February 19, 2018, 11:19:41 PM

Author Topic: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM  (Read 3245 times)


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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2018, 05:31:24 PM »
Love the lens.  Between the 1.4 aperture, IS, faster AF, and (very importantly) flatter sharpness across the field, It has transformed my portraits with the Canon.  The flatter image field is critical to shifting the focus point off center yet still having critically sharp eyes.  This was very difficult with the 85mm 1.2..

A much more usable shooting envelope.

This shot was with glorious window light.  A gift.

Regarding sunlight sync with portable flash power, consider the Impact Venture TTL monolight.  It is battery powered, 600WS, 4lbs, small, plenty of features, and fairly priced.  I have two of these and they are easy to transport and has plenty of power.

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2018, 05:31:24 PM »


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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2018, 03:04:06 AM »
Thank you for your clearly well thought-through critique, it is much appreciated. I'll break it up in three parts to give a short commentary to why I think some of it would not have worked the way I hoped.

If you're having trouble balancing wide aperture with sync speed, and can't/don't want to use HSS, get some ND filters. A 2- or 3-stop ND is usually enough to get you to regular sync speed and won't impact the base optical quality of a lens to any noticeable degree. (Assuming you use a single high-quality filter, of course, and not a cheap one or try to stack multiple NDs.)

You are absolutely right that even a one-stop ND would have allowed me to open up the aperture enough to raise the impact of the flash while keeping below X sync. Since this was a case of living on the limit it would probably have been enough. I had a 5-stop B+W in the bag but that was simply too dark (and interferes with AF). Having faster X sync or possibilities and/or lower ISO possibilities would have been even better. Walking around with sunglasses on my lenses feels wrong.

If getting more power out of your lights is the primary concern, try playing with the orientation and zoom settings of your flashes. The difference in light you get out of a flash zoomed to 24mm and zoomed to 105mm is usually about a stop and a quarter in the center; to illuminate a whole person like that shot above, you can use the flash bare (again saving light compared to shooting through any modifier) and rotate the head so it's vertical. Most 'large' flashguns (580/600ex size or bigger) will easily illuminate a 6' person when positioned vertically and zoomed to 85mm or so. If you want to illuminate a whole person as well as part of the scene all from one direction, it can be cheaper to simply place two speedlights together (literally tape them, if you need to be quick) to double both your light output and coverage, rather than buying and transporting a larger head&pack system or other studio flash. Having used the currently-trendy Godox lights a fair bit over the last year, I don't find they're really any better than slapping two speedlights together; slightly more convenient in being one single package, but also less versatile and bulkier to carry, and the max light output is around that of two speedlights. The Godox lights are nice but if I were shooting in a cold snowy field in the evening like that, I know I'd rather have a couple of taped speedlights I can set up and tear down in half the time, and can sit on a lighter stand, while giving the same end result.

My concern with the flash was that I did not want a hard light in an outdoor shoot full of haze. I would have preferred to have even slightly softer light and still have it a bit more directional but didn't have enough time to test without the diffusor on the octa (turning it into a beauty-dish-ish). The softbox would eat about a stop and a half so just removing the front diffuser probably would have saved me from the dark abyss that is HSS.

All that said, that shot looks great at f/2.8. The depth of field is just right, to me. If anything, if I were doing it, I'd be more likely to do down further to f/4 and use HSS specifically to increase the ambient-flash contrast by another stop, rather than either opening up the aperture or trying to get more light in the scene. Either way, it's a brilliant shot; I wouldn't say moving up to a bigger light source or opening up the aperture more would improve it. As tempting as it can be to always shoot these fast primes at their biggest apertures, sometimes stopping down just plain looks better!

I totally agree that opening up all the way to f/1.4 probably would have killed this shot. Still, although I wanted to have the background pretty much like that, I would have preferred the foreground slightly more out of focus and was hoping to be able to open up to f/2.2 or so. Simply not possible with my current gear.

I really enjoy working at the limits of my tools! And thank you, again, for your comments.
Preferred gear: 5D IV, 35/1.4L, 85/1.4L IS, 70-200/2.8L IS, Elinchrom RX
Backup: 5D II, 17-40/4L, 85/1.8, 100-400/4.5-5.6L, Yongnuo + 622


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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2018, 04:03:27 AM »
Don’t fear hard light  8) I can’t speak for you, but many people I know think of ugly shine and hot spots when they hear “hard light” which I also hate. But use high quality gear and you can have those deep sharp shadows and crisp detail without hot spots. Try also using a cir pol to further eliminate hotspots.

Yeah, my boy wasn’t to happy about me taking his picture this time, but I HAD to try it 8)

Shot uploaded from my phone, so please excuse the quality. Shot with a Broncolor P65 reflector with grid, beautiful modifier.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 04:06:16 AM by Viggo »
1dx mkII, 35 L II, 85 L IS, Broncolor Siros 800 L.


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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2018, 01:10:05 PM »

_61A0003 by -OlAf-, on Flickr

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2018, 01:10:05 PM »