Photographer : Evita KittyCat .
Model and post production : Andrew Brown Sugar .
Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
F E A T U R E D ……in group:
Hat and Hat Boxes . 12 – 03 – 2011 .
Amazing Challenge Entertainment! 13-03-2011.
The Human Condition. 16.03.2011.
Canon 85 mm f/1.2
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens is the widest aperture lens Canon currently makes (update: now the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens shares this aperture) – allowing handholding and action stopping in the darkest conditions. The background blur capable of being produced by the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens is stunning.
It takes a lot of glass to be that fast – and it sure looks nice. It is especially attractive with that red ring around the end of it. :)
The biggest downside to the original Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L USM Lens was the very slow focusing speed. If you were shooting portraits, it didn’t matter. But, a lens this fast begs to be used for indoor action sports. Canon has utilized the latest USM (Ultrasonic Motor) in this lens for faster (I wouldn’t give it a “fast” rating yet) and near-silent autofocus. The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens’ improved focus mechanism is about 1.6x faster than the original lens – noticeably faster and a very nice improvement, but not as fast as Canon’s fastest autofocusing lenses. While this lens certainly has the aperture and image quality to be an excellent indoor action sports lens, the AF performance is only “good enough” in my opinion – and not matching the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens’ AF performance. Would I use this lens for sports? Definitely, but I would plan on a lower hit rate – especially with the tiny depth of field at f/1.2. Shoot more images to compensate – The shots that hit will be superior images.
While manual focusing is also improved, I am a somewhat disappointed that the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens still utilizes a full-time electronic manual focus override. Electric manual focus utilizes the focus motor to adjust focus while you turn the focus ring. The camera must be powered on for manual focus to work. I can’t say I am inhibited by this feature, but it is not my favorite attribute of this lens. The AF motor is always slightly behind me in this focus-by-wire setup. Manual focus lag is slightly improved over my 85mm version I. The undamped focus ring turns too freely in my personal opinion. It is super smooth, but harder to fine tune. Avoid grasping the MF ring when mounting/dismounting the lens.
Since the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens is a front-focusing lens (part of the slower focusing speed reason I’m sure), the lens extends a small amount while focusing. I prefer non-extending lenses, but the amount of extension in relation to the size of the lens is relatively small. Care is required during lens changes to avoid scratching the rear lens element as it is seated at the back of the lens mount making it susceptible to damage.
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens pictured above is extended to its maximum length (minimum focus distance).
Image quality was excellent on the original 85 L, but using Super Spectra coatings and optimized lens element shaping to suppress flare and ghosting should make the 85mm f/1.2 L II an even better performer. Anti-reflective material has been placed inside the lens barrel as well. In reality, I am seeing only very slightly improved image quality – but it is still excellent. In certain situations, I am seeing less flare. Both 85mm L lenses are noticeably better at controlling flare than the 85mm f/1.8. The biggest image quality difference I am seeing between the I and II lenses is a slightly more neutral color from the new lens.
The original 85 L was sharp even at f/1.2 and it got even sharper when stopped down a small amount. The new lens appears very similar to me. Real life shots are very useable at f/1.2. My biggest problem with comparing the two lenses has been getting both to focus identically. Having had or used 5 different 85 L II lenses, I’ve determined that this lens model will occasionally mis-focus completely. The lenses do not front focus or back focus consistently and mostly focus dead-on. But there is a random situation that delivers a completely out of focus shot. The DOF is extremely shallow at f/1.2 with a relatively close subject – accurate focusing is mandatory – and recomposing after focusing will generate out of focus shots. The ISO 12233 Chart sample crops will show the older 85 L to be sharper wide open. In real shots, these lenses are more similar than the sample crops show (including those shot using manual focus and the 2.5x Canon Angle Finder C).
The original 85 L showed noticeable vignetting at f/1.2 (even on a 1.6x FOVCF body. Full frame users saw vignetting nearly disappear by f/2. The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens performs identically. The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens has about 1 stop of vignetting advantage over the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens.
All three copies of the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens I have used to date show more CA (Chromatic Aberration) than the older 85 L. And my 85 f/1.8 shows less CA than either version of the 85 L lens. The 85 II lenses I have used are producing noticeable CA at the widest apertures when sun glares from something reflective in the shot (such as a chrome car bumper). For most applications, the CA will not be a big deal – and removing it in post-processing is often possible.