85 1.8 or 85 1.2 L

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by benritter.com, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. looking for a "fashion length" lens. i have a 24-70 2.8L. first off..who is shooting fashion
    with one of those and in your opinion do i need to invest in the 85mm? second. is the
    85 1.8 tack sharp or does the L version make a huge difference? i realize the L is a bit
    faster. thanks. would love to hear from someone who can compare the two 85mm lenses
    from experience.
  2. I shoot with a eos 5D, just to clear up questions about focal length.
  3. The 85mm f1.2 L is only worth buying if you are expecting to shoot regularly at f1.2, f1.4 or f1.8 - if you are shooting at smaller apertures the 85mm f1.8 is as good, is lighter, is smaller, is cheaper and has faster AF - in fact its an all round great lens. BUT why are you thinking of an 85mm if you already have a 24-70 f2.8 L? It adds little in the way of reach. If you want larger apertures /smaller DoF then indeed the 85mm f1.2 is brilliant. It is a very special lens and can give unique characteristics to your shots.
    But maybe a 135mm f2 L would give you a different option compared with the 24-70mm
  4. This is a joke right? - how many times have we had this question this week so far.
  5. Go here:


    Hit Control-F and type 1.2

    Open relevant thread in a new tab or window.

    Repeat until you can't take any more.
  6. In hundreds of posts since 1998, I have been civil in all but maybe two or three.

    But considering this exact question has been asked at least twice in the last week, I and I think others, feel we deserve to be less than civil.

    In other words...


    Besides (and this is not envy because I have no interest in the 85 L lens):

  7. i appreciate the nice answer that someone wrote, and i also appreciate the person who
    gave me a link to look into. everyone else needs to lighten up. thanks again.

  8. umm, yeah, i said i know that the L is faster, i understand that it will offer more in DOF, i
    specifically asked someone to compare the two lenses. and also to maybe comment on the
    lens vs the 24-70 not for a photo lesson. if you would like to see how much i know about
    photography please go to your newstand and buy house and garden magazine or 34
    magazine or pick up a copy of vice magazine. next month i will be happy to offer you a
    new list of international magazines that i have been hired to shoot for. i am sorry that i
    do not read and respond to every post on photo.net. fatass.
  9. jbq


    Well, you obviously didn't search before posting or check the recent threads in the EOS forum, which explains the reactions you've had. You asked for it.

    Here's a good source of results: http://www.google.com/search?q=canon+85+1.8+1.2+site%3Aphoto.net
  10. 'it will offer more in DOF' -- Umm, no

    Same back to ya f....ss
  11. the L is faster
    The L allows for faster shutter speed but is slower to focus.
    I have neither but many reviews say so, e.g. this one.
  12. LOL, I can't believe another thread on this came up.
  13. Recurring questions are not going to disappear by crying "recurring question".

    Advice about how to avoid recurring questions (e.g. "do this search") takes more time to type and requires more effort (than just saying "do a search"); thus I perceive it as good courtesy.

    But sometimes I see the teaching how-to-fish as too much referencing. For example, I'm googling some exotic topic and first hits are again url references to other howtos and urls, instead of just plain simple text simply answering the simple (parts of the) question.
  14. Recurring questions are not going to disappear by crying "recurring question".

    It is just the forum jackasses (of which there are many) trying to out do each other with the sarcasm. Quite typical.
  15. Alexandru, you are correct. thank you for being rational. still haven't had anyone address
    my "fashion length" specific question, not that i care anymore. . everyone is too busy
    yelling about a repeated topic. next time you see a subject about the 85mm lenses don't
    open it, let people who have never commented on the topic or asked about it open their
    own thread and discuss it as pertaining to a specific question or opinion. just a thought.
  16. In defence of recurring questions, I have found that the search logic in photonet not particularly effective. Every time I do a search I usually end up with an advert or the suchlike. Perhaps I don't ask the right question, or I phrase it the wrong way but nearly always I don't get the answer I am searching. Please for those who like to complain about repeated questions either give a link to the answer or do not answer at all. Please be civil.
  17. that a person who can afford or is willing to spend $3000 to buy a digital camera and $1500 to buy a lens doesn't know the differences between the two 85mm 1.8 and 1.2L. I'm also confused that a professional portrait and fashion photographer doesn't know how to search many popular websites to find reviews regarding these two lenses.<p>Secondly, this is a forum. We post a question and expect friendly replies so we can learn. First and foremost, we should respect people whom we're asking. Typos or writing flaws are acceptable and understandable since this isn't a forum of writing workshop. Unfortunately, a private email writing style shows the writer the lack of seriousness in asking a question. English is my second language. Hence I make mistakes while writing at this forum. But I always try my best so people will answer my questions with their best.<p>Last but not least, we do need to search before asking a question because we can save our time if the question or topic has been discussed or answered multiple times in the past
  18. "It is just the forum jackasses (of which there are many) trying to out do each other with the sarcasm. Quite typical." - yeah thats just like sooo right Don - LOL.
  19. again, i know the difference between 1.8 and 1.2. in simple terms all i was asking is if the
    cheaper one is good. and then maybe someone who has the 24-70 can tell me if they
    would bother to use the 85 in a fashion situation. its just a conversation. i have my
    opinion, just wanted to compare it to everyone elses opionion. again, thanks to everyone
    who linked me to reviews, those are helpfull. be helpfull or don't waste your time
  20. a private email writing style shows the writer the lack of seriousness in asking a question.
    Yes and no. Worried about being "trolled"? I wouldn't care that much. The advice is not only for the troller but for this site and it's going to stay posted. Also, corelating someone's writing style to the meaning of the saying is meaningless. Imagine you were to write using a font you designed yourself (have you ever?). Best font designers are not good at writing, and maybe best photographers aren't either.
  21. Yes, 85/1.8 is very good wide open and is a very good lens for the money. I have the lens and would never sell it. However, if I have more space, I'd rather use the 135/2. The bokeh quality is just different. 85/1.2? I don't know, but I've heard from ppl whose opinion I respect, they believe it has better contrast & color qualities, and those are qualities what make it "pop up". May be a bit sharper, but not much. Slower AF, that's for sure. 85/1.8 AF is very fast. If I have plenty of money, I might get the 85/1.2, but for sure I know I won't sell my 85/1.8. Just MHO
  22. Why do you feel the need for the prime in the first place? Because I say so? Because Joe Bloggs says so? Or because you *need* less DOF? Do you need a faster lens? Less DOF? Better low-light capabilities? If yes then get the prime. If not, just use the zoom and be happy. One thing I learned is that if I ask whether I need a lens, I probably don't. A lens covers a need.
    -Do I need a 50/1.8?
    -Yes because my f/2.8 zoom is not fast enough for low light
    -Do I need a 50/1.4 or the 50/1.8?
    -The 50/1.4 because I (a) have the money to buy it, (b) I don't like the bokeh of the 50/ 1.8.
    So, do you need the 85/1.8. Or the 85/1.2? Why do you need them? Once you answer that, you will know what you need. Otherwise, you are looking for solutions to problems which you don't have.
  23. and then maybe someone who has the 24-70 can tell me if they would bother to use the 85 in a fashion situation.
    Maybe the right 24-70 owner isn't reading...
    I contemplated buying one a while back and I was disappointed by reviews saying 24-70's sharpness doesn't stand to the 'L' qualification. Read: it's not as sharp as expected. Others saying that some 24-70 L copies are bad, complaining about Canon quality testing.
    In this way, many would say that you're sure to get better sharpness with an 85 (L or not) than with the 24-70.
    Also, the 85 L is often touted as _the_ portrait lens, so it would qualify much better for fashion photography, especially if this is a business, because main complain about the L is its price (the non-L is cheaper and as good as the L above 1.8).
    One may talk also about how much the bokeh (background blur) is necessary in your particular fashion shooting. Tha L has obviously more and better of it. But people can't guess at how much bokeh you need.
    Alternatively, it may be easier to get a discussion rolling by stating the contrary of some well-rooted knowledge. Just post "24-70 is better than 85 L for fashion" and then one may see much energy deployed to defend or to destroy that statement (not the poster).
  24. There's a good comparison here: http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/85mm/

    Short version: there's little difference, except that the f/1.2 is faster and therefore blurs backgrounds better wide open.
  25. "In this way, many would say that you're sure to get better sharpness with an 85 (L or not)
    than with the 24-70."

    I always find it weird comparing sharpness of lenses in different focal lengths...So what, if
    a 300/2.8 is sharper than a 28/1.8 wide open. Will it allow me to shoot in a room?
  26. Ben Ritter:

    If you are asking for a favor from the people who have made this site worthwhile for years, then perhaps you should respect the site and its contributors more. That means spending a little time looking to see if your topic has been covered before. It also means using appropriate capitalization and punctuation. It's always obvious from the wording of questions whether English is a second language for a user. It's also obvious when the user is just being lazy. Lack of capitalization and repeating often-asked questions are good indicators of 'lazy'.

    If you are joining a community, you generally need to follow the rules and norms of the community. Before you posted your question, you were told by photo.net to search to see if a question has been asked before. If you wish us to do you a favor, and by your own testimony, it is only a favor as you can justify buying either lens, then you need to afford us at least the respect of capitalizing your posting.

    We've all dealt with repetitive postings before. You had the misfortune of asking about these lenses for at least the third, but I think the fourth, time this week. You could also afford us the respect to utilize the resource in the way the founder wished for it to be utilized.
  27. I currently own the EF 85 f1.8. I don't own the EF 85mm f1.2L but I did have the FD model for many years and its my understanding that the optical designs of the two are very close. If thats true I would much prefer the f1.2L for fashion and or portrait work. The FD 85mm f1.2L had a distinctive look and pop that was ideal for fashion and portraits. I am fairly certain that was partly due to a slight undercorrection for spherical aberrations.

    I love the EF 85mm f1.8. But if I were making a living doing fashion or portrait photography I would go with the f1.2L.

    I also own the 24-70 f2.8L. It is reputed to be the best zoom made in its focal range. Its a great lens and I would not argue with that assessment. If I were shooting fashion I might be inclined to forgo the 85mm if funds were tight. But on a full frame body I suspect you would need both.
  29. Phillip, You certainly write better than 90 percent of the Americans and British I know, for whom English is their first and only language!

    We all make mistakes of course but there are quite a few interesting ones made over and over here. For example: "lose" and "loose" are mixed up here almost daily; i.e. "I don't want to loose my way in the woods."

    As for searching on Photonet, it could be improved. I'm certainly not knocking the place but there are a LOT of things here that could be improved, in terms of interface and software. But that's another huge can of worms.

    Perhaps a full-screen blaring siren that has huge, blinking lettering that screams "DID YOU SEARCH FIRST?" might work but I somehow doubt even that would do it.

    I must admit that when I read the question I too thought "About fifty people have asked that lately!" and I knew Ben was in for it. I can understand both sides a bit... But if you know a question is going to get your blood pressure up, just take a deep breath and walk away. Nobody's gonna get cancer or anything and there are probably better uses for one's ire.

    Ben, I don't own either lens but from what I understand both are optically excellent and well built. If you don't need the extra stop and possibly nicer bokeh, save your dough and get the 85 1.8. In terms of sharpness I'll bet there's no human on earth who, if presented with 20 photographs, half of which were taken with one lens and the other half taken with the other, could tell the difference - assuming all shots were taken by a competent photographer using the same camera.

    And there's no way that 99.9 percent of non-photographers (i.e. the "consumers" of photography) would know the difference between a photograph taken with any particular anything... If that makes any sense.

    Music is similar and so are musicians. Most people - even though they love music and listen to it every day - could tell you whether a guitarist they listen to every day is playing a 1959 Stratocaster or a 2004 Sears $50 Christmas Special electric gee-tar. Yet the guitarist knows *that sound* and many are willing to pay thousands for it.

    But lenses *are* different than guitars and I digress...

    The 24-70 f/2.8L is one of Canon's best zoom lenses. However, Sigma makes a nice one too for much less money (as does Tamron) that some claim are at the least, optically equal. And some even dare to say the Sigma's a little sharper. Search the archives and you'll see. ;-)
  30. I own and use both 85s. For what you are looking for, I would get the 85 f/1.2L without a doubt. The 85 f/1.8 is a very nice lens, and if you are looking for the best bang for the buck, it is the one to go with. If you are more concerned with the final output and less about money, the 85 f/1.2L is the one to go with.

    So why do I use both? I use the 85 f/1.8 for dance and gymnastics. I use the 85 f/1.2L for portraiture. You will hear people say that the 85 f/1.2L's autofocus is horrible. I disagree with this. It isn't as fast as the f/1.8, but it is faster than most people describe it as. I have used it on several occasions for gymnastics. I have had a good number of keepers...not as many with the 85 f/1.8 though.
  31. Here is a direct comparison between the 85/1.2 and 85/1.8.
    A personal note: I have the 85/1.8 and will not upgrade to a 85/1.2 even if I could afford it. Reasons?
    • It is too heavy for my liking. I do not mind heavy lenses when they are long (e.g. 300mm and up) but it is not acceptable in short ones.
    • It's AF is on the slow side and AF speed is a very important feature for me.
    • The 85/1.8 is sharp enough at f/1.8.
    • I sometimes close it to f/2.8 or f/4 just to get more DoF. DoF at f/1.8 is shallow enough to challenge both my skills and the camera's AF capabilities.
    Also look at PZ tests.
    Happy shooting,
  32. "...then you need to afford us at least the respect of capitalizing your posting."
    "...you should respect the site and its contributors more."
    "...You could also afford us the respect to..."

    i find a repetitive writing style much more annoying than capitalization errors...
  33. Nonsense. This guy was just being lazy.

    He has too much money and too little sense. He deserves to be ignored.

    // Ed - who read forums and FAQ and manuals for several months before getting his first DSLR.
  34. I wish I could buy stock in one particular Canon lens because judging by postings here 85mm lenses are hot sellers right now.

    I dusted off my f/1.8 lens that I bought years ago to shoot indoor theater and stuck it on my 20D. Results were generally disappointing and it took me a while to figure out why.

    On any very fast lens, wide open, the depth of field is SO narrow that if you are shooting on the fly you are susceptible to soft focus not due to motion bur but if your subject moves even a fraction of an inch after focus lock, then they are off the plane of focus and your shot will appear soft.

    So it takes an extra measure of skill, I think, to use any very fast lens effectively and get consistently good results. My f/1.8 is killer stopped own past f/4 or so. The sweet bokeh we all strive for is attained at the wide open end, but one must be very careful in focusing and maintaining that point of focus until the shutter is released.

    All that said, while the f/1.4 L lens will give arguably better bokeh at that aperture than the f/1.8, on must be very careful in choosing the appropriate focus point with either lens and making sure it is maintained through the exposure period.

    Seems to me that if one were to shoot fashion at f/1.4 then only a very narrow plane of focus is achieved, and it could be that the depth of field is actually too narrow and other critical areas of the subject are soft.
  35. Clarification to previous post:

    I am referring to the 85mm f/1.8 that I own.

    and I referred to the 85mm f/1.2L as an f/1.4.
  36. Joe,
    I'm glad to see someone else has had surprises with soft focus with their 1.8!
    With all the 20D front focusing/back focusing threads on here, I was sure I had
    a lemon.

    Ben, sorry to see you get jumped on for asking your question. As mentioned
    above, I almost did the same thing with focusing issues because I was *sure*
    my question was different. Best of luck; take it all with a grain of salt.

  37. jbq


    Something keeps amazing me with all those questions about getting 2 lenses of the same focal length and of vastly different prices: just get both, use them for a while, and if you really find that you only use one of them, sell the other one.

    If you're considering such an expensive lens, you're either a fondler (in which case you'll keep it) or you already know that you need its special characteristics and that you're willing to pay for it (in which case you'll keep it as well).

    If you can't afford a 85/1.8 next to a 85/1.2, you should not get the 1.2 in the first place.
  38. A lens is just a tool, so choose the appropriate tool in order to get the job done.

    In short, the f1.8 is a Sports lens with its faster ring type USM.

    The f1.2 is a Portrait/Fashion lens with it�s creamy bokeh & even lesser depth of field to purposely isolate the subject from the background.

    There was a recent thread of how sharp the f1.8 is wide open which I did a quick reply, see http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00EUm7&tag=.

    The f1.2 is approx 400% more expensive than it�s cousin which you should consider as the funds saved could go towards other lenses or equipment that you have on your wish list.

    If you are called upon to constantly shoot tight head shots of models for elite clients who pay big bucks, it is certainly worth it as it easily pays itself off.

    It�s like comparing the 200 f2.8 with its bigger brother f1.8 or the 50 f1.4 with f1.8 etc.

    At least Canon gives you a choice, the availability of different lens for a different job.

    If your struggling to make ends meet than the f1.8 is the better choice but if are already well established & have the funds than perhaps it is worth it to you.

    Is it worth it to you?
    Only you can answer that.
  39. I haven't used the two lenses for fashion photography per se. However, I made comparisons of sharpness, bokeh, shallow depth of focus and autofocus speed of the two lenses here.

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