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Author Topic: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion  (Read 15732 times)

LuCoOc

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70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« on: July 26, 2012, 04:24:24 PM »
Hello all,

I want to buy one of these two lenses within the next weeks. Having read all the articels about IQ, autofocus, weight, I don't need any advice like "my lens is sharper" or "the 85mm has a lot more/pleasing bokeh".
These are questions to those who own both lenses: Which one is you favourite for portraits and why? Do you prefer the 85 or the 70-200 when it comes to low light shooting (e.g. portraits in the woods at late afternoon)? What else do you use the two for and which one do you use more often? What makes one of the two lenses more remarkable than the other?

I currently own a 7D with the 15-85, 100L and 70-200 4.0 non IS. I usually use the 100L because of the background blur but find it slightly to long for my purpose. My 70-200 has the obvious zoom range advantage.
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70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« on: July 26, 2012, 04:24:24 PM »

bdunbar79

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2012, 07:04:36 PM »
I own both.  I've taken shots with the 85L that I could have used a zoom and I've also taken shots at 85mm with the 70-200L zoom.  Both are great.  If I want great shots, I'll shoot with the 70-200L for versatility.  If I want magical shots, I'll put on the 85L.  If you need flexibility and don't need to go below f/2.8, get the 70-200L zoom lens.  If you need below f/2.8 and you don't need flexibility, the 85L is magical, especially on a good body.  For consumers, both are great and at the consumer level, are equal. 
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wickidwombat

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2012, 07:15:46 PM »
since i got the sigma 85 i have almost stopped using my 70-200 i'll probably sell it and get a 200 f2L since i really only use the 70-200 if i want 200mm these days

in your situation i would just go with the 85 it blows the doors off the 70-200 for image quality and is 2.5 stops faster
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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2012, 08:29:02 PM »
the 85 ... blows the doors off the 70-200 for image quality


I disagree...  I think the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II wins in the 'general' IQ department - similar sharpness in the center and sharper away from the center even with both at f/2.8 (the zoom wide open, the prime stopped down which should give it the advantage, but it's not enough), less vignetting, similar lateral CA and less axial CA.  The 85L certainly doesn't 'blow the doors off' the 70-200 II, IMO.  But this discussion isn't really about 'general' IQ.

I don't need any advice like "my lens is sharper" or "the 85mm has a lot more/pleasing bokeh"


But...the 85L II does deliver more pleasing bokeh!   :P

I also own both, and have used both on APS-C and FF - and my recommendation is different depending on sensor format.  On APS-C, the 85mm focal length is great for tight portraits indoors and works great outdoors as well.  The f/1.2 delivers excellent subject isolation.  Honestly, on my 7D I found the 70-200mm focal length to be a bit awkward - too long indoors, and the f/2.8 on APS-C often didn't deliver sufficient background blur for subject-popping portraits (and also, not long enough when I needed reach outdoors - but, I have the 100-400 for that).  For your 7D, I definitely recommend the 85L II.  For outdoor use, get yourself a 72mm 3-stop ND filter so you can shoot wide open.

On FF, I think it's a different story.  An f/1.2 on APS-C is like f/2 on FF - f/1.2 on FF often gives too shallow a DoF, so the 85L is often in the f/1.6-f/2 range anyway.  The 85L still delivers magical shots, but the 70-200mm range on FF is a lot more versatile indoors and out, and f/2.8 delivers a nice, shallow DoF.  If you were shooting FF, I'd likely recommend the 70-200 II unless your main (only?) use for the lens was portraits...in that case, it's hard to beat the 85L II.

Here are a couple of examples of the 85L II on the 7D:


EOS 7D, EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, 1/2000 s, f/1.6, ISO 100


EOS 7D, EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, 1/1250 s, f/1.4, ISO 100
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wickidwombat

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 08:54:03 PM »
ok i should clarify then
I tested the 85L and sigma side by side and felt the canon 85L was sharper at f1.2 than the sigma was at 1.4
however soon discounted it on a 5D body due to slow AF relative to the sigma

I have shot the sigma side by side with the 70-200 II since i own both
dont get me wrong the 70-200 is very very sharp and an awesome lens

and at f2 the sigma is considerably sharper than the 70-200 is at f2.8

however i think the AF speed on the 70-200 is pretty hard to touch but i dont really shoot much sport etc

stopped down theres not much difference but so far i have not shot any lens that is sharper than the sigma 85 at f2

i would love to have a go with the 200 f2L and i think i really want this lens since i think it looks like the pinnacle of top shelf IQ
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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2012, 09:00:43 PM »
Which one is you favourite for portraits and why?

IMO 85L II is THE definitive portrait lens.  There is nothing else like it in the world, a combination of stunning sharpness and f/1.2 bokeh. 

Having said that, I probably use the 70-200 f/2.8 II more often, as it's extremely versatile without giving up any sharpness or contrast to primes.  It's great for sports, wedding, birds (with 2x TC MkIII), events, portraits (especially stopped down in studio), and the 70 mm end does get you wider than 85mm. 

So the typical outing may be 70-200 on the camera, with 85L making appearances for that magic portrait.

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 10:12:10 PM »
Agree with Neuro that the 85L has a special advantage on crop sensors because of its much shallower DOF.  On FF, the DOF is very thin and much care has to be taken when shooting wide open.  That said,  there is nothing like the 85L wide open.  First time I tried it and looked at the pics on the monitor, I was amazed even though I'd taken thousands of pics of the kids.  The shallow DOF is magical when done right.

If all you want out of it is a portrait lens, then the 85L is hard to beat.  If you want a good portrait lens with more versatility that can be used for sports, etc. then the 70-200 is a good choice.  Given that you already have a 70-200 f/4, the 70-200 f/2.8 does not give you as much as an advantage.  If you're happy using your 70-200 for sports, etc. then go for the 85L -- it will give you a unique capability. 

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 10:12:10 PM »

Ricku

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 11:28:26 PM »
If I want great shots, I'll shoot with the 70-200L for versatility.  If I want magical shots, I'll put on the 85L.
Perfect answer.

robbymack

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 02:01:40 AM »
i too have a 70-200 f4 granted the IS not the OP's non IS version.  I have debated the 135L and/or 85L with myself until I have been blue in the face, I think I am going to go 135L myself mostly because I can't stomach the price of the 85L.  That being said I agree with the previous poster, if you already have the f4 zoom, then the f2.8 zoom only provides a 1 stop advantage, I think you may be better off with the 85L. Keep the zoom for flexibility, and the 85L for its truly remarkable portrature capabilities. 

expo01

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 05:23:06 AM »
If I want great shots, I'll shoot with the 70-200L for versatility.  If I want magical shots, I'll put on the 85L.
Perfect answer.

Yes, as long as you put the 85L on a FF Body I agree with you.

But back to the topic. When you say the 100 is too long for you, I do not see any benefit of buying the 70-200. On a 7D the 85 looks almost like a 135 on FF, which is a pretty sweet portrait focal length. The main advantage of the 85 of course is versatility (I know you're looking funny now). I'm talking about the ability to shoot in low-light and more importantly at small DoF. F 2.8 only takes you that far (especially if you don't like the longer focal lengths). So why use a 2.8 at 70-85mm instead of a 1.2?

In my opinion, this should answer your question.
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SteenerMe

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 10:00:05 AM »
Curious as to what makes the 85 more magical than any other prime used at lg aperatures?
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acoll123

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 10:08:52 AM »
I had both lenses. Recently sold the 85L to help fund the purchase of the TS-E17 I needed for a paying job. I HATED to sell the 85 because of the unique look it gives but I needed the versatility of the 70-200 more for sports that I also shoot.
I think it comes down to what you will primarily be shooting. If it's portraits only, then no question get the 85L. If it is a variety, even including portraits, get the newer version of the 70-200 with IS and the faster aperture. The 70-200 is my "if you only had one lens" lens.

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 10:16:06 AM »
Curious as to what makes the 85 more magical than any other prime used at lg aperatures?

First I think 85 is a good focal length for portraiture - allows you to be a comfortable distance away from your subject (IMO). Second, the large aperture allows you to obliterate almost any background so you can work in more locations outside a studio. Personally, if you have a studio, I don't think you would need the 85 1.2 since you can control the background anyway. The 85 1.8 would be more than adequate IMO.

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 10:16:06 AM »

bdunbar79

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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2012, 03:02:10 PM »
Curious as to what makes the 85 more magical than any other prime used at lg aperatures?

It has higher IQ than most other primes.  My best photographs that I have ever taken are with the 85L.
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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2012, 11:33:06 AM »
I sold my 70-200 AGAIN, because it's simply a truly boring lens to me. If you want shots that pop like crazy the 85 L is just out of this world. Get a used one and get the 135 along with it for action shots...
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Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2012, 11:33:06 AM »