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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
313 488909 Sep 26, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $350.00
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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cauchy
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Registered: Jan 15, 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: image quality (very good even wide open), nice bokeh, good construction and feel, fast AF, price, USM
Cons:
some CAs wide open (was worse on the 40D, on the 5D Mark II it is not really an issue)

This is a fantastic lens. I really liked it on my 40D and I absolutely love it on the 5D Mark II. On the crop sensor it showed quite a bit of CAs up to around f/2.8 but on the fullframe it is not an issue. The EF 85 f/1.8 USM has an excellent image quality and a pleasant bokeh - which makes it a great portrait lens! It is quite sharp even wide open and the AF is fast and accurate.

I have never used the 85mm f/1.2L lenses (and I bet they are very good) but if f/1.8 is enough I bet you will be very happy with this lens! Especially for the relatively low price it is actually a no-brainer, get it if you have a Canon body!


Dec 12, 2009
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Fr3d
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Registered: Nov 28, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 292
Review Date: Nov 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, light, fast, cheap, sharp.
Cons:
Need to buy hood extra. Some CA wide open.

I'm using this lens on a 5DII ... it is alot of fun to play with the shallow depth of field. I usualy stop down to f2 for sharpness but f1.8 too isn't bad at all. It's a lot of lens for the money. Highly recommended!

Nov 14, 2009
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EZarris
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Registered: Oct 1, 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Solid build, good IQ, f/1.8, fast AF, great bokeh, lightweight
Cons:
None really. Could use IS if i had to pick.

This is a great lens. Sharp and fast, it is excellent for portraits. For the price, it's really hard to beat. Could benefit from IS, but then again, all lenses would and you know id doesn't have it when you buy it.

Oct 1, 2009
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ersatz
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Registered: Aug 24, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 222
Review Date: Aug 24, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF Speed, Contrast, Bokeh, Sharpness, Aperture, price
Cons:
Purple fringing in high contrast areas

I got mine used and at $250 it was a steal. The AF is very quick and accurate even in low light, not to mention quiet. The lens is fairly sharp at 1.8 and has excellent center sharpness @2.8 and all round at f/4. On a full frame it exhibits some vignetting until 2.8 but still quite useable. I've noticed purple fringing in high contrast areas even when using the et-65 lens hood. The wider the aperture the great it becomes, but still quite acceptable. I find it is a tad soft wide open but this make it excellent for portraits expecially with the wonderful bokeh.

Build quality is great for the price. It certainly isn't L glass quality but it is far better than the plastic 50mm 1.8 that people rave about. The lens has a good heft to it for the size but still balances well on cheaper plastic bodies like the 1000d. The AF motor is durable as with the lens hood attached I've bumped into objects and it still functions well. The same cannot be said for the 50mm 1.4 as even a slight jolt can damage it's AF motor.

The manual focus ring is decent, though it feels a little gritty. But with the superb USM AF you'll probably rarely use manual focus.

While it does lack IS, I really haven't found it to be an issue at this focal length even on a crop body. But it does tend to be a tad long on a crop to use a walkaround lens.

This is by far my favorite Canon non L-glass prime. The 100mm f/2 is great but a tad too long on a crop, and I find the AF on the 85mm better in all regards.

I know people like the 50mm because of their focal length but the 1.8 and 1.4 have poor build quality/durability and their AF is horrendous. And wide open or at comparable apertures they aren't anywhere as sharp as the 85mm 1.8 is.

I think when you factor in all the qualities of this lens and it's price it is probably the best value.


Aug 24, 2009
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versatile
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Registered: Aug 23, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 24, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, AF speed, contrast, USM, price!
Cons:
CA

This is a true must-have!
I am a hobbyist, and I bought this lens about a month ago. I have been using it on both 30D and 40D cameras, and I have to say, that, while 30D sometimes is still hunting for focus with this, the 40D was absolutely instant and silent to focus.
The sharpness is excellent, and the contrast is much much much better than it is with, say, 50/1.8 II lens. Excellent backgroud separation.

There is one drawback, though, and it is CAs. They rule the picture in high-contrast areas and are notable even on the tiny LCD of my 30D. However, as a lightroom user I am not afraid of those Smile

For the price paid this is an excellent lens, built, well, not like a tank, but somewhere near for sure.

Highly reccomended!


Aug 24, 2009
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Fulcrum
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Registered: May 23, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 3
Review Date: Aug 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness, contrast, colour reproduction, fantastic bokeh. Silent.
Cons:
AF sometimes misses in the dark. Feels shoddy and plastic.

I traded my old and noisy 28mm/2.8 for this and boy, I am glad I did.

No more focus BUZZ, no more pentagon-shaped bokeh. And less missed shots, because the AF is close to perfect even in the dark. And now I can enjoy a quiet walk in the forest.

I have rarely seen a bokeh as pleasing as the one this lens is capable of. Of the lenses I personally own, only 400mm/5.6L USM and Contax Zeiss Sonnar T* 135mm/2.8 produce as good or better results. The bokeh is perfectly round and buttery smooth.

The images taken with this lens require significantly less post-production work and noise reduction. The colours are very near to perfect in almost every image taken with this one.

There is one thing that worries me about most of the Canon lenses (especially the short non-L primes), and that is the shoddy, plastic feel. I love the sturdy feel of a Zeiss or an L-series bird tele. Not shoddy at all, unlike these little plastic jars. But I guess it will be able to hold itself together long enough.

I could not have bought myself a better birthday present.



Aug 22, 2009
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MarcyJillGood
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Registered: May 19, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 997
Review Date: Aug 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp; very fast.
Cons:
Heavy lens

Very sharp lens - I love the IQ. Focuses fast, even in low light. Take beautiful portraits. If you have a cropped body, it's a bit long for walk-around use at an event (I seem to turn to zooms, or to the 50mm 1.4 in those situations). Built solidly & somehow feels heavier when working with it than some of the larger lenses. Perhaps this is because it seems heavy for its size (I have small hands - might be part of the problem). I can't recall what I paid for it, so I haven't listed that info. Also do not feel qualified to rate the build, because I know so many FM members use L lenses as the benchmark. I've never dropped a lens or broken one, so I have no experience in comparing how tough they are when that happens (hope I never have to learn the hard way).

Currently using XSi & recently purchased 5D Mkii, but haven't tried this lens on it yet.


Aug 15, 2009
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rickz
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Registered: May 31, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jul 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, bright, and light, with fast USM focusing. An excellent value.
Cons:
Chromatic aberration at the widest apertures, but cleans up easily.

Smaller and FAR LESS costly than the admirable 85/1.2, the 85/1.8 is a perfect value. In the three years I've owned this lens, it's been my top portrait glass. At receptions, it's usually on the 20D when the 40D is wearing the 17-55/2.8. Its sharpness and bokeh have elicited "ooooos" and "aaaaas" from my customers. That's good enough for me. :-)

Jul 28, 2009
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matnen
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Registered: Dec 13, 2008
Location: Ukraine
Posts: 108
Review Date: Jul 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact.Sharp.USM.Perfect colors.Nice 'bokeh'.
Cons:
none yet

Wonderful lens for portrait shots.Sharp.Lightweight.Good bokeh.Accurate AF.Natural colors.Clear images.Good companion for 50 1,4. This lens lives on my XTi.Well balanced on Rebel-like bodies.
Happy with this lens


Jul 15, 2009
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Enche Tjin
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Registered: Jun 14, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: compact, good built quality, sharp, good color and contrast, excellent for portrait
Cons:
not sharp at f/1.8

Canon 85mm f/1.8 is probably the best value Canon lens. The quality of the image is very good, big aperture allow low light hand held shot and create a shallow depth of field. The auto focus is quiet and very fast.

Build quality of this lens is very good, feels very solid and definitely a step up from kit lens. It is relatively short and light weight compared to general purpose lens (3.0" x 2.8", 15.0 oz. / 75.0 x 71.5mm, 425g).

Application of this lens will be portrait, indoor sport (basketball, volleyball), art performance and candid photography.

* Wide open at f/1.8, this lens is soft but create a very nice 'bokeh' great for girls portraits.

* at f/2.8, the center of the image is very sharp, my favorite setting for general portraits and sports.

* at f/4 and above, the image is very sharp edge to edge, especially f/8 where you get the maximum sharpness.

There is nothing that I can complain about this lens at this price point because it has very good built quality, excellent in low light especially freezing motion, and awesome for portraits. It worth every penny. I recommend this lens in addition to your general purpose kit lens.

Please visit my blog www.radiantlite.com for sample photos and video tour


Jun 16, 2009
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hashin
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Registered: Jun 2, 2009
Location: India
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 2, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Contrast, Fast AF
Cons:
Nil

I upgraded from my kit lens 18-55mm lens to this superb lens. It hasn't come of my camera body since.
Images are super sharp. Absolutely no post processing required.
The only drawback is that i sometimes find it too long for my taste.


Jun 2, 2009
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netminder0
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Registered: Apr 1, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 780
Review Date: May 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very good IQ, very good contrast, good/fast autofocus, lightweight/small, cheap, very good value
Cons:
None

This is a wonderful lens. Pretty much everything good about it is listed above. It is a very good value. For the price you pay, it is a very good lens. Sure it isn't the best 85mm lens available from Canon, but for the money, it may be.

Any further questions, just shoot me a PM.


May 30, 2009
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philbinley
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Registered: Jun 30, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 760
Review Date: May 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $275.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size-f/1.8-bokeh-excellent IQ-high value to cost ratio!
Cons:
None @ this price!

I have been using this lens for right around a year now, and decided it was time to upgrade since I was starting to get some paid work now. I was pretty much just wanting to upgrade for the creative aspects of the shallow DOF of the 85mm f/1.2L. It wasn't because I was unhappy with the 85mm f/1.8. When I got the 85 L I couldn't believe the size of this thing, so I slapped it on and went...wow, I don't get it ??? There was no improvement in IQ, matter of fact, the 85 1.8, probably because of it's size and speed, had more keepers! Bokeh was better in my opinion coming out of the 85 1.8! There was zero improvement in IQ! That right folks...I said zero improvement in IQ! So I sent the monster back and have not looked back since. So if your on the fence about this lens, don't be. Just buy it and enjoy all the extra change in your pocket to buy more lenses Smile

May 14, 2009
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ttriolo
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Registered: May 24, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $355.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Incredible value, excellent bokeh, decent build quality for the price, quick focus.
Cons:
Nothing that I can think of, except the hood could be a bit beefier.

For months I lusted after the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L lens. I needed that focal length mainly for portraits on the 5D. I had a 70-200 f/4 which fulfilled the focal length requirement, but I wanted something brighter, smaller and something that would give me beautiful bokeh, something which I wasn't getting from the 70-200. You may be asking, if I wanted something lighter, why was I looking at the 85mm 1.2L? Admittedly, it is not a lightweight, and while it may be shorter, it may not be much lighter, if any. The cost was another sobering factor. I didn't know if I could justify $1800 for a lens that I might not use all that much since I'm not primarily a portrait photographer. Even when I had the chance to get a like-new one for $300 less at a photo flea-market, I had reason to hesitate. That's when I started to look at the 1.8 version. Up to that point, I had only purchased L glass and I didn't want to deviate from that practice, especially for a prime lens, but when I began to read the extremely favorable reviews on this site, I had to take a hard look at the 1.8. Factoring in the cost, approximately 1/5th that of the 1.2, I just had to go for it. Initially, I tried to do even better, by finding a good deal on eBay. There are lots of 85mm f/1.8 lenses on eBay, but a lot of folks are looking for one too. If your winning bid is $25 less than retail, consider yourself lucky. That being the case, I went ahead and just bought a new one from B&H. The first results have been terrific and while the 1.2L lens may have the edge on wide-open sharpness, I don't think it justifies the cost, not for me anyway.

May 12, 2009
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Sayeret18
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Registered: Apr 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 619
Review Date: Apr 23, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, f1.8, size, balance between cost/performance
Cons:
Color/contrast of my copy definitely "consumer lens" quality.

This is a good lens, but it is not (at least to my eyes) a great lens. I've used it primarily for indoor sports and found it to be quite sharp, with decently fast focus. It is sharp (expected from a prime) but I've found color and contrast to be more similar to the 28-105 f3.5 - 4.5 than to my 70-200 f4IS or 135L.

Apr 23, 2009
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JRKO
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Registered: Jan 12, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5
Review Date: Apr 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very sharp - lightweight - price for an f1.8
Cons:
A bit too long for my liking making framing harder

Great value lens but found it just a little too long even of a FF body. Loved the sharpness and limited DOF.

The Bokeh if very soft but I can't get around the distance I have to work at for a full length portrait shot. This made controlling the subject position/pose a bit harder than I am comfortable with. I can do head shots at 200mm but prefer to be closer.

Not bad for low light work though. Have Sigma 50mm f1.4 now so will be selling this.

http://jrko.zenfolio.com/p777028168/h14f24def#h14f24def


Apr 1, 2009
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
313 488909 Sep 26, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $350.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.91
9.44
9.4
ef85mmf_18usm_1_


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