Gear Talk > Reviews

My Mini-Review of the 85mm 1.2L II.

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Plato the Wise:

--- Quote from: Mikael Risedal on January 02, 2013, 09:22:29 PM ---
--- Quote from: RLPhoto on October 09, 2012, 08:07:49 PM ---Just my Little mini-review of this sweet lens. Feel free to critique it if you like, I don't do many reviews.

--- End quote ---

85/1,2 is a fine lens but 90% you can do with the much cheaper Canon  85/1,8  which is also optically better.
I do not understand the hype around 85/1,2 and 50/1,2. is it the price and  looks impressive?
min.distance not short enough for tight portraits , slooooow AF and  LoCa.
Mine is not used a day since I got the  70-200/2,8 IS MK2.

Look at som details around the lovely dog, some blades of grass look almost synthetic and the bokeh is nervous, looks better with 135/2.0.

--- End quote ---

I have both the 50L and 85L and have shot the 85 1.8 and reviewed work shot with the 50 1.4.

The non-L versions are nice lenses, but they are NOT in the same class as the L versions. The richness in color, the contrast, and bokeh on the L versions are superior.

They don't have the same look at all. Some lenses impart a quality to the image capture that is hard to describe in words alone. The only comparison I can make here is that quality is imparted by other lenses, such as the Zeiss versions of the old hasselblad lenses. And I am in no way equating the look of a Zeiss lens with a Canon L. They are much different. But both have a distinct look that the lower end lenses lack.


--- Quote from: risc32 on January 02, 2013, 08:05:51 PM ---I've never heard that the 85L's build is anything less than awesome. I've never owned or laid a finger on a 85mmL, but i've read many , many reviews of this lens and I know a great deal about it. to say that RLphoto's review really should point out how the 85mmL is in some way built poorly is plain rubbish. 
    Also, i'd imagine many lenses, if not damn near all of them could be disassembled by unscrewing the front threads.

my only question regards that shot of the clothes pins. Is that distortion, or is that line really that crooked?  now, since you showed me yours, i feel it's only customary to show mine. clothes pin shot that is.

--- End quote ---

I never said the 85L was built badly. It's a tank but even tanks have weaknesses.

Maybe you missed it, but my comments weren't directed at you, but more in defense of your review. a review that i thought was a good real world look at the 85, and its alternatives. most of the time these things don't take the alternatives into account and I know first hand most people agonize over things like 85L or 135L or... they have different strengths, but most people don't have endless money to just buy both, so to look at them, their strengths, and  positions in the market seems like a proper thing to do. thanks

 sure the 1.8 will work as good or better most of the time, for most of the people, i've got one.  there is something referred to as diminished returns. you aren't going to be getting 10X performance for 10x more money, but that high price does bring many things.

Enjoy your reviews & agree whole heartedly with your views on the 85L & 135L, I have both and also the 50L 1.2, all are amazing Lenses & when used right, provide amazing outcomes. On the Weather Proofing Level, although these Lenses are not sealed, I recently visited The Snow monkeys in Japan, Snowed hugely on the first day, I shot all three of these lenses on the 1Dx & had zero issues with weather sealing, my only complaint would be the crappy focus distance for close in shots, i found myself repeatedly moving back to get focus, in particular on the 85L, other than that, all 3 lenses worked great.

Nice, considered review Ramon. I have the 85 f/1.2 II and had the 135 f/1.2 at the same time for a couple of years. My impression of the two was that the 85 had a little more "magic' that is hard to define, but that the 135 had a kind of relentless sharpness that was quite good for its speed and focal length.

As to build, my 85 came flawless out of the box and I haven't noticed anything negative - no mechanical weakness, unintentional disassembly or dust problems. As to focusing, yes, it's slow, but, as others have mentioned, the focus motor has to move a group of very heavy lens elements. In any case, hardly anyone seriously buys this lens for fast-moving low light sports (a few diehards to the contrary). Its best use is for slow considered portraiture and even some specially rendered product shots and other miscellany, all done in a style where ultimate focus speed is almost irelevant.

I find its bokeh to be impeccable, but I hardly ever shoot this lens tight at f1.2 (maybe for an occasional half- or full-body shot), due to its insanely narrow depth of focus; if your subject so much as twitches, your f/1.2 shot will be a mess of misplaced focus. I find that f/1.6 is a great aperture for my purposes with f/2.0 being not much less attractive. At f/2.8, you might as well be using less expensive glass, although this lens is still quite amazing through f/4.0, compared to most others. It's not just sharpness, it 's also the "character" of the image: a combination of designed-in flaws and aberrations from the purposeful trade-off demanded by such a wide maximum aperture, its bokeh, its color, its contrast and the super-high center resolution along with dimiinshed edge and corner results. This is supposed to be, above all else, a portrait lens, and all these characteristics make it a great one. For instance, when taking a good head and shoulders picture, it is the central area of the subjects face, around the eyes, that benefits from great sharpness, not the tips of the subjects' shoulders on the edge of the picture.

When I have to quickly shoot a lot of portraits of a lot of people, as in a day of corporate "gang" shooting on location at some headquarters conference room, I always use my brilliant 70-200 f/2.8 IS II. It get's the job done perfectly, and you can somewhat make up for f/2.8 bokeh by using a longer focal length when possible. But for those occasions when I can take my time to get a really impressive single "portrait" picture, I like to use the 85, and slowly vary the focus to see what I can make of the very narrow band of focus that it affords me. For this, there is absolutely no substitute.

All in all, a terrific lens I will keep indefinitely.



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