Gear Talk > Lenses

50mm 1.2 / 85mm 1.2 VS Zeiss 50mm1.4 / Zeiss 85mm 1.4? Which should I buy...

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Hi everyone,

New user here in need of some expert opinions before I spend BIG on primes....

I'm looking to purchase a very wide aperture current widest lens is the 100mm 2.8 IS L Macro lens.

I want something that will be great for ultimate bokeh and street photography. I had a look at all these lenses today but cant decide which one is best without really getting to use any...I cant rent where I am either.

The Canon 85mm 1.2 is nuts...but the Zeiss lenses, especially the 85mm 1.4 is just beautiful. I have never had a manual only lens so Im worried I wont be happy using it.

Can anyone fill me in? I'm looking for the sharpest lens with the best most there a difference between the 50mm 1.2L and the 85mm 1.2L?

Thanks for your help everyone.

I JUST had all the 50's you mention + the canon 50 1.4.

I honestly would avoid the Canon 1.2 if you plan on shooting stopped down and buy the 1.4 (IQ is the same on both @ F/2 when I used both lenses the majority of the time). The 1.2 focuses faster then the 1.4, but not by much. I think the rumored update of the 50 1.4 could prove to make an amazing lens and that is what I am waiting for. The Canon 1.2 just did not do it for me for the price.

The Zeiss was BY far the sharpest wide open. The Zeiss IQ was amazing at f/2 as well but MF just does not fit into my shooting style. I would have loved to keep and own that lens, but it just was to time consuming for me to MF every shot when I am on a schedule.

I am Zeiss fanboy, and I was shooting with 50 1.2, which I had eventually sold. My Zeiss lenses are 85 1.4 and 50 2.0 macro. What could I say, 50 1.2 is worth shooting 1.2, when stopped down the picture becomes less appealing. But the 1.2 is generally not usable in terms of microstock photography, which I'm trying to focus on completely. Why I have bought 50 2.0 macro over 50 1.4: 1 I thought that I saw sharp lenses before buying this one... but when I did, I realized how wrong I was. It is really THAT SHARP, 2 It have unique rendering of out-of-focus areas, that no other lens can produce, and I really like it.

I asked myself a question - how often I will shoot 1.4 wide open for stock purposes and the answer was "not really often". So I decided to put my money into 2.0 and I really happy with this decision.

And the Zeiss 85 1.4 ... It's just beautiful, for me using it is very similar to sexual pleasure lol, I cannot be more specific, just love it full stop :)

Now the pitfalls. Manual focusing is the challenge... I remember how frustrated I was over 99% of my first images was out of focus... Live view improves focusing experience dramatically, but still.. Zeisses are not for quick shooting.

So if your main subjects are weddings, journalist-style shooting, buy Canon lenses, If you shoot advertising or microstock, or still life, I would recommend Zeiss.

Any other question - will be happy to help



Very personal taste and shooting style dependent.  In my experience comparing the two,
Canon lenses take snapshots, Zeiss lenses take photographs, with all the work and individual
attention in the differentiation.  Sharpness, color saturation, and consistency mark most of the
Zeiss offerings.  Automation, ease of use and variable quality seem to be Canon hallmarks.
The Zeiss 85mm f1.4 is a pinnacle of design, manufacturing and assembly and a joy to own and use.

So the 50mm 1.2, while wide open isnt sharp? Because I'd like to have a very sharp focus area with lots of depth behind/bokeh.

The 85mm is substantially more in cost, so I'm at a loss of what to.

I plan on upgrading to a 5D Mark 3 within a few months...will this change the performance of the 50mm 1.2?


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