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Author Topic: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin  (Read 7443 times)

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« on: December 29, 2017, 01:42:33 PM »
Hi everyone,

I’ve wrapped up my coverage of the new Canon 85mm f/1.4L IS.  It’s a solid lens from Canon, but faces some stiff competition.  I’ve done a lot of comparisons to other lenses as a part of this series, and I feel confident in my conclusions after all of that. 

Written Review:  http://bit.ly/85LIStwi
Video Playlist:  http://bit.ly/85LISpl
Final Video Review:  http://bit.ly/85LISda
Image Gallery:  http://bit.ly/canon85LISig

Included in the playlist are comparisons to the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC: http://bit.ly/85LISiq2
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 ART:  http://bit.ly/canVSsig85
Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4:  http://bit.ly/otusvcanon

Some interesting observations as a part of all this.  Enjoy!
6D x 2 | 80D | 70D | EOS-M3 w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + 55-200 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Tamron 15-30 VC | EF-S 24mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Tamron 45mm VC | Zeiss 50 | 50 STM | 100L | 135L | Tamron 70-200 VC | 100-400L II | Legacy Glass

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« on: December 29, 2017, 01:42:33 PM »

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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6D x 2 | 80D | 70D | EOS-M3 w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + 55-200 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Tamron 15-30 VC | EF-S 24mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Tamron 45mm VC | Zeiss 50 | 50 STM | 100L | 135L | Tamron 70-200 VC | 100-400L II | Legacy Glass

YuengLinger

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 02:50:26 PM »
Dustin, I’ve waited to hear your conclusion after carefully watching all other segments.  My gratitude for your many reviews, and my admiration of their quality and honesty, makes me reluctant to criticize, but you several times admitted that you had a copy that had one or more elements not properly centered.  Whether the flaw was due to poor QC or an accident before you got your hands on the lens, I know from personal experience that slightly misaligned elements do aggravate sharpness and CA problems.

Whether or not one or two other reviewers agree with your IQ findings is besides the point--if you are determined to be independent.  As soon as you realized you had a flawed copy, I believe you should have delayed the review until you had a better one.  I’m perplexed that you went to such lengths to be thorough in the other segments, but then failed to mention the flaw in the conclusion (as a good segment of your audience likely just goes straight to the end).  (If I missed the reference, I’m sorry!)

You might be right about the lens’s IQ shortcomings, slight as they are.  I hope not because I went ahead and ordered.  Next week I’ll see for myself.  On the other hand, if you are wrong, I will always wonder why you didn’t pause when you realized there was a centering issue on your copy.

Click

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 02:56:02 PM »
Excellent review, Dustin. Thank you for sharing.

edoorn

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 03:42:59 PM »
nice review! I really enjoyed it, very thorough.

Used to shoot the 85 1.2 II but found it too slow, used a canon 85mm 1.8 afterwards but found the images to lack that bit of sparkle, tried the Sigma from a friend but found it very heavy and that particular copy to behave bad AF-wise on outer points (I know it's a sample variation thing) and I have been shooting the Tamron (trying to sell it, not much interest yet) for the last year. Finally, I ended up with the new Canon; I personally find the Canon to be, everything taken into account, the best allround performer.

In particular low light autofocus on the Canon is much better than my Tamron, so for event shooters, my feeling is the Canon is a pretty good bet. Everyone's mileage may vary of course and like you say, there's a lot to choose. from nowadays! Here's to a great 2018 with hopefully many reviews from your hand, I always enjoy reading them.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2017, 03:52:40 PM by edoorn »

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2017, 04:29:05 PM »
Dustin, I’ve waited to hear your conclusion after carefully watching all other segments.  My gratitude for your many reviews, and my admiration of their quality and honesty, makes me reluctant to criticize, but you several times admitted that you had a copy that had one or more elements not properly centered.  Whether the flaw was due to poor QC or an accident before you got your hands on the lens, I know from personal experience that slightly misaligned elements do aggravate sharpness and CA problems.

Whether or not one or two other reviewers agree with your IQ findings is besides the point--if you are determined to be independent.  As soon as you realized you had a flawed copy, I believe you should have delayed the review until you had a better one.  I’m perplexed that you went to such lengths to be thorough in the other segments, but then failed to mention the flaw in the conclusion (as a good segment of your audience likely just goes straight to the end).  (If I missed the reference, I’m sorry!)

You might be right about the lens’s IQ shortcomings, slight as they are.  I hope not because I went ahead and ordered.  Next week I’ll see for myself.  On the other hand, if you are wrong, I will always wonder why you didn’t pause when you realized there was a centering issue on your copy.

Subsequent tests revealed more consistency between the two sides (and I shot many, many comparisons).  I no longer felt like the lens was decentered.

As for optical shortcomings - they are mostly centered around axial chromatic aberrations (longitudinal), and I haven't heard any reviewer that actually tests for that say that they didn't see them.
6D x 2 | 80D | 70D | EOS-M3 w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + 55-200 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Tamron 15-30 VC | EF-S 24mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Tamron 45mm VC | Zeiss 50 | 50 STM | 100L | 135L | Tamron 70-200 VC | 100-400L II | Legacy Glass

YuengLinger

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2017, 05:27:54 PM »
Dustin, I’ve waited to hear your conclusion after carefully watching all other segments.  My gratitude for your many reviews, and my admiration of their quality and honesty, makes me reluctant to criticize, but you several times admitted that you had a copy that had one or more elements not properly centered.  Whether the flaw was due to poor QC or an accident before you got your hands on the lens, I know from personal experience that slightly misaligned elements do aggravate sharpness and CA problems.

Whether or not one or two other reviewers agree with your IQ findings is besides the point--if you are determined to be independent.  As soon as you realized you had a flawed copy, I believe you should have delayed the review until you had a better one.  I’m perplexed that you went to such lengths to be thorough in the other segments, but then failed to mention the flaw in the conclusion (as a good segment of your audience likely just goes straight to the end).  (If I missed the reference, I’m sorry!)

You might be right about the lens’s IQ shortcomings, slight as they are.  I hope not because I went ahead and ordered.  Next week I’ll see for myself.  On the other hand, if you are wrong, I will always wonder why you didn’t pause when you realized there was a centering issue on your copy.

Subsequent tests revealed more consistency between the two sides (and I shot many, many comparisons).  I no longer felt like the lens was decentered.

As for optical shortcomings - they are mostly centered around axial chromatic aberrations (longitudinal), and I haven't heard any reviewer that actually tests for that say that they didn't see them.

Hmmmm...Imagine how many YouTube  viewers are going to be hyper alert.  Did you mention this change of heart elsewhere?


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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2017, 05:27:54 PM »

Larsskv

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2017, 05:39:14 PM »
The 85LII is the lens that has produced my most beatiful and loved pictures. Still, GAS hit me today, and I ordered the new 85L IS. The faster AF, IS and weather sealing was too tempting, plus also my curiosity to compare them side by side.

I have no concerns about the weaker contrast, sharpness or CA compared to some of the competition. Those qualities never bother me on the 85LII. I am very curious to see how they compare in terms of the end results - how the images look, and if the new lens can create that quality i so much appreciate with the old one.

Thanks Dustin, for your thorough and fair reviews.

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2017, 05:53:41 PM »
Persisting with the review of a lens copy that you judged to be faulty does seem quiet perverse.

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2017, 08:40:51 AM »
Persisting with the review of a lens copy that you judged to be faulty does seem quiet perverse.

Hmmm, I don't recall ever saying the lens was faulty.  In an early test, I wondered about a mild decentering, but subsequent tests (of which I did many) demonstrated that I was getting even results on both sides.

Beyond that, as I checked the results of others using the lens, I found that my findings were within the frame of reference.

No perversity here...
6D x 2 | 80D | 70D | EOS-M3 w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + 55-200 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Tamron 15-30 VC | EF-S 24mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Tamron 45mm VC | Zeiss 50 | 50 STM | 100L | 135L | Tamron 70-200 VC | 100-400L II | Legacy Glass

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2017, 08:42:19 AM »
Dustin, I’ve waited to hear your conclusion after carefully watching all other segments.  My gratitude for your many reviews, and my admiration of their quality and honesty, makes me reluctant to criticize, but you several times admitted that you had a copy that had one or more elements not properly centered.  Whether the flaw was due to poor QC or an accident before you got your hands on the lens, I know from personal experience that slightly misaligned elements do aggravate sharpness and CA problems.

Whether or not one or two other reviewers agree with your IQ findings is besides the point--if you are determined to be independent.  As soon as you realized you had a flawed copy, I believe you should have delayed the review until you had a better one.  I’m perplexed that you went to such lengths to be thorough in the other segments, but then failed to mention the flaw in the conclusion (as a good segment of your audience likely just goes straight to the end).  (If I missed the reference, I’m sorry!)

You might be right about the lens’s IQ shortcomings, slight as they are.  I hope not because I went ahead and ordered.  Next week I’ll see for myself.  On the other hand, if you are wrong, I will always wonder why you didn’t pause when you realized there was a centering issue on your copy.

Subsequent tests revealed more consistency between the two sides (and I shot many, many comparisons).  I no longer felt like the lens was decentered.

As for optical shortcomings - they are mostly centered around axial chromatic aberrations (longitudinal), and I haven't heard any reviewer that actually tests for that say that they didn't see them.

Hmmmm...Imagine how many YouTube  viewers are going to be hyper alert.  Did you mention this change of heart elsewhere?

Truth be told, it was mostly others who inferred that the lens copy was faulty, not myself.  The only thing I said was that after one test I wondered if there was a mild decentering, which subsequent tests showed to not be the case.  My methods in this review have been very well documented, and I feel confident in my conclusions.
6D x 2 | 80D | 70D | EOS-M3 w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + 55-200 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Tamron 15-30 VC | EF-S 24mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Tamron 45mm VC | Zeiss 50 | 50 STM | 100L | 135L | Tamron 70-200 VC | 100-400L II | Legacy Glass

BillB

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2017, 10:14:43 AM »

Truth be told, it was mostly others who inferred that the lens copy was faulty, not myself.  The only thing I said was that after one test I wondered if there was a mild decentering, which subsequent tests showed to not be the case.  My methods in this review have been very well documented, and I feel confident in my conclusions.

The discussion by the lens developers that has been posted seems consistent with your findings.  Sharpness was one of several factors considered in designing the lens.  Other factors included weight and cost, along with general usability.  Also, center sharpness was emphasized over corner sharpness because of the use of 85 mm for portrait work. 

So the real questions would seem to be whether the 85 f1.4 IS L is sharp enough for the work at hand and whether the fact that other lenses are sharper has any practical significance.  Pretty much inevitably, in reviews, and especially in the following discussions, the practical significance of performance differences tend to get lost.  Of course, the practical importance of differences comes down to a judgement call, and people can and do differ.

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2017, 10:21:38 AM »

Great review and lens comparisons. Thanks Dustin.  A lot to think about when selecting an 85.

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2017, 10:21:38 AM »

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2017, 10:25:35 AM »

Truth be told, it was mostly others who inferred that the lens copy was faulty, not myself.  The only thing I said was that after one test I wondered if there was a mild decentering, which subsequent tests showed to not be the case.  My methods in this review have been very well documented, and I feel confident in my conclusions.

The discussion by the lens developers that has been posted seems consistent with your findings.  Sharpness was one of several factors considered in designing the lens.  Other factors included weight and cost, along with general usability.  Also, center sharpness was emphasized over corner sharpness because of the use of 85 mm for portrait work. 

So the real questions would seem to be whether the 85 f1.4 IS L is sharp enough for the work at hand and whether the fact that other lenses are sharper has any practical significance.  Pretty much inevitably, in reviews, and especially in the following discussions, the practical significance of performance differences tend to get lost.  Of course, the practical importance of differences comes down to a judgement call, and people can and do differ.

Your conclusion is exactly right, and frankly, I don't think sharpness is the issue.  I do believe that in some situations the axial CA will be an issue, but I wouldn't hesitate to purchase the lens myself based on a sharpness "issue".
6D x 2 | 80D | 70D | EOS-M3 w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + 55-200 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Tamron 15-30 VC | EF-S 24mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Tamron 45mm VC | Zeiss 50 | 50 STM | 100L | 135L | Tamron 70-200 VC | 100-400L II | Legacy Glass

bluenoser1993

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 04:36:22 PM »
Thanks Dustin, the reviews are greatly appreciated.  I thought I would be all over the new 85 when it was announced, but the comparisons really showed me the Tamron is good enough for my uses.  Then the opportunity to buy a store demo for $700CAD with full warranty made it a no brainer.  Very excited to get using it.
5Ds, EF 24-70 f/2.8 II, EF 35 f/2 IS, Tamron 85 VC, EF 135L f/2, EF 100-400L II, 1.4xTC III

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Re: Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS Review and Comparisons | Dustin
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 04:36:22 PM »