Canon 85mm f/1.2L II - does anyone got one?

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Charles
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Hi all. Anyone got this lens?

Can you share your experience in terms of AFMA calibration and the results followed by it and also your experience with the overall sharpness/focus of your pictures at different distances from the subject? Do they look all in focus/sharp within its capabilities at all distances? Say, being a portrait lens: 4m, 3m, 2m and 1.5m?

Thanks in advance. C.
 
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8,090
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Raymond
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Had one for like 10 years.

photos looks sharp (enough), even for print and even pixel peep. But you have to nail it because I only ever shoot at 1.2 lol why else would you get this? :p

It’s not easy however nailing it, it’s lots of practice as focus is slow and no eye af. I used it on the Somy adapted and it was actually better because I could nail the focus more often.

Know that the 135L is sharper but the 85L is more magical. Sharpness isn’t it’s biggest issue, CA is.
 
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Charles
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Thank you for your comment Raymond.

May I ask you if you have performed any AFMA on your camera when you had this lens?
 
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Jim
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Very slow to focus and quite heavy
 
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Jim
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Yes, it's a good few years since I had mine but those were the two things I remember.
 

Canon Bob

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Bob
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I've had the MkII for around 10 years and the MkI before that. It can be challenging for tight portraiture when used wide open and out towards f/2.8.

The lens does exhibit a small amount of focus shift due to the same uncorrected spherical aberrations that contribute to the pleasing bokeh although not to the same level as the 50/1.2.
I use it in AIservo mode in mitigation of my potential movement and that of the subject.

At f/1.2 there is no focus shift but the +/-10mm DoF can be a challenge and whilst the features remain in the DoF field, eyelashes and eyebrows can still clearly show where the true plane of focus lies. It should be remembered that focus is achieved when the plane of focus is within 1/3 of the DoF region if using an f/2.8 focus point....this again can be troublesome with lashes and brows as they are excellent indicators of the true plane of focus.

Stopping down from f/1,2 brings in the focus shift until the aperture reaches f/2.8 ('ish) and the DoF region expands to mask the problem (as would shooting less tightly framed).

I've calibrated mine on numerous bodies using Reikan's Focal but readily accept that the other factors noted above can easily mean that reality and fact don't always meet at the same place.
For me, it's a lens where each step backwards and each stop lower can improve the success rate exponentially.

Bob
 
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Charles
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Thank you all for your comments, Please see your section below:

Had one for like 10 years.

photos looks sharp (enough), even for print and even pixel peep. But you have to nail it because I only ever shoot at 1.2 lol why else would you get this? :p

It’s not easy however nailing it, it’s lots of practice as focus is slow and no eye af. I used it on the Somy adapted and it was actually better because I could nail the focus more often.

Know that the 135L is sharper but the 85L is more magical. Sharpness isn’t it’s biggest issue, CA is.
That is the reason why I got the lens, for its f/1.2 aperture. For that dreamy and magical effect. I think everyone know that the lens is heavy but balances well on the camera and the slow AF is known as well and it is something that you have to have in mind indeed.
The 135mm f/2 is on my list although I would like to test it with the sigma 135mm f/1.8 despite the fact that I am not very fond of 3rd party lenses. But sigma is really there in terms of IQ. But lacks that magical side, micro-contrast.

I don't know what AFMA is, I used FoCal to calibrate it but only when i had the mk4. Didn't bother before that.
Do you remember if you had a hard time calibrating the lens? AFMA is the camera capability to move the AF module and so move the plane of focus. It is essentially what FoCal does for you.

Very slow to focus and quite heavy
Yes, very well know although in the size department I don't think so. It balances well with the camera.

I've had the MkII for around 10 years and the MkI before that. It can be challenging for tight portraiture when used wide open and out towards f/2.8.

The lens does exhibit a small amount of focus shift due to the same uncorrected spherical aberrations that contribute to the pleasing bokeh although not to the same level as the 50/1.2.
I use it in AIservo mode in mitigation of my potential movement and that of the subject.

At f/1.2 there is no focus shift but the +/-10mm DoF can be a challenge and whilst the features remain in the DoF field, eyelashes and eyebrows can still clearly show where the true plane of focus lies. It should be remembered that focus is achieved when the plane of focus is within 1/3 of the DoF region if using an f/2.8 focus point....this again can be troublesome with lashes and brows as they are excellent indicators of the true plane of focus.

Stopping down from f/1,2 brings in the focus shift until the aperture reaches f/2.8 ('ish) and the DoF region expands to mask the problem (as would shooting less tightly framed).

I've calibrated mine on numerous bodies using Reikan's Focal but readily accept that the other factors noted above can easily mean that reality and fact don't always meet at the same place.
For me, it's a lens where each step backwards and each stop lower can improve the success rate exponentially.

Bob
Thanks for your input. That's what I do I use servo mode although my 6D is too old to follow the subject lol
Good to know that since it could mean that there isn't anything wrong with the lens but is something that is natural to the lens and is one of its characteristics.
I don't know anyone else that has got this lens so can't compare really hence why I was asking here.

Can you remember when you calibrated the lens what distance did you use, also if it gave you some grief and if after calibration did you try at other distance to see how it was performing after the calibration?

Thank you.
 
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8,090
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Raymond
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I don’t remember having problems with the lens, it always performed as it should. Any missed shot always felt my fault as opposed to the lens because if I try to shoot something static, it nails it.
 
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Charles
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I don’t remember having problems with the lens, it always performed as it should. Any missed shot always felt my fault as opposed to the lens because if I try to shoot something static, it nails it.
Yeah, I am still in the process of calibrating it and trying to find the best natural light during the day since I got the FoCal targets yesterday I can now fully perform the calibration at working distance and recommended distance.

Would like to hear more from other people that might have had it. Cheers
 
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Gareth (Not Gary!)
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I haven't owned mine for many years now since selling all my digital equipment (wish I had kept it to use on film now) but as Raymond has said, it is a stunning lens when it nails focus. Razor sharp images have no appeal to me when that's the main talking point of an image but again, as Raymond says, it's sharp enough. The creamy bokeh really is stunning.

Unfortunately, the only examples I have are from 2013 (wow, has it been that long!?) and it's not the kind of photography I do now but it gives a good idea of the sharpness and subject separation. Why did I sell up again? Ha.



 
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Charles
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Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing that the style I am trying to focus now hence why got this lens. If had the money would choose the 200mm f/2.

Thanks.
 

Canon Bob

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Bob
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Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing that the style I am trying to focus now hence why got this lens. If had the money would choose the 200mm f/2.
The 85 and 200 compliment each other very well. The 85 is good for more intimate interaction with the subject and the 200 works well when the subject isn't happy for the photographer to be in their face although more care needs to be taken with the background...the 200's bokeh can become fussy with certain textures.
 
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Charles
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The 85 and 200 dompliment each other very well. The 85 is good for more intimate interaction with the subject and the 200 works well when the subject isn't happy for the photographer to be in their face although more care needs to be taken with the background...the 200's bokeh can become fussy with certain textures.
Look for Daniel Venter on google you will see his portraits with the 200mm f/2. They look everything but fussy.

The Sigma 105/1.4 may be a left field choice?
Well, it is just because it is a third party lens and because you don't know how reliable they are down the line in 10 years time or when itcomes to the AF accuracy can't really invest on that.
 
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Raymond
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Look for Daniel Venter on google you will see his portraits with the 200mm f/2. They look everything but fussy.



Well, it is just because it is a third party lens and because you don't know how reliable they are down the line in 10 years time or when itcomes to the AF accuracy can't really invest on that.
I guess you are talking about the EF mount then it’s pretty safe to say that the mount is at a dead end so if the lens works now, it will always work, there won’t be any 5Dmk5 to worry about. Plus there is always the sigma dock, gone are the days where you need to send in a lens to update firmware.
 

Canon Bob

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Bob
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Look for Daniel Venter on google you will see his portraits with the 200mm f/2. They look everything but fussy.
I wasn't implying that it was in any way incapable just that some caution was needed whereas the 85mm can obliterate the backgound texture if required. I would say that I take more shots with the 200/2 than any other lens that I own.
 
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15,454
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Toni
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I wasn't implying that it was in any way incapable just that some caution was needed whereas the 85mm can obliterate the backgound texture if required. I would say that I take more shots with the 200/2 than any other lens that I own.
Just to agree with this, some lenses cope really well with 'difficult' backgrounds, but others far less so. If DV is creating excellent portraits with smooth backgrounds it's likely because he's taking care to do just that, rather than simply whacking the lens wide open and hoping for the best. :)
 
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Charles
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Just to agree with this, some lenses cope really well with 'difficult' backgrounds, but others far less so. If DV is creating excellent portraits with smooth backgrounds it's likely because he's taking care to do just that, rather than simply whacking the lens wide open and hoping for the best. :)
True, however I guess there will be a lot of people using EF on the RF for a long time till the price drops to the region where the EF is now. But you will never know if they will release more DSLRs.
 
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Toni
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True, however I guess there will be a lot of people using EF on the RF for a long time till the price drops to the region where the EF is now. But you will never know if they will release more DSLRs.
I expect, as Raymond says, EF mount cameras and lenses are pretty much over - there may be a couple of cameras partially developed that they'll complete, but if the Canon mirrorless range takes off then that's it. Canon has a history of obsolescing previous generations, and it would be very surprising if they didn't try to do that for DSLRs and EF lenses ASAP.

Not that it should stop you using the lenses (and bodies) you like - nothing will prevent them from being able to take an excellent photograph just like they always did.
 
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Charles
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Size comparison.


The 85L is wide but it's not that tall. I need the hood really to make it comfortable to hold.

adapted on the Sony is erm, weird looking.



The 105 is big.



At 1.8



At 1.2

Are these two last pictures from the 105mm?

Don't get me wrong in regards to the 105mm. I love the art series and the 135 and 105 are definitely my favourites. The only one I tried from the art series was the 85mm and it was solid indeed but the Canon 85mm f1.2 is really magical. However the 105mm costs around £1.1k and the Canon 85mm that I got was roughly £750 that's £350 stops lol difference that can be put towards the next in line which is the Canon 35mm f/1.4L II. It is worth saying that it is very hard to find the 105mm used hence why I haven't bought it to try it out.

How does the Canon 85mm behave on the Sony? Eye detect how does it perform?
 
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8,090
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Raymond
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They are all from the 85L II

and I also had the 35L mk2.....I love that lens, I really miss that lens....

Eye AF works great on the Sony, the lens works better on the Sony than it does on the Canon because of Eye AF. But ultimately I like Native and the way it mounts it a bit awkward with the adaptor so I gave up the 1.2...made up for it in getting the 105/1.4 if I want something similar but it's not the same same lens.
 
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Charles
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Thanks. They look amazing really. You can see that the lens is sufficiently sharp. Look at that eyelash. Amazing. I was really close to get the A73 just because of the AF really, just because of the eye tracking but I am still holding this temptation since I love my 6D too much. Low light performance up to ISO6400 is amazing at f/1.2 shutter speed >1/250s for the scenes I photograph.

That's what I am hoping to get either if I end up getting that Sony or the EOS R. That's why I will not sell this lens any time soon even if Canon stops making DSLRs.

It is a shame you don't live near me otherwise would try to convince you to let me try my 85mm on your sony :D

Cheers
 
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Giles
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I traded mine in and got the Canon 85mm f1.4 instead. It's now one of my favourite lenses, the 135mm f2 being the other. The faster focusing on the 1.4 just suited me better than the 1.2II.
 
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Charles
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I traded mine in and got the Canon 85mm f1.4 instead. It's now one of my favourite lenses, the 135mm f2 being the other. The faster focusing on the 1.4 just suited me better than the 1.2II.
Thanks for you feedback. How long did you exchanged it for the new one? Can you give your feedback in terms of shooting experience wide open and also in terms of calibrating the lens? What was your approach?
Thanks.
 
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Giles
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I had the F1.2 for about 5 years and used it fairly regularly before changing. Typically use the F1.4 wide open and rarely over F2. Just find it easier to use really. I haven't needed to calibrate and the images I have taken (when I get it right) are pretty much pin sharp with a very similar drop off to the 1.2. I'll try and find some images.
 
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Charles
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I had the F1.2 for about 5 years and used it fairly regularly before changing. Typically use the F1.4 wide open and rarely over F2. Just find it easier to use really. I haven't needed to calibrate and the images I have taken (when I get it right) are pretty much pin sharp with a very similar drop off to the 1.2. I'll try and find some images.
At what distance did you normally used to shoot? So most of the shots were taken between f/1.4 and f/2? Is that it?
 
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