85mm: Which one to buy used now to hold value for resale when RF comes out?

Which EF-mount 85mm will have the best resale value in 16-24 months?

  • Canon 85mm f1.2L II

  • Canon 85mm f1.4L IS USM

  • Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM (Non-Art)

  • Something Else

  • Don't Buy an 85mm, You've Got the 50mm 1.2 and 24-70 2.0 Coming


Results are only viewable after voting.

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#1
I'm a new EOS R owner and loving the camera so far. I'm finding myself craving an 85mm lens for it already and since I'm new to Canon, I don't have a lens portfolio to choose from. I have the Canon adapter so I can use EF lenses no problem, but I don't want to do so long-term knowing there's likely an RF 85mm in the pipeline before too long.

I'm debating the following:
  • Do I purchase a used 85mm f1.2 locally from a Craiglist seller for around $1k and use it until the RF version comes out sometime in 2019 or 2020?
  • Or do I buy a new specimen of the 85mm f1.4 IS and take the depreciation hit selling that when I inevitably get the RF version? I haven't seen any used samples of this lens floating around at enough of a discount to make it make sense...even on eBay they're going for around $1400.
  • Or do I get a used version of the Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM (non-Art series) for around $650?
  • Or are there other options I should be looking at?
Thanks!
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,173
104
Germany
#2
Hi eyeheartny!

I don't know how much used you are to such really wide apertures like f/1.2 or f/1.4. You can do some DOF calculation and find out that there will be just some centimeters/inches in focus. so for portraits this means if eyes in focus the nose tip isn't any more. quite difficult to handle. If you already worked with such lenses, sorry for noting this.
Of course, if the rumor of an RF 85/1.2 is true a used EF 85/1.2 would be the best choice IMO.
I wouldn't go for any new lens if you are already planning to buy that RF 85/1.2. Too much money burned.
So I'd vote for that RF 85/1.2.
But ...
If you are not used to any aperture wider than f/2.0 or f/1.8, I'd save more money and buy an EF 85/1.8, best would be used.
Of course it is optically not as good as all the options you've mentioned, some CA, some contrast missing, less DOF capabilities etc.
But it's a good bang for the buck. You'll save money, you'll get used to this great portrait FL and you can train on low DOF, knowing it'll get even more difficult.
And it is small.
I own it, I use it on a FF body. I am not really in love with it, but I like it for it's size and price performance.
Just think about it and let us know how you'll decide ;)
 

jd7

EOS Rebel SL2
Feb 3, 2013
622
44
#3
I agree with Maximilian that a second-hand EF 85/1.8 is worth considering. If you need or want at least f/1.4 obviously it's a no go, and it isn't quite as good optically as the lenses you listed. However, it is relatively cheap, small and light and the optics and AF are good for the money (and size and weight). I can imagine it being quite a nice balance on the EOS R (although my total experience with an EOS R is a few minutes in a shop so perhaps I shouldn't be making statements like that!). I had the EF 85/1.8 before I switched to the Sigma 85/1.4 EX. The Sigma is optically better but there are times I wonder if I should have kept the little Canon. (In fact, I'm currently considering whether to sell one of my 50 Art or 85 EX, although I may just end up keeping both. One variation on that which has occurred to me is to sell the Sigma and pick up an EF 85/1.8 for occasional use.)

I know you asked specifically about 85mm lenses, but for what it's worth if I was in your shoes, I would probably go for a 135/2L. You should be able to pick up one relatively cheap (for an L lens), it's a fantastic portrait lens if you have the space to use it, it's a reasonable size and weight for what it is, and it would give you a moderate telephoto to go with your RF 28-70 and RF 50. Of course, if you really want 85mm though, it wouldn't be the right decision for you.
 
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eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#4
I agree with Maximilian that a second-hand EF 85/1.8 is worth considering. If you need or want at least f/1.4 obviously it's a no go, and it isn't quite as good optically as the lenses you listed. However, it is relatively cheap, small and light and the optics and AF are good for the money (and size and weight). I can imagine it being quite a nice balance on the EOS R (although my total experience with an EOS R is a few minutes in a shop so perhaps I shouldn't be making statements like that!). I had the EF 85/1.8 before I switched to the Sigma 85/1.4 EX. The Sigma is optically better but there are times I wonder if I should have kept the little Canon. (In fact, I'm currently considering whether to sell one of my 50 Art or 85 EX, although I may just end up keeping both. One variation on that which has occurred to me is to sell the Sigma and pick up an EF 85/1.8 for occasional use.)

I know you asked specifically about 85mm lenses, but for what it's worth if I was in your shoes, I would probably go for a 135/2L. You should be able to pick up one relatively cheap (for an L lens), it's a fantastic portrait lens if you have the space to use it, it's a reasonable size and weight for what it is, and it would give you a moderate telephoto to go with your RF 28-70 and RF 50. Of course, if you really want 85mm though, it wouldn't be the right decision for you.
I don't need 1.4. The calculation is more about which lens will retain demand due to performance/popularity/etc, which would preserve its value in the used market and let me lose as little value as I can. Here's the mental math I'm doing: the 85 1.4 isn't available used and so I have to absorb the depreciation that comes with buying a new lens. If I assume a 50% loss in value from new to selling used in 18 months, the monthly cost ends up being around $41. The question is whether buying an 85mm 1.2L II for ~$950 would have a flatter depreciation curve. In other words, could I sell an 85mm 1.2 in 18 months for $700? $650? If so, then the monthly cost is approximately $16 net to me after the sale. If I look at the cost of an 85mm 1.8 at $300 new (not much of a used market available) and assume that that would be resold for a 75% loss (less of a demand of this lens), it would be a monthly cost of $12.50 to me.

What I am not clear about is the strength of the secondary market for each of these lenses. Could I sell an 85 1.4 more easily than a 1.2? These are the questions I'm trying to get a handle on.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

Spends too much time on this forum
Mar 25, 2011
14,749
231
#5
I'm sure you could sell a 85mm f/1.4 for a better price right now, but a used one will cost you more as well. If you can find a Canon 85mm f/1.4 for $1000 get it.

The 85/1.4 prices have yet to drop, when they do, it will be sharply while your $900 f/1.2 lens will drop off more slowly.







 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#6
I'm sure you could sell a 85mm f/1.4 for a better price right now, but a used one will cost you more as well. If you can find a Canon 85mm f/1.4 for $1000 get it.

The 85/1.4 prices have yet to drop, when they do, it will be sharply while your $900 f/1.2 lens will drop off more slowly.








Thanks, that price watch tool looks useful. It's not an 85 1.4 for $1k, it's an 85 1.2 I have seen for that price with a local seller. It's the rate of the dropoff I'm interested in-- if I buy a 1.2 for $1k now, am I looking at a 20% loss in 18 months? A 50% loss? Same for an 85 1.4...if I buy it new now, what rate of depreciation in value can I expect over 18 months? I realize the 85 1.4 is too new to have real data. I'll dig into the pricing history for the 85 1.2. Does that tool include used prices?
 

Mt Spokane Photography

Spends too much time on this forum
Mar 25, 2011
14,749
231
#7
Thanks, that price watch tool looks useful. It's not an 85 1.4 for $1k, it's an 85 1.2 I have seen for that price with a local seller. It's the rate of the dropoff I'm interested in-- if I buy a 1.2 for $1k now, am I looking at a 20% loss in 18 months? A 50% loss? Same for an 85 1.4...if I buy it new now, what rate of depreciation in value can I expect over 18 months? I realize the 85 1.4 is too new to have real data. I'll dig into the pricing history for the 85 1.2. Does that tool include used prices?
Used prices tend to stabilize over time and drop off slowly. A 85mm F/1.2 going rate right now is a little under $1000. If you buy one, it might drop 10-15% in 2 years, its unknown because the R lenses may cause a little faster drop off, but that would happen to both lenses.

A new 85mm f/1.4 should drop 25-35% in 2 years and then stabilize. I see one 85mm f/1.4 that sold used for $1300 recently. so that was about a 20% reduction from new price of $1600 just going out the door.

For $300 more, I'd get the f/1.4 lens, its going to be a better lens in my opinion, so that's worth something, but either one is a great lens. I have been bit by Sigma lenses too many times, so I have a tough time recommending one. Everytime a new Canon camera comes out, there seems to be more lens firmware bugs found.
 

Viggo

EOS 5DS R
Dec 13, 2010
3,485
121
#8
I wanted to keep my 85 L IS, but it doesn’t look awesome on the 30mp sensor of the EOS R (and it is the best 85 Canon).... The 35 L II looks gorgeous, and since I was dumb enough to try the RF50 I’m done buying EF lenses. I will keep the 35, but I don’t think the 85 is worth keeping, especially since a new RF85 f1.2 is coming next year. I wish I had waited :LOL:
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#9
Used prices tend to stabilize over time and drop off slowly. A 85mm F/1.2 going rate right now is a little under $1000. If you buy one, it might drop 10-15% in 2 years, its unknown because the R lenses may cause a little faster drop off, but that would happen to both lenses.

A new 85mm f/1.4 should drop 25-35% in 2 years and then stabilize. I see one 85mm f/1.4 that sold used for $1300 recently. so that was about a 20% reduction from new price of $1600 just going out the door.

For $300 more, I'd get the f/1.4 lens, its going to be a better lens in my opinion, so that's worth something, but either one is a great lens. I have been bit by Sigma lenses too many times, so I have a tough time recommending one. Everytime a new Canon camera comes out, there seems to be more lens firmware bugs found.
This is great feedback, and I truly appreciate it. Very helpful information about the dropoff rate. It's not about the cost-- $300 more is immaterial in this case. It's a set of two questions that nest together: first, which one performs optimally on my EOS R? And second, which one is the smarter buy in terms of effective monthly cost after a resale when the RF 85mm comes out? It looks like taking worst-case estimates for both lenses, the effective monthly cost of the 1.2 is about $11, assuming a 20% dropoff at a $1k purchase price. The 1.4 looks like an effective cost of $31/month for 18 months. This assumes I could sell each lens without too much difficulty.

Interesting questions to ponder. I may rent both lenses. Since I already have the control ring adapter, using either on my EOS R should be painless except for the added size. I did this size comparison of the 85s in question, plus the 24-105 (since I currently have it as a rental), the 50mm 1.2, and the upcoming 28-70.
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#10
I wanted to keep my 85 L IS, but it doesn’t look awesome on the 30mp sensor of the EOS R (and it is the best 85 Canon).... The 35 L II looks gorgeous, and since I was dumb enough to try the RF50 I’m done buying EF lenses. I will keep the 35, but I don’t think the 85 is worth keeping, especially since a new RF85 f1.2 is coming next year. I wish I had waited :LOL:
Whoa! A few questions here! :unsure: First of all, what do you mean dumb enough to try the RF50? Do you like it or not? I have one coming in the 2nd shipment from B&H in a few weeks so I'm VERY curious what you mean.

Second, what do you mean about the 85 IS not looking awesome on the ROS R? Are you having performance problems? Color rendition, sharpness, AF speed, etc? I'd love to hear what you mean, see sample pics, etc. Have you compared with the 85 1.2 to see if that is a better performer?
 
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Viggo

EOS 5DS R
Dec 13, 2010
3,485
121
#11
Whoa! A few questions here! :unsure: First of all, what do you mean dumb enough to try the RF50? Do you like it or not? I have one coming in the 2nd shipment from B&H in a few weeks so I'm VERY curious what you mean.

Second, what do you mean about the 85 IS not looking awesome on the ROS R? Are you having performance problems? Color rendition, sharpness, AF speed, etc? I'd love to hear what you mean, see sample pics, etc. Have you compared with the 85 1.2 to see if that is a better performer?
I wasn’t really prepared to pay the premium for the RF50, but I had to try it, and now I HAVE TO get it, it’s the best lens I have ever used along with the 200 f2.0, it’s razor, razor sharp wide open, no CA, awesome AF. Despite what I’ve read the vignetting isn’t bad at all and it’s a feather compared to what I expected for weight.

The 85 wasn’t all that sharp on my 1dx2 and the EOS R with higher res shows it’s weaknesses even more, the purple fringing and sharpness wide open is disappointing... AF, vignetting, distortion, IS, handling etc is very very good. AF is better on the R and I can get all of the sharpness out, except it isn’t the sharpest lens to begin with...
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#12
I wasn’t really prepared to pay the premium for the RF50, but I had to try it, and now I HAVE TO get it, it’s the best lens I have ever used along with the 200 f2.0, it’s razor, razor sharp wide open, no CA, awesome AF. Despite what I’ve read the vignetting isn’t bad at all and it’s a feather compared to what I expected for weight.
Well, if I wasn't already super excited to get the 50, now I'm desperate for it to arrive. The AF performance on the 24-105 is outstanding and I assume it'll be similarly so on the 50.

The 85 wasn’t all that sharp on my 1dx2 and the EOS R with higher res shows it’s weaknesses even more, the purple fringing and sharpness wide open is disappointing... AF, vignetting, distortion, IS, handling etc is very very good. AF is better on the R and I can get all of the sharpness out, except it isn’t the sharpest lens to begin with...
Huh, interesting. You may have just saved me $1600. :LOL: If I end up waiting on the RF 85, I'll be a one-lens guy with the 50mm for a while until the RF 28-70 arrives. Not a terrible situation for a month or so considering the lens is supposed to be incredible. If I'm reading your advice correctly, it sounds like you're saying I should probably just wait and get the RF 85 and skip the 1.2 and 1.4? Or worth seeing how the 1.2 performs on the EOS R?
 
Likes: Viggo

Viggo

EOS 5DS R
Dec 13, 2010
3,485
121
#13
Well, if I wasn't already super excited to get the 50, now I'm desperate for it to arrive. The AF performance on the 24-105 is outstanding and I assume it'll be similarly so on the 50.



Huh, interesting. You may have just saved me $1600. :LOL: If I end up waiting on the RF 85, I'll be a one-lens guy with the 50mm for a while until the RF 28-70 arrives. Not a terrible situation for a month or so considering the lens is supposed to be incredible. If I'm reading your advice correctly, it sounds like you're saying I should probably just wait and get the RF 85 and skip the 1.2 and 1.4? Or worth seeing how the 1.2 performs on the EOS R?
I don’t want to spend anyone else’s money, but if I didn’t have the 85 L IS now, I would get the RF50 and keep my 35 and be happy. I couldn’t afford both the RF50 and RF85, so I would go 50 and 35, because those two or top two out of my top three FL favorites. I wouldn’t have bought an EF lens now that I have the EOS R... maybe an old 70-200 for soccer etc, but that’s neither here or there...
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#14
I don’t want to spend anyone else’s money, but if I didn’t have the 85 L IS now, I would get the RF50 and keep my 35 and be happy. I couldn’t afford both the RF50 and RF85, so I would go 50 and 35, because those two or top two out of my top three FL favorites. I wouldn’t have bought an EF lens now that I have the EOS R... maybe an old 70-200 for soccer etc, but that’s neither here or there...
Well, I'm giving you an opportunity to help me spend-- or not spend-- my money! I'm thinking that the writing is on the wall to not put money into EF lenses if I am all-in on the RF ecosystem, which I am. So you've been very helpful there. I guess I should relax and trust that the two lenses I've got coming are incredible performers and I'll be able to capture some amazing images with them. My reason for looking at an 85mm is it's one of my favorite focal lengths...the subject separation and compression is just outstanding on a good sensor. I hate knowing that I'll miss shots at that focal length for the next 12-18 months, but it's okay. Or I guess I could get the cheap 85 1.8 just to have one on hand and flip it if I'm not loving it or when the RF comes out. Anyway, if you want to help me collect some AMEX points (see what I did there?) you're welcome to weigh in.
 
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Viggo

EOS 5DS R
Dec 13, 2010
3,485
121
#15
Haha! Yeah if I could get what I wanted it would be ; 35 L II, RF28-70, RF50 and RF85..:D oooo, that sounded really fun and exciting... A used 85 L (either one) wouldn’t cost you almost anything to flip later. I only buy lenses new that I KNOW I’m not going to sell... and sometimes I do anyway :unsure:
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#16
Haha! Yeah if I could get what I wanted it would be ; 35 L II, RF28-70, RF50 and RF85..:D oooo, that sounded really fun and exciting... A used 85 L (either one) wouldn’t cost you almost anything to flip later. I only buy lenses new that I KNOW I’m not going to sell... and sometimes I do anyway :unsure:
Yeah, I know myself too well to think that I'll never sell anything. I expect the RF lenses to stick around for the very long term in my bag. You're making me think I may want to look at the 85 1.2 that's on Craigslist locally for $1k. If I can flip it in a year or so for $8-900 I'd be happy with that, as long as it performs really well. I haven't been able to find any samples with that lens on the R...
 
Likes: Viggo

Viggo

EOS 5DS R
Dec 13, 2010
3,485
121
#17
Yeah, I know myself too well to think that I'll never sell anything. I expect the RF lenses to stick around for the very long term in my bag. You're making me think I may want to look at the 85 1.2 that's on Craigslist locally for $1k. If I can flip it in a year or so for $8-900 I'd be happy with that, as long as it performs really well. I haven't been able to find any samples with that lens on the R...
The thing the 85 f1.2 struggles with is AF, and the EOS R will be better than DSLR’s with it. It’s soo precise ... I’m thinking the R would be the best body for the 85 f1.2... haven’t tried, but I have owned like 6-7 copies of it over the years:LOL:
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#18
The thing the 85 f1.2 struggles with is AF, and the EOS R will be better than DSLR’s with it. It’s soo precise ... I’m thinking the R would be the best body for the 85 f1.2... haven’t tried, but I have owned like 6-7 copies of it over the years:LOL:
Oh man. Did you sell them because they were off in some way or just flipping them and getting bored? I'm going to New Orleans next week but when I'm back I may rent the two 85s I'm considering and see how they do on my R. The local seller for $1k sold his lens so that deal is off anyway.
 

Viggo

EOS 5DS R
Dec 13, 2010
3,485
121
#19
Oh man. Did you sell them because they were off in some way or just flipping them and getting bored? I'm going to New Orleans next week but when I'm back I may rent the two 85s I'm considering and see how they do on my R. The local seller for $1k sold his lens so that deal is off anyway.
There’s always a lens or two I want and/or need, and when I bought a new body, I wanted to try some lenses on that body I wasn’t happy with on the previous body. And since I can’t have all the lenses I want, I’ve bought and sold A LOT of lenses.

I wasn’t ever happy, really, with the 85 and 50 L’s, but there weren’t any alternatives at the time. The 85 IS I bought as soon as it was available and have had it since, it’s the best compromise I think. But, when my other lens is the 35 L II, it’s hard not to compare them, and the 35 is so much sharper and so much less CA:p
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
47
22
#20
There’s always a lens or two I want and/or need, and when I bought a new body, I wanted to try some lenses on that body I wasn’t happy with on the previous body. And since I can’t have all the lenses I want, I’ve bought and sold A LOT of lenses.

I wasn’t ever happy, really, with the 85 and 50 L’s, but there weren’t any alternatives at the time. The 85 IS I bought as soon as it was available and have had it since, it’s the best compromise I think. But, when my other lens is the 35 L II, it’s hard not to compare them, and the 35 is so much sharper and so much less CA:p
All makes sense. At these price points you have to be really happy with stuff to make the purchase feel right, you know? I got the control ring adapter with my EOS R but I may end up returning it. I think I'll be okay with my RF lenses for the time being. I'll hold out either for an 85mm or a potential 70-135 or 70-105 f2.0 portrait zoom. Not like I depend on this for income and a fast 50 and 28-70 are going to be juuuuuuuuust fine.

There's even a part of me thinking of returning my body-only kit and getting the one with the kit lens just to have something else. Is that a terrible idea?
 
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