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Author Topic: 85mm prime recommendation  (Read 8430 times)

bholliman

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85mm prime recommendation
« on: October 02, 2013, 09:59:18 PM »
I have been looking at different 85mm primes to use for portrait photography and some event work.  I have a 6D and my full kit is listed below. 

I'm considering the Canon 85 1.2 II, Canon 85mm 1.8 and Sigma 85mm 1.4 EX DG HSM.  I ruled out the Zeiss and Samyang 85's due to lack of AF.  Obviously, there is a huge price difference here.  I can afford the Canon 1.8 or Sigma now, but would have to save up a while for the Canon 1.2 II.

The Sigma looks to be optically as good as the Canon 85 1.2 II, at less than half the price.  But, the AF accuracy issues reported by TDP are concerning.  With a shallow DOF lens like this, poor AF accuracy means a poor keeper rate.  I have the 70-200 2.8 II and 135L, so already have some top tier portrait lenses, but I really love shallow DOF photography and 85mm is often a better focal length than 135mm indoors when space is limited.

Any suggestions and hands on experience from CR members?
Bodies:  6D, EOS-M
Lenses: Rokinon 14mm 2.8, 35mm 2.0 IS, 85mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8L IS Macro, 135mm 2.0L, 24-70mm 2.8L II, 70-200mm 2.8L IS II, EF-M 22 2.0, EF-M 18-55mm, Extender EF 2xIII; Speedlites: 600EX-RT(2x), 430EX II

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85mm prime recommendation
« on: October 02, 2013, 09:59:18 PM »

BozillaNZ

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2013, 10:15:29 PM »
With the lenses you have and still wanting a 85 prime, I'd say it's pure lens lust. So go ahead and get the 85L II.

The 70-200 II will make 85 1.8 seem completely redundant in every way.
Canon 1D (classic), 1Ds3, 16-35 II, 24-70 II, 70-200 IS II, 1.4x II, 24 II, S50
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wsheldon

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2013, 10:31:42 PM »
With the lenses you have and still wanting a 85 prime, I'd say it's pure lens lust. So go ahead and get the 85L II.

The 70-200 II will make 85 1.8 seem completely redundant in every way.

Much as I enjoy my 85 1.8 I'd have to agree that 1.8 vs 2.8 isn't nearly as dramatic as 1.2 vs 2.8 if what you're after is thin DOF. I have f4 zooms so it's a bigger difference for me. On the other hand the 6D + 85 1.8 is a gloriously small and light package that's great fun to carry around and shoot with. Blazing AF and very sharp.
Canon 6D & 50D, nice set of lenses

Vern

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2013, 10:37:38 PM »
With the lenses you have and still wanting a 85 prime, I'd say it's pure lens lust. So go ahead and get the 85L II.

The 70-200 II will make 85 1.8 seem completely redundant in every way.

I have the 85 1.2L II, 135 2.0L and the 70-200 2.8L II. If you want to do indoor, available light portraits and love silky smooth OOF backgrounds, the 85 1.2L II will be worth adding to your kit. This is my favorite indoor lens for portraits and it adds a very special feel to shots. I usually shoot w f 1.2-2.0 depending on the lighting. It is sharper a little stopped down and the extra DOF is handy. The other two lenses certainly have their place in portraiture, but I usually use the 135 outdoors and the 70-200 when I'm working with a multi-flash set-up and want the flexibility of the zoom w the camera on a tripod. Both the 85 and 135 are great for indoor sports as well where every bit of shutter speed is required - 2.8 just isn't fast enough. The 85 1.8 is a fine alternative if $2K is more than you want to spend - but it does creep closer to the 70-200 in speed and doesn't have the image quality of the 1.2 when both are shot at f1.8, so I'd basically agree w Bozilla that the 1.8 just isn't differentiated enough from what you have already.
1Dx, 5DMKIII, 600 II, 300 II, 200 f2, 135 f2, 85 1.2 II, 100 2.8 IS, 24TS II, 70-200 II, 24-70 II, 16-35 II

TexasBadger

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 10:45:32 PM »
Since you can afford the 85 f1.8 right away, I would go ahead and pull the trigger.  This really is a great lens with super fast AF.  It is also small and light weight.  An excellent walk around lens for street photography that doesn't attract a lot of attention. 
5DC, 5D3, Elan7, G12, 28 1.8, 50 1.8 II, 85 1.8 USM, 135 2.0 L, 24-70 2.8 L, 70-200 2.8 L, 560 EX, 580 EX II (2) --- all Canon.

Pi

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 11:14:58 PM »
I used both the Sigma and the 85L, no experience with the 85/1.8 (but I used the 100/2). The Sigma had unreliable AF, dependent on the distance to the subject. This seems to be a common problem with the Sigmas. The 85L just works. Also, the TDP shows very different bokeh for both lenses (much better with the Canon) which is the whole point of getting one.

The 100/2 is a rarely mentioned lens, and it is very good (for the price). It is probably slightly better optically, and has more or less the same diameter of the physical aperture as the 85/1.8.

Dylan777

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 11:33:00 PM »
No comment on others 85mm.

Compared to 135L, the 85L II has softer, smoother and more creamy-dreamy bokeh. I took Neuro suggestion and bought 3stop ND filter for outdoor shooting - awesome to shoot at wide open in sunny day.

Some JPEG photos straight out from camera, zero PP, 85L II + 5D III, no ND filter:
http://albums.phanfare.com/isolated/oerWLRdp/1/6253867
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 11:39:18 PM by Dylan777 »
Body: 5D III(x2) -- A7r
Zoom: 16-35L II -- 24-70L II -- 70-200L f2.8 IS II
Prime: 40mm -- 50L -- 85L II -- 135L -- 400L f2.8 IS II -- Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 11:33:00 PM »

Lamora

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2013, 02:09:17 AM »
In your case I'd actually go for the Sigma or the Canon 85mm 1.8. Some wedding photographers replaced their 1.2s with Sigmas. Just make sure that you buy it from a place which will take back or exchange your copy if there are problems. I used to have a 5d classic and a 85 1.2L but the combo was frustrating as focus and recompose does not work at f1.2 :'( .

I upgraded to the mark iii just for that purpose and now I can finally have pleasing compositions and peoples faces (eyes) in focus. Shooting at f1.2 will be frustrating on a canon 6d. Unless you like to crop a lot or don't mind having your subject dead centre every time.

YMMV

GMCPhotographics

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 04:25:07 AM »
I have been looking at different 85mm primes to use for portrait photography and some event work.  I have a 6D and my full kit is listed below. 

I'm considering the Canon 85 1.2 II, Canon 85mm 1.8 and Sigma 85mm 1.4 EX DG HSM.  I ruled out the Zeiss and Samyang 85's due to lack of AF.  Obviously, there is a huge price difference here.  I can afford the Canon 1.8 or Sigma now, but would have to save up a while for the Canon 1.2 II.

The Sigma looks to be optically as good as the Canon 85 1.2 II, at less than half the price.  But, the AF accuracy issues reported by TDP are concerning.  With a shallow DOF lens like this, poor AF accuracy means a poor keeper rate.  I have the 70-200 2.8 II and 135L, so already have some top tier portrait lenses, but I really love shallow DOF photography and 85mm is often a better focal length than 135mm indoors when space is limited.

Any suggestions and hands on experience from CR members?

If you already have a 70-200 f2.8 LIS II and a 135L then I suspect that you will only really be hapy with the 85IIL. It's a top tier lens which is highly regarded for good reason. Personally, I wouldn't use an ultra thin DOF optic which has quesionable AF charectoristics and questionable build. The Canon 85IIL is exstreamly well built and will last a life time of use....the sigma? Well good luck with that.
The 85IIL is probably the hardest to use portrait lens in the Canon line up due to it's very vey thin DOF. Nailing the point of focus is the tricky part...I get great results with my 5DIII spot focus, just make sure the point of focus is exactly where you need it!   

verysimplejason

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2013, 04:40:16 AM »
If you're not afraid of MF and wants something different (you've got the 135 already), then why not try this lens:

Helios 40 85mm f/1.5

You might like it.   :)  It's the swirling bokeh that sets it apart.

http://famecherry.com/shop-with-us-2/essential-studio-equipment/lens/helios-85mm-f1-5/



albron00

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2013, 05:15:06 AM »
Canon 85 1.2 II is expensive, heavy and slow focus but excellent quality of picture
Canon 85 1.8 is cheaper, lighter, fast focus but suffers from chromatic aberration wide open

I've tried 85 1.2 II - love it.
I have Canon 85 1.8 - love it.

Money talks...
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 05:18:41 AM by albron00 »

Zv

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2013, 05:56:25 AM »
The 85mm 1.8 is really good value when you come to think about it. The image quality was very good but that CA just spoiled it for me. As someone who likes backlit subjects it wasn't ideal so I sold it. Haven't missed it. I should also add that you prob wont wanna use it at f/1.8 and likely would stop down a bit in which case - whats the point when you have the 70-200II thats uber sharp wide open??

The 135L, though longer works much better for me for portrait work and if space is limited I just use my 70-200 @ the wider end.

If you want the best then get the 85L otherwise compromise with the Sigma. I would go with the Sigma if I had to choose (based on my budget). It would be fine as a manual focus lens for portraits. Are you going to be doing portraits at f1.4? I'd be using live view and MF for that anyway.

Is the AF really that bad on the Siggy?

Someone mentioned before about AF points which is also something to consider with the 6D and a 1.2 lens.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 06:06:26 AM by Zv »
5D II | 7D | EOS M + 22 f2 | 17-40L | 24-105L | 70-200 f4L IS | 135L | Samyang 14mm f/2.8 | Sigma 50 f/1.4

pwp

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2013, 06:34:58 AM »
Do a search and read what WickidWombat has to say about the Sigma 85 f/1.4. From memory he puts it somewhere in the awesome category. This lens has a lot of fans and is certainly a big cut above the Canon 85 f/1.8 and has usefully faster AF than the glacial Canon f/1.2. Also go to Fred Miranda reviews to read a swag of user reviews on all three lenses.

Personally I don't have the patience to work with ultra shallow DOF, I need a high percentage of keepers and with a flowing shooting style that rarely delivers the magic with static situations, f/1.4 or f/1.2 on an 85 just won't cut it. Photographers with superior AF technique to me can nail focus often enough, and hats-off to you if you can do it.

-pw

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2013, 06:34:58 AM »

jdramirez

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2013, 06:59:50 AM »
With the lenses you have and still wanting a 85 prime, I'd say it's pure lens lust. So go ahead and get the 85L II.

The 70-200 II will make 85 1.8 seem completely redundant in every way.

both lenses have about a 3 ft minimum focusing distance... but when I take photos of my newborn, I go to the 85mm.  Maybe I should consider using the 70-200mm more... but I will say that I do use both lenses often, so for me, it isn't like one is just collecting dust.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100 f/2.8L->85mm f/1.8 USM->135L -> 8mm ->100L

bholliman

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2013, 07:12:10 AM »
With the lenses you have and still wanting a 85 prime, I'd say it's pure lens lust.


Guilty as charged  ::)

Personally, I wouldn't use an ultra thin DOF optic which has questionable AF characteristics and questionable build. The Canon 85IIL is extremely well built and will last a life time of use....the sigma? Well good luck with that.

Good point!  OOF pictures are worthless.

Personally I don't have the patience to work with ultra shallow DOF, I need a high percentage of keepers... Photographers with superior AF technique to me can nail focus often enough, and hats-off to you if you can do it.
I upgraded to the mark iii just for that purpose and now I can finally have pleasing compositions and peoples faces (eyes) in focus. Shooting at f1.2 will be frustrating on a canon 6d. Unless you like to crop a lot or don't mind having your subject dead centre every time.

I will need to work on my shallow DOF technique!  Since the outer AF points on the 6D are limited, I will probably need to use the center point when shooting at 1.2/1.4 and crop.
Bodies:  6D, EOS-M
Lenses: Rokinon 14mm 2.8, 35mm 2.0 IS, 85mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8L IS Macro, 135mm 2.0L, 24-70mm 2.8L II, 70-200mm 2.8L IS II, EF-M 22 2.0, EF-M 18-55mm, Extender EF 2xIII; Speedlites: 600EX-RT(2x), 430EX II

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Re: 85mm prime recommendation
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2013, 07:12:10 AM »