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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 02 May 2011 (Monday) 20:24
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choosing between 135L and 85L

 
genjurok
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May 02, 2011 20:24 |  #1

I'm choosing between 135L and 85L for portrait, especially full body portrait and low light, for both FF and crop. I don't shoot sports, at least very rarely. I'm leaning towards 85 L at this moment because 135L is too long for my 60D, it's even a bit long on FF for full body, requires a fair bit of distance to work with. The main concern I have about 85L is the AF speed and the super thin DOF at 1.2, but I guess for shooting portrait AF shosld be ok.
One thing I hear about 85L is that I can use it on 60D and get a similar result as 135L on FF, is it true?

Another question, if I do get 85L, in order to use it wide open at day time, I 'm thinking about getting a 3 or 4 stop ND filter. Is it o k?

Any suggestion will be appreciated.


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Canon 17-40mm f/4L | Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 | Canon 100mm f/2
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actprivate
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May 02, 2011 22:34 |  #2

You seem to have mixed up a few aspects unnecessarily making the decision hard for yourself. The first paragraph in your post suggests that "for your usage" a 135 mm is going to be too long. That alone says 135L is not ideal for you regardless of how excellent it is.

Then if a 85 mm lens is going to fit your needs better, you don't have to get a 85L strictly speaking. You may find other alternatives (like 85 f/1.8 or Sigma f/1.4). In the end, if you are not going to use it wide open, then why would you need to spend so much on a capability you don't need?

You're right - the angle of view when using 85L with a 1.6X crop body is close to that when using 135L on a FF. While the working distance (hence perspective) and framing would be close, there would be some finer grade differences such as DOF. Rendering is also an individual characteristic and a combination of 85L + crop sensor would give a different result from 135L + FF (this may or may not be tangible in real life for every one). I like my 5D2 + 135L better than my 85L + 7D; but that's me.

I'd suggest you concentrate on each of the following areas to compare these two lenses and then weigh the results in the light of your liking/needs:

- Optical performance (use something like http://www.the-digital-picture.com …omp=0&FLIComp=0​&APIComp=0 (external link))
- Work distance
- Subject separation (DOF use something like http://www.dofmaster.c​om/dofjs.html (external link))
- Low light support
- AF speed
- Price


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genjurok
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May 02, 2011 22:52 |  #3

actprivate wrote in post #12336855 (external link)
You seem to have mixed up a few aspects unnecessarily making the decision hard for yourself. The first paragraph in your post suggests that "for your usage" a 135 mm is going to be too long. That alone says 135L is not ideal for you regardless of how excellent it is.

Then if a 85 mm lens is going to fit your needs better, you don't have to get a 85L strictly speaking. You may find other alternatives (like 85 f/1.8 or Sigma f/1.4). In the end, if you are not going to use it wide open, then why would you need to spend so much on a capability you don't need?

Thanks for the suggestion! I think I'm set on 85L , mainly because of focal length and the speed ( not AF speed, lol).

Cheers! :-)


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Canon 17-40mm f/4L | Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 | Canon 100mm f/2
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1Tanker
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May 02, 2011 23:07 as a reply to  @ post 12337027 |  #4

It may not be an issue for you, but at half the price of the 85L.. i'd find a way to make the 135L work! ;)

edit: I see in your sig, that you already own the 85 f/1.8..i'd really consider the 135 then.


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genjurok
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May 02, 2011 23:23 |  #5

DL.Photography wrote in post #12337027 (external link)
Don't be scared to try the Sigma 85 f/1.4. It's a great lens, just check out the samples @ the lens sample archives.

In fact, for the price of a 85LII, you can pick up both the Sigma 85 & 135L

Actually I was considering siggy 85. And I 'm not afraid of sigma lenses. As you can see, I have 3 sigma primes! Well, I'll admit that the 20 f/1.8 isn't as good as the 30 and 50. :D

The reason I don't want the siggy 85 now is because it's reported by quite a few people that at the same aperture, it actually lets in 1/3~2/3 stop less light compared to Canon 85. That means effectively it's quite close to 85 f/1.8 in terms of speed. And one important reason I consider upgrade is because of the extra speed, therefore I don't consider it anymore.

Thanks for the suggestion anyway. I figure I'll use 85L on FF, and on 60D, it'll be somewhat similar to 135L on FF , so I'm willing to pay the premium. I hate to part with my 85 f/1.8, which is wonderful really. But I 'm not rich enough to keep both 85mm, so it has to go. :-(

Thanks for the reply! :-)


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Canon 17-40mm f/4L | Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
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raksphoto
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May 03, 2011 01:20 |  #6

The 85mm f/1.2L I had was an awesome lens, totally excellent for portraits on a camera with FoVCF > 1.0. It was very sharp, but had the most beautiful out-of-focus blur, "painterly" I would say. Alas, that lens got damaged falling out of a camera bag during a LA location shoot.

I also own the 135mm f/2L, fortunately still working. I do not discount it for portraits on my 7D, 20D, or 1D Mark III. It's of course a perfect focal length for a FF camera. But for the smaller sensor cameras, it's really great when you specifically want a very tight shot, at modest working distance. For example, if you (for artistic purposes) want to focus on eyes and eyebrows, or say lips, the 135mm will do that without being in the model's face, and you are still sufficiently far away so as not to distort the models features -- that aspect is why I don't like a 50mm for portraits on a non-FF camera. That focal length distorts features at nearly any close working distance.

If you have the room, for example in a location setting, the 135mm will I think give better portraits, because the telephoto effect compresses perspective more than the 85mm. OTOH, the 85mm will give crisp contrast, glorious color, and beautiful background blur. The 135mm is also much less intimidating in the studio for portrait work than using a zoom like the 70-200mm f/2.8L, or f/4L.

Good luck with your new lens, whatever you decide!


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EF 135mm f/2L | EF 100mm f/2 | EF 85mm f/1.8 | EF 50mm f/1.2L | EF 35mm f/1.4L
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newworld666
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May 03, 2011 01:50 |  #7

85L can give perfect results only on FF ... 135L and 85L give same type of results on any APSC (sensor limitations won't give any better results in favor 135L or 85L). You can see on dxomarks that 85L is on top only on FF, on APSC you get same results between Sigma, 85L and 85F1.8. My own experience is same between 50D, 5DMKII, 135L and 85L .. If you don't shot any sports/action, I don't think there is any situations where 7D would get better results than 5DMKII with 135L or 85L.
On Full Frame 85L is probably one of the sharpest and richest colors available on 5DMKII
I rarely use 135L on my 5DMKII, and only on my 50D for action/sports (as 216mm is a rather interesting lengh)


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moemoe6434
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May 03, 2011 06:14 |  #8

The 135L is truely amazing and I honestly do not see a huge upgrade (read: worth the extra $$$$) for the 85L over the 85 f1.8.

YMMV.


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woehlerking
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May 03, 2011 06:50 as a reply to  @ moemoe6434's post |  #9

85L definately my best portrait lens (magic glass).
135mm is a bit too long for indoor shots unless of coarse you are in a large room.


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moemoe6434
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May 03, 2011 07:10 |  #10

woehlerking wrote in post #12338445 (external link)
85L definately my best portrait lens (magic glass).
135mm is a bit too long for indoor shots unless of coarse you are in a large room.

Depends if you are FF or crop. 135 is great indoors on a FF.


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Wissigle
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May 03, 2011 08:08 |  #11

I'm a little confused by your post, you want a full body portrait lens, and you're considering the 135mm? To get a full body shot with a 60D and 135mm requires some distance! You seem to have already considered this though...

I would have thought the more natural choice would have been 50L vs 85L, or even 35L at a push? The AF speed of the 35L and 50L is much faster than the 85L, though potentially you're after the legendary IQ of the 85L.

Also, is there something fundamental you think you are lacking from your current 85 1.8 and 50 1.4? expecially as you think that shooting at 1.2 would be challenging.

I guess I would suggest either keeping your your current set up, or if you feel you need to upgrade, go for the the 50L or 85L, and shoot at a range of apertures between 1.2 and 2.8 until you find an aperture that you're confortable with in terms of sharpness, DoF, and 'the right look'! Good luck with your choice!


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SOX ­ 404
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May 03, 2011 08:18 |  #12

Hmmm.... for full body portrait, I recommend wider than 85mm. Try 50mm.
For sure, 135 is not an option.


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moemoe6434
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May 03, 2011 08:20 |  #13

Oh, I absolutely agree go wider for full-body portrait. Sorry, when I think portrait, I think head shots or waist and above....


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genjurok
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May 03, 2011 09:26 |  #14

Wissigle wrote in post #12338657 (external link)
I would have thought the more natural choice would have been 50L vs 85L, or even 35L at a push? The AF speed of the 35L and 50L is much faster than the 85L, though potentially you're after the legendary IQ of the 85L.

Also, is there something fundamental you think you are lacking from your current 85 1.8 and 50 1.4? expecially as you think that shooting at 1.2 would be challenging.

Thanks for your suggestion. Appreciate it.

Actually I'm happy with the 50 1.4 and 85 1.8. One important reason I'm considering 85L is because I shoot a lot of low light and even ISO 3200, f/1.8 sometimes isn't fast enough. I'm learning flash photography right now and starting to realize how much flash can help the picture when used properly and creatively, but still in some environment it's not ideal to use flash. Initially I was considering siggy 85 1.4, but words are that it's more of 1.8 instead of 1.4 in terms of speed. So I had to pass it.

Another reason is that I came from APS-C camera. I like the APS-C system and shot primarily indoor before. I found its DOF is very good , at least enough for me when taking head, shoulder or half body shots because you get closer to the subject. Later I wanted to try more outdoor full body shot , somehow I feel the DOF is lacking , I tried with 7D + 85 1.8, but the result is mixed, not as good as I'd want. I guess or hope ( :-) with 85L, it would help. So ideally indoor I'd still use Sigma 30/1.4, which is my favorite
indoor lens, or siggy 50, and outdoor I can use either siggy 50 or 85L.

Hope this clarifies my initial post :D

Thanks again to everybody!


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Canon 17-40mm f/4L | Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
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genjurok
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May 03, 2011 09:32 |  #15

moemoe6434 wrote in post #12338362 (external link)
The 135L is truely amazing and I honestly do not see a huge upgrade (read: worth the extra $$$$) for the 85L over the 85 f1.8.
YMMV.

Yes, you're absolutely right. The 85 1.8 has great IQ and lightening fast AF. And on FF, it has plenty thin DOF.

Two reaons I want to get 85L :
First for low light since I shoot under low light a lot.
Second, I want the 85mm on my 60D has plenty thin DOF and good blur background when doing outdoor full body shot. I tried 85 1.8 + 7D, but not completely satisfied.

Cheers!


6D
Canon 17-40mm f/4L | Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 | Canon 100mm f/2
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