Canon 85mm F1 2 L Ii

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Canon 85mm f/i.2L II

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Specs   Performance   Recommendations

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Canon 85mm f/1.2L

Canon EF 85mm f/one.2L II USM
(72mm filters, 34.2 oz./971g), about actual size. enlarge. I’d go mine at Adorama or at Amazon. My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, peculiarly this link straight to information technology at Adorama or directly to information technology at Amazon, when you go
annihilation, regardless of the land in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when y’all go yours through those links — simply I receive
goose egg
for my efforts if y’all purchase elsewhere. Cheers for your support! Ken.

Christmas 2013 deal:
Canon 85mm f/i.2L Ii USM for $1,799: Cost at Checkout is $1,999.00 and Last Price after mail-in-rebate is $ane,799 — with Gratis Shipping!

November 2013

Canon Reviews   Canon Lenses   All Reviews

Canon EF 50mm f/1.0 L USM
(same exterior parts, 1989-2000)


1.) Exquisitely sharp and contrasty, even wide open up, even in the corners, and fifty-fifty on full-frame.

2.) Exquisitely well made.


ane.) Deadening autofocus, needed for accurate f/1.two focusing.

2.) Clumsy, indirect electronic manual focus.

3.) Doesn’t focus very close, only 3.2′ (0.95m).

four.) Slightly more than flare than the Catechism 85mm f/i.eight.

iv.) Huge.

five.) Heavy.

6.) Expensive.



Specs   Operation   Recommendations

This huge aspherical Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L Two USM offers spectacular image quality, even at f/1.two, for professional journalists and amateur astronomers.

See the teeny little lens mountain on the left in the photo? That’south the aforementioned standard Canon EF mount equally normal lenses. It looks tiny because this lens is much bigger effectually than the lens mountain.

This isn’t your grandfather’southward conventional 85mm f/1.2, and this isn’t a lens to use for general photography. It lists for $2,100 The states, and sells for almost $1,800 US.

This grapefruit-sized behemoth is a very special purpose lens designed for people who intend to employ information technology wide open up nearly of the time, and are willing to pay for that in many means. You people know who you are. If yous have to ask, so this lens isn’t for you. If you know who y’all are and think you lot demand one of these, go get 1 today. Its optics are extraordinary, even broad open. Point sources of calorie-free stay points, even at f/1.2 in the farthest corners, even total-frame. Most of this review is written for normal people explaining why this lens is bully, only more often than not for crazies similar y’all.

For full general photography, the smaller Catechism 85mm f/i.8 works better. I reviewed the first-class f/ane.8 at the same time as this f/i.2, only I nonetheless demand to write it upward. For most people, fifty-fifty if someone was giving these away for free, the 85mm f/ane.eight is a better lens because it focuses faster, focuses more easily, focuses closer, has less flare, weighs a lot less and is just every bit precipitous.

If you lot’re a collector-user who values the all-time more than you lot value practical utility, at that place isn’t any real downside optically to this f/one.2 lens versus the more than applied f/1.8. Y’all’ll love this fauna if you don’t mind hauling it around.

If y’all need to shoot at wider than f/ane.8, I’ve never used anything else like this f/ane.ii lens. Prototype quality is spectacular, presuming you know the limitations of shooting and focusing at f/1.2.

Even though it excels at photographing test charts even at f/ane.two, in real photography the depth of field is cardboard, so at f/i.ii almost naught is in focus. Your photographic camera’s autofocus arrangement volition be taxed to its limit and you’ll have a tough time getting your intended bailiwick in focus if you’re worrying about lab-grade sharpness. Information technology won’t happen unless yous’re subject is apartment, which is only test charts or skies.

You can’t manual focus accurately plenty for f/1.two because the standard focus screens on the Canon 5D and others merely encounter at a maximum of f/two.five – you need a special focus screen for precise manual focus. I’yard non kidding: flick the field preview and you lot won’t see any change stopping downward to f/2.5. That’s the way modern laser-etched finder screens are made to make dim zooms look brighter. You’ll practice OK for journalism, so long equally you set up focus to the middle of what looks precipitous.

I take to underscore that this is a very special purpose lens. Get information technology in a heartbeat if yous need to shoot wider than f/one.8, just skip it in favor of the 85mm f/1.8 if you shoot at more reasonable apertures like f/ii.

Lenses like this likewise emphasize that you get what yous pay for from Canon. Canon makes lenses for television, motion pictures and semiconductor manufacturing that run half dozen-, and possibly even into seven-figure price tags. When you driblet two grand on this lens, you’ll feel information technology. It’s got a lot of metal instead of plastic. Look in the back: internal lens groups ride on roller bearings; they don’t just slide around in tubes!

Let me reiterate that it’southward huge, about the size of a grapefruit, and a lot heavier. When y’all put this on your camera, you’re actually putting your camera on the back of a lens much bigger and heavier than your camera. Information technology volition feel very front-heavy. Hither’s a promo shot of information technology on a Canon 30D:

Canon 85mm f/1.2

Catechism 85mm f/i.2L Two on a 30D.
It looks cool, but fills 2 hands.


Top    Introduction   Functioning   Recommendations


Canon calls this the CANON LENS EF 85mm f/1.two
Two USM.

Electronic Focus. All modern Canon lenses focus with a motor in the lens.

Expensive every bit 50. No exact meaning other than this being Catechism’due south lingo for lenses with extra immovability and atmospheric condition sealing. L lenses piece of work on all cameras including movie and full-frame digital. Catechism puts a red band around the front of these.

Canon’s second version of this lens. There is an older version, introduced in 1989, called CANON LENS EF 85mm f/1.2 L USM, without the “Two.”

Ultra-Sonic Motor: The focus motor operates silently.


8 elements, 7 groups.

Modified double-Gauss.

One element is an expensive footing and polished aspherical element. The precision aspherical element eliminates the aberrations common to conventional spherical loftier-speed eyes. It’s also why it costs 2 grand!

Focal Length


Used on a one.3x camera it gives an bending of view similar to what a 107mm lens would give on a 35mm film camera. On a ane.6x camera it gives an bending of view like to what a 138mm lens would give on a 35mm picture show camera. Encounter as well Crop Gene.


8 blades, stopping downwards to f/sixteen. Circular to f/ii.0, octagonal from f/4 up.

Filter Size


Close Focus

‘ (0.95m) from the image plane (the back of the camera), marked.

Maximum Reproduction Ratio


Infrared Focus Alphabetize?

Yes, for 800nm IR.


About every bit big equally a grapefruit. 3.6000″ diameter x 3.306″ extension from flange (91.44 x 83.97mm) at infinity; 3.815″ (96.90mm) extension at close focus stop.


34.245 oz. (ii pounds, 2-1/four oz. or 970.9g), measured, naked.


ES-79II, snap-on flocked plastic, included.

It rotates during manual focus, and stores on the lens reversed.


LP1219 pouch, included.


February 2006.



Introduction   Specs   Recommendations

Autofocus    Bokeh    Color    Color Fringes    Construction

Distortion   Eyeblow   Falloff   Film   Filters   Flare   Flash

Macro       Serial #       Sharpness       Sunstars       IS


Information technology’s a huge hunk of glass. Information technology feels weird on-camera. Information technology weighs 36% more than the 70-200mm f/4L, and is a lot shorter. My photographic camera always feels like it wants to bomb forward.

AF is slow, and manual override is a weird indirect electronic system.

It is a masterpiece of manufacturing. It reeks of quality and precision, and its images are extraordinary.

   back to Performance or dorsum to Introduction.

The focus is slower and clumsier than other lenses, and much clumsier than the inexpensive 85mm f/1.8.

What Moves

The forepart group moves but does not rotate. The rear elements are fixed.

The hood snaps onto the manual focus ring, which of class rotates during manual focus.


AF speed is slow, slower than the 85mm f/1.8. This f/1.2L 2 version is much faster than the first 1989 f/1.2L version. Canon says this new version is ane.8x faster than the original f/1.2, but it’due south withal slower than the f/1.eight I tried.

This is because the organisation needs to be much more than precise than other lenses to ensure authentic focus at f/1.two. Depth of field at f/i.2 is a few inches (v cm) at ane hundred feet (30m), then extreme AF accuracy is required to make real use of the f/1.2 aperture.

The lens needs to be positioned mechanically within distances measured in wavelengths of light, so this takes a while longer than less precise, slower f/stop lenses.

Audio and Racket

It’s almost silent. It makes a slight sliding noise as information technology moves, with nearly no clunking.

The manual focus ring sounds nice when spun with the photographic camera off. It makes a super high precision encoder sound, if you lot listen for those things.

Ease of Manual Focusing

Weird. It’s like my 10 year former Nikon AF-I lenses: when you take hold of the ring, an electronic system cuts in and spins the internal focus for you lot! Information technology’s a weird disconnected feeling. The electronics don’t always rail exactly your turning of the focus band. If you spin information technology fast, the lens can’t keep upward, just that’s not a problem.

Information technology’s much better than the previous 85mm f/1.2L.

It’s 3/iv of a turn from infinity to the close focus of 0.95m.

Y’all don’t need to motility the switch; it’southward automatic.

Manual focus just works when fastened to a camera that’s turned on. No camera, or camera off, and no manual focusing. This ways exist sure to focus at infinity earlier you lot remove it from your camera if want the lens as compact as possible (ha ha) before throwing it in your bag. When removed from a camera, the transmission focus ring spins without focusing the lens.

I prefer the straight mechanical clutch system in near of the other Canon USM and Nikon AF-South lenses, like the Canon 85mm f/one.8.

The f/1.two does what it does because information technology has to to retain the farthermost mechanical precision required for edge-to-edge sharpness at f/1.2 for astronomy.

Since manual focus is actually electronic, it would be innovative if Catechism offered a remote control for manual focus for astronomical use. (Patent disclosure here, I’d love to be named on any filings, thank you!)

Caution: you’ll want to await for the green focus confirmation dot in the finder (in which case yous’d be better off with AF) or use a special loftier-precision manual focus screen. The standard focus screens in AF cameras are optimized for brightness with mod f/2.8 and slower zooms.

Standard focus screens therefore aren’t footing glass; they are laser-cut with special patterns that only see though the lens at near f/2.5. Want to run across this? Stop the lens down with the field preview push. You lot won’t run into any dimming until yous get to f/2.5. That’s right: this lens looks no brighter than an f/2.8 lens through the finder! Y’all also can wait at the finder screen through the front end of the lens. You’ll see a weird image: you’ll only see the calorie-free coming through the finder screen in a circle where the diaphragm would prevarication at f/ii.v. The residue is dark, if yous’re looking through the camera from the front.

The special transmission focus screens available for some Canon cameras use traditional ground glass to let y’all see more accurately at f/i.2.

Run into Canon 5D Focus Screens for more than.

Autofocus Accurateness

AF accurateness is quite good and consistent.

If y’all’re really looking for issues, like shooting at f/1.2 in broad daylight, my 5D focuses consistently a lilliputian backside the intended subject. At 100′ (30m) it focused about a foot (30cm) too far, which is beyond the depth of field No large deal, because:

a.) I’ve heard Canon will tweak whatever camera and lens combo nether warranty one fourth dimension, for gratis, to get this perfect, and

b.) Later on a few shots, I realized I could focus on something a human foot closer at that distance, and go reasonably perfect focus on the intended target. My 5D tends to focus a little closer than the bailiwick with other ultrafast lenses, so information technology’south most likely a demand to tweak my 5D, not the lens.

c.) If my camera focuses an 85mm lens a foot (30cm) too far for a subject at 100′ (30m), that is only a 3 micron error at the prototype plane. 3u is ane/x,000 of an inch, or 6 wavelengths of lite.

Focus Breathing

Breathing is a picture show term which refers to what happens equally you pull (alter) focus from nigh to far. I list this for people putting these lenses on their Canon Xl-1s for shooting video.

The Canon 85mm f/1.two L Two changes magnification as it focuses, like most still camera lenses.


dorsum to Performance or dorsum to Introduction.

Caution: as explained above nether manual focusing, most modern cameras, similar my 5D, only show a view through the lens equivalent to f/2.5. Your bodily photos volition show very dissimilar results from what you come across in the finder at large apertures. You may want to consider the high precision transmission focus screen, and if yous do, be sure to set your photographic camera accordingly. This is ready in custom function 00 in my 5D.

Bokeh is good. Information technology’s quite neutral, a pleasant surprise since many other advanced aspherical optics of this class unremarkably have hideous bokeh in their unrelenting pursuit of sharpness. Hither are total-frame images from my 5D focused at 10 feet (3m). The woods are at about l’ (15m):

Canon 85mm f/1.2 bokeh

Total frame, Canon 85mm f/1.ii at f/1.two.

Canon 85mm f/1.2 bokeh

Full frame, Canon 85mm f/1.2 at f/1.iv.

Canon 85mm f/1.2 bokeh

Full frame, Canon 85mm f/1.2 at f/ii.

Canon 85mm f/1.2 bokeh

Total frame, Catechism 85mm f/1.ii at f/2.8.

Canon 85mm f/1.2 bokeh

Full frame, Canon 85mm f/1.ii at f/4.

Canon 85mm f/1.2 bokeh

Full frame, Canon 85mm f/ane.two at f/5.6.

Bokeh at the smaller apertures is amend than information technology looks here. The picayune bokeh blobs at f/4 and f/5.6 only happen to be far enough autonomously so that the edges here (but non centers) overlap and are making the proficient bokeh look bad.

Lateral Color Fringes


back to Performance or dorsum to Introduction.

The Canon 85mm f/1.ii L Ii is fantabulous. It has no colour fringes, unless you’re slightly out of focus, which is centric chromatic aberration, a unlike issue that ways you lot’re out of focus.

This lens is canonical by the PPLFPA, Professional Patio and Lawn Piece of furniture Photographers’ Association, with a form of “A.”

Here’s a full-frame image from my 5D:

Canon 85mm f/1.2

Full image, Canon 85mm f/1.ii Two at f/2.viii.

Canon 85mm f/1.2

Unsharpened ingather from the to a higher place at 100% magnification.

The correct border of this crop goes right to the very edge. There is no color fringing, period, so long as you’re in perfect focus. Notation how abrupt this is at f/2.8; it’s just as sharp at f/ane.ii!

Meet likewise the examples at Sharpness.

Colour Rendition

back to Functioning or back to Introduction.

I meet no differences from my other Canon lenses.

Construction Quality

back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Most Exterior Barrel Parts

Plastic. Front groups’ butt is metal.

Filter Threads


Focus Ring

Metal covered with a band of ribbed rubber.


Silvery paint.







Have a look into the rear: you’ll see a lens group that rides on 3 roller begetting! Canon’southward not playing around with this lens.

Noises when shaken

Lots of klunking. This is normal. If you hold the front grouping and focus band you go much less noise: you’ll merely hear the diaphragm blades softly moving as y’all shake it.


Made in Nippon.


back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Distortion is pocket-size barrel baloney. It’s invisible for anything y’all ought to be shooting with this lens.

Plug +0.5 into Photoshop CS2’s lens baloney filter to correct the distortion. This figure is for y’all to enjoy in your photography. This took me hours to calculate and is © and registered, and then you’ll need permission to utilise it for anything else. Thanks! Ken.

Here’southward the Wall of Shame. Curl your mouse over information technology to see after correction in Photoshop.

The Wall of Shame. Roll your mouse over it to see after correction in Photoshop.


back to Functioning or back to Introduction.

No air blows out of my viewfinder as I focus. The Catechism 85mm f/1.2L 2 USM has a fixed rear chemical element, and then no air blows out its rear.

This helps go on your digital camera sensor cleaner than zooms, which can pump air in and out as y’all zoom.


(Darkened Corners)

back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Here are shots of an Expodisc on my full-frame 5D. These results volition be better on a one.3x photographic camera (1D), and much better on a 1.6x camera like a 30D (more at Ingather Cistron).









This test exaggerates what I saw shooting. This is a tough test which shows even the slightest falloff. Except at f/1.2, I never saw any of this in real photography.

There is falloff at f/1.2, but unless y’all’re shooting in broad daylight, it doesn’t matter. For shooting the things you’re likely to shoot with this special lens at f/1.two, information technology looks fine. Astronomers do accept note, yet.

These shots are in my 5D’southward aperture-preferred car (Av) style. The camera’s meter and the calibration of the blades gave darker results wide open. This is OK, I’d be ticked if the system overexposed the shots at f/1.2, which would be wasting very expensive light. This mode it effectively “pushes” the image a little (may demand some lightening later) and gives me even faster shutter speeds when I really, really demand them at f/1.ii. If this slightly darker rendition isn’t for you, but dial in some positive exposure compensation at wide apertures.

Lest you remember that the slightly darker f/one.2 prototype ways Canon is cheating you out of your true f/1.2; I checked it direct confronting a Canon 85mm f/i.8, and the f/one.ii indeed transmitted a full stop more low-cal at f/i.two than the other lens did at f/ane.eight.

The results from the f/1.2 lens look darker than they are because of the falloff in the corners.

Canon 85mm f/one.2L 2 Review Continues > >

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