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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 12 Aug 2014 (Tuesday) 18:27
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Canon 85 1.2L Focusing Techniques??? Help?

 
canon_shenanigans
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Aug 12, 2014 18:27 |  #1

So I have had this 85 1.2L for a while now, and I have primarily used it on a tripod in a studio environment. I have been seeing a bunch of REALLY nice "sharp" photos produced by photographer using the lens, but off the tripod...So I decided "ok" I'm going to do a shoot and try to hand hold shoot with that lens. My photos were pretty hit n miss. Now I understand this lens focuses super slow since the glass elements are rather big. Since this lens doesn't have an "IS" Feature (which arguably) effects the image quality. I am looking for some solid tips on how to focus while hand holding the camera with this lens, while getting tac sharp images.

I have been shooting a lot of wedding lately and played it safe with my 24-70 and my 70-200mm lenses but I really want to start implementing this 85mm. Any Tips or tricks will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. :)




  
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DieselTech
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Aug 12, 2014 18:37 |  #2

I have a 5d mark II and I only use the center auto-focus point.
I also use back button auto focusing with ai-servo.
This means the * button does my focusing and the shutter button only snaps the shutter.
I also hold the lens with my left palm like a pedestal and tuck my elbow into my ribs for support.


5D mk II, Rokinon 8mm, Rokinon 14mm, 28mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 85mm 1.2L II, 100mm 2.8L, 24-105mm L, 70-200mm 2.8L IS II

  
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gnome ­ chompski
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Aug 12, 2014 18:39 |  #3

keep shutter speed above 1/125. Dont expect tack sharp images right away if you are shooting at 1.2, as depth of field is very shallow. Practice practice practice!


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JeffreyG
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Aug 12, 2014 19:21 |  #4

If you are at f/1.2, the DOF will be very thin and you will need to be absolutely spot on with focus. Align focus points across high contrast and avoid using the low accuracy points on older models. Do not delay between achieving focus and releasing the shutter.

The issue could also be motion blur if you are running slow shutter speeds. People vary in what they can handhold, but also realize that the old 1/focal length rule of thumb was intended for reasonable prints made from 35mm film. That is to say, it may not yield 'tack sharp' images if you are shooting at 1/80 with an 85mm lens and then scrutinizing a 1:1 pixel view on a large monitor. You might want to try and keep things at 1 / 2Xfocal length for that unless you are very steady.


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snake0ape
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Aug 12, 2014 20:06 as a reply to  @ JeffreyG's post |  #5

The camera body makes a difference when your shooting at f1.2. When I had a 5dii, I only had confidence shooting with center point and the subject was not moving.
With the 5diii, I shoot always with off center point focus and can shoot still or moving objects. Because I alway want to aim for the eyes, i move the focus point off center. If the subject is moving, I have it on ai-servo. I predict where the subject might be at the next moment, I prefocus on that spot on the ground, then wait for the subject arrival on or near the spot. The reason being is the lens focus will be quicker this way. I also bend my knees a bit to get the camera perpendicular to the subject. (Eyes level with focus point) This makes more of the subject in focus given the few inch DOF.
It's simple and you will get good at moving your focus point quickly and turning your camera quickly as the scenarios changes with every shot.

For beginners using f1.2. Try shooting at ai servo mode before trying single focus mode. Alway shoot perpendicular to the subject. Your success rate should be excellent given that you have already micro adjusted the lens. If your in sunlight, don't forget your hood. And you will need post processing to get rid of the purple fringes.


5Diii | 50D | 8-15L 4| 16-35L 2.8 II| 24-70L 2.8 II | 70-200L 2.8 IS II |Tamy 150-600 | Σ35Art 1.4 | 40 2.8 | Σ50Art 1.4 | 85L 1.2 II | 100 2.8 Macro | Helios 44-3 58mm f2.0 |Helios 40-1 85mm f1.5 | 1.4x & 2x teleconverters

  
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mystik610
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Aug 12, 2014 21:20 |  #6

Phase detect AF is inherently rife with issues when shooting with fast lenses...issues that can't necessarily be rectified with technique. If you want to consistently nail focus with an extremely shallow DOF, MF is the way to do it. Not practical when dealing with motion of course, but for posed studio shots, it would be ideal.

Shooting in live view with contrast detect AF would be another alternative.


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bobbyz
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Aug 13, 2014 09:05 |  #7

Folks using LV mode, when I try holding camera/lens to look at the LCD and I am using zoom on LCD, it is hard with the picture jumping all over. I would think it would be harder to nail at f1.2 using LV compared to when camera to the eye.


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snake0ape
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Aug 13, 2014 09:14 |  #8

bobbyz wrote in post #17093220 (external link)
Folks using LV mode, when I try holding camera/lens to look at the LCD and I am using zoom on LCD, it is hard with the picture jumping all over. I would think it would be harder to nail at f1.2 using LV compared to when camera to the eye.

A LCD viewfinder attached to the screen will help a lot when using LV mode.


5Diii | 50D | 8-15L 4| 16-35L 2.8 II| 24-70L 2.8 II | 70-200L 2.8 IS II |Tamy 150-600 | Σ35Art 1.4 | 40 2.8 | Σ50Art 1.4 | 85L 1.2 II | 100 2.8 Macro | Helios 44-3 58mm f2.0 |Helios 40-1 85mm f1.5 | 1.4x & 2x teleconverters

  
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Copidosoma
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Aug 13, 2014 09:57 |  #9

bobbyz wrote in post #17093220 (external link)
Folks using LV mode, when I try holding camera/lens to look at the LCD and I am using zoom on LCD, it is hard with the picture jumping all over. I would think it would be harder to nail at f1.2 using LV compared to when camera to the eye.

I often find LV useful because it shows me just how much the camera is shaking (i.e. image jumping all over). It isn't always as apparent looking through the viewfinder. Given that this is effectively what the sensor is dealing with, it just goes to show the importance of fast shutter speeds or better hand holding technique.

Granted, I vastly prefer to use the viewfinder but sometimes it is good to do a reality check.


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basselmudarris
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Aug 13, 2014 13:11 |  #10

It really is incredibly difficult to nail focus with the 85L. I've found that installing an EG-S focusing screen has helped. You also have to make sure not to move at all once focus has been locked, because the depth of field is so thin that any movement at all will result in an OOF photo.

The 85L is the most difficult lens I've ever used, but when it nails focus, my oh my are the results spectacular.




  
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CanonYouCan
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Aug 13, 2014 16:25 as a reply to  @ basselmudarris's post |  #11

And what about pics of f2-f2.8, more keepers and still an advantage over the 85 1.8 in terms of contrast,... ? I have them both but still have to test them side by side :)
I have to do a modelshoot of 4 models after each other within a few weeks, but I won't risk it yet and use 35 1.4 Art + 70-200 2.8LII I think :)


Sony A7 III | Metabones V | Canon 16-35 F4 L | Sigma 85 1.4 Art | 70-200 2.8L II
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basselmudarris
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Aug 13, 2014 21:10 |  #12

CanonYouCan wrote in post #17094288 (external link)
And what about pics of f2-f2.8, more keepers and still an advantage over the 85 1.8 in terms of contrast,... ? I have them both but still have to test them side by side :)
I have to do a modelshoot of 4 models after each other within a few weeks, but I won't risk it yet and use 35 1.4 Art + 70-200 2.8LII I think :)

For me, even above f/1.2, I think the 85L provides a distinct look that cannot be matched, not only in bokeh, but in the colors as well.




  
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raksphoto
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Aug 13, 2014 21:21 |  #13

Love this lens. Painterly tones. I can suggest that you use Selective Autofocus (SA), effectively telling the camera what to focus on (with automation). You pick the points, then the camera AFs. This is often more effective than letting the camera select the points. This general approach will let you more strongly control the focal plane wrt the subject.


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canon_shenanigans
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Aug 14, 2014 11:32 |  #14

I find that it is hard to use just the center point for the 85 1.2L while hand holding. I have tried using the back camera focusing function but that will take some getting used to. I am currently using a 5DmkIII at the moment. my backup Camera is a 60D. Here is a shot from my last shoot with the 85 1.2L
shots with a Canon 5D MKIII

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7358/13890832037_55fca8e25c_c.jpg

Shot with a Canon 5d MKIII
IMAGE: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3890/14731186347_1d9dc66cc1_c.jpg

These are the two best shots from Last Saturday's shoot where I focused with the 85 1.2L
The rest of the shots were "slightly" fuzzy (when zoomed in) but look sharp from a distance. I want more nailed focus rather than hit n miss if I can. I appreciate the tips, and I need to experiment, a bit with hand-holding this lens.



  
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canon_shenanigans
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Aug 14, 2014 11:39 |  #15

If you look at the second shot the eyes are a tad fuzzy, and this is what I mean about slightly out of focus, but sort of sharp zoomed out...




  
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Canon 85 1.2L Focusing Techniques??? Help?
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