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Customer Reviews for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Superior optical performance and large f/1.2 aperture Faster ring-type USM, high-speed CPU and optimized AF algorithms High-speed AF and circular aperture for beautiful backgrounds Floating optical system includes an aspherical lens element
Average Customer Rating:
4.8 out of 5
4.8
 out of 
5
(30 Reviews) 30
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (30 reviews)
5 stars
25
4 stars
4
3 stars
1
2 stars
0
1 star
0
29 out of 30(97%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Review 1 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: amblin
Used this product for: more than 1 year
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Canon Customer: 11 to 20 years
Product replacement: Yes

Great lens

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Quality
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:March 22, 2014
I'll skip the sweet stuff and go directly to things I disliked:
1, The focus by wire FTM ring. I understand that the lens is actually moving ALL but one elements -- that's a lot of glass-- while focusing but I'd still prefer a stiff, heavy, mechanically connected FTM ring than the loose slippery electronic focus by wire system. Since the electronic FTM on this lens is pretty much useless I always disable the 'electronic manual over-ride ' feature in my 1DS settings menu.
2, The moving front group. I'd prefer a fixed front group or at least somehow extend the outer barrel so the front can be contained within the outer barrel while focusing. I hate to manually 'reset' the lens back to infinite after each session. And a extended outer barrel (maybe by around half an inch) will also make the lens body easier to grip while using large 1D series bodies.
3, No weather seals.
4, The AF/MF switch. It's too small and difficult to use especially with gloves on.
This is a special lens, you can tell it's a 85/1.5 from the first glimpse of a picture but there's still much room to improve. so, a mk. III, please?
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Review 2 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: mallorie
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Used this product for: 3 to 6 months
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 11 to 20 years
Product replacement: Yes

very fast but at a cost.

Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Date:October 25, 2013
Pros: Superior build quality
Cons: Semi-sharp images, chromatic aberration
I love this lens, the DOF is extremely low as one would expect. I can shoot in near total darkness as long as I have a light for focus assist. Ambient light looks true and beautiful!
With that said however this lens is the worst of all I own for backlit subjects. The chromatic aberration is awful, and it is nearly impossible to focus. Keeping in mind manual focus only works to around 4.0 I find myself constantly using auto, which is fast and fine most of the time, but very time consuming and annoying with an even slightly backlit subject.
I wouldn't trade this lens for anything, but for variable light situations, I would always carry a backup.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 3 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: Sifu
Location: Oregon
Used this product for: 6 to 12 months
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 1 to 5 years
Product replacement: No

Amazing Lens

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:July 25, 2013
Pros: Superior build quality, Super-sharp images, silky smooth bokeh, perfect portrait lens
I read the reviews on this lens and the 1.8 and thought a long hard about making the extra expenditure. Many people wrote about the 1.8 that they could not see any reason to buy the 1.2, to them I say then you should not. This lens was meant to shoot at 1.2 and when you do it is a marvel to behold. I also read that the focus was slow and not accurate. Yes it is a bit slow but plenty fast for portraits, I also use it when photographing musicians during concerts. It also is almost a requirement for weddings. As for the inaccurate focus that really is not true but you really must know and pay attention to what you are doing when shooting at 1.2 and close to your subject because the depth of field is so very narrow, but that is why you buy a lens like this. Learn to use it right and it will reward you with amazing photographs. People just look better with this lens. As for the complaints about it being heavy I don't find it bad at all, the weight feels good and I am reminded of the words of Joyous in the 13th warrior when Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan complains that the sword they gave him is too heavy...grow stronger. Okay I am just joking here a bit. Sure it is a bit heavy but that is a lot of glass. The price, well you get what you pay for it seems a lot when you fork over the cash but after you shoot with this lens you forget all about the money. This is a specialty lens and when used within that specialty it truly shines.
25 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Review 4 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: sy
Location: colorado
Used this product for: Less than 1 month
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 6 to 10 years
Product replacement: No

The Portrait Lens

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:February 21, 2013
Pros: Superior build quality, Super-sharp images, bokeh, super image quality
This is a Canon’s flagship and THE portrait lens. Most of things that were said about this lens are true and I won’t repeat what were said over and over, but I wrote MY OPINION on those issues.
-
SLOW FOCUS SPEED: People say it’s slow but I say it’s precise. I agree the auto focus is slow but it’s almost the speed of 135L (which is known to be blazing fast) in low light. When I got used to it, I didn’t pay too much attention. For portraits I rather have precise focus than blazing fast focus. Surely I had some hit-and-misses once in a while, but the rate is very low. When it misses focus, it’s forgivable, and never had out-of-wack focuses like I experienced with 35L or 50L.
-
SHARP FROM F1.2: Yes, it’s sharp from f1.2, and sharper than 50L but not a huge margin.
-
HEAVY CHROMATIC ABERRATION: Not as ugly as 35L on extreme high contrast. Bokeh fringing (ghosting image at f1.2) is much better controlled than 50L.
-
GREAT BOKEH: Yes, indeed.
-
GREAT IMAGE QUALITY: Yes, indeed. There’s that WOW factor in the images that comes out of this lens.
-
GREAT COLOR: I was surprised by how this lens renders skin tones. It’s not too saturated like 24L or 35L. And it’s different from how 50L renders the color. It’s not too contrasty. It’s just right and clean. This, too, confirms that a proof of Canon’s intention of 85LII as a portrait lens.
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NO WEATHER SEALING: When considering this as a portrait lens especially for weddings, you don’t really have to worry too much about shooting in a dusty windy rainy snow blizzard. Just don’t use it when some crazy couple try to get married under some crazy extreme conditions. I rather keep the cost down without it.
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FOCUS-BY-WIRE SYSTEM: Only thing I don’t like about this system is that I always have to remember to move the extended barrel back in to its place before turning off the camera. Even the camera is on, a focus ring doesn’t function at AF position unless you press the shutter button half way to override the focus. (Actually I have to read a manual to figure that out.)
-
SOFT OF THE CORNER: I wouldn't be concerned unless using it for landscapes.
-
EXPOSED REAR ELEMENT: Just be careful when you install the lens.
-
HEAVY: It is heavier than 24-70 2.8L surprisingly, but still not a brick like 70-200 2.8LII.
-
NEED IS: I must admit that almost all the photos that I shot under 1/80 shutter speed had motion blurr. But I never had a problem with 85f1.8. So maybe it’s my wimp arms are not strong enough to hold this lens. I can see that it will be a lot more price increase with IS if Canon makes it, and it’s already expensive itself.
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I used to think EF 85mm f1.8 is a cheaper version of this lens, but I learned that 85LII is a whole different breed. You can tell that by the “Focus-by-Wire” system itself. While f1.8 version is all around player with fast focus, 85LII seems to be designed a specific purpose, which is a portrait. And in fact it makes me want to shoot nothing but portraits and mainly at f1.2, probably up to f2 at most. There is pros and cons for many people with this expensive lens but it’s absolutely okay because I think this is not a lens anybody can buy and use for whatever situations. But for me, I’m surely glad that I finally got it. It is a beautiful lens.
28 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Review 5 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: Photooo7
Location: Wichita, America
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: more than 20 years
Product replacement: Yes

Like looking down a well

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:November 17, 2012
This lens is like looking down a well from the outside of the lens in. at 1.2 , you better have what you want in focus, because DOF is shallow, as it should be. the lens is amazingly sharp. for portraits of any kind, candid or posed, you're not going to find any better. this is the lens to compare ALL other 85s to. People often compare much cheaper portrait lens's and the others may be all most as good as, but this is the one you want when you want " The Best ".
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Review 6 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: PixelPrincess
Location: St. Charles, Il
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 1 to 5 years
Product replacement: No

Portraiture's Best Friend

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:August 10, 2012
Pros: Fast auto-focus, Superior build quality, Super-sharp images
Cons: just a bit heavy, no is (a security blanket for me)
Photography is my passion & my 5D Mark II my beloved. Each lens being a window to see the world in a different way, the 85mm f/1.2 offers a deeper more personal connection with the subject by allowing the rest of the world to fade from existance in a way no other lens seems to be able to do. I postponed buying this lens for too long; wouldn't be without it now!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Review 7 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: sking17
Location: Roseville, CA
Used this product for: 3 to 6 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Canon Customer: more than 20 years
Product replacement: No

Excellent choice

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:April 26, 2012
Pros: quality
Cons: weight
My wife and I love this lens. We keep it on our new 5D MK3 fulltime so we can catch great photos of our new granddaughter. Crisp, sharp pictures with a wonderful background blur.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Review 8 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: Liberty
Location: Missouri
Used this product for: Less than 1 month
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Canon Customer: Less than 1 year

One of my Best "L" lenses

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:March 28, 2012
Pros: astonishing bokeh, great sharpness, beautiful contrast, amazing detail and clarity even at it's widest, accurate focusing
I've just finished making a few portrait shots with this lens and I must say, I am amazed by the image quality. The images have a great contrast, sharpness, and beautiful clarity; even at aperture wide open. The background blur (bokeh) is ASTONISHING--it just melts like cream.
I was very nervous at first convincing myself about the price. However, the instant I saw the pictures I made with this lens, my worries quickly were put to rest, and great happiness and satisfaction filled my soul!
If you are in the market to have "THE" best 85mm lens in the world, and you have the money, don't think twice and purchase this lens. You will be very happy you did.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Review 9 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: Dave
Location: Chicago, IL
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 1 to 5 years
Product replacement: Yes

Best Portrait Lens-EVER

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:October 10, 2011
Pros: Fast auto-focus, Superior build quality, Super-sharp images, excellent feel
Cons: none
Since buying the Canon 85mm f1.2L II USM lens, I have shot portraits that are sharp, dreamy and out of the world bokey. All my subjects are extremely happy with the results and this lens is everything that Canon promises it to be. Lot of people complains about its slow auto focus but that has never been an issue with me. It has delivered for me every time. I use f 1.2 pretty much all the time.. be careful about camera shake there. No scope for error at that depth of field.
Thank you Canon for delivering such professional optics.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Review 10 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: The Sky
Location: texas
Used this product for: 6 to 12 months
Expertise Level: Casual User
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 6 to 10 years
Product replacement: Yes

Almost a masterpiece

Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Price/Value
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:August 17, 2011
Pros: great rendering colors.
Cons: heavy
The only reason why I still shooting Canon.
I almost love everything about this lens except for the weight. But at1.2, it's unavoidable.
Image is sharp, with sweet rendering.
I like the loose focus ring. It is so much easier to adjust manually with loose ring without moving camera to subject distance. With tight ring, you will move camera more thus not achieving good focus. I wonder how people prefer tighter ring over this.
I use this lens to shoot basketball w/o problems.
This is how a lens should be. Just almost a masterpiece.
I had no issue with focusing. Learn how to manual focus and you are good to go. I don't rely AF on this lens to choose my focus. It just kinda help and I adjust it many times. but when it nails, it nails hard!
10 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Review 11 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: IX-XI
Location: Central PA
Used this product for: 6 to 12 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 1 to 5 years
Product replacement: No

Background Control

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:July 1, 2011
Pros: Superior build quality, Super-sharp images
With the 5D II and this lens, I've gotten more referrals for outdoor portrait gigs than I ever got using previous glass. Senior portrait season is here, and I've had fun with my clients shooting multiple shots with different levels of background softening to give them an idea of the choices they have.
Some go straight for the supersoft backgrounds. Others want enough detail to indicate where they are. Others want everything in the pic.
However they choose, I've noticed I'm getting more "emotional" photographs. The thing is so fast I can tell my subject to be as still as possible, shoot an HDR bracket in half a second and have no ghosting after Photomatix has its way. Human subject HDR was elusive to me before this lens. Now I'm an HDR god.
This lens lets me do it all. Parents think I'm a genius, and I'm just a landgrant grad with a camera. Now they're coming back and asking me to shoot their weddings! Uh oh. I'm going to have to buy more indoor gear. My outdoor work is worth the pay though, and I have to give it up to the 85 1.2.
I have a lot more good shots than I used to before I got this bit of glass.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Review 12 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: iDigCoffee
Location: Keizer, Oregon
Used this product for: Less than 1 month
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 1 to 5 years
Product replacement: No

Real Deal

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:June 7, 2011
Pros: Fast auto-focus, Superior build quality, Super-sharp images
Going for portraits? Get this lens. Love it. Excellent depth of field. Excellent at 85mm. Excellent elements. Excellent glass, and how much of it there is. High price, but what do you expect? It's probably the best lens I've ever seen for the midrange telephoto lenses. You can't beat it. Excellent, excellent, oh and did I say it's purely excellent?
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 13 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: JR
Location: PA
Used this product for: more than 1 year
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: more than 20 years
Product replacement: No

PERFECT

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:March 27, 2011
Pros: Super-sharp images
Cons: hefty to carry all day
Now more than one year later, this is portrait lens of record for 15,000 images. The glass is heavy and the autofocus has to struggle a bit with all the mass to move, but when the beep goes off you are razor thin focused at full open aperature. I leave my flash in my bags and just love to grab portraits in deep shadows for the most dramatic lighting effects available. If it weren't for the required f5.6 tripod group shots at the weddings I'd only use this one wide open for nearly everything. People think I am a decent photographer, it is really THIS lens. Thanks Canon, a fan for life
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Review 14 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: vball dad
Used this product for: 3 to 6 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Canon Customer: more than 20 years
Product replacement: No

Fast focus versus more light

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:January 24, 2011
I recently purchased Canon’s 85mm f1.2L II USM because I had so many wonderful 35mm slides from using the FD precursor for 25years. Having read the reviews about slow focusing as a problem, I resigned myself to portraits and landscapes where the FD version excelled. I also have the 70-200mm f2.8 II USM and the focusing speed is in fact dramatically slower for the 85mm. However, I have been able to get great shots of indoor sports with the 85 and since it offers a full 2.5 stop advantage in speed over the 70-200 (not to mention a weight advantage). It is often my lens of choice for my daughter’s volleyball tournaments where stopping action requires 1/1000 sec shutter speeds and the lighting is often dismal. I shoot on the 5DmarkII body and can usually shoot virtually noise free (ISO of ca. 1000-2000) images with this lens whereas the 70-200 requires ISO’s that lead to noise as the major image quality limitation – faster focus can’t fix this. While you can’t easily shift your attention from one side of the court to the other with the 85 in following action (due to the focus speed), when tracking one player (which is my normal mode), I get outstanding results – crisp images, beautiful bokeh, amazing color. Sure a few shots are not in focus, but this is digital – just shoot enough and you will get some exceptional results – the electrons are free. To state the obvious about the focus speed – it certainly beats my abilities with the manual focus FD version. And, just like the FD lens, portraits and intimate landscapes are amazing. This is again one of my favorite lenses and I highly recommend it for indoor sports where you can get close and you need all the shutter speed you can afford. Once you learn how to work with the limitations, the slower focusing relative to the 70-200 is more than compensated for by the light-gathering ability and great image quality.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Review 15 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: DreamEFX
Location: Fairfax VA
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Portraits
Canon Customer: 1 to 5 years
Product replacement: No

Simply Amazing

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:January 11, 2011
Pros: Superior build quality, Super-sharp images
Cons: Slow auto-focus, not weather sealed
This is the "be all" of all portrait lenses. The sharpness, the wide open goodness at f1.2 and the feel you have when it's plugged into your Canon DSLR is unsurpassed. This lens can be used as a walk around lens but you will soon find it has a lot of faults used like that.
I rate this lens a perfect 5 stars because using this lens for portraits is just amazing. In fact this is my absolute favorite lens and I look forward to taking some incredible shots everywhere I go.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 16 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: nemophoto
Location: NYC/DC
Used this product for: 6 to 12 months
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Product replacement: No

Incredibly sharp lens

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:July 15, 2010
Pros: sharp, beautiful bokeh, well balanced with a 1d series
Cons: heavy, slightly slower focusing, expensive
Between my 135/2 and this 85/1.2, I shoot 90% of my work. This is an incredibly sharp lens that makes the most of the current crop of hi-res sensors. I used the 85/1.8, which in and of itself is pretty sharp, for years, but the 85/1.2 leaves it in the dust. Also, less chromatic aberration on the highlight edges.
25 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Review 17 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: Ricardo
Location: Ohio
Used this product for: Less than 1 month
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Product replacement: No

Best lens in its class

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:June 2, 2010
Pros: Fast auto-focus, Superior build quality, Super-sharp images
Cons: price
If you are a professional portrait or wedding photographer, this lens should be in your bag. Very fast glass, superior sharpness and very durable. Very good in low light conditions where flash is not an option. Would also be a good lens for shooting basketball or other indoor events where flash is not allowed.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Review 18 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: GMak
Location: Bellevue WA
Used this product for: Less than 1 month
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Product replacement: No

Outstanding lens with caveats as others noted

Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Date:May 18, 2010
Pros: Superior build quality, Super-sharp images
Cons: Slow auto-focus, dangerously high glass in rear easily scratched, an unusual build makes mounting tricky
I have used this for about a month and concur with the consensus of the previous reviews.
This images from this lens are incredible - IF you get it in focus. In bright light, this lens renders unbelievable images! The best of any lens I have. In low light, however, or focusing on small distant objects, it is very difficult for the lens to focus and very difficult or you to tell if the image is in focus, so a lot of your shots will be out of focus. Focusing manually doesn't help much since you have the same difficulty the auto-focus does. Also note the comment from someone that the power has to be on in order to focus this lens, and since there really isn't a full-stop infinity as in 35 millimeter lenses, you can't pre-focus for infinity in most cases.
I've used this for several sports events and some portraiture at a graduation and the lens performs as others have said, with the pros and cons as noted.
1) When in focus, the shallow depth of field makes a wonderful image with background distractions beautifully blurred out. With smaller f-stops, even up to f4 - 5.6 or so, the background is still nicely blurred and not distracting. The f1.2 helps keep shutter speed manageable and ISO low. Just gotta watch the focus!
2) The focusing mechanism IS slow. No question. Probably the biggest con of this lens. You don't notice it at first when photographing non-moving objects and frankly, it's not much of an issue there. It seems only "sluggish" but not bad. BUT, when photographing a moving image (something faster than a turtle,) that's when you notice it. The lens can actually freeze and you won't even be able to able to take the picture at all. (E.g.: a track meet with runners going by, as they pass you, the lens will freeze because of the speed of the change in focal distance from the start of the track to right in front of you can be too fast, such as in a 100m race with runners going by, for example.) To be honest, I hesitate to call this a "sports" lens at this point. It just doesn't adjust its focus fast enough for sports action.
3) The comment about the rear glass being SO close to the end of the barrel was true - and it is unnerving when trying to change lenses quickly. in the field. You REALLY have to pay attention. The lens itself is an odd, bulky shape and the red line-up dot is not in the place you would expect. The fear is grinding the glass when mounting. Can be scary. Don't rush it.
4) For typical portraits and group shots, you'll have to shoot at f4 or better to make sure everyone is in focus. The image should be fabulous on a bright day. In low light, good luck. Better to boost the ISO and take at a smaller f-stop.
5) This lens weighs a ton. If you have other "L" series lenses, consider investing in a camera bag with wheels or one that has a slot for a large bottle of ibuprofen.
Make no mistake, I am glad I got this lens, and I want to extend my thanks for previous reviewers talking about the pros/cons. I was about to understand what I was getting into and wasn't negatively surprised.
As with everything else, the more you use it, the better you'll understand how to use it to its advantages and minimize (or avoid) its weaknesses. Then, your "good" shots will start to improve. But don't buy this and run off to a once-in-a-lifetime event and expect you'll get those wonderful pro shots. You will be in for a very unhappy experience - until you get more experience with it. It's unlike most other lenses in this regard.
84 of 86 people found this review helpful.
Review 19 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: SuperM3
Location: Riverside, California
Used this product for: more than 1 year
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Product replacement: Yes

The Ultimate Bokeh Machine

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:March 4, 2010
Pros: Fast auto-focus, Superior build quality, Super-sharp images
Cons: nothing
This is one of the best lenses on an already excellent line-up of the Canon L Series. The low-light and bokeh- producing capabilities of this lens is unmatched. It has the creamiest bokeh of all lenses.The color rendition and sharpness are really superb. At aperture 1.2 at its closest focusing distance, the depth of field is only 1.5cms., and that gives you a very dramatic look that other lenses will find difficulty reproducing.
I've read other reviews, not only here but also in other sites, about focusing problems, and those to me are most probably operator issues rather than a problem with the lens itself. This lens can be technical to use because you have to rethink how to focus on your subjects. You can not just point and shoot specially if using the largest aperture settings. It is important that you have to precisely know what you are focusing on. Using the individual focusing points will solve probably 99% of the focusing issues. Once you have trained yourself on how to focus with this lens, the rewards are great.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful.
Review 20 for EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Nickname: Pilot850
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur

Incredible Portrait Lens

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:February 17, 2010
Pros: Fast auto-focus, Super-sharp images, great background defocus
I managed to get my hands on one of these at a camera show. It was incredible! Attach it to any Canon DSLR, and it will instantly make you a pro (assuming you have at least some experience with SLRs). It is well worth the cost if you are a pro photographer, and perhaps even if you are an amateur. I recommend this lens for anybody who wants to take their portrait shots to the next level. My only concern is the price, so only buy this if you have plenty of money to burn.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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