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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 05 Feb 2016 (Friday) 17:30
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50mm 1.2 Vs 85mm 1.2 (The longest battle known to DSLRS)

 
gabe212
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Feb 05, 2016 17:30 |  #1

I know this question has been asked for the longest time, but I could not find any recent threads on it.

I have a canon 6d and I have rented both of these lenses. Yet I still can't decide lol. I loved loved loved both of these lenses.

50mm 1.2- My favorite focal length. The weight of the lens just felt perfect to me. I got some great pictures with this lens, but I had to work harder for them than its rival the 85mm. The quality of the pictures were a lot softer than the 85 as well, but they did have some equally sharp pictures on occasion...

50mm 1.2 shot-


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85mm 1.2- The focal length was a little tight for me, but I could work with it no problem. The lens was very heavy. Almost annoyingly heavy. The pictures from this lens were just beautiful! Crisp and Sharp as can be. I got more keepers with this lens almost a 4:1 Ratio. Now I haven't tried this lens at an event, or on a moving subject.

85mm 1.2 shot-


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I have not used either of these lenses with a flash, but shopping around for a studio strobe as of now to buy with my new lens. (Einstein 640 or a Canon 600rt speedilte.)

Im the most indecisive person you will ever meet so this is beyond hard for me! Post some sample pics and your opinion to help me

decide!



  
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gabe212
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Feb 05, 2016 17:31 |  #2

50mm 1.2 shot-


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85mm 1.2 shot-


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PineBomb
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Feb 05, 2016 17:55 |  #3

Framing the question in terms of rivaling lenses or that it's the longest battle known to DSLRs is overstating it a bit. They're different tools. If you can have only one, the 50mm will be a more versatile focal length that's adequate for portraits and general walk-around.

Without knowing what other lenses you have, what other subject matter you shoot, and your tolerance level for more affordable alternatives, I can't offer any meaningful suggestions.


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gabe212
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Feb 05, 2016 18:17 as a reply to  @ PineBomb's post |  #4

Yes, I did exaggerate it a bit haha. I actually really like the look of your photos with the Sigma 50mm art lens! Im going to look into that lens as well.




  
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MatthewK
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Feb 05, 2016 18:24 |  #5

My friend, your photos are great! Either way you go will be fantastic for your photography!

I went through the same thing a few years back, so I know the feel! In the end, the 50L ended up being my choice due to:

- better general use focal length (most important!)
- closer MFD
- faster AF
- weather sealing
- smaller size

Like you said though, the 85L more than makes up for it with better sharpness and bokeh. It's one of Canon's best, no question.

My advice: get both :) If you can only afford one? 85L first, and then keep an eye out for a Refurb 50L.


well that didn't last long...

  
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Nortonski
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Feb 05, 2016 18:31 |  #6

I have both & love em, the 50 gets more action due to size & weight for me, easier as a walk around.

You won't go wrong with either...but the 50 for me is the winner & my all time favourite canon lens. ;-)a


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FTb
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Feb 05, 2016 19:24 |  #7

gabe212 wrote in post #17887427 (external link)
I got more keepers with this lens [85mm f1.2] almost a 4:1 Ratio.

Unless I'd already made all the great photos I'd ever want to make, this would be the deciding factor for me.



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absplastic
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Feb 05, 2016 20:00 |  #8

gabe212 wrote in post #17887427 (external link)
85mm 1.2- The focal length was a little tight for me, but I could work with it no problem. The lens was very heavy. Almost annoyingly heavy. The pictures from this lens were just beautiful! Crisp and Sharp as can be. I got more keepers with this lens almost a 4:1 Ratio.

In my personal opinion, the 85L purchase needs to be supplemented with a BG-E13 battery grip if you don't already have it. The 85L is awkward to wield on a lightweight body without battery grip as counterweight.

gabe212 wrote in post #17887427 (external link)
I have not used either of these lenses with a flash, but shopping around for a studio strobe as of now to buy with my new lens. (Einstein 640 or a Canon 600rt speedilte.)

You probably need a studio strobe (or two) AND a speedlite, long term. Maybe one more than the other in the short term. There's not a huge cost difference if you're considering a Canon 600ex-rt rather than one of the knock-offs. My 600ex-rts cost me around $400, same as my Rovelight 600. In hindsight, I should not have bought more than one 600ex-rt, and have already sold one of my 3. I'll no doubt sell another soon and add another battery-powered strobe (likely a Godox AD600).

Years ago, I had an Einstein. It's a good unit for AC mains use, but I would not buy it again only because I no longer feel it's price and feature competitive with current portable (DC) offerings. The market has just exploded with battery-powered, E-TTL, HSS compatible strobes in the wake of the Profoto B1 success. I also didn't like the speedring mount on the Einstein, I wouldn't trust it with the size modifiers I use these days, the Bowens mount is better for me.


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Silver-Halide
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Feb 05, 2016 22:24 |  #9

I own the 50 f/1.2L (paid $900), and the 85mm f/1.8 (non-L)--paid $300. Since I got the fast 50, I don't shoot the 85mm as much anymore :cry:

Truth be told I think I like the 85mm focal length better but the f/1.2-1.8 becomes the deciding factor. With the additional compression from the 85mm I wonder if I'd have enough DOF to practically use the 85mm f/1.2 for wedding photos. the 85mm f/1.8 focuses faster, so I'm told.

If money were no object, sure i'd buy it, but I'm thinking the next for portraiture will be the 135mm f/2 Rokinon (manual focus only). In side by side photos online, its markedly better than the Canon 135mm f/2... if you can nail the focus. :rolleyes:

I'm not very helpful. :oops:


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absplastic
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Feb 05, 2016 22:50 |  #10

Silver-Halide wrote in post #17887647 (external link)
Truth be told I think I like the 85mm focal length better but the f/1.2-1.8 becomes the deciding factor. With the additional compression from the 85mm I wonder if I'd have enough DOF to practically use the 85mm f/1.2 for wedding photos. the 85mm f/1.8 focuses faster, so I'm told.

I was sitting at my dining room table, shortly after buying the 85L II, swapping it out with the 85/1.8 and comparing at various distances and apertures. I took photos of my daughter walking by, a guitar in the far corner of the room, some pill bottles with tiny writing, etc. My conclusion was that, indoors, the 85mm f/1.2 holds just one thing over the 85mm f/1.8, which is that it has f/1.2 available. In all other respects, and at any aperture they share, I saw no appreciable differences in Lightroom, even pixel peeping the pill bottle fine print with the bottle in the very corner of the frame. Mind you, this was a real world test with me hand holding the camera, not a tripod test chart scenario. The f/1.8 lens focuses WAY faster, and overall I had fewer missed focus shots with it. For two lenses with a 5-to-1 price difference, they are remarkably similar. In the studio, where I rarely shoot f/1.2, I could use either interchangeably.

There are two other performance differences that I have not experienced, but get called out in reviews: the 85mm f/1.2L II coatings make it less prone to flare than the non-L. Also, it's possible that with the f/1.2 aperture, you might be able to autofocus in lower light than with the f/1.8 lens. In practice though, I haven't shot in dark enough conditions to push the limits of what the 6D can focus in, with any lens.


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Feb 05, 2016 23:27 |  #11

You can see slight perspective distortion in the shots from the 50. He's slightly more apple cheeked in the little boy and in the bw shots his nose is a bit larger. The difference is subtle but can make the difference between a food portrait and a wow portrait especially of your subjects are not thin or have large noses etc.




  
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MalVeauX
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Feb 06, 2016 02:57 |  #12

Heya,

It's a totally personal thing to choose between these.

Personally, I'm not a fan, at all, of ultra-thin depth of field to the point where the subject's noise is out of focus and it looks totally distracting like someone smudged the film. Having a bunch of blur and transition points with sharp eyes and everything else just thrown to blur is not something I'd want. I like shallow depth of field, but there is a point where it's gone too far, and when the subject's central facial feature (nose) is out of focus, it's just... goofy to me. But don't take this as a jab or negative insight, this is merely my own personal opinion. If I had to choose between the two lenses, there would be zero doubt in my mind, it would be the 85L. If I'm going to get F1.2, I want to also have the telephoto look as well, and at 3+ meters, the 85L pulls away from the 50L for causing more blur, and if I wanted a shallow DOF lens, that would be important to me when dropping this kind of money to have as much out of focus stuff as possible.

Very best,


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Charlie
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Feb 06, 2016 10:00 |  #13

MalVeauX wrote in post #17887780 (external link)
Heya,

It's a totally personal thing to choose between these.

Personally, I'm not a fan, at all, of ultra-thin depth of field to the point where the subject's noise is out of focus and it looks totally distracting like someone smudged the film. Having a bunch of blur and transition points with sharp eyes and everything else just thrown to blur is not something I'd want. I like shallow depth of field, but there is a point where it's gone too far, and when the subject's central facial feature (nose) is out of focus, it's just... goofy to me. But don't take this as a jab or negative insight, this is merely my own personal opinion. If I had to choose between the two lenses, there would be zero doubt in my mind, it would be the 85L. If I'm going to get F1.2, I want to also have the telephoto look as well, and at 3+ meters, the 85L pulls away from the 50L for causing more blur, and if I wanted a shallow DOF lens, that would be important to me when dropping this kind of money to have as much out of focus stuff as possible.

Very best,

+1, not a bit fan of shooting so close with either lens

the 85 murders the background so much better than 50, however so totally different tools.


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vengence
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Feb 06, 2016 11:07 |  #14

f/1.2 for when you want most of your subject to be blurred. :lol:

They both have their advantages and disadvantageous. You might consider the Sigma ART 50 f/1.4 as an alternative to the 50 1.2.

As far as lighting goes, if you are going to get into speedlights, the yongnuo yn600ex-rt is excellent, offering 99% of what the canon 600 can do for 25% of the cost. You can actually buy 3x YN600 AND the transmitter YN-E3-RT for less money than a single canon 600. You'll have much, MUCH, more options that way for about the same cost.




  
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Feb 06, 2016 11:49 |  #15

My sigma 50A got used more than the 85Lii due to its shorter focal length but I can't lie about the 85L performance when I need it for the job. It's a specialty lens, not for general purpose walk-around lens imo. They were designed for different purposes and go pick the lens suite your style rather than having other choose one for you. I'd rent them both for a week, 2 weeks or heck buy them both if financial isn't an issue then go from there...


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50mm 1.2 Vs 85mm 1.2 (The longest battle known to DSLRS)
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