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Author Topic: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?  (Read 16231 times)

sephknite

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Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« on: April 16, 2012, 04:35:44 PM »
Hey all. I'm eyeing the Canon 50mm 1.2L, but am also considering the 85mm 1.2L for some portrait photography. I do see a lot of posts about the 85mm not focusing as fast, but being very sharp, while the 50mm focuses quite quickly but isn't as sharp as the 85mm.

What does everyone suggest?  :)

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Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« on: April 16, 2012, 04:35:44 PM »

EYEONE

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 05:20:51 PM »
The 50mm suffers from focus shift up close. As you dial the aperture down from f1.2 the focal plane will shift. Honestly I don't know how much of a problem it is but it is a fact.

I'd go with the 85mm f1.2 Because it's sexy.
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sephknite

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2012, 05:34:02 PM »
The only one thing that's blocking me is a possible version III of either lens. I know both of them have been out for a while. I just don't want to regret a new version as soon as I get either one.

zhap03

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2012, 05:37:56 PM »
Have you considered buying a used copy of either lens?  That usually alleviates fears of losing value on the lens should a new version be release shortly after your purchase.  I bought my 85 1.2 used for $1800 CAD and it's in mint condition.  I've seen some mint copies on Kijiji for as little as $1600 CAD.

photophreek

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2012, 05:39:07 PM »
Not all 50L lenses focus shift.  Mine does not and is sharp at all apertures.  The 85L 1.2 II is quite the beast and it certainly attracts attention.  It's as heavy as the 24-70L 2.8.  I wouldn't say that the focus is slow on the 85L at all.  If you want to experience slow focusing, try the 180L macro lens. 

The 50L does focus quicker than the 85L.  The very thin DOF of both lenses takes some getting used to.  But the results are magical IMHO.  The 85L does have focus by wire whereas the 50L does not.  Both are very expensive and specialty lenses.  I wouldn't buy these lenses to take pictures of your children running and playing in the backyard. 

Before you decide, I would recommned renting these lenses to help you decide.  My 50L is on my 7d most of the time and the 85L is right up there in useage.  I'm anxious to see how these lenses perform on the 5d III.   

photophreek

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2012, 05:42:53 PM »
I doubt you will see a 50L 1.2 II or an 85L 1.2 III anytime soon as both the 50L 1.2 and the 85L 1.2 II were released in 2006.

sephknite

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 05:59:27 PM »
zhap: Maybe it's just me, but I tend to stray away from used items. I don't know how the item was treated and if something might break or if it was mishandled before a price tag was put on it. To me, the risk of saving that few extra bucks isn't worth it. But do appreciate the option. :)

Photophreek: I saw this post a while back: http://www.canonrumors.com/2011/12/canon-files-a-patent-for-a-bunch-of-lenses/
Renting the lens is a pretty good idea, so I may go that route. I'm not too familiar with wire focus and if that's a good thing or not. If it's a minus, then I may wait for the Mark III, whenever that'll appear.

I was hoping to get the 24-70 II this month, but sadly, Canon delayed it. :( I've been waiting a long time for that glass. I hope it's worth the wait!

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 05:59:27 PM »

KurtStevens

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2012, 06:18:41 PM »
85 1.2 II.  Great lens, I used it at a wedding.  They say slow focus butttttt I got the shots I needed without missing anything.  Its slow compared to lets say 135 f/2 but when you look at the overall scheme of things its actually not bad.  85 is my goto lens, perfect for portraits.  I can't get used to 50, a little too wide but not wide enough.
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gmrza

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2012, 06:28:24 PM »
Hey all. I'm eyeing the Canon 50mm 1.2L, but am also considering the 85mm 1.2L for some portrait photography. I do see a lot of posts about the 85mm not focusing as fast, but being very sharp, while the 50mm focuses quite quickly but isn't as sharp as the 85mm.

What does everyone suggest?  :)

You didn't really specify your main use for the lens. - The two lenses have rather different uses, and I believe your intended use, rather than the characteristics of the two lenses would probably be a more important factor in determining your choice.  The 85mm is intended more for head and shoulders portraits, while the 50mm is a normal lens, which has a fairly wide range of uses.
I would take the approach, once you have decided whether you need a 50mm or 85mm lens to look at the available lenses in either focal length, and then choose from those, based on your individual requirements.

For instance, if you shoot a lot of group portraits, an 85mm lens may prove difficult to work with.  On the other hand, if your intended use is mainly for individual portraits, the 85mm might be a better choice.  I assume you currently have zoom lenses that cover these focal lengths?  If so, have you done any analysis of your existing work to see which focal length you use the most?

Once you have chosen the focal length you require, it is worth considering the Canon L and non-L variants, and also possibly even Sigma and Zeiss (if you can live with manual focus).
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bp

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2012, 06:39:46 PM »
I bought the 85L II and instantly fell in love with it.  Barely took it off the camera for a long while, and it's still one of my all-time favorite lenses.

Then I bought the 50L expecting the same love affair, and after a rather frustrating 2 week trial period, ended up selling it.  The lack of sharpness really bothered me.  The 50 is a fantastic thumbnail lens - in that EVERY shot it takes looks stunning as a thumnail, but if you pixel-peep, it falls short.  At least the copy I had - it was just soft.   I'll probably buy another if they do ever release a mk2, but not until then - and it could be a while.

Just my uber-humble opinion.  A lot of photographers who are much more skilled than I adore the 50L.  It just wasn't my cup of tea
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photophreek

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2012, 06:55:56 PM »
sephknite:

I saw that post here on CR as well as Craig hoping for a 50L 1.2 II.  I don't make buying decisions based on what is posted here unless Canon makes an official announcement and it's posted here.  If you base your decisions on the next version and the version after that, then you won't buy anything. 

You have to decide for yourself, but IMHO, neither of these lenses will be updated and released anytime soon.  As an example, the 500 II and 600II were announced in August 2010 and will be released almost two years later.  I'm very happy with both my 85 1.2L II and 50 1.2L. 

Take the wise advice of "gmrza" because these lenses are very specialized and can be very frustrating if you are not fully informed of their characteristics and uses b/4 a buying decision is made.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 06:58:42 PM by photophreek »

sephknite

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2012, 08:26:51 PM »
Thanks for the responses and input. :) I will definitely try the rental route.

RichATL

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2012, 09:16:02 PM »
Slow focus on the 85 is really a non-issue given a good AF system...
It may take longer because the gearing inside is set up to make really minute moves.  But it screams on my 5d3.

I took the route of going with the 85, because I do a lot of available/constant light fashion work...and already own the 50 1.4
If portraits are your money maker...get the 85...

I personally don't think renting is going to let you know which lens will benefit you the most...
I'd recommend hopping into Lightroom (or Bridge) and seeing what focal length you use the most on your zooms... that'll give you a better idea of which you'll use more...than renting both for a week. 

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2012, 09:16:02 PM »

NikiG

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2012, 10:33:01 PM »
Try the 50mm 1.8 lens.  It is sharper, less expensive and will fit your needs.

HarryWintergreen

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2012, 06:20:29 AM »
I own the 85 1,2, got a copy in mint condition for 1k €. It's true, this lens needs a little getting used to. This doesn't hold only for the slow focus and the focus by wire. To my mind it's
more a question of deciding when the extremely sharp and fast 70-200 has to stay in the bag and the time has come where a thin dof and a dreamy background blur are eagerly awaiting to show
off. You just don't get head and shoulder shots with a better bokeh.
Especially when used on a crop body you get very decent sharpness @ f/1,2 and perfect sharpness to the corners @ f/2,8. However, the crop factor isn't ideal for shooting portraits, ff performs better in this respect.

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Re: Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 85mm 1.2L?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2012, 06:20:29 AM »