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Author Topic: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...  (Read 1847 times)

Ruined

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Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« on: August 23, 2014, 12:49:22 PM »
The 85mm f/1.2L II, while one of the most stunning portrait lenses ever made, does have some significant disadvantages expressed by users that can pop up even in portrait scenarios (especially portraits during events or outdoors):
85mm f/1.2L II disadvantages:
* Durability - exposed rear element near flush with mount resulting in precarious lens changes in the field, focus motor susceptible to damage when barrel extended and powered off, lack of weather sealing
* Autofocus - Slow on most bodies (1D excluded) due to higher voltage required to drive motor efficiently with large elements & extending barrel
* Manual focus by wire - some dislike this style of focusing, as it may feel less responsive and does not work when camera is powered off

The 50mm f/1.0L had virtually all of these disadvantages and Canon was able to rectify virtually all of them by releasing a slightly slower 50mm f/1.2L, which retains most of the look of the f/1.0 but with increased sharpness and less distracting flare.  While the 50mm f/1.2L is not the most popular lens as it is challenging to use and not the sharpest, it is both far easier to use and sharper than the 50mm f/1.0L. The 50mm f/1.2L is currently my go-to lens for event portraits; I wish I could also regularly use the 85mm f/1.2L II but some of its design characteristics do not appear compatible with the often hectic and unpredictable events that could occur during an event.

Given the design similarities between the 50mm f/1.0L and 85mm f/1.2L II, what if the same revisions could be done with the 85mm f/1.2L II using design cues from the 50mm f/1.0L > 50mm f/1.2L revision?  Would you accept the below disadvantages in exchange for all of the deficiencies listed in the first paragraph being completely rectified - with the same or greater sharpness & similar "look" with lower weight/size as a bonus:

Known disadvantages of next 85L being f/1.4 instead of f/1.2:
- 50% less light entering lens wide open
- 14% less DOF isolation capability wide open

Potential advantages of next 85L being f/1.4 instead of f/1.2 (using 50L f/1.0>f/1.2 design cues):
- Better protected rear element
- Lens barrel does not extend when focusing
- Weather sealed, easier to accomplish due to lack of extending lens barrel when focusing
- Faster autofocus, similar to speed of 50mm f/1.2L, due to lack of extending barrel and smaller lens elements
- Full time manual override, does not require camera to be powered on
- Lower weight
- Smaller size
- Potential minor increase in sharpness
- Potential minor reduction in flare
- Lower price as less expensive to make
- Overall "look" is similar, but not identical to the 85L f/1.2L II; like the 50L f/1.2L and 85L f/1.2L II, the lens design would be for portraits and hence not overcorrected/clinical.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2014, 01:17:19 PM by Ruined »

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Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« on: August 23, 2014, 12:49:22 PM »

dgatwood

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2014, 01:38:55 PM »

I'm holding out for the 85mm f/1.0 L, myself.  More light, not less.  IMO, the notion that sensor improvements negate the value of fast lenses is just silly.  Sensor improvements make fast lenses more capable.  :)

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2014, 01:46:50 PM »
Would I? No, I've been happy with the 85 1.8. Do I see a market for it? Maybe... I think it would mostly depend on the price. If they knocked a bit off the current 85L II, maybe $1400-$1600? Otherwise they'd lose more sales to the likes of what I'm sure is coming out from Sigma in a new 85 art.

As a sidenote, 1.4 vs. 1.2 is only half a stop, not a whole stop. So 25% less light, 50% would be one full stop slower. ;-)
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sagittariansrock

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2014, 01:49:25 PM »
I would buy a hypothetical 85/1.4L. Heck I would buy any 85/1.4 that doesn't have the AF issues of the current Sigma.
In fact, I have been holding out for an 85/1.4 (well, not entirely true- I did try to get the 85/1.2 II refurb'd when it was on sale, but maybe the two narrow misses was due to a reason...)
« Last Edit: August 23, 2014, 04:53:46 PM by sagittariansrock »
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risc32

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2014, 02:43:24 PM »
i would be interested in seeing something slotted in between the 1.8 and 1.2 from Canon. give me a 1.4 with quick accurate AF, with good build quality priced somewhere between the 1.8 and 1.2 and i'd give it a serious look. the coming Sigma would come in to play though, and if any recent trends continue, the sigma would probably prove to be the IQ equal with good build for a fair bit less. it's just that AF tracking thing... 

klickflip

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2014, 05:52:22 PM »
If it was as good optically as the 1.2L II then theoretically yes. But I'd  know I was using the 1.4 :(  and although i don't shoot at 1.2 that much, either normally 1.4-.1.8 or f8-10 for more studio work which is absolutely bitingly sharp at these apertures.
And call me vain but I'd prob rather know I'm using the best.

It's all part of the game. When you tell the client this is being shot on a £1800 lens they go wow and the results do prove it, and that leads to a better artist/ business perception in my eyes and justifies fees at then end of day. - but of course you actually have to be producing something really good at the same time of course.
Same if you use broncolor or a Hassy its all relative to the client and job and your perceived worth.

Sure I could do something similar with, a 85 1.8 and some cheap chinese lights, but consistency and quality is worth more in my eyes. If its just for yourself and hobby then the best for cheapest compromise prob makes more sense though.
Somehow i doubt that a 1.4 smaller cheaper version would get the same results optically. It may be very slight but some of us and our clients will notice this difference.

Ruined

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2014, 06:08:55 PM »
Somehow i doubt that a 1.4 smaller cheaper version would get the same results optically. It may be very slight but some of us and our clients will notice this difference.

Why do you say that? The 50mm f/1.2L is a smaller, cheaper version of the 50mm f/1.0L and aside from the light/DOF differences between f/1.2 & f/1.0, the 50mm f/1.2L is actually superior optically to the 50mm f/1.0L while still retaining the "dreamy" portrait look of the 50 mm f/1.0L.

My thought is if they apply a similar formula to the 85mm f/1.2L II (which has very similar design to the 50mm f/1.0L) they might be able to create a 85mm f/1.4L lens with less usability issues and similar look.

See below, 50mm f/1.0L first, 85mm f/1.2L II second.  50mm f/1.2L third.

« Last Edit: August 23, 2014, 06:15:26 PM by Ruined »

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2014, 06:08:55 PM »

mb66energy

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2014, 07:13:27 PM »
[...]

Known disadvantages of next 85L being f/1.4 instead of f/1.2:
- 50% less light entering lens wide open
- 14% less DOF isolation capability wide open

Potential advantages of next 85L being f/1.4 instead of f/1.2 (using 50L f/1.0>f/1.2 design cues):
- Better protected rear element
- Lens barrel does not extend when focusing
- Weather sealed, easier to accomplish due to lack of extending lens barrel when focusing
- Faster autofocus, similar to speed of 50mm f/1.2L, due to lack of extending barrel and smaller lens elements
- Full time manual override, does not require camera to be powered on
- Lower weight
- Smaller size
- Potential minor increase in sharpness
- Potential minor reduction in flare
- Lower price as less expensive to make
- Overall "look" is similar, but not identical to the 85L f/1.2L II; like the 50L f/1.2L and 85L f/1.2L II, the lens design would be for portraits and hence not overcorrected/clinical.

Thoughts?

I like the "full aperture stops" as max aperture more than sth. like 1.2 or 1.8 so the 2.0/100 won against the 1.8/85.
I like direct control of the focus ring much more than any "by wire"-system (really like the focus ring of the old chrome ring FD lenses!).
I like lenses which do NOT show longitudinal chromatic aberations because I like to shoot into the sun.

An EF 1.4/85mm IS USM with true apochromatic correction would be a great option. I like the idea of IS in high aperture lenses because the combination of high max aperture, high ISO capability (just with APS-C) + IS extend the usefulness of such lenses in dim environments.
Not to forget: good close focus capabilites welcome, sth. like 1:3.5 or 1:4 would be great!
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can0nfan2379

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2014, 07:48:06 PM »

I'm holding out for the 85mm f/1.0 L, myself.  More light, not less.  IMO, the notion that sensor improvements negate the value of fast lenses is just silly.  Sensor improvements make fast lenses more capable.  :)

This^^^^  ....though I am pretty sure they could take the existing 85 1.2L II design and increase the barrel length for internal focusing, get rid of electronic MF and go with mechanical and weather seal it.
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RunAndGun

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2014, 08:34:17 PM »

I'm holding out for the 85mm f/1.0 L, myself.  More light, not less.  IMO, the notion that sensor improvements negate the value of fast lenses is just silly.  Sensor improvements make fast lenses more capable.  :)

Yes.  I want to be able use my aperture as much for creative decisions as just technical(exposure).  It's baffled me for years hearing the excuse thrown around from manufactures and other photographers alike that we no longer need fast glass because cameras are now capable of ISO speeds in the realm of science fiction when all you had was film or even just 5-10 years ago with digital.  Hell, because we have cameras that can shoot in the 100K+ and 200k+ ISO realms, should manufactures just start making all lenses starting at f/8?  8)

Zv

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2014, 11:14:29 PM »
Yeah, I would be interested in an 85 1.4 L or non L. I had the 1.8 which was disappointing and I can't afford (or need) the 1.2 yet. There seems to be this huge gap in between which Sigma have been exploiting but there are some like me who want a Canon version of that lens. Something under $1000 that focuses fast, is reliable and is reasonably sharp wide open with minimal CA and LoCA.

They could even discontinue the old 1.8 and replace it with a newer non L USM f/1.4 version but I wonder if they'd add IS to it. Looking at previous updates the trend seems to to be towards slower with IS so a f/2 IS would be more likely (I wouldn't have much interest in such a lens as I want to create a shallow dof effect and not something in between). An f/2.8 IS would be completely worthless IMO as this is covered by the 70-200LII.

Just thinking about it now - perhaps a decent f/1.4 version would take away some of the sales of the f/1.2 version. The L version would still give a unique look though and for a pro that would be worth the extra cash. Hmmm it's an interesting conundrum I look forward to seeing what Canon and Sigma will be doing in the near future at this focal length!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2014, 11:16:43 PM by Zv »
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Hjalmarg1

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2014, 06:39:23 AM »
Known disadvantages of next 85L being f/1.4 instead of f/1.2:
- 50% less light entering lens wide open
- 14% less DOF isolation capability wide open

Potential advantages of next 85L being f/1.4 instead of f/1.2 (using 50L f/1.0>f/1.2 design cues):
- Better protected rear element
- Lens barrel does not extend when focusing
- Weather sealed, easier to accomplish due to lack of extending lens barrel when focusing
- Faster autofocus, similar to speed of 50mm f/1.2L, due to lack of extending barrel and smaller lens elements
- Full time manual override, does not require camera to be powered on
- Lower weight
- Smaller size
- Potential minor increase in sharpness
- Potential minor reduction in flare
- Lower price as less expensive to make
- Overall "look" is similar, but not identical to the 85L f/1.2L II; like the 50L f/1.2L and 85L f/1.2L II, the lens design would be for portraits and hence not overcorrected/clinical.

Thoughts?
Yes, I had the Sigma 85mm f1.4 and sold it to finance another lens. Sigma was faster, but less accurate, than canon f1.2L, bokeh was less but similar.
New canon 85mm f1.4 should focus considerably faster than the current f1.2, that is my complain to it.
If canon releases something around $1K I will take the plunge, otherwise I will wait for the refreshed Sigma 85 f1.4.
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dstppy

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2014, 09:11:17 AM »

I'm holding out for the 85mm f/1.0 L, myself.  More light, not less.  IMO, the notion that sensor improvements negate the value of fast lenses is just silly.  Sensor improvements make fast lenses more capable.  :)

Yes.  I want to be able use my aperture as much for creative decisions as just technical(exposure).  It's baffled me for years hearing the excuse thrown around from manufactures and other photographers alike that we no longer need fast glass because cameras are now capable of ISO speeds in the realm of science fiction when all you had was film or even just 5-10 years ago with digital.  Hell, because we have cameras that can shoot in the 100K+ and 200k+ ISO realms, should manufactures just start making all lenses starting at f/8?  8)

I agree as well.  I always use aperture to control DoF and shutter speed to control hand-shake/stopping/slowing motion. 

If nothing else, better sensors allow us to choose a wider DoF in darker situations . . .

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2014, 09:11:17 AM »

sdsr

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2014, 11:18:07 AM »

Not to forget: good close focus capabilites welcome, sth. like 1:3.5 or 1:4 would be great!


Is a fast 85mm (or longer) lens that focuses close technically possible?  I ask because I'm pretty sure I've never seen one that focuses closer than c. 3 feet - which is the main reason why, for all that I like fast 85mm lenses, I end up using my 100L more often.

As for the original question, I would be interested if it got rid of the 85L's purple fringing and had IS, but those who are hoping such a thing would cost <$1000 seem a tad optimistic.  Focusing speed doesn't matter much to me (I've been contemplating buying a MF Canon 85 1.2 to use on my A7r; much cheaper than the current 85L).

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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 01:00:50 PM »
I like the idea, but I just don't see Canon replacing the 85L anytime soon. Too new. Now replacing the 1.8 (which I own) makes sense as that sucker is 20 years old. But I dont see that being a 1.4 either because Its too close to the 1.2.  They'll either keep it at 1.8 or go to 2.0 thats much sharper wide open at that aperture than the 1.8 is now at wide open.

Either way, I own the Sigma 35 and 50 ART lenses. When the 85 ART is announced I wont be able to pre-order it fast enough. $2300 for the Canon L prime is just too goofy for me. The 1.8 at f8 vs the L at same aperture are very close and Im shooting studio work. I cant justify an extra 2000 for the L.  I will gladly pay Sigma 1000 for when I know will probably smoke both these Canon lenses.
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Re: Would you buy a hypothetical 85mm f/1.4L portrait lens if...
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 01:00:50 PM »