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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 18 Feb 2011 (Friday) 09:59
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Canon 85mm 1.2 II - Is it worthy of being a wedding lens for the price?

 
KSPhotography
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Feb 18, 2011 09:59 |  #1

I've ALWAYS wanted this lens and I think I've got the money to pull the trigger. Only question I have is, would it spend more time in my bag than my 70-200 2.8 IS and 24-70 at a wedding?

I might actually rent the lens before making the final plunge, but would love thoughts on it from others here.


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gonzogolf
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Feb 18, 2011 10:02 |  #2

Considering zooms are more versatile and a good majority of wedding work is at best only partially planned Its hard to imagine that it would get as much use as those two lenses. Thats not to say it wouldnt be a valuable addition to your bag, but for weddings it would be in third place like any other specialty lens.




  
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helloagain36
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Feb 18, 2011 10:06 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #3

I think you are going to get a lot of varied responses on this. I know numerous wedding photographers who use this lens almost all day...and absolutely love it.

Personally for me the 85L was a bit too slow, I have the 85 1.8 but have been highly considering the new Sigma 85 1.4, all of the reviews that I have read have been very favorable and many think that it rivals the 85L for basically half the price.


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zerovision
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Feb 18, 2011 10:10 |  #4

+1 with gonzogolf...you have the right lenses for the major work, but this lens will give your more and you may find yourself wanting to use it more, but is will still be the third lens. Get this one and possibly add the 16-35 later and you would have a great set of glass.

You should pull the trigger save your rental money for flash.


  
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randplaty
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Feb 18, 2011 11:56 |  #5

I'm not sure. We've never used it... mostly because nobody has really raved about it. We have the 85 1.8


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Red ­ Tie ­ Photography
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Feb 18, 2011 12:18 |  #6

I talk to a lot of photographers who shoot primarily 35L and 85L. I feel my shooting style lends itself more to 50 and 135, so I dont use the 85 all that much. I think the 85 1.8 works perfect for what I need it to right now. Its small, focuses fast, and a solid lens.


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gh ­ patriot
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Feb 18, 2011 13:18 |  #7

Red Tie Photography wrote in post #11868050 (external link)
I talk to a lot of photographers who shoot primarily 35L and 85L. I feel my shooting style lends itself more to 50 and 135, so I dont use the 85 all that much. I think the 85 1.8 works perfect for what I need it to right now. Its small, focuses fast, and a solid lens.


+1 for the 50 and 135 combo. I love it. Works great every time for me. But I can see going with the 35 and 85 as well. Both a great setup.


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jamiewexler
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Feb 18, 2011 14:43 |  #8

NOPE - I assure you it will not stay in your bag :).

I love my 70-200 for the reach it gives me during the ceremony, and if I could only afford one, it would have to be the 70-200IS because of the utility.

Having said that, I LOVE the 85 f1.2. When I am shooting portraits it is practically glued to one of my bodies. I find that the critical focus accuracy of the 85 is better than my 70-200 at 85mm. It is slow to focus, making it difficult for moving subjects, but Canon has no equal among portrait lenses. Since my business is built on the portraits I create more than my candid work, I would have a hard time getting rid of the 85. In fact, for an engagement or family portrait session, I usually only bring the 35 and the 85.

I did a shoot last year for a local TV network where I had roughly 2 minutes with each member of the Boston Celtics. Because the hot light setup was a little tight, I used the 70-200 instead of the 85. I got a TON of slightly OOF images with the 70-200. At one point I switched to the 85 and everything was spot on. I've done micro adjust with both lenses, and my technique is the same, but the 70-200 couldn't deliver.

Conversely, on the dance floor at a wedding reception, the 85 struggles a lot. I only really use it during the first dance, where they are moving slowly and AFTER I have captured a bunch of "safe shots" with room lights and the 24-105. When I do nail it, though, it is pure magic!

IMAGE: http://www.jamisonwexler.com/images/AndreaBill192525.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.jamisonwexler.com/images/ChristinePeter214939.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.jamisonwexler.com/images/TraceyDave213033.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.jamisonwexler.com/images/MegBrian201933.jpg


I had a really good copy of the 85 f1.8 before I came across a cracking deal on the f1.2 ($800 :)). The f1.8 got left in my bag a lot once I bought the 70-200. The f1.2, once I mastered the learning curve of the extremely thin DOF wide open, does not!

So I guess the short answer is: If you want utility, the 70-200 is better, if you want magical portraits, the 85 f1.2 is your huckleberry!

Most of the images here are with the 85 f1.2: http://jamisonwexler.c​om …m/blog/category​/weddings/ (external link)

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jamiewexler
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Feb 18, 2011 14:45 |  #9

randplaty wrote in post #11867947 (external link)
I'm not sure. We've never used it... mostly because nobody has really raved about it. We have the 85 1.8

Consider it raved about :D!


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caught14
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Feb 18, 2011 14:50 as a reply to  @ gh patriot's post |  #10

The main advantage over the two lenses you listed (70-200 and 24-70) is that the 85 1.2 gives you an extra 2 1/3 stops. That's pretty significant. Other than that, the other two lenses are more versatile and will focus faster. The 85L is also pretty heavy.

I've owned both the 85 1.8 and 85 1.2 and can easily say that hands down the 85 1.8 is a far better value for the money. The IQ is nearly indistinguishable between the two, and the 1.8 focuses much faster. I have strongly considered selling my 1.2 and going back to the 1.8 or getting the Sigma 85 1.4.

I would suggest renting the lens first -- we did that and were glad we did. It demystified the hype that some people place on this lens. Yes it is a unique tool and is capable of things other lenses aren't, but it's not a silver bullet for awesome photos.

Another thing you might consider is going back and looking through a wedding or two and sorting your images based on focal length used (easy to do in Lightroom). If you spend a lot of time in the 85mm range, then a prime 85 lens might be just right. For me, I'm more of a 24L and 50L kinda guy at weddings, and use my 70-200 for B&G portrait sessions.


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CTP
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Feb 18, 2011 16:39 |  #11

As someone who owns the 70-200L 2.8 IS, the 24-70L and the 85 1.2L II I can tell you that specifically for weddings, I would NEVER be caught without my 85 but there are many situations where I would could very easily be fine without the 24-70 and 70-200.

My raves about the 85.

IMAGE: http://ctysonphotography.smugmug.com/photos/1126665275_7Y6UL-L.jpg

IMAGE: http://ctysonphotography.smugmug.com/photos/1126673673_cGGqL-L.jpg

IMAGE: http://ctysonphotography.smugmug.com/photos/1126677648_cC3CW-L.jpg

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Sp1207
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Feb 18, 2011 17:33 |  #12

I've heard a lot of good things about it from people who have it, but from what I've read in reviews the sigma is only 1/3 stop slower, AF much faster, and has it matched for IQ at half the cost. I've seen amazing work done with either, so if you feel the need for an 85 prime try/rent both and see how they do.


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CTP
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Feb 18, 2011 18:45 as a reply to  @ Sp1207's post |  #13

From above ^^ bold is my thoughts

I've heard a lot of good things about it from people who have it True, but from what I've read in reviews the sigma is only 1/3 stop slower True, AF much faster True with mark I, not true with mark II, and has it matched for IQ Matched, no. Viable alternative, yes. at half the cost. True I've seen amazing work done with either very true, so if you feel the need for an 85 prime try/rent both and see how they do solid advice.


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trickydan
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Feb 18, 2011 18:59 |  #14

definitely some killer shots being made by the 1.2! and i admire looking at those pictures, especially when the setup, pose, lighting etc is just right. i guess just remember that buying it wont make your ~70-90mm current shots (at 2.8) look 'amazingly more spellbinding'. it'll obviously give that dreamy bokeh look that only an 85l can give but your technique around that focal range will probably stay similar


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siddr20
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Feb 18, 2011 19:05 |  #15

Excellent lens, but it did hunt a while in low light and its also heavy. I have been using the 1.8 and loving it. Its light and its quick to focus and its super sharp.
my 2 cents.


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Canon 85mm 1.2 II - Is it worthy of being a wedding lens for the price?
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