85/1.8 is sharper than 85/1.2 II

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by yakim_peled|1, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. The Photozone tests clearly reveal that (the copy they tested of) the 85/1.2 L II has better centre sharpness and worse corner sharpness, so I don't think your broad sweeping claim is quite right, Yakim.
    I grant that the results are surprising, but for portraiture, the use to which the 85/1.2 is most put, centre sharpness is paramount.
     
  2. But, the reviewer does not grant his 'coveted' "Highly Recommended" award. So...?
     
  3. Just a quick look at F4 told me it's not more sharp in the center. But it is quite a bit sharper on the edges.
    However the 1.2 is better at 1.2...
    The result is a little bit surprising but the 1.8 is very popular and with reason.
    (Some say the 100/2 is even better but a quick look told me those are more the same than different.)
    What surprised me even more is that on 15MP the 85/1.8 tested higher at the MTF chart than the 100L macro...
    (Bokeh of the Macro looked better though.)
     
  4. it

    it

    I have both. The 1.8 is great, especially for the price, but the 1.2 is a spectacular lens wide open.
     
  5. I don't put that much faith into MTF charts, or online sample photos but from these charts alone the 85/1.2 L is vastly superior to the 85/1.8 at the centre where it counts. I have no idea why Yakim made this statement. From experience I have had with 85/1.8 and 85/1.4 lenses I suspect that in reality you will see an extremely significant difference between the Canon EF 85/1.2 L and Canon EF 85/1.8.
     
  6. I've owned both 85s and 1.8 cannot even come close to capabilities of 1.2. Sharp, unbelievable bokeh and great in low-light situations. For me this lens is all about bokeh. 1.8 cannot come even close in that regard. For its purpose this lens is as sharp as it can be. At all apertures.
     
  7. I am a frequent citer of Photozone.de, and find the site very useful. But as Mark rightly points out, the tests are of individual lenses, not a scientific test of a random sample of each lens. I don't know of any lens tests done by anyone (other than the manufacturer, for whom it is carefully guarded proprietary information) that are not single sample tests.
    In any case, it's certainly much easier to make an 85mm f/1.8 lens, than it is to make a 85mm f//1.2 lens. A super-fast lens like the 85mm is by no means a one-trick pony, but it is absolutely astonishing that it is not. Those of us who love and use f/1.2 lenses (as me with my old Nikkor) use them because of the f/1.2, not because they are the sharpest around. When they come so close to being all-around performers, we can only stand in awe of the power of modern lens design(ers).
     
  8. The Photozone tests clearly reveal that (the copy they tested of) the 85/1.2 L II has better centre sharpness and worse corner sharpness, so I don't think your broad sweeping claim is quite right, Yakim.
    That's odd because the-digital-picture.com ISO chart samples suggest they're pretty close in the center, with the f/1.2L II doing a bit better there, as well as slightly better at the edges. Sample or test variation perhaps.
    I'm going to irritate people by saying this, but...
    Every time this comparison comes up there are people claiming that there is a "world of difference" between the f/1.8 and the f/1.2L. But there are plenty of sample and test images online, and I can't see a meaningful difference between them. Bokeh and blur are pretty much identical at common apertures. Sharpness and contrast are so close that post processing will eclipse any differences. The only real optical difference is that the L lens opens to 1.2, and at 1.2 it naturally has more background blur and less DoF. While the difference between f/1.2 and f/1.8 is evident when comparing photos side by side, I would hardly call it a "world of difference." It is nothing like comparing a fast prime and a slow zoom, for example.
    And if you really want that level of background blur, the 135 f/2 will achieve it for half the price and give you more subject DoF at the same time, a plus since f/1.2 is very hard to work with. (Note that DoF is controlled by aperture fraction, while background blur is controlled by aperture diameter for the lens and aperture chosen.)
    People lust after the 85L, yet I can't help but conclude that they do so because it has an L in its name, or because they've already dropped $2k on one lens.
     
  9. I don't think your broad sweeping claim is quite right, Yakim.​
    I share your view. Nevertheless, even if we accept the notion that most 85/1.2 II are sharper than most 85/1.8, it tells us something about Canon's QC in their top-of-the-line lenses. I find it dissappointing.



    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  10. Daniel Lee Taylor said:

    People lust after the 85L, yet I can't help but conclude that they do so because it has an L in its name, or because they've already dropped $2k on one lens.
    Wrong assuption (at least for me). I purchased the 85/1.2 II based on it's class leading bokeh and centre sharpness wide open. Period!
    My other lenses are a combination of L and non-L's which are deemed to be the sharpest in their class.
     
  11. Wrong assuption (at least for me). I purchased the 85/1.2 II based on it's class leading bokeh and centre sharpness wide open. Period!
    Which, as I just got done pointing out, is identical to the 85 f/1.8 in numerous comparison samples available for anyone to review across the web. (Sigh...)
     
  12. Which, as I just got done pointing out, is identical to the 85 f/1.8 in numerous comparison samples available for anyone to review across the web. (Sigh...)
    If you would read Yakim's link carefully, the bokeh of the 85/1.8 contains purple fringing. My copy of the 85/1.2 II doesn't. Unless you own one, how can you comment realistically? (Sigh...moving on...)
     
  13. I don't put that much faith into MTF charts, or online sample photos but from these charts alone the 85/1.2 L is vastly superior to the 85/1.8 at the centre where it counts. I have no idea why Yakim made this statement.​
    Yakim made this statement because:
    • He does not think that the 85/1.2 L is vastly superior to the 85/1.8 at the centre. In fact, the difference is marginal at best, at least according to this test.
    • He does not think that the centre where it counts.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  14. If you would read Yakim's link carefully, the bokeh of the 85/1.8 contains purple fringing. My copy of the 85/1.2 II doesn't. (Sigh...)
    Apparently you need to read those links more carefully. LoCA (green and purple fringing in OOF areas) is more pronounced by a significant margin in the 85 f/1.2L II samples at f/2 and f/2.8 than in the 85 f/1.8 samples at f/1.8 and f/2.8. It's plainly obvious which performs better by this measure, and it's not the L.
    In that section of the 85 f/1.2L II review they had this to say:
    Bokeh fringing at large aperture is a problem which is often not well corrected even by the very best lenses and the EF 85mm f/1.2 L II is no exception to the rule. If you have a look at the provided sample crops below you should be able to spot a purple halo in front of the focus zone and a green one beyond. The effect is clearly visible from f/1.2 till f/2.8.
    They zoomed in on the silver balls to show the LoCA purple fringing in the f/1.8 review. But comparing the whole scene image from both reviews, the L lens shows worse bokeh fringing just like it does in the mouse over samples. Though not magnified in the f/1.2L II review, it's obvious the silver balls have worse purple fringing. In both reviews they zoomed in on the statue which is closer to the plane of focus. Note that there is clearly LoCA purple fringing of the statue nose in the f/1.2L II shot, but none in the f/1.8 shot.
    In all fairness, as they point out all fast primes suffer from fringing of OOF highlights. But the f/1.8 obviously performs better than the L lens by this measure.
    Thanks for proving my point above that people who testify that the 85 f/1.2L II lens is "so much better" than the 85 f/1.8 aren't speaking factually but are justifying the label and the cost.
     
  15. Thanks for proving my point above that people who testify that the 85 f/1.2L II lens is "so much better" than the 85 f/1.8 aren't speaking factually but are justifying the label and the cost.
    I repeat, my copy is different. Unless you own one, you cannot comment realistically and are only going by online posts.
     
  16. Faster lens causes among others more reflections inside it. Sharpnes in portrait lens isn't most important feature.
     
  17. I repeat, my copy is different. Unless you own one, you cannot comment realistically and are only going by online posts.
    Oh really? Canon designed a special version just for you? Because CA and LoCA are determined by the optical design of the lens. They don't disappear with minor adjustment like AF issues or softness due to a decentered element.
    Quite frankly I've never noticed OOF fringing in my copy of the 85 f/1.8. But I rationally know that if photozone found it, then I could to if I looked for it with a test that had some harsh transitions in the OOF areas. I don't deny repeatable, scientific evidence to try and prove a point.
     
  18. Oh really? Canon designed a special version just for you?
    You really think so? Come on!
    But I rationally know that if photozone found it, then I could to if I looked for it with a test that had some harsh transitions in the OOF areas. I don't deny repeatable, scientific evidence to try and prove a point.
    It's up to you to look for it. I know from all the hundreds of images taken with my 85/1.2 II, I see no evidence of fringing with bokeh. End of point.
     
  19. Sharpnes in portrait lens isn't most important feature.​
    I respectfully disagree. I think that several features are important in a portrait lens and sharpness is definitely one of them. Reason is simple: In some areas (like the eyes) you generally want maximum sharpness as the viewer's eye is almost always automatically attracted to it. If other parts of the face (e.g. skin) are not as smooth you can always do a selective blur in PP. However, if a lens is not sharp enough for you and you need this extra sharpness, you can not add it later.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  20. SLRGear says 85/1.2 @1.2 is sharper than 85/1.8 @1.8.Let alone at corresponding apertures.
    Apparently, those lenses are not in the same ball park.
     
  21. would it not be true to say that an f1.2 is much better suited for low and subtle light photography. In such a case I would not really expect to see much color fringing at all.
     
  22. I can only repeat what I said less forthrightly before-- the reason to buy an f/1.2 lens is the f/1.2! The fact that an f/1.2 lens like the 85mm is useful for regular photography at other f/stops is pure lagniappe, although extremely welcome.
    If, like those of us in the film days of yore when the fastest slide film was ASA 500, you need to squeeze in every possible photon onto the film plane, these lenses are well worth it.
     
  23. The bottom line in all of this is that the f/1.8 85mm lens is a very fine piece of glass. While there are some valid reasons for some photographers to choose the f/1.2 L 85mm over this lens, I'm suspicious that quite a few may do so "because it is an L" or "because it is better," when in reality the expense adds nothing to the quality of their photographs.
    I often shoot subjects in which resolution matters quite a bit, and I usually shoot in a way that allows the capture of very high resolutions... and the f/1.8 lens has never disappointed me.
    To those who remark the f/1.2 is much better for low light photography, there are a few things to think about there, too. First, with a somewhat long focal length such as 85mm you'll find yourself with some real focal challenges due to the extremely small depth of field at f/1.2. Second, if you are shooting hand held at f/1.2 a) this problem becomes even more acute and b) lens sharpness becomes less of an issue since you won't achieve maximum sharpness when hand-holding your camera anyway. Third, while I can imagine a few situations in which f/1.8 wouldn't be open enough and f/1.2 would, in far more cases this won't make the difference between getting the shot or not.
    Dan
     
  24. it

    it

    Sharpness is not the most important factor in a portrait. I make portraits for a living and not once has anyone said, "Oh that is so nice and sharp".
     
  25. It's up to you to look for it. I know from all the hundreds of images taken with my 85/1.2 II, I see no evidence of fringing with bokeh. End of point.
    You are the one who pointed to the photozone review as evidence that the 85 f/1.8 was not as good due to fringing in OOF areas. When I corrected you by pointing out that their same tests showed worse OOF fringing for the 85 f/1.2L II, you then weaseled out by saying "my copy doesn't show it." It is irrational to believe their tests are accurate for all f/1.8 lenses, but not for f/1.2L lenses. It's also irrational to claim a significant difference between your copy and their copy when the characteristic in question is inherent to the optical design. Let's also be clear that their tests are so precise they can detect out of spec lenses and avoid using them for reviews. (They mention if they have trouble getting a good sample to test as it may indicate a manufacturing problem.)
    There's no reason to believe your copy is better, or that the average 85 f/1.2L II is better, or that it would affect LoCA even if a better copy was found. It's much more likely that you just haven't noticed OOF fringing with normal subject matter at normal print sizes. (Neither have I with the f/1.8.)
    I think it's hilarious the mental hoops you're jumping through, but I'm glad you're jumping. With every post you verify my initial comment.
     
  26. SLRGear says 85/1.2 @1.2 is sharper than 85/1.8 @1.8.Let alone at corresponding apertures.
    Apparently, those lenses are not in the same ball park.
    Look at the actual numbers at photozone, or the ISO test samples at the-digital-picture.com. To say these lenses are not in the same ball park is ridiculous. They are so close in center sharpness that a small application of USM would eliminate the gap.
    What is surprising to me is that photozone records higher corner sharpness for the f/1.8, but the-digital-picture.com shows higher corner sharpness for the f/1.2L. Variances in this characteristic could be due to a test or manufacturing variance. I would suspect test variance at TDP, but it's surprising because he's a very careful tester.
    Castleman's tests and samples also illustrate just how very small the differences are. Even in his review I think he overplayed the differences verbally, as his test images show no difference of practical consequence. (Careful with his samples as often his focus will be on slightly different spots.) http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/85mm/index.htm
     
  27. I've got both, and was just shooting with both. Darn fine lenses! :)
    I will say that the 85 f/1.2 II wide open with a 12mm extension tube makes for some WICKED shallow depth of field!
    00W9fu-234139784.jpg
     
  28. Just received my copy of "Truth" by the recently deceased, famed rock photographer Jim Marshall. There's not one photo in the book that's about sharpness. Sure some shots are sharper than others but as you thumb through the pages it's all about the music icons and to a lesser degree Jim's relationship with them. Yes you may need a fast lens but sharpness is certainly secondary.
     
  29. Well, I guess if one is making his living shooting portraits with a 24X36mm sensor SLR then forking over $2200 (MSRP) for the f/1.2 just MIGHT make sense but good gravy can the CUSTOMER tell the difference? If you have to use professional lens testors to see the small differences in performance between the two lenses then you'd BETTER have the f/1.2 if your customer is a professional lens tester!
     
  30. The MTF values for 85L mentioned at PZ are close to sensor pixel count. Almoast ALL lenses tested there reproduce well above 60 lines per mm. Pls refer to 85L test on optyczne.pl
     
  31. Both of these lenses are great. Rented the 85L and own the 85 1.8. I really enjoyed the faster speed of the 1.2 and bokeh was beautful but it was frustratingly hard to obtain critical sharpness on test subjects at that aperture. It would take practice.
    Besides the great intentional blur, I didn't notice much difference between the two lenses at other wide apertures such as 1.8, 2.8 or 3.2. And the 85L is one heavy muther.
     
  32. Probably all modern lens are sharp particularly in the centre.
    I think that more essential for lens are finely of the image,
    way of expressing: lights, shadows, colour ...........
     
  33. What a clash of superiority complex and ego versus Inferiority complex and jealousy!
     
  34. My three 85mm lenses are all manual focus models. I have an 85/1.8 Konica Hexanon, an 85/1.8 Canon New FD and an 85/2 AI Nikkor. I think I have had the Konica lens since 1976 and the other two for a few years. These lenses are used only with my film cameras. When the first 85/1.4 ad 85/1.2 lenses came out they were used not only for shallow depth of field portraits but for more distant subjects with very slow slide film. We have now reached the point with 24X36mm digital sensors where very high ISO speeds can give good results. This makes the issue of speed much less important when comparing 85/1.8 and 85/1.2 lenses. The reasons for looking into an 85/1.2 include selectice focus, bokeh and overall sharpness but not really speed. For people who don't like portraits with very shallow depth of field there are medium telephoto macro lenses which are at least as sharp as the very fast general purpose medium telephoto lenses. The macro lenses also will show less of a sharpness difference between the center and the edges of the frame.
     
  35. L doesn't mean sharper - it means they use sophisticated design and technology to push the limits so that, in this case, you can have an aperture 2 stops wider.
    It's a lot easier to design and cheaper to produce a sharp lens with a maximum aperture of 1.8 than 1.2 - just like it's a lot easier to design and produce a lens for a reduced sensor size rather than full frame.
     
  36. Bottom line - again: Both lenses can produce really, really fine photographs. There can be some valid reasons for spending the much larger amount of money to purchase the L version of the 85mm lens, and some small percentage of those buying it have those reasons. Others purchase it because "it is an L," or "it is big and impressive looking" or "I believe it will be sharper."
    Dan
     
  37. I think people need to worry more about the content and meaning of their work rather than the hardware both these optics are better lenses than the vast majority of people are photographers.
     
  38. Amen to that Ben,
     
  39. People are saying that the edge that the 85mm f1.2 has in sharpness in the center would not be noticed if handheld... WHAT?
    I'm sorry, but having used fast primes (35/1.5, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 85/1.4, 300/2.8) I can easiyl vouch for my abilities to focus where I want without the use of a tripod. I've leaned to stay steady and notice moments when my subject is not moving or is where I want them.
    But how about subject blur and motion blur from a shaky photographer. That extra stop of light from the f1.2 could bring your shutter speed from 1/30th to 1/60th and make all the difference.
    Regardless of which lens is sharpest, the f1.2 is purchased for it's build quality, ability to go to f1.2, suberb bokeh, smooth transition blur.
    [​IMG]
    35mm at f1.4 - Focus on the arm
    [​IMG]
    Nikkor 85mm at f1.4 at Minimum Focusing Distance - I leaned back until the edge of the frames were in focus.
    [​IMG]
    300mm at f2.8 Handheld on a D40 (the smallest DSLR Nikon made, very off balance)
    And when the light drop to be this low (ISO 1600, 1/15th of a sec, wide open at f1.4), a lens that gathers as much light as possible becomes very useful
    [​IMG]
     
  40. Ben. I agree. If I were a highly successful, highly paid NY photographer I might split hairs. I had a portrait studio and worried about making my older subjects a little softer and I certainly did not want to struggle with depth of field on PR shots. Anyway, I controlled the background with strobes and did not worry much about Bokeh. I used full frame and MF, whichever was set up. I never, ever had a customer come to me because they didn't like the Bokeh, or they might have seen some barely visible CA but then I was not, at my level, ever concerned about dealing with an art director; just PR people and brides and their mothers. All of my customers did have concerns about how they looked in the center of the picture. None of them even cared about corner softness. I did commercially acceptable pictures with several different lenses, none of which cost 2200 dollars. What is all the fuss about. I do agree that on full frame 85 millimeter is nice to have with either of these lenses. The other thing is when I had the business, I mostly never bought anything that did not amortize itself or was essential to do whatever job I had. Now that I am an amateur I do indulge myself occasionally with something I really want but the 1.8 would more than satisfy my plebian tastes.
     
  41. This entire argument, of course, is based around the assumption that EVERYONE sees what YOU see.
    Suppose you had the ability to differentiate colours much better than anyone else. You might talk about how Leica, or Zeiss, or whoever had the best colours, and anyone that didn't see why they were worth the money was an idiot. You would be right. But since they could not see a quality difference (certainly not relevant to the price), they would think you were a pompous ass. And they would be right. You would both, technically, be right. And neither side would ever be able to convince the other of how wrong they were - because by the very basis of the situation, they couldn't present any visible proof.
    See where I'm going with this? To put it another way, I currently own a Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AF. I love the heck out of it - it's my favourite lens. I have a wedding coming up, and I'm selling it right after the wedding. Why? Because I usually shoot portraits around f/8, so the higher quality wide-open is a completely moot point. It's bigger and heavier than it needs to be, and that's that. At that range, most of my other lenses are just as good. In fact, I've been using a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 instead ... because for my images, the two look identical, and I won't cry as much if I drop the Tamron.
    Just because something might be better, that doesn't mean you can see a difference. More importantly, it doesn't mean that the difference will even apply. If you're going to shoot wide open, then the 85 f/1.2 blows the 1.8 out of the water. If you're not (or if you mostly shoot farther away with deeper DOF and 1.8 is plenty fast enough), then the 1.2 is a waste of money, and being 'better' is totally irrelevant.
     
  42. Had both but dumped 1.8 because of huge purple fringing at its widest. It is nowhere 1.2L II for its bokeh and low-light performance.
     
  43. Dang I love both these lenses! Grabbed the 85 f/1.8 today to throw in the bag because I wanted something lighter and didn't figure I'd need f/1.2 today. Shot at f/2 with available light, worked just fine...
    00WA5N-234319584.jpg
     
  44. ....And they say religion is fading away.....
     
  45. Kinda farcical really, but very amusing to read from the outside. One glaring error, the kind that is normally jumped on by the knowledgeable, John Kantor wrote " you can have an aperture 2 stops wider." an f1.2 lens is one stop faster than an f1.8 lens.
    f stops in third stop increments go f1.0-1.1-1.2-f1.4-1.6-1.8-f2.0
     
  46. Sheldon, that's a great pic.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  47. The best thing in this thread by far is... the "First Easter" photo! :)
    Dan
     
  48. Thanks Sheldon for proving my point with this wonderful shot, it doesn't matter a monkeys f**k if it's the 1.2 L or the 1.8 85mm (I own both the FD versions of these lenses) what matters is what your pictures say.
     
  49. Much more detailed comparison of the lenses (full Head-to-Head review) here:
    http://www.h2hreviews.com/article/Head-to-Head-Lens-Review-Canon-EF-85mm-f-1-2L-USM-vs-Canon-EF-85mm-f-1-8-USM/Bokeh-Effect.html
     
  50. This test is pretty dismissive of the 1.2.
    http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/canon_85mm_f1-2_vs_85mm_f1-8.htm
     

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