July 15, 2018, 11:00:31 PM

Author Topic: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L  (Read 10489 times)

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2018, 03:46:25 PM »
I think I've been spoiled by the superlative AF performance of the 35L II and the 24-70 f/2.8 II.  With those lenses, I leave the camera in servo AF and use BBF exclusively.  With the the 85L f/1.4 IS, the accuracy isn't as good for static subjects with servo.  I can see/hear the camera (5D4) dithering/micro hunting even when the subject isn't moving.  I might have to try it in one shot for portraits instead or take a burst.  Hopefully this will be addressed with a firmware update.

What I was surprised with was how WELL it worked for a girls basketball game shooting wide open.  The keeper rate was lower than the 24-70 f/2.8 II but it didn't feel that much lower even though the DOF was much thinner.  For sports, I use single AF point only and move it around with the joystick as needed, but it's never in the center.  The look with the shallow DOF is definitely a plus in this case -- gyms are ugly.

Most of the time I would expect the 35mm F1.4 or the 24-70 F2.8 to exhibit greater depth of field than the 85mm F1.4 - so the 85mm the lens would try and adjust focus even if your subject only moved very slightly. This might explain the hunting that you are seeing, but it is a characteristic of the focal length and the aperture not this particular lens.
I am amazed that you are able to keep a single AF point positioned over the action with a fast moving sport such as basket ball. I need to use zone AF to keep my AF point positioned in approximately the right place but I also need to stop down a little to increase my chances of having enough of the action in focus.
I must admit that I had not considered using my 85mm F1.4 for sport, but now I am keen to try it out to see how it performs.

You'll have to let us know whether or not you're finding some type of AF hunting/inconsistency that Viggo and I are seeing in AF servo when you get your copy in.  I don't recall having the issue with the 85L II -- that is a ponderously slow lens but it is accurate.  Again, I'm not having a problem in AI servo when the subject is moving, and perhaps that's because I'm expecting missed shots from time to time, but I was satisfied with the keeper rate with moving subjects.

I link the AF point to camera orientation, and pictures of offense are better than defense so the AF point doesn't have to be adjusted that quickly often.  Landscape orientation when the players are crossing the court and then portrait orientation when there's a shot on the basket.  I'm dealing with 8 year olds, so it's not super fast, but they are smaller subjects. :)  I've never really tried zone AF much... I find it easier to select the AF point manually and pan especially in team sports where there are other players passing in front of my subject in the frame.

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2018, 03:46:25 PM »

Ian_of_glos

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2018, 04:48:53 PM »
I think I've been spoiled by the superlative AF performance of the 35L II and the 24-70 f/2.8 II.  With those lenses, I leave the camera in servo AF and use BBF exclusively.  With the the 85L f/1.4 IS, the accuracy isn't as good for static subjects with servo.  I can see/hear the camera (5D4) dithering/micro hunting even when the subject isn't moving.  I might have to try it in one shot for portraits instead or take a burst.  Hopefully this will be addressed with a firmware update.

What I was surprised with was how WELL it worked for a girls basketball game shooting wide open.  The keeper rate was lower than the 24-70 f/2.8 II but it didn't feel that much lower even though the DOF was much thinner.  For sports, I use single AF point only and move it around with the joystick as needed, but it's never in the center.  The look with the shallow DOF is definitely a plus in this case -- gyms are ugly.

Most of the time I would expect the 35mm F1.4 or the 24-70 F2.8 to exhibit greater depth of field than the 85mm F1.4 - so the 85mm the lens would try and adjust focus even if your subject only moved very slightly. This might explain the hunting that you are seeing, but it is a characteristic of the focal length and the aperture not this particular lens.
I am amazed that you are able to keep a single AF point positioned over the action with a fast moving sport such as basket ball. I need to use zone AF to keep my AF point positioned in approximately the right place but I also need to stop down a little to increase my chances of having enough of the action in focus.
I must admit that I had not considered using my 85mm F1.4 for sport, but now I am keen to try it out to see how it performs.

You'll have to let us know whether or not you're finding some type of AF hunting/inconsistency that Viggo and I are seeing in AF servo when you get your copy in.  I don't recall having the issue with the 85L II -- that is a ponderously slow lens but it is accurate.  Again, I'm not having a problem in AI servo when the subject is moving, and perhaps that's because I'm expecting missed shots from time to time, but I was satisfied with the keeper rate with moving subjects.

I link the AF point to camera orientation, and pictures of offense are better than defense so the AF point doesn't have to be adjusted that quickly often.  Landscape orientation when the players are crossing the court and then portrait orientation when there's a shot on the basket.  I'm dealing with 8 year olds, so it's not super fast, but they are smaller subjects. :)  I've never really tried zone AF much... I find it easier to select the AF point manually and pan especially in team sports where there are other players passing in front of my subject in the frame.
Well to be honest I bought the lens yesterday, but today has been so busy I have not even had time to take it out of its box yet.
When I tried it in in the shop the autofocus seemed to be very quick and responsive, but none of the subjects were moving and it is not something I tested as I had not even considered using it for sports/action. However, as soon as I can I will ask the children to burn off some of their excess energy and see whether it exhibits the hunting behaviour that you and Viggo describe. It will be an interesting test.
Also I am planning to see how it performs in comparison to the 85mm F1.2 and the 135mm F2 for portrait and still life. I will pick some subjects that are likely to show chromatic aberration to see if it is an improvement on the F1.2.
The thought of using the 85mm F1.2 on AI Servo amused me as I am more used to telling my models to sit absolutely still when I use this lens and I have only ever used it on One Shot.

Viggo

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2018, 05:02:46 PM »
Will be interesting to see more people’s experience for sure!

I must clearify, mine doesn’t hunt, there’s no way of telling when shooting that it suddenly misses. I focuses quick and locks, I take the shot and it’s way off.

But, keep in mind, this isn’t like the Sigmas I used to own, and that most of you have read about, lol. I would say it works quite well, but I’m not used to having shots missed completely, the good thing is that in a burst where it misses the very next shot is sharp. Expect some weird misses and less great hitrate, but it’s better than the 1.8 and the 50 L.

Another point is that I, personally, only use Ai Servo

I don’t expect it being a faulty lens or camera, I just expected better, it being a new L and so on. Still my most used lens.
1dx mkII, 35 L II, Zeiss 50 f2 mp, 85 L IS, Broncolor Siros 800 L.

YuengLinger

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2018, 05:16:05 PM »
Will be interesting to see more people’s experience for sure!

I must clearify, mine doesn’t hunt, there’s no way of telling when shooting that it suddenly misses. I focuses quick and locks, I take the shot and it’s way off.

But, keep in mind, this isn’t like the Sigmas I used to own, and that most of you have read about, lol. I would say it works quite well, but I’m not used to having shots missed completely, the good thing is that in a burst where it misses the very next shot is sharp. Expect some weird misses and less great hitrate, but it’s better than the 1.8 and the 50 L.

Another point is that I, personally, only use Ai Servo

I don’t expect it being a faulty lens or camera, I just expected better, it being a new L and so on. Still my most used lens.

I'm finding similar strange out of focus captures within a series whether I'm using one shot or AI servo. And, same as you, I am not experiencing hunting. Just one or two completely out of focus within a sequence of 5 or 7 that are in focus otherwise.  But, to repeat, my keeper rate has gone up since being more careful about my finger touching the focus ring. And it seems like I'm doing a little better again after glowing clean the sensor area.

hne

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2018, 05:13:45 AM »
I must clearify, mine doesn’t hunt, there’s no way of telling when shooting that it suddenly misses. I focuses quick and locks, I take the shot and it’s way off.

Mine doesn't hunt either, unless trying to focus on a small patch of texture-less something barely blocking the sun. Though sometimes, my camera tries to acquire focus on something totally different when subject tracking fails. It usually succeeds, generally on something in the far background.

There are some cases where I believe my spot AF single point slides off the target and the lens has to do a large shuffling of glass causing the next image in a burst to be out of focus, but that is rare and generally doesn't happen in subject tracking mode. Also mostly seems to happen in burst mode.

Another point is that I, personally, only use Ai Servo

I don’t expect it being a faulty lens or camera, I just expected better, it being a new L and so on. Still my most used lens.

I also only use Ai Servo. Previously I always had either One-Shot or Ai Focus, but between the extreme shallow DOF and the absurdly slow shutter speeds possible with 85/1.4L IS I couldn't get more enough shots in focus even holding my breath.

It's my second most used lens, after the 35/1.4L. It is my 6th L lens. I expected worse.
Preferred gear: 5D IV, 35/1.4L, 85/1.4L IS, 70-200/2.8L IS, Elinchrom ELB500 + RX
Backup: 5D II, 17-40/4L, 85/1.8, 100-400/4.5-5.6L, Yongnuo + 622

Ian_of_glos

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2018, 06:16:33 AM »
I must clearify, mine doesn’t hunt, there’s no way of telling when shooting that it suddenly misses. I focuses quick and locks, I take the shot and it’s way off.

Mine doesn't hunt either, unless trying to focus on a small patch of texture-less something barely blocking the sun. Though sometimes, my camera tries to acquire focus on something totally different when subject tracking fails. It usually succeeds, generally on something in the far background.

There are some cases where I believe my spot AF single point slides off the target and the lens has to do a large shuffling of glass causing the next image in a burst to be out of focus, but that is rare and generally doesn't happen in subject tracking mode. Also mostly seems to happen in burst mode.

Another point is that I, personally, only use Ai Servo

I don’t expect it being a faulty lens or camera, I just expected better, it being a new L and so on. Still my most used lens.

I also only use Ai Servo. Previously I always had either One-Shot or Ai Focus, but between the extreme shallow DOF and the absurdly slow shutter speeds possible with 85/1.4L IS I couldn't get more enough shots in focus even holding my breath.

It's my second most used lens, after the 35/1.4L. It is my 6th L lens. I expected worse.

I will not be able to test mine until the weekend, but what I plan to do is this:
Arrange for my subject to run towards the camera and shoot using my 5D mark 4's max burst rate of 7fps and AI servo, firstly at the maximum aperture of F1.4 and then at F5.6 as this is an aperture that I would often use for sports. I am expecting a higher keeper rate at F5.6 than at F1.4 but let's see what happens. The camera does predict the focus point for moving subjects to some extent, but whether it is good enough to focus correctly within the very narrow depth of field available at F1.4 remains to be seen.
Like you I often find that the camera often locks onto something with good contrast in the background, but that is always due to my inability to keep up with a moving subject. I have found that the best remedy is to use zone AF as focus will lock onto the nearest item with acceptable contrast that it can find within the focus zone, so I don't need to be quite so precise about where I place the focus point. It is like using automatic selection AF but using only the part of the scene that I am interested in.
When I am photographing a subject where there is no contrast I use AF point expansion - so it will look for good contrast with the neighbouring AF points if it is unable to achieve focus at the first attempt.

Last night I tested the lens for the first time using a subject that was sitting watching the telly and one shot AF. It focussed correctly every time and I obtained very sharp images using an aperture of F1.4. One thing that really impressed me was the image stabilisation and I was able to obtain sharp images with no camera shake at shutter speeds as low as 1/20 - not quite the full 4 stops that Canon claim but more than good enough for anything I am ever likely to do.
Originally I was going to compare the 85mm F1.4 against the F1.2 and my trusty 135mm F2, but as so many people have reported AF problems with this lens I will do the focussing tests first.

alexanderferdinand

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2018, 06:38:09 AM »
First I got a Sigma 85/1,4 for testing.
IF it focused correctly, it was fine.
The issue with this lens: sometimes the Autofocus would not start. I had to give the focusring a Little Twist, then it started focusing, and was spot on.
But sometimes it started itself- like it should.
So to wait- does it or not was very annoying and is only acceptable in steady situations. If you want to make a snapshot- good luck. Chances are good you miss the shot.

The Canon 85/1,4 IS: fast, correct, if wide open it could miss the few Millimeters that makes it very sharp, but most of the time Focus is superb.
Bokeh is also very fine and enjoyable. A fantastic lens.

Both lenses used on the 1DX MkII and 5DMkIV

1D MKIV, 1DX MkII, 5D Mk IV; lot of lenses, flashes etc
Fuji X100s, Sony RX100 III,
Fuji X- XT1, X- Pro2, XF 23 1,4, XF 18- 55 2,8-4, X- T1, XF 16/1,4, XF 55- 200, XF 56/1,2, XF 50-140, XF 100- 400

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2018, 06:38:09 AM »

Ian_of_glos

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2018, 07:49:12 AM »
First I got a Sigma 85/1,4 for testing.
IF it focused correctly, it was fine.
The issue with this lens: sometimes the Autofocus would not start. I had to give the focusring a Little Twist, then it started focusing, and was spot on.
But sometimes it started itself- like it should.
So to wait- does it or not was very annoying and is only acceptable in steady situations. If you want to make a snapshot- good luck. Chances are good you miss the shot.

The Canon 85/1,4 IS: fast, correct, if wide open it could miss the few Millimeters that makes it very sharp, but most of the time Focus is superb.
Bokeh is also very fine and enjoyable. A fantastic lens.

Both lenses used on the 1DX MkII and 5DMkIV
Sounds like you might have a fault with your copy. Is it still under warranty and if so have you taken it back to the shop and explained the problem to them?
Do you see the autofocus problem with both One Shot and AI Servo?
So far I have only taken about 20 shots with mine and each time I used One Shot autofocus. It focussed accurately and instantly every time and the only shot that is not sharp is the one where I used a shutter speed of 1/13 - but what I am seeing is clearly camera shake not missed focus.

alexanderferdinand

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2018, 05:43:12 AM »
@ the Sigma: had it only for testing (as I wrote). My method of focusing is AI Servo with back button Focus.
Told my dealer about my experience and why I didnt buy it.
With the Canon: no Problem at all. Very lovely lens, I love the results and use it very often
1D MKIV, 1DX MkII, 5D Mk IV; lot of lenses, flashes etc
Fuji X100s, Sony RX100 III,
Fuji X- XT1, X- Pro2, XF 23 1,4, XF 18- 55 2,8-4, X- T1, XF 16/1,4, XF 55- 200, XF 56/1,2, XF 50-140, XF 100- 400

Ian_of_glos

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2018, 03:22:59 PM »
Will be interesting to see more people’s experience for sure!

I must clearify, mine doesn’t hunt, there’s no way of telling when shooting that it suddenly misses. I focuses quick and locks, I take the shot and it’s way off.

But, keep in mind, this isn’t like the Sigmas I used to own, and that most of you have read about, lol. I would say it works quite well, but I’m not used to having shots missed completely, the good thing is that in a burst where it misses the very next shot is sharp. Expect some weird misses and less great hitrate, but it’s better than the 1.8 and the 50 L.

Another point is that I, personally, only use Ai Servo

I don’t expect it being a faulty lens or camera, I just expected better, it being a new L and so on. Still my most used lens.
Today I tested the new Canon 85mm F1.4 on my Canon 5D mark 4 using AI servo and the high speed continuous drive mode, which allows me to shoot at up to 7 frames per second.
The primary reason for the test was to check the autofocus accuracy using AI servo to see if the lens missed focus at all and it involved photographing my daughter running towards the camera. I used Case 2 and focus priority for the first and subsequent shots and I ran the test twice - the first time using an aperture of F1.4 and the second time using an aperture of F5.6.
The focussing was just about perfect every time, and there is only one shot in the entire sequence that is slightly soft. In this picture the string from her hood flew up in front of her face and it looks like the camera focussed on that instead of her eyes.
Focussing was quick and accurate and although I did not time it precisely I was able to capture 26 frames in about 4 seconds, which is very close to the maximum of 7 frames per second.
I have also taken many pictures of stationary subjects with this lens using One Shot AF and every one is sharp.
So, I am unable to explain why you have been experiencing so many focussing problems. The only thing I can think of is that the lens might be faulty or possibly the lens is not making a good electrical connection with the camera. Have you tried cleaning the electrical connections at the bottom of the lens to see if that helps?   

Michael Clark

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2018, 11:51:13 AM »
For those having AF issues when shooting bursts of images in AI Servo:

Use some gaffer's tape to immobilize the focus ring and see what effect that has.
It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive. - C. W. Leadbeater

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Ian_of_glos

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2018, 02:50:30 AM »
Awesome one. I will definitely buy one. Can anyone please tell me best website to buy this camera.
If there is a camera shop near where you live then I would always recommend trying a lens out before buying it. I bought mine from London Camera Exchange.
When I am unable to go to the shop in person for some reason, or for items such as filters, batteries and memory cards I have always found Wex Photographic to be very good.

YuengLinger

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2018, 04:38:43 PM »
Awesome one. I will definitely buy one. Can anyone please tell me best website to buy this camera.
If there is a camera shop near where you live then I would always recommend trying a lens out before buying it. I bought mine from London Camera Exchange.
When I am unable to go to the shop in person for some reason, or for items such as filters, batteries and memory cards I have always found Wex Photographic to be very good.

What is a "camera shop"?

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2018, 04:38:43 PM »

slclick

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2018, 05:26:30 PM »

[/quote]

What is a "camera shop"?
[/quote]

Oh that was both rich and poignant
That's it, I'm switching to Rollei

Ian_of_glos

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2018, 06:59:14 AM »
Awesome one. I will definitely buy one. Can anyone please tell me best website to buy this camera.
If there is a camera shop near where you live then I would always recommend trying a lens out before buying it. I bought mine from London Camera Exchange.
When I am unable to go to the shop in person for some reason, or for items such as filters, batteries and memory cards I have always found Wex Photographic to be very good.

What is a "camera shop"?
It is a shop where you buy cameras. There are a few left if you look hard enough.

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Re: Lenstip review of Canon 85mm 1.4 L
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2018, 06:59:14 AM »