Canon 85 1.8 vs. 100 2.0

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by kerry_grim, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. This is somewhat out of curiosity although someday I would like to purchase one of these lenses when not wanting to carry the bulk and weight of my 70-200 2.8 lens. Currently using a crop body.
    It seems the 85 is extremely popular and an excellent lens. Yet, I hear little of the 100 2.0 lens. So I am wondering why the preference of the 85 to the 100? I am not criticizing, but curious why the 85 is seemingly more popular.
    The price has risen on the 85 so much so that it cost nearly the same amount as the 100. I assume that is due to the demand and popularity of the 85.
    I did not compare the physical dimensions, nor the weight or image quality of these lenses.
  2. According to those in the know those lenses are identical twins. But one of them had spinache and the other not. It grew another 15mm to 100mm while the other stopped at 85mm.
  3. Kerry,
    You didn't mention if you're shooting crop or FF. I shot my daughter's first gymnastics performance this morning with my XSI and 85 1.8. Have yet to download the pictures, so I can't post one. However, the 100 would have been too long from where I was sitting. I guess I could have moved to another seat were it necessary, but I was front row with no heads in the way. So, the current popularity of the 85 may be due the the focal length on the crop factor. I also tried some indoor portraits of my daughter with the 85 1.8 and barely was able to do that indoors due to the focal length. As I don't have the 100 2 I can't speak to image quality comparisons just to the space needed for taking pictures based on the crop factor of my XSI. I am extremely pleased with the quality of the pictures from my 85 though.
    DS Meador
  4. Currently using a crop body​
    Back in the days of the FD system, the 100 was more popular because it had the reputation of being sharper than the 85 and it's slightly longer focal length flattened out perspective a little more for portraits. I would also guess that there were a lot of comparisons to the Nikkor lenses and the 105/2.5 was definitely sharper than the 85/2 or 1.8. There are a few people who liked the even longer 135 as a portrait lens.
    But as DS surmised, the beginning with the digital bodies, the portrait focal lengths have shortened. Some like the 50 while it seems that most like the 85. In the same way, the few that liked the 135 might migrate toward the 100.
    I wouldn't worry about it since your lens is serving you well. They both are excellent lenses.
  5. Kerry,
    You didn't mention if you're shooting crop or FF.​
    DS: Kerry DID mention in the first paragraph, "Currently using a crop body."
    The 85mm is to a crop body what the 135mm was to a 35mm film body (full frame). This made it the obvious choice for a comparable lens on a digital camera. 100mm is sort of an odd length, usually used only for macro. It's there if you want to use it, but it isn't the classic "135".
  6. I asked in a related thread earlier this year why both of them exist side by side at all. The answer -- dating back to FF-only days -- seems to be that some portrait photographers want to have the choice due to slightly different outcomes. The longer, the flatter. I have a hard time seeing that 15mm would make that much of a difference compared to, say, 85mm vs. 135mm. But it seems to be the case.
  7. it depends, do you want 135mm 1.8 or a 160mm f2 on your crop sensor..... look at the pics you shoot and decide which one you use more... personally, i like the 50mm 1.4 on the crop sensor as it is approx 85mm and give you the 1.4 aperture.... either way, you cannot go wrong with any of these lenses as they are all good performers.... might i suggest, you sell the zoom and purchase all three! primes are nice, especially with those apertures!
  8. I use the 100mm 2.0 for portraits on an XSI. I prefer the extra length and compression that it delivers. Its about the same size as the 85mm, so its very compact. If I had a full frame camera, I think I might sell the 100mm and buy the 135mm 2.0, but for the XSI, the 100mm 2.0 is ideal.
  9. I have owned a 100 f/2 for years since film, and I like it a lot (now I am full frame digital) for portraits and playground.
    A couple years ago, there was a rebate cycle than included 85 1.8. I bought it just to see if it would add anything. Whoever said twins has it about right. I felt like I was using my 100, just taking a step or so back. I returned it. While I love the 100 +/- focal length , there's no need for me to have the subtilty of 15mm. Also, for me at least f/1.8 vs. 2.0 does not matter. I only had it for a couple days, but image quality was identical (excellent) in my real world use. I don't test lenses scientifically, so someone else might correct me. Build quality was identical, feel was identical. Size was very similar.
    I would personally find it difficult to use a 100 mm on a crop body, but that's because of what & how I shoot. Since you use up to 200 on your zoom, you have different application & needs. If I were you, I'd just look at which is closer to your typical focal length. Someone once made reference to a photoshop tool that gives distribution of focal lengths in a series of pictures, but since I don't use photoshop, I can't give any more information.
  10. Sorry to all for my error. Kerry did, indeed state that about the crop body. I'm not sure how I miss that part of the post. Kerry - my apologies to you.
    DS Meador
  11. Twins indeed. They are both excellent lenses. I had the 100/f2 for some years on my film body and absolutely loved it. Still loved it when I went to crop body digital. However I traded it for the 85/1.8 to better accomodate a small working space and I don't feel that I gave up anything as far as quality goes.
  12. For portraiture with my full frame bodies I use primes ranging in focal length from 35mm to 135mm, and even occasionally use a good zoom up to 200mm. Which lens I use depends on my working distance and compositional requirements. Indoors in my house (which is on the smaller side), I tend to use my 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm primes the most. I usually find 135mm to be a bit long.
    More germane to your original question, Kerry, I have an EF 100/2, but not the 85/1.8, and find it to be an excellent performer. (For shooting at 85mm, I use my incomparable FD 85/1.2 L on one of my FD bodies). The consensus seems to be that the EF 85/1.8 and the EF 100/2 deliver virtually the same image quality. If I were shooting with a crop body, I would likely reach for a 50mm prime most often for portraiture, but I would have lots of other uses for an 85mm or 100mm prime. I think it's a toss up which one you get.
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    For Portrait Framing and the resultant compression I prefer the 85 on an APS-C sensor, there is a difference between the 85 an the 100 for Portraiture. I prefer an 85 on an APS-C for headshots too: and it works OK with a 12mm ring.

    As you mention: "I would like to purchase one of these lenses when not wanting to carry the bulk and weight of my 70-200 2.8 lens.": IMO the 85F/1.8 and the 135F/2L are a better "pair" of lenses to supplement the 70 to 200.
    The extra 1/3 stop of the 85 (compared to the 100) saved my bacon once – when I was maxed out with ISO and needed all the Tv I could get – you might not have the need to think that way.
    I think another reason the 100F/2 is little discussed is that those who use Normal/Tele Primes likely fill their set with: 50; 85; 135 . . . and also get the 100F/2.8Macro – and then apply a dual use – the 100F/2.8M is nice for Portraiture.

  14. Lens is all about "amour" and vision me 85mm is my magic number ... after im not to into technik and pixel pimping so Canon 1.8 and some time in low light 1.2 ( dof but really heavy) im on full frame
    Fabrice Redlenfer

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