The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is best used as a portrait lens. This seems obvious as any 70mm or higher that maintains a wide aperture is best suited for this purpose. Portraits are where this lens really shines. It is the best lens for portraits under four grand. It produces a dreamy feeling depth of field. Most L lenses are well suited to more than one purpose as is this lens. It also functions well as a landscape lens but is not so good as a general everyday sort of telephoto lens.
It really performs well for lighted weddings. It is also a good alternative for low light situation such as weddings and indoor events but the auto focus is not best suited for this. You will have trouble with auto focus in low lighting situations. If you do wedding work then consider this lens a needed expense.
It's not a decent macro lens. Stopping the camera down reduces the quality of the images quite a bit as any 70-200mm is gets the best sharpness at appropriate apertures. The only advantage to trying to use this lens for macro photography is its immense depth of field.
Now as mentioned it will work for landscape images and does well in this area but it has thin depth of field when used this way. Photos of flowers, plants and anything with a central main subject and scenic background suitable for blurring are a good use of this lens. However, it does suffer in quality degradation when used wide open.
In general this lens is best for studio or on location portraits with some lower lighting situations possible. This lens has a nice Depth of field that other lenses simply do not come close to. It has good saturation compared to other L lenses. The weight and price may be a deterrent to some and the auto focus is slower than other lenses.
The auto focus can be turned off but the over ride is electronic so requires power to the lens. The rear element is flush against the base so the user needs to take care when changing lenses.
This lens is one of the larger purchases a photographer might make. It is a large step up from the basic lens. If you are a professional and need the best quality then this lens is the one to get for 85mm portraits. Get this lens and you know you are getting enhanced depth of field, dynamic range, dreamy exposures for surrealistic shots, and a secure knowledge that you got the best. You know your equipments limitations will not get in the way of the best shot possible.
If not there may be some other choice that will fit. Some lenses are lighter and have faster auto focus. These may be a good and less expensive option if you are not a professional and are not as concerned with small imperfections of your images. The 135mm f/2 is a good compliment to this lens. If you have both you will find they both fill a different niche of portrait photography and will find yourself often switching between the two at events.
In summery toe 85mm f/1.2 is a cumbersome lens that will take some patience and practice but it is worth it as is gets much higher quality results than other lenses.
Fri, 13 Mar 2009 18:12:45 +0000
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