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Author Topic: 85mm lens  (Read 4402 times)

nonac

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85mm lens
« on: October 10, 2012, 06:12:22 PM »
I am looking at Canon's 85mm f/1.2L and the 85mm f/1.8.  I am amazed at the difference in price between these two lens as I read great reviews for both.  I am planning to buy one of the two, mainly to be used for indoor sports, i.e. basketball, volleyball, hockey, etc. mated to a 5d Mark III.  I currently use a 70-200 f/2.8L II for this, but I would like a tad more speed (so I can reduce the ISO and noise) and bokeh in my images.  Most shots are taken between about 90-140mm.  I can get closer to the court if need be.   I read an article a few months ago (can't find it now) in which the reviewer felt that the 1.2 version did not focus as quickly as the 1.8 which made it worse for indoor sports.  This was an eye opener to me and couldn't believe that a $400 lens would focus faster than a $2,000 lens. Does anyone out there have experience with one or both of these lens?  If so, can you give me some input on how you feel it would do for what I plan to use it for.  Thanks in advance.   
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 07:53:31 PM by nonac »
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85mm lens
« on: October 10, 2012, 06:12:22 PM »

Menace

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2012, 06:46:49 PM »
Are you sure 85 1.2 is $6000? Anyway, there is a lot of glass that moves inside the 85 1.2 meaning AF can be relatively slow esp indoors.

It is a great portrait lens - not sure I'll use it as my go-to sports lens though.

I'd suggest you rent both for the week end and put them through their paces and see which one will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

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neuroanatomist

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2012, 06:51:52 PM »
I've owned both, and yes, the 85L II is a lens that focuses ponderously, to be charitable.  The 85/1.8 is much faster in terms of AF. 

While it seems surprising that a $400 lens focuses faster than a $2000 lens, lens design is all about tradeoffs.  In the case of the 85L, Canon designed the lens with a front-focusing mechanism (the 50L has one, too) - that means when focusing, the front element extends outward from the lens.  In the case of the 85L, that's a big, heavy element that needs to move to achieve focus, which is why it's slow.  The 85L also has electronic manual focus - turning the MF ring doesn't physically move any elements, it just activates actuators that cause the AF motor to move them (power off = no focus). 

Bottom line, I would not recommend using the 85L II for indoor sports on a 5DIII (I might consider it on a 1-seires body - they have higher voltage batteries that actually drive lens AF motors faster - the 85L focuses noticeably faster on my 1D X than other bodies, but it's still not what I'd call 'fast'). 

When considering the 85/1.8, you should also consider three other lenses - the 100/2 (close cousin to the 85/1.8, trading a little reach for 1/3 stop of aperture), the 135/2L (arguably one of the best lenses for indoor sports, along with the 200/2L IS), and the Sigma 85/1.4 (faster focusing that the 85L, but Sigma is known for sometimes less than stellar AF accuracy and poor lens QC, so if you buy Sigma, buy from somewhere with a good return policy).

One other issue with using the 85/1.2L II in low light - if you use it wide open, the DoF is really, really thin.  Only-one-eye-in-focus thin, depending on subject distance. 

Given the focal range you mention - 90-140mm - I'd strongly consider the 100mm f/2.  But...if 135mm is not too long for you, I'd pick the 135L over the 100/2 - the bokeh is a little better, and the AF is a little faster, too.

Hope that helps...
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bdunbar79

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2012, 07:20:03 PM »
Good assessment by neuro.  I shoot all indoor sports with the 135L, 200 f/2L, and the 70-200 f/2.8L II IS.  The reason I don't use the 85 f/1.8 anymore is that I like to get farther away and compress the DOF.  Anyways, if I'm close I'll still use the 100 f/2.  The 85 f/1.8, 100 f/2, and 135 f/2L all focus very quickly, especially on the 1D X.
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nonac

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2012, 07:57:25 PM »
Thanks for the comments. Great points to consider. I may look at the 135 f/2 a little more.  It actually may work out better in my situation. Do you feel the focus will keep up with the fast action sports, particularly volleyball, which is very challenging at times.
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IIIHobbs

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 08:14:33 PM »
With the 5DIII the 135 f2 is the best choice for indoor sports like Basketball and Volley Ball. The subject isolation is great with superb speed and AI.


1/1000 f2 ISO 5000


1/1000 f2 ISO 5000

For Ice Hockey, you will want something a little longer and may want to stick with your 200 zoom.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 08:43:49 PM by IIIHobbs »

pwp

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 09:07:11 PM »
The 85 f/1.2 is certainly not an action shooters lens, primarlily becuase of the relatively glacial AF. The IQ is awesome, but is best suited to considered portrait shoots. The 85 f/1.8 is a lot quicker, and doesn't give too much away in the IQ department. If you're stuck on getting an 85, consider the highly regarded Sigma 85 f/1.4.

But what I will back 100% is the advice from other posters is to look carefully at the 135 f/2 for shooting indoor sports. Despite being an older design, it's one of Canon's most highly regarded lenses.

As an aside, as you're shooting sports with a 5DIII with its relatively shallow buffer compared to the action/sports oriented 1DX, think about getting the Lexar 1000x CF cards. On my 5DIII I tested the Lexar 1000x on 6 fps continuous, full size RAW, shooting until the camera started to splutter. With the Lexar I shot 35 frames, and it cleared for another full burst in just a few seconds. Tests with Sandisk Extreme 60 Mb/s cards gave a bit over 20 frames before spluttering, and irritatingly longer to fully clear. An older Sandisk ExtremeIV 45 Mb/s got around 17 frames, and obviously longer again to clear.

So! I'd be thinking about 135 f/2 & Lexar 1000x cards.

-PW
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 09:08:44 PM by pwp »

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 09:07:11 PM »

TexasBadger

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 09:11:22 PM »
I own both the 85 1.8 and the 135 2L.  I have used both for sports and they both focus very fast.  If you are shooting APS-C I would get the 85 1.8 and save $600.  If you are shooting FF either will be fine, but I would lean to the 135 2L.
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dr croubie

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 09:50:47 PM »
I'll add in a vote for the 100 f/2.0 as well (if only because i've got one).
The 135 f/2.0, yes, is better no doubt, I would really like one one day.
But just to consider, you can get a 100/2.0 and an 85/1.8 (or 50/1.4) together for the price of the 135L. If there's a chance you might need the wider end, maybe 2 primes is the way to go? (if you can change quickly, or have 2 bodies). But yeah, I don't think you can be disappointed in the 135L...
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nonac

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 11:19:04 PM »
Thanks for all of the great info. I think I'm going to start by renting a 135 f/2 for a few days and see how it performs.  Volleyball is winding down, but basketball is right around the corner.
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Aglet

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2012, 12:04:12 AM »
I'll add in a vote for the 100 f/2.0 as well (if only because i've got one).

+1

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2012, 02:28:46 AM »
I got the Sigma 85 1.4 a couple months ago (partly due to reviews on the slow autofocus of the Canon L but also because it was half the price).  Very good lens on my full framd 5Dmkii and seems to focus faster than my other lenses.  I did a bird show at a zoo and had more success there with focus tracking birds in flight than I have ever had.  Of course I had to crop the photos because 85 on a full frame is not very telephoto, so you may have the same issue with sports unless you are close to the action.

Bottom line - if you are close enough that 85 will get the framing you want most of the time, I would say go for it.  If not, the 135 L is probably a better choice.  Only real issue I have noticed with my Sigma is purple fringing under very strongly backlit scenes.

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2012, 04:46:10 AM »
I would also recommend the Canon 135mm f/2 L. Personally, I have covered a few basketball and volleyball games for my school and use the 550D and 24-70L. I find that even with 70mm at the long end with the crop factor is not tight enough for basketball or volleyball games. With an effective 112mm, I had to stand really close to the side lines to get a tight shot. I think that with the 135mm, you can stand further back and not get in the way of the referee or the game. And with the ridiculously high ISO capability of your 5D Mark III compared to a rebel series body, you can raise the ISO and shutter speed and still get a clean, well captured shot. Just my opinion.
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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2012, 04:46:10 AM »

paul13walnut5

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2012, 06:40:27 AM »
Quote
This was an eye opener to me and couldn't believe that a $400 lens would focus faster than a $2,000 lens.

Canons USM non-L primes tend to be exceptional lenses for unexceptional money. 



koolman

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 07:02:09 AM »
If your seeking an 85mm portrait lens, consider the Samyang 85mm 1.4 MF lens. You will need a tripod, and need to master MF (not as bad as it sounds) - the results are awesome!

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Re: 85mm lens
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 07:02:09 AM »