This lens is a real beast! It is big, it is heavy and has a huge front element (for its relatively compact size).
The people who use this lens are probably portrait shooters or wedding photographers. This lens is one of the best portrait lenses canon offers.
It has a pretty low contrast which is not a bad thing at all. It is great for the skin tones.
The sharpness is already great at the wide open 1.2 aperture and will be getting sharper when stopped down. I think the sharpest aperture is around f/3.2. The maximum closed aperture is f/16. at 2.8 the 85LII is a tiny bit sharper then the well beloved 70-200LII.
The best thing about this lens is the part which ain't even sharp... the bokeh or the out of focus areas. This lens delivers an absolute great separation with outstanding bokeh (subjective). At 1.2 the depth of field is really thin which sets your object or person apart from everything else.
The IQ of this lens is absolutely stunning. The only part where this lens lacks in IQ is the amount of purple fringing which is pretty bad for a lens this expensive.
For some people it is quite hard to nail the focus with this lens. Focus and recomposing could end up in an out of focus photo because lens movements and the small depth of field.
The focus is extremely accurate, but also very slow. You can shoot sports with this lens, but you will probably be better of with a faster focussing lens like the cheaper 85/1.8 and 135/2.0
This lens is mostly used by portrait and professional wedding photographers who are shooting in low light or wants to create a beautiful out of focus background.
The 85LII is not for everyone. It's expensive it's slow focussing and it could be hard to nail the focus, but if you nail the focus right and you shoot at a wide aperture the results could be absolutely stunning.
Take a look at the lens photo archives of the 85LII on this forum. In my opinion one of the best threads with the most stunning photo's.
Canons alternatives for this lens are: 85/1.8, 135/2.0L, 200/2.8L, 70-200/2.8L, and the pricey 200/2.0L
Other alternatives are: Sigma 85/1.4 Zeis, Otus 85/1.4, Samyang 85/1.4
The following images are all shot at f/1.2
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/fqYgqy Best Friend by Merijn Geurts, on Flickr
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/deChB5 One Leaf by Merijn Geurts, on Flickr
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/gtvxDA Urban Football by Merijn Geurts, on Flickr
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/d2aRdb Classy by Merijn Geurts, on Flickr