Best 85mm lens of all?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ed_hurst, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. I am aware of the much discussed pros and cons of the two Canon offerings, but can anyone offer comparisons with all 85mm lenses? For example the Zeiss C/Y mount options? What's the highest resolution across the frame? Flare resistance? Aberrations? Etc.
  2. Not much of an answer--but I am VERY happy with my EF 85 1.8 (and my 70-200 a 85 mm 2.8). Everything and more -- those lenses deliver. The image below is a 100% crop shot with the 1.8 lens the other day.
  3. From all that I have read - the 85mm 1.2 mkII has always come out on top.
    Some side by side comparisons and extensive tests with res, flare and CA data
    can be found here
  4. More reviews...
    85/1.2 II -
    85/1.8 -
    Zeiss -
    All of them are good, and in particular they're all essentially perfect when stopped down. If you're shooting at f/5.6 just get the cheapest.
  5. I think you should consider whether the opinions you are asking for are not just distinctions without a difference. It is difficult to think of any prime lens of around this focal length from any leading maker - and from a few non-leading makers - that are not in the very to excellent bracket. Given thiat they are all in the same class it is unlikely that using one rather than another will make any appreciable difference to your photography. (But my personal favourite was my old Nikkor AI 85mm f1.8).
  6. I second Ken's comment on the 85mm f/1.8. Mine is a tremendous lens and for my purposes there would be no good reason to trade it for the f/1.2 L.
  7. If you do not absolutely need 1.2 or 1.4, then the relatively inexspensive 85mm 1.8 will probably work well for you.
  8. The 1.2L's of course kick ass, however they are large and the elements are slow to move (focus). The 1.8 is a TOP LENS for the money -- around $450 I think?
  9. I really like my C/Y 85 2.8. It is extremely sharp, compact, great build quality, and it cost very little. It is one of the better deals for an 85 IMHO. Also, what you want to do with said lenses is important. If someone gave me a Zeiss 85 1.4 or a Canon 85 1.2, I would like them more on a technical level, but I would not have randomly taken them to a park to photograph my daughter playing :)
  10. The 85 f/1.8 is next on my lens hit list :)
  11. I have a 85 f1.8 and its very sharp wide open. Its very surprising how sharp it is wide open when using zooms wide open. I use a 1D3 and 70-200 f2.8L IS almost everyday, then use a 24-70 f2.8L along with that and my 85 1.8 is sharper wide open than the 70-200.
    My 85 f1.8 wide open is quite possibly sharper than the 70-200 stopped down to f4. Its very sharp wide open. I had never seen this kind of sharpness until I bought it sometime ago. You get used to L zooms and you think it doesnt get any better.....but it does.
    I also should add that it was spot on focus right out of the box when all my other lenses needed adjustment. I try to use this lens whenever I can. Thing is, when trying to use it on a 5 year old at f1.8, its hard to get focus where you want it because they wont be still, or I cant be still. But when it comes together, this lens will make portraits look better than any lens Ive used. I second whats being said about the 1.2L. I'm sure it will be slightly better, maybe wide open, but the focus is so slow on that lens, for the money difference and focus speed and how close they are in IQ, I'd choose the 1.8 everytime. You could put the difference in another good lens.
    Seriously, 85 f1.8 gets my vote....twice!
  12. I paid $320 for the 85 1.8 in 2007, it's now $100 more. That price does not include the lens hood.
  13. 85L I love the image quality at all apertures.
  14. 85L my favourite lens at every aperture.
  15. I didn't use my 85/1.8 much at all when I first got it, thinking that its single, long focal length really limited me when I used it on my 20D and 30D. However when I got my 7D I tried it wide open at the larger apertures and now I'm hooked on it. The resolution of the 7D along with its high ISO capability and the speed and sharpness of the 85/1.8 make a killer combo. It's been on my 7D more than just about any of my other lenses. I love using it for film on my 1vHS as well.
  16. Thanks for all the responses. The aim of my question was to find an 85mm lens that beats all others in terms of parameters like resolution across the frame, flare resistance, non-fringing, absence of aberations, good contrast, etc.. I am not asking about what is best value for money, but which is out and out the best - even if by a small margin that many may not consider worth the money. I know some differences are subjective (based on 'character') rather than objective. It's not those factors I am talking about - but testable superiority.
    The Canon f1.2L is highly regarded, though does seem to produce some fringing according to some tests. There is also disagreement about whether the mark 1 or mark 2 is better in terms of resolution. The f1.8 is well thought of, but does have more flare than the f1.2L. So neither is perfect. The new EF mount Zeiss lens does not get rave reviews (see link someone posted above), with indications of disappointing resolution and some fringing.
    So what I am asking is: is there an 85mm lens that gets consistently stunning ratings on all of these parameters, even if it's an older lens or one that needs an adaptor?
  17. Leica 90mm APO ASPH or 100mm APO macro Elmarit - you'll need a Leica R to EOS adapter.
  18. Thanks Robin. Since you posting I have been reading what I can find on the lens, and most people seem to rave about it. I wonder if anyone knows of a formal, objective test of it? It looks like I may have found my 'objectively closest to perfect lens'! OK, it's not 85mm, but what's 5mm between friends?
  19. here is one against a 85mm 1.2 mk1..
    unfortunately some of the photos seem broken but may be of some help..
    also this thread may present some other options for you to explore.

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