June 23, 2018, 10:27:51 AM

Author Topic: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?  (Read 9189 times)

mrgazpacho

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2018, 10:40:22 PM »
I had assumed that I would some day buy one of these now that I have a FF camera.
...
The results were good enough that the 100mm is now my portrait lens for the foreseeable future

Hmmm... thanks for the interesting perspective!

I have the 100 f2.8 IS Macro L ... might give it a trial for a couple of portraits to see how it works for me

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2018, 10:40:22 PM »

mjg79

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2018, 08:23:09 AM »

For me, being able to lower my ISO and still get sharp shots at lower shutter speeds (because of IS and quicker AF) more than makes up for difficult to perceive lost "magic." 

You make a good point about the 1.2 holding up for so many years, but another point:  Canon has made an excellent follow-up with IS, quick AF, and better ergonomics for about 25% less sticker price.

I am not seeing any serious purple/green fringing--though it is there at f/1.4.  And it cleans up completely  in LR Classic CC.  (At least "completely" enough for even very picky real-world use.  In other words, it is an insignificant negative factor.)

An earlier post referred to "bragging rights" with 1/3 stop larger aperture.  That gave me a chuckle as I tried to imagine a bride, a business person, an athlete, or a family member bragging to a friend, "Well, your portraits are fine, but MINE were taken with a lens that could go to 1.2.  Of course the photographer used f/2 to get enough of my features in focus, but, WOW, that lens COULD have gone to 1.2."

Or how about a photographer, just as a session begins, bragging, "By the way, you are about to be photographed with a lens that can do f/1.2!  Do you know how AWESOME that is?"

Yes, I had some brief moments of sentiment.  I bought the 1.4, used it for a few days heavily, compared images taken with the 1.2, and knew right away there was no point keeping both.  I really was fond of the 1.2, but I had an excellent copy in perfect working order that would get a good amount for resale.  In time, not only would resale value go down, but a repair would really be frustrating to deal with, as I'd either have to sell very cheap or pay hundreds of dollars to get it working again.  Now I'm stoked to have a very fast 85mm with quick AF and IS that works great for either sitting subjects or environmental portraits with some movement on location.  Not to mention low-light events.

That sounds a sensible approach. I'm sure you're right than on balanced the new 85 IS is a more practical lens.

I have a set up that I suspect is a fairly common combination - I have the 70-200 for when I must get the shot and the 85/1.2 for when I have time and want to create something special.

I think for a travel lens and for working photographers everything you say would apply 100% - I really struggle to imagine many in either group wanting to buy the 1.2 now. But for those of us who have it as a guilty pleasure and for whom practicality isn't the biggest issue then it becomes a tricky choice.

I think I'll wait and see if the price drops a bit for the new lens but it must be nice to have an 85 that tracks fast movement!

Ian_of_glos

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2018, 11:07:46 AM »

Has anyone found any more direct and scientific comparisons? Or anyone lucky enough to own both keen to do some comparison shots? I have an 85 1.2 II and I use it almost exclusively for portraits so the IS and faster auto-focus isn't a huge deal to me but would be nice to have as long as I don't have to give up *all* of the magic the 1.2 II gives. I can't make up my mind whether to move to the 1.4.


For me, being able to lower my ISO and still get sharp shots at lower shutter speeds (because of IS and quicker AF) more than makes up for difficult to perceive lost "magic." 

You make a good point about the 1.2 holding up for so many years, but another point:  Canon has made an excellent follow-up with IS, quick AF, and better ergonomics for about 25% less sticker price.

I am not seeing any serious purple/green fringing--though it is there at f/1.4.  And it cleans up completely  in LR Classic CC.  (At least "completely" enough for even very picky real-world use.  In other words, it is an insignificant negative factor.)

An earlier post referred to "bragging rights" with 1/3 stop larger aperture.  That gave me a chuckle as I tried to imagine a bride, a business person, an athlete, or a family member bragging to a friend, "Well, your portraits are fine, but MINE were taken with a lens that could go to 1.2.  Of course the photographer used f/2 to get enough of my features in focus, but, WOW, that lens COULD have gone to 1.2."

Or how about a photographer, just as a session begins, bragging, "By the way, you are about to be photographed with a lens that can do f/1.2!  Do you know how AWESOME that is?"

Yes, I had some brief moments of sentiment.  I bought the 1.4, used it for a few days heavily, compared images taken with the 1.2, and knew right away there was no point keeping both.  I really was fond of the 1.2, but I had an excellent copy in perfect working order that would get a good amount for resale.  In time, not only would resale value go down, but a repair would really be frustrating to deal with, as I'd either have to sell very cheap or pay hundreds of dollars to get it working again.  Now I'm stoked to have a very fast 85mm with quick AF and IS that works great for either sitting subjects or environmental portraits with some movement on location.  Not to mention low-light events.
Thank you for your considered and well reasoned summary. You have confirmed what I think I already knew - that I better trade my F1.2L ii in for a F1.4L before it is too late and before there are so many second hand F1.2s around that its trade in value drops through the floor. However, it is difficult to part with a lens that has served me well for many years and which has produced some breathtaking shots on so many occasions.

With the remark about bragging rights - I was really referring to other photographers not models or family members. Apparently some camera manufacturers don't have an 85mm F1.2 lens available at all, and it is always fun being able to claim that the extra 1/3 stop has made all the difference, allowing me to take a shot in almost complete darkness. Actually most of my family already think I am stark raving bonkers and can't understand why I haven't replaced my camera with a mobile phone yet.

Larsskv

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2018, 11:56:52 AM »

Has anyone found any more direct and scientific comparisons? Or anyone lucky enough to own both keen to do some comparison shots? I have an 85 1.2 II and I use it almost exclusively for portraits so the IS and faster auto-focus isn't a huge deal to me but would be nice to have as long as I don't have to give up *all* of the magic the 1.2 II gives. I can't make up my mind whether to move to the 1.4.


I have made this comment in another thread, but I would like to add it here as well.

As some of you might remember, I love my 85LII. However, GAS took the better of me, and I added the 85L f1.4 IS to my kit about 7 weeks ago. The new lens is really, really good. The AF is much faster than the 85LII and very precise, better than my 35LII. The IS makes a significant difference. It is also sharper wide open, and light transmission seems very good. Vignetting is comparably good as well. Minimum focusing distance is also significantly closer than the 85LII. All summarized, the 85L f1.4 is better than the 85LII at “all” factors that can be measured in an objective way.

All this said, I still think the pictures I get from the 85LII is more desirable, in terms of background separation and that 3D-effect that makes subjects appear more life like. The 85L f1.4 takes very nice pictures, but they don’t have the same degree of wow factor that makes me fall in love with many of the 85LII pictures. My wife seems to agree. I should add that my primary use for the 85LII is portraits, and usually within the range of minimum focusing distance and up to two meters. My favorite aperture with this lens is f2.

Please note that I haven’t done any scientific comparison yet, and I am aware that my opionion is subjective.

Anyway, I do belive that I will keep both lenses. If I were to choose only one, it would be the 85LII, but that is because I use the 85mm focal length mainly for portraits, within 3 meters. For everything else, I think the new 85L f1.4 is the better choice.

JoFT

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2018, 02:52:13 AM »
for me 85mm is one of my favorite focal length.... And I do have a couple of them.
  • Zeiss Planar f14.
  • Sigma f1.4 (non Art)
  • Zeiss Milvus f1.4
And I tested another couple like
  • Tamron 85mm f1.8
My favorite is the new EF 85mm f1.4L IS USM! It is the most versatile one. The killer argument against all 3rd party is AF confidence. This is where then Canon shines!!!


In terms of IQ: Yes the Canon is an excellent peace of glass - even if pixel peeping shows some advantages here and there in favor of other lenses - but these are no killer points - like AF confidence....
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aceflibble

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2018, 03:50:02 AM »
With the remark about bragging rights - I was really referring to other photographers not models or family members. Apparently some camera manufacturers don't have an 85mm F1.2 lens available at all, and it is always fun being able to claim that the extra 1/3 stop has made all the difference, allowing me to take a shot in almost complete darkness.
The Canon 85mm f/1.2L II is t/1.5-1.6 (copy variation), while, for example, the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 is t/1.6-1.7, and the Canon 85mm f/1.4 IS appears to be about t/1.6 as well. (Further testing of the Canon 1.4 is required on my end, and I'd like someone else to test it too, for confirmation.) The Tamron 85mm is obviously slower since it's f/1.8, but as it's only t/1.9, it's actually the most accurate transmission of the bunch.

On top of that there are diminishing returns with digital sensors' light gathering beyond f/1.6, so even if you had a perfectly t/1.2 vs t/1.4 comparison, the t/1.2 lens still wouldn't be a full third stop brighter, but more like a fifth of a stop brighter, or a quarter for some extra-sensitive sensors.

So... yeah. That f/1.2 isn't really getting you a third of a stop more exposure. Compared to the f/1.4 options around, a quarter of a stop is the most you can expect to gain, and in many cases you'll be getting less. In fact it's very possible that, thanks to copy variation, a dodgy Canon f/1.2 delivers less light to the sensor than a good copy of any of the f/1.4 lenses.

As long as you get the frame you want, it's all fine. Just, yeah, those "bragging rights" really only fly with other photographers who are very specifically big enough gear-nuts to care about what lens you have but not big enough gear-nuts to know how these things actually work. (Which, actually, does appear to be 90% of commenters on these kinds of rumour & news sites, so....)

slclick

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2018, 03:03:36 PM »
Once again, I'm in the market for an 85. I guess my search is not unlike ahsanford's quest. Perhaps the best analogy of what I want is the Tamron but made by Canon. I'm 99% sure I'm done with 3rd party glass although the Tammy 70-210 tomorrow has me interested. I've owned two copies of the Canon 1.8 and won't go back so that leaves me being patient...like my wait for the 135L incarnation which is always coming in whichever year you've been living.
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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2018, 03:03:36 PM »

JoFT

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2018, 02:50:51 AM »
Once again, I'm in the market for an 85. I guess my search is not unlike ahsanford's quest. Perhaps the best analogy of what I want is the Tamron but made by Canon. I'm 99% sure I'm done with 3rd party glass although the Tammy 70-210 tomorrow has me interested. I've owned two copies of the Canon 1.8 and won't go back so that leaves me being patient...like my wait for the 135L incarnation which is always coming in whichever year you've been living.


Don't wait, take the 1.4L... It is an awesome lens.... [size=78%]http://bit.ly/2zKesGi[/size]
I do love mine....
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slclick

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2018, 09:03:11 AM »
Once again, I'm in the market for an 85. I guess my search is not unlike ahsanford's quest. Perhaps the best analogy of what I want is the Tamron but made by Canon. I'm 99% sure I'm done with 3rd party glass although the Tammy 70-210 tomorrow has me interested. I've owned two copies of the Canon 1.8 and won't go back so that leaves me being patient...like my wait for the 135L incarnation which is always coming in whichever year you've been living.


Don't wait, take the 1.4L... It is an awesome lens.... [size=78%]http://bit.ly/2zKesGi[/size]
I do love mine....

Would be nice however that is my budget for 2 lenses.
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aceflibble

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2018, 04:18:51 PM »
Once again, I'm in the market for an 85. I guess my search is not unlike ahsanford's quest. Perhaps the best analogy of what I want is the Tamron but made by Canon.
The Tamron is basically the best all-rounder 85 on the market right now. Third party be damned, it's built better than most Canon mid-range and the lower-L lenses, the manual focus is better than any other 85 on the market, autofocus is not particularly worse than any other 85 (it's a huge improvement over the Canon 1.2's and the Sigma's AF) and the VC works extremely well.

The most important thing for me, as I've gone through every 85-100mm option for Canon, is the Tamron has the most consistent rendering. There are lots of 85s which are super sharp in the centre but much weaker toward the edges, or really contrasty when the light's behind you but they go flat when you shoot into the light, etc. The Tamron gives you really predictable, totally even quality in all conditions and across the whole frame. That may not be exciting, but for me as a working pro who needs repeatable, reliable results, it's proven to be the best of the current options. The fact it's also one of the cheaper options is just a nice bonus.

Forget whatever you think about third party lenses, the Tamron primes are absolutely as-good-if-not-better-than their Canon equivalents, except the 35mm which is 'only' dead even with the Canon. (It's AF is a fraction slower and it is quarter of a stop behind in light transmission, but it's weather sealed and has a much greater magnification, so I call that a tie.)

slclick

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2018, 11:41:00 AM »
Once again, I'm in the market for an 85. I guess my search is not unlike ahsanford's quest. Perhaps the best analogy of what I want is the Tamron but made by Canon.
The Tamron is basically the best all-rounder 85 on the market right now. Third party be damned, it's built better than most Canon mid-range and the lower-L lenses, the manual focus is better than any other 85 on the market, autofocus is not particularly worse than any other 85 (it's a huge improvement over the Canon 1.2's and the Sigma's AF) and the VC works extremely well.

The most important thing for me, as I've gone through every 85-100mm option for Canon, is the Tamron has the most consistent rendering. There are lots of 85s which are super sharp in the centre but much weaker toward the edges, or really contrasty when the light's behind you but they go flat when you shoot into the light, etc. The Tamron gives you really predictable, totally even quality in all conditions and across the whole frame. That may not be exciting, but for me as a working pro who needs repeatable, reliable results, it's proven to be the best of the current options. The fact it's also one of the cheaper options is just a nice bonus.

Forget whatever you think about third party lenses, the Tamron primes are absolutely as-good-if-not-better-than their Canon equivalents, except the 35mm which is 'only' dead even with the Canon. (It's AF is a fraction slower and it is quarter of a stop behind in light transmission, but it's weather sealed and has a much greater magnification, so I call that a tie.)

I have an opportunity to pick up a Tamron at a crazy good price, if I do I'll report back.
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jd7

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2018, 04:19:02 AM »
An earlier post referred to "bragging rights" with 1/3 stop larger aperture.

To be pedantic, the 85 1.2L II is a half stop larger aperture than the 85 1.4L, not a third of a stop  :)  (I believe the 1.2L II only has a slight advantage in T-stop though.)

Interesting to see some very positive comments about the Tamron ... and CR guy seems to be quite a fan of it too. If I decide to change from old Sigma 84 1.4 EX at some point, I will have to give it a close look.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 04:23:11 AM by jd7 »
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jd7

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2018, 04:32:54 AM »
https://neilvn.com/tangents/bokeh-canon-ef-85mm-f14l-is-lens/

From this comparison again I would agree the 1.2 is the nicest rendering and has the nicest bokeh, partly due to the fall off in focus, partly due to the lower contrast and partly due to the softer bokeh balls. But there you can see the 1.4 IS is very close, at times hard to distinguish. Indeed Canon appears to have made a conscious decision not to chase Sigma and Zeiss on sharpness (Dustin Abbott found the Canon softer than the Sigma 85Art and Zeiss 85) but to try to achieve a best of both, being sharper than the 1.2 while keeping most of the rendering and avoiding the harsh Sigma bokeh.

Thanks for the link! Interesting comparison, and to my eye the 1.2L has the best bokeh, followed by the Sigma Art and then the 1.4L. There isn't much between all three though.
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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2018, 04:32:54 AM »

YuengLinger

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2018, 04:56:03 PM »
Now if only 50mm had so many fine options!

slclick

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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2018, 05:48:34 PM »
I didn't do it. The copy I had a chance with did not give me confidence like Dustin's review did. Anyone else feel as if Tamron has more copy to copy variance than the other major players?
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Re: Which Canon 85mm Lens is for You?
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2018, 05:48:34 PM »