subjects are sharp. It delivers excellent performance for a relatively inexpensive non-L lens.

This lens is a keeper, and I'm looking forward to using it for proper photography. I can see this lens being used for gig (music) photography, candids, portraiture, and for subject matter for which I want a very shallow depth of field.

I wanted a fast telephoto prime, with the intention of using it wide open as much as possible, and I think this lens will do the job quite well indeed.

The Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM was also on the list of candidates, but I didn't get to inspect one of those today. However, the 85/1.8 on my 20D provides a field of view almost identical to what the 135/2L would do on a FF DSLR, it's a third-stop faster, and significantly less expensive ($AUD 1,650 or thereabouts for the 135/2L, vs. the $AUD 640 I paid for the 85/1.8).

Optically the 85/1.8 contains nothing special (ie, UD glass, aspherical elements or fluorite), but this does not prevent it from delivering surprisingly sharp results straight out of the camera.

I'm sure that unsharp masking, contrast and colour adjustments in post-processing will enhance the quality of its already fine results.

Thoroughly recommended, and I've given it a top score on all counts.

My review might be somewhat premature based on my very limited experience with this lens, but if the pleasing results I achieved in a busy store under fluorescent lighting provide a taste of this lens's capability, I cannot wait to see the results in real-world situations.

J.


Jul 7, 2006
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tkoet
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Registered: May 12, 2006
Location: N/A
Posts: 1503
Review Date: Jul 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $389.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent build, sharp images, fast focus
Cons:
Wicked CA wide open, lack of close focusing ability is a real drawback

This is one of Canon's best lens values. A joy to use except for noticeable CA at f1.8 and an always surprising minimum focus spec.

Jul 7, 2006
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ray123
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Registered: Jun 3, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Jul 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: A must have for portrait if you can't afford the f1.2. Great price!
Cons:
None

One of my sharpest!

Jul 2, 2006
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hermosawave
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Registered: Jul 12, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 14
Review Date: Jul 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, light, small, inexpensive.
Cons:
Doesn't focus very closely, but that's not why you're buying this lens.

I really like the 85mm focal length, so when I moved up to the 5D from the 20D I needed a new full frame prime to compensate. I use this fast prime for concerts and sports where things are moving too fast in low light for my 24-105 f/4 or 70-200 f/4.

I considered this lens, the f/1.2, the 100mm macro, the 135mm f/2 L and upgrading to the 70-200 f/2.8 IS. Because I couldn't decide, I decided to go for the 85 f/1.8 as a temporary solution.

I couldn't be happier with my choice, this lens really surprised me.

Focuses much faster than the f/1.2 II (at least in the store), very sharp wide open, good bokeh, great for portraits (http://photos.hermosawave.net/enlargenext.php?ID=96&selection=14 - 1/160 @ f/1.8 on the 5D)

On the 20D, this lens is a 135mm -- long, fast and inconspicuous! A real bonus. Check out this shot: http://photos.hermosawave.net/enlargenext.php?ID=94&selection=6 - (1/8000 @ f/1.8) you'll see the volleyball and the girl are tack-sharp and everything behind is a blur. I could not have created this narrow depth of field with my other lenses...


Jul 2, 2006
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jthai
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Registered: Aug 2, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This lens is sharpest lens on my lens collection... Sweet spot at F4 and F5.6.. fast focus and good built quality.
Cons:
CA at 1.8 and F2.8

It is the sharpest lens in my lens collection.
I ran all test and compare each lens Image quality.

Rank this sharpest lens at Aperture F2.8 to F5.6: First is 85F1.8 ; 70-200F2.8; 24-70F2.8 and last 50F1.8

I am happy with my lens collection...


Jun 15, 2006
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DrPablo
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Registered: Aug 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1556
Review Date: Jun 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Bokeh, sharpness, build
Cons:
Autofocus, CA, lens hood

When stopped down and manually focused this lens is a gem. The autofocus on my copy couldn't find water in the ocean. There is some virtually uncorrectable blue-yellow CA in some photos too (I say uncorrectable because it is very broad and Photoshop doesn't necessarily recognize it as CA). I'm disappointed because I'd been expecting better. If Canon can fix the autofocus then maybe I'll think more highly of it.

Jun 11, 2006
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Review Date: Jun 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $290.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp with great bokeh. Well worth the money
Cons:
Colours and bokeh are not as nice as the "L" but what do you expect for a 1/4 of the price

Well I just baught another one because I sold my 85L to help cover the cost of my 1DMKII I baught last month. The previous one I had was very sharp, I am hoping on the 1.3 crop I will get even more enjoyment out of it. You can't beet this lens for the money Smile

Dan


Jun 8, 2006
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
312 487717 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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