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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 08 Jun 2012 (Friday) 08:18
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Canon Lens EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Review

 
Canon ­ Bob
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Jun 08, 2012 15:38 |  #16

smorter wrote in post #14549487 (external link)
Particularly as this lens features an exposed rear element (the glass is level with the end of the lens), this bizarre placement of the red alignment dot slows down the speed at which this lens can be mounted, and increases the risk of damage to the exposed rear element due to inaccurate alignment caused by an inability to see the red alignment dot when putting the lens on. Practice improves speed, but it’s absolute hell when a novice 85L II user borrows your lens and your heart starts fluttering when they start struggling with mounting your lens, clumsily rubbing the rear element back and forth on the camera mount. Terrible.

Firstly, an excellent review and well worth the time it must have taken you to compile it.

I thought I'd mention the part you've highlighted in the text I quote above.
I did some careful tests with a dummy EOS body mount and discovered that it's impossible for the mount to contact the rear element....except for the release pin.
With this in mind, if you get into the habit of holding in the realease pin then you're safe (and potential novices) to "clumsily" slide the lens around on the mount whilst trying to fine the correct orientation.

I might add that knowing this fact still doesn't prevent the beads of sweat appearing on your forehead during the change.

Bob


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patliean1
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Jun 08, 2012 17:03 |  #17

Exceptional review, and images.


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s2kennyc
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Jun 08, 2012 17:36 |  #18

Nice review. Thanks for taking the time to share.


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kouasupra
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Jun 08, 2012 19:04 as a reply to  @ post 14551263 |  #19

Awesome review as well. One of my favorite lens of all times!




  
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Noodlz
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Jun 08, 2012 20:57 |  #20

Great review, it's an awesome lens indeed!


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Jermainek
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Jun 09, 2012 10:50 |  #21

This is one of the most subjective and interesting reviews I've ever read - great job, thanks.


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jpjaybird2011
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Jun 09, 2012 11:49 as a reply to  @ Jermainek's post |  #22

Enjoyed the read, well-written. In your gear list, seeing that the 200L was an "OK lens" and "bokeh could be better" was interesting. Do you have a similar written review for the 200L? I had thought that it put even 85L to shame bokeh-wise.




  
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wimg
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Jun 09, 2012 15:33 |  #23

Hi Dawei,

Very good review with very nice photographs indeed!

I do have a few remarks and questions, though :D.

smorter wrote in post #14549487 (external link)
....

The focus ring is wobbly and loose and shifts when pressure is applied, similar to how a loose tooth would move around.

Caused by the Focus-by-wire design. It only controls an electrical signal, nothing else.

....

The lens itself is not internal focusing, and is of a front group focusing design (the forward group moves in and out of the lens barrel), and this, together with the loose focus ring, and where the lens mount is screwed into the body, are the primary causes of its “dust pump” characteristic.
....

Similarly, the lack of weather sealing on a L lens at this price point is disappointing, however potentially unavoidable given the design of the lens.

This is not my experience, but then, I do what Canon suggests one does for weather sealing, i.e., mount a filter. I'd suggest a B&W UV MRC XS-Pro Nano digital filter :D.

BTW, the forward group that moves is all elements but the piece of glass at the back of the lens, the same one you are worried about regarding scratches.

....

The 85L II is a Focus By Wire design. That is, manual focus (MF) is achieved electronically. As the lens ....

In the field, it’s quite difficult to remember to focus the lens to infinity before dismounting the lens. Yes, it is partially my fault, but I doubt many would miss the focus by wire feature if it was scrapped in favour of conventional manual focusing.

In the current lens body there is not enough space for this; it would make this lens considerably fatter.

I assume you think this is a minor annoyance?

....

The biggest feature missing from this lens is Image Stabilisation (IS). Canon has historically struggled implementing IS on fast primes and only since 2012 has IS been implemented on a prime lens below 200mm focal length.

Some photographers are dismissive of whether IS is required in large aperture lenses such as the 85L II. Their arguments are that IS are not needed for fast lenses due to their ability to yield faster shutter speeds with their large apertures. I wish they were right, but unfortunately I have countless images ruined by camera movement induced motion blur disproving this theory.

....

I would gladly pay an extra $1000 for this lens for the inclusion of IS. Obviously, I’d prefer it to not cost anything extra though.

....

Part of the package, I am afraid. If you see how tightly packed the glass in this lens is, and how big the elements are, I reckon it is impossible to implement IS without a complete redesign, which would also affect bokeh to a large degree. This and FTM by cams rather than wire would likely make this lens at least twice as expensive, were it to be another F/1.2, and considerably larger and heavier.

The current implementation is a double gaussian variant, and in order to fit IS it would have to become a retrofocus type of design, with huge elements. I wonder how well that would work, and how much that would cost, actually, apart from the effect this would have on bokeh.

....

Note that due to the large aperture, out of focus highlights (out of focus bright spots in the background) are truncated by the mirror box, even on full frame cameras Often this can be to the image’s detriment, and stopping down the lens will yield a rounder highlight.

This is actually caused by the shortness of the lens and the large aperture. In order to reduce this effect the barrel would have to be quite a bit wider, and the mirror box too.

....

Optical Performance:
Chromatic Aberration (CA)
Optically, susceptibility to CA (both lateral and longitudinal) is by far the weakest attribute of this lens. This lens is most heavily afflicted by CA in the following situations:
(a) When used wide open or at large apertures (longitudinal and lateral CA)
(b) When photographing high contrast transitions particularly in bright light (e.g. white wedding dress against black tuxedo) (lateral CA)
(c) When photographing metallic objects (lateral CA)

I have never noticed any lateral CA (yellow - blue). PF (Purple Fringing, bright purple) at very high contrast transitions in areas in or out of focus, yes, and spherochromatism (longitudinal CA, magenta/red - cyan/green), yes that too.

....

Kind regards, Wim

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jonathandavid
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Jun 09, 2012 21:54 |  #24

Brilliant review! Thank you very much... Definitely looking forward to upgrading from my 85 f/1.8 now!


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Jun 09, 2012 22:17 |  #25

Wonderful review, thanks for taking the time to compile it. I've never personally noticed the slow focusing problem, but I've only used it on a 5d Mark III. Wonderful lens.


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smorter
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Jun 10, 2012 03:41 |  #26

Thanks for feedback and positive response everyone! The feedback and comments are really helpful - thanks for taking the time to read!

Bonbridge wrote in post #14550279 (external link)
Great review indeed! I love my 85LII too.
The 85LII is nice and sharp wide open indeed, but you say there is a miniscule improvement in sharpness if you stop down a little. That's not true in my opinion. If you stop it down to F3.2 it will get extremely sharp. F1.2 is sharp but not overwhelming sharp, F3.2 is.

I have seen your shots before, I like them alot! You just used ambient isn't it?

Thanks! Yeah the shots were ambient except for the 2nd last shot which was with gelled bounce flash.

I agree there is a noticeable improvement on stopping down - I think in absolute terms, it is sharp at f/1.2, but yeah definitely it improves stopping down. Particularly if I add sharpening in post, f/1.2 sharpens up really well to be very close to f/2.8+ etc.

maximus_73 wrote in post #14550751 (external link)
Thanks for the review, I love shooting with prime lens...my 50mm 1.2L is on my camera since I purchased it. Now, you start make me itch for 85mm 1.2L mrkII.

50L is also a great lens, it reminds me of the 85L II in many ways! Also a great lens that I want

BryantFC wrote in post #14550871 (external link)
awesome review! would def. like to see your take on the 35L.

Thanks Bryant will put on my "to do" list - unfortunately I dropped my 35L a few weeks ago and dislodged something internally, it is still usable but not as sharp as it was, I will send it in for service though and do a review when I get back.

Canon Bob wrote in post #14551739 (external link)
Firstly, an excellent review and well worth the time it must have taken you to compile it.

I thought I'd mention the part you've highlighted in the text I quote above.
I did some careful tests with a dummy EOS body mount and discovered that it's impossible for the mount to contact the rear element....except for the release pin.
With this in mind, if you get into the habit of holding in the realease pin then you're safe (and potential novices) to "clumsily" slide the lens around on the mount whilst trying to fine the correct orientation.

I might add that knowing this fact still doesn't prevent the beads of sweat appearing on your forehead during the change.

Bob

Thanks Bob that's very useful info to know! I didn't realise this was the case!


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Reviews: 85LII

  
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smorter
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Jun 10, 2012 04:01 |  #27

wimg wrote in post #14555636 (external link)
Hi Dawei,

Very good review with very nice photographs indeed!

I do have a few remarks and questions, though :D.

Caused by the Focus-by-wire design. It only controls an electrical signal, nothing else.

BTW, the forward group that moves is all elements but the piece of glass at the back of the lens, the same one you are worried about regarding scratches.

In the current lens body there is not enough space for this; it would make this lens considerably fatter.

I assume you think this is a minor annoyance?

Part of the package, I am afraid. If you see how tightly packed the glass in this lens is, and how big the elements are, I reckon it is impossible to implement IS without a complete redesign, which would also affect bokeh to a large degree. This and FTM by cams rather than wire would likely make this lens at least twice as expensive, were it to be another F/1.2, and considerably larger and heavier.

The current implementation is a double gaussian variant, and in order to fit IS it would have to become a retrofocus type of design, with huge elements. I wonder how well that would work, and how much that would cost, actually, apart from the effect this would have on bokeh.

This is actually caused by the shortness of the lens and the large aperture. In order to reduce this effect the barrel would have to be quite a bit wider, and the mirror box too.

I have never noticed any lateral CA (yellow - blue). PF (Purple Fringing, bright purple) at very high contrast transitions in areas in or out of focus, yes, and spherochromatism (longitudinal CA, magenta/red - cyan/green), yes that too.

Kind regards, Wim

Hi Wim learnt a lot of stuff from your post! Heaps I didn't realise was the case!

I need to improve my CA terminology I reckon, you're right, it's PF I am seeing too

I also didn't think about the impact on IS on issues like bokeh but these are very interesting points you make!

(For everyone else Wim helped me out heaps when I first purchased this lens!)

jpjaybird2011 wrote in post #14554900 (external link)
Enjoyed the read, well-written. In your gear list, seeing that the 200L was an "OK lens" and "bokeh could be better" was interesting. Do you have a similar written review for the 200L? I had thought that it put even 85L to shame bokeh-wise.


haha, I was joking a little there, but previously I've never had the time to do a proper comparison with a photogenic subject but with your reply in mind yesterday I did an unscientific test :D

No vignetting applied or corrected for, only adjustment to either image was exposure correction (+0.67 for 200L shot), white balance correction to equalise the two shots, and facial retouching.

Both were shot wide open, the 85LII using the 5D, the 200L IS using the 5D2

1st Image is 85LII and 2nd Image is 200L IS - use the 3 wooden posts in centre of image as a reference point for background features and note how the 200mm renders the background differently due to the 200mm compression, causing a very different looking bokeh.

Which do you personally prefer? I won't say which I one I like better to not cloud your judgement! :D

1.

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2.
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IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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Wedding Photography Melbourneexternal link
Reviews: 85LII

  
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CheshireCat
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Jun 10, 2012 04:31 |  #28

^^^ The chopped bokeh of the 85L is clearly visible above the model's head.
The 85L is more "environmental" than the 200L. The latter is an apochromatic design in a totally different class, but destroys anything but the subject down to creamy bokeh.
I wish the 85L were an APO design, but that would have a big impact on the price of the lens.

P.S. Thanks for the review. This is probably the best 85L review I have read.


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Jun 10, 2012 06:00 |  #29

I just noticed I have some dust inside of my lens. Damn, I don't like the idea... Why can't canon make dust free lens for so much money?


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CheshireCat
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Jun 10, 2012 08:13 |  #30

Bonbridge wrote in post #14557799 (external link)
I just noticed I have some dust inside of my lens. Damn, I don't like the idea... Why can't canon make dust free lens for so much money?

Because dust does not affect image quality :)


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