In a world where there is an endless amount of lenses, it can be difficult to figure out what type of lens to go for. Lucky enough, Canon’s L lens collection is something to definitely look into if you are searching for top-notch quality. This lineup is not like others, as Canon uses some of the finest glass in its category. This makes the lens incomparable to many of its competitors.
One of its lenses that has been making its mark is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, the upgrade of the original EF 85mm f/1.2L USM. Since it is a half stop faster than any other glass, the lens does get a spotlight other lenses have to compete with. But what makes buyers question it is the price. Is the quality worth $2,000 or do other lenses do the job just as well? Let’s take a look.
Design and Durability
At first glance, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM has the signature red ring around it that shows it is a part of the L-series collection. This little design gives it a sleeker and sophisticated look.
With its f-stop, you can expect a lot of glass in the lens. That also means the lens does have some weight to it – it actually weighs almost 2.5 lbs. But this weight is not due to only its glass but the metal construction. It is safe to say that it has a sturdy built to it than can take a few falls but that does not mean you should try.
Even though the lens is built to last, one of the downfalls is the missing weather seal at the base. With the qualities that this lens has, it is a no-brainer that it will eventually be tested outside. Since Canon invested so much in the lens, a weather seal seemed like a small cost to add on while being a huge benefit for the consumer.
One of the biggest set-back this lens has is the slow autofocus speed. If you are looking for a lens that will focus instantly, this might not be it which is unfortunate since it did improve the speed by making the most recent lens 1.6 times faster than the original lens. For consumers who prioritize AF, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM could be a better alternative. But before you completely dismiss the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II USM, this lens is far from horrible and can still be used for fast-paced environments.
When it comes to manual focusing, though it has also improved, the lens still uses electronic manual focusing. This causes the cameras to use the autofocus motor to focus as you turn the focus ring but can only be done when the camera is turned on. It is not much of an issue but different in comparison to many lenses where you can actually refocus.
The f-stop of this lens is unlike any of its competitors. The depth of field is really shallow and can transform a photo but when it comes to accurate focusing, it must be taken seriously to get the outcome you want. If you plan on shooting at f/1.2, you must be extremely attentive when focusing. It can be difficult for those who have not used a similar lens before to achieve proper focus especially when it comes to shooting three-dimensional subjects.
How Does the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L Compare?
We take a look at the specs compared to the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM.
|Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM||Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM|
|The focus lags||The focus is much faster in comparison to the Canon|
|With manual focus, you have to turn on the manual switch which can be tedious depending on your work environment||When it comes to using manual focus, all you have to do is grab the ring and adjust as you wish|
|There is more contrast no matter the f-stop which is more pleasing||The lens weighs less|
|The imagery is sharper at all f-stops||The bokeh is good but can be a bit distracting while Canon L’s bokeh is much smoother|
The selling price of this lens is evident that the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L is not for beginners. At first, it can take you some time to get familiar with the lens and how its depth of field changes depending on the subject-to-camera distance.
Canon considers this lens as their “definitive portraiture lens.” The company combined stellar bokeh and focal length so it definitely shines when it comes to portrait photography. Any portrait photographer will always be pleased when it comes to using this lens. It also is great for low-light situations making it ideal for hand-holding at events, specifically weddings. The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L is one of the best wedding lenses out as it can capture high-quality images in dim environments along shallow depths of field.
For those who prefer, or enjoy, using natural light, this lens will be incredible. The amount of light that enters will make it fun for you whether it is for professional situations or simply shooting around.